ImageIt’s been a hell of a week. There’s been tragedies involving a gas explosion and a missing plane in South East Asia.  A dear friend gave birth to her son at 19 weeks and he passed away soon after. This plus a heart breaking case of animal cruelty  has made me hug my coco all the harder.

Right now I have tears in my eyes writing about a young boy who never came home. Daniel Morcombe (pcitured in red) was an ordinary Sunshine Coast teenager. He went to school, rode his horse, picked fruit for pocket money, rode dirt bikes on the weekend, went fishing, hung out with his friends and 2 brothers. He was a twin to Bradley, younger brother to Dean, and a son to Denise and Bruce. I know all these details as a little over 10 years ago I was living on the Sunshine Coast and like everyone was hoping for a happy ending to the case of a young boy who went missing at the bus stop near Kiel’s Mountain.

For the Morcombes that happy ending never came as Daniel had vanished into thin air waiting for bus to take him to the shopping centre so he could buy Christmas presents for his family. 8 years later a breakthrough occurred when police announced they had taken a man into custody for the murder of Daniel. In August 2011 they found the remains of Daniel and some of his clothing. In December 2012 his parents, friends and supporters attended the funeral service for Daniel and he was finally laid to rest.

Today in the Supreme Court of Queensland the man responsible for taking Daniel away from his family was found guilty of murder and other charges. I won’t name the man who did this to Daniel; he doesn’t deserve it. There are plenty of media outlets covering the story and detailing the convicted man’s past offences (he was a known child molester), you can find them here. You can read the harrowing victim impact statements from his parents and older brothers here.

Today I cry for Daniel and for his loved ones. I cry when I think that this young boy didn’t get to grow up, he didn’t get to graduate high school, fall in love with his soul mate, and he didn’t get to see his twin get married, or share a beer with his mates. My heart is so very heavy thinking of the empty seat at his family’s table for him.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe are personal heroes of mine; they have endured so much but still somehow found a way to keep going. In 2005 they started up the Daniel Morcombe Foundation  to fund search efforts to find Daniel and more importantly to do the following: 1. To educate children regarding their personal safety (including abduction). 2. To assist victims of crime, particularly where crime involves children. 3. To remember Daniel with suitable child safety community awareness events. 4. To support the families of Missing Persons particularly where it involves children. Their generosity in assisting others to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another family is amazing. Every year on the 31st October everyone is urged to wear red in memory of Daniel and to remind ourselves to keep our kids safe! RIP Daniel.

Update 14 March 2014: Daniel’s killer has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole option of 20 years, with the judge noting that he should never be released.