When Daniel Morcombe was abducted from under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on 7 December 2003 the nation was shocked, as was I.
We held our breath as we waited for him to be returned to his parents, his twin, his family.
At the time I was a single twenty-something with a promising career in mining. In twenty-four days I would meet Bearhands and I’d find myself re-plotting my career path.
This change of tack would see me interviewing for a temporary administrative position with the Queensland Police Service by February 2005.
When I fronted up for my first day of work I learned that the interviewing panel had decided that my research background made me the right candidate to place into Operation Bravo Vista – the ongoing investigation into Daniel’s disappearance. I stepped through the door into the Major Incident Room and found walls filled with terrible stories about awful human beings and the desks attended by some of the most wonderful people I’ve met.
Put simply, I had no idea the darkness that humans are capable of until I stepped into that room. Mum will tell you that I phoned her after finishing my first day and said “We’ve lead very sheltered lives”.
I stayed working in that windowless room long after we bought the farm. Looking for Daniel became a vocation, each new Crime Stopper report was treated with the same reverence as the first. Would this be the piece of the puzzle we were missing?
It was only after the Big Sister was born that I realised I couldn’t return to the QPS. It was a hard decision to leave, I’ve never before experienced a job with such purpose. Years after my resignation the tireless work of the Op Vista team would culminate in the arrest and conviction of an offender for Daniel’s abduction and murder. I simultaneously laughed and cried when the arresting officer called and told me the news. We were all so invested in finding justice for Daniel.
Now to hang it next to the award presented to me for my current role; my “good mums have sticky floors, messy kitchens, piles of laundry, dirty ovens and happy kids” sign.1