The missing pieces in the Daniel Morcombe puzzle
SEPARATING the truth from the lies churned out by people firmly entrenched in the criminal underworld has made the Daniel Morcombe investigation an unfathomable task.
Most of the persons of interest in the 13-year-old's disappearance from an unofficial bus stop at Woombye on December 7, 2003, have no idea what the truth is or they choose to ignore it in favour of playing games at other people's expense.
For others, the truth is so drug-muddled they can barely recollect what happened the day before let alone recall their actions weeks or years prior.
The word of these drug addicts, pathological liars and career criminals in the jigsaw puzzle of Daniel's disappearance cannot be relied on.
Police have to cross-reference their myriad stories with their associates who are usually equally undependable.
They have to check phone, bank and registration records but so many of these people spend so much money on drugs they cannot afford mobile phones, nor to keep a car registered and rarely use banks. And, if they do, they often use false names which have to be checked too.
They have no qualms about sending police on a wild goose chase, with officers wasting thousands of hours on versions they know are completely false.
These people have no regard for the Morcombe family or the false hope they give them of finding Daniel through their elaborate works of fiction.
P1 even met Bruce Morcombe in person. Mr Morcombe hopes he will meet many more of the persons of interest face to face when the inquest resumes in December, which will mark the seventh anniversary of Daniel's disappearance.
He hopes seeing him, his wife Denise, Daniel's twin Bradley and older brother Dean will shock and guilt some persons of interest or their associates into finally telling the truth.
Below you will find many of the persons of interest already explored in the coronial inquest into Daniel's suspected murder.
Most of it will disturb you.
It is not just because their sexual offending or their serious criminal histories read like a horror film but because so many of them were or could have been on the Sunshine Coast the day Daniel disappeared.
It might keep you from sleeping tonight because police cannot eliminate so many of them as persons of interest despite extensive and exhaustive investigations.
But we aim to comprehensively cover each person of interest described so far during the inquest.
If you have any new pieces of information which could place another vital piece in the jigsaw puzzle, phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Daniel was last seen beneath the Kiels Mountain overpass on Nambour Connection Road about 2.20pm on December 7, 2006. He was wearing a red Billabong t-shirt, dark shorts and Globe shoes. Witnesses reported seeing one or two scruffy-looking men near him. Witnesses saw an older model "squarish" blue sedan, possibly with NSW number plates, nearby. Some reported seeing a white van too.
• Extensive history of property and drug offences, assault conviction.
• Was convicted of murder which was overturned in Court of Appeal. He later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Currently in jail. Claims to be a male pimp who killed his client P1X.
• His elder sister murdered in 1991.
• Heavy user of heroin and amphetamines.
• Offers police information about the Daniel Morcombe case.
• Initially claims a man named Adam Andrews is responsible but later implicates P2.
• Says he and Andrews were pimps who extorted money from male prostitute clients.
• Claimed Daniel was supposed to be used for that purpose but he "f***ed up".
• Later places himself in the car with Andrews and suggests P1X was involved too, then P2 as well.
• Tells Bruce Morcombe to his face that he saw Daniel looking drugged in the back seat of a car in Fortitude Valley.
• Tells police he saw Daniel's body being rolled into the Brisbane River inside a blue barrel marked with the number 23.
• Later tells police he buried Daniel in the Beerburrum State Forest. He had actually buried P1X on a nearby track.
• Police can find no trace of an Adam Andrews or anyone who might be using that as a false name.
• At a Crime and Misconduct Commission hearing, P1 tells police he had consistently lied and changed his versions because he hates police and wanted to annoy them.
Police spend "thousands and thousands and thousands" of hours chasing up P1's various versions. They check phone and bank records, including false names. They check car yards and chase up private sales to find the car allegedly used in the abduction. They search the Brisbane River and get cadaver dogs to search the Beerburrum State Forest. P1 cannot be ruled out but police could never pin down enough evidence on any of the myriad versions P1 provided.
• Initially implicated in Daniel's disappearance because P4 tells police that P2 was once introduced to him as Adam.
• Later implicated by P1 as being directly involved in Daniel's disappearance.
• History of drug and property offences but none against children. Used any drug available, mostly amphetamines.
• Had access to a blue Nissan Pintara with false NSW plates, similar to that seen near Daniel.
• P2 lives in a place with a room often called "the dungeon" with block walls, a solid door and one window. P1 says Daniel was kept in there.
• Police DNA test homes and cars but nothing of note found.
• An associate tells police that P2 told him P1 was responsible for Daniel's death but P2 denies this part of a true conversation.
• P2 denies any part in Daniel's disappearance.
Police cannot find any evidence linking P1 and P2 before December 7, 2003. They believe they must have had contact before that date to have committed these offences but all evidence points to them meeting in late December, 2003. They cannot be ruled out.
• Has links to P1 and P2 through family and associates.
• Was taking a cocktail of illegal and prescription drugs during December, 2003.
• Claimed she was in the car when Daniel was abducted but her versions changed several times, evening putting her young daughter in the car at one stage.
• Told police she had lost three days of her life while affected by drugs and "bits and pieces" kept returning to her about Daniel's abduction.
• Police find recorded phone calls from a prison to her house the day Daniel disappeared which place her at the house. While she is not heard on the phone, her children talk about her being asleep or sick at the Brisbane home during several phone calls that day.
• P3's child recalls their car breaking down the night before and police stopping because it seemed suspicious. He says he recalls the family being home all day the next day.
• Search of her suggested burial site by cadaver dogs did not find anything.
• During a CMC hearing she resiled from most of her versions but maintained hearing P2 talk about "a thrill kill" and taking her on a drive to Bribie Island where she believed Daniel was buried.
Police have deemed P3 as lacking credibility. They believe the phone calls and her children's evidence rule her versions unreliable.
• First spoken to because of his associations with P1 and P30.
• Tells police he was introduced to P2 as Adam, a key name P1 associated with Daniel's disappearance
• Heavy drug user, mainly methylamphetamines, around December 7, 2003.
• Claimed P1 told him he had a body on the north coast and he needed to bury it. P1 denies this conversation.
Cannot recall where he was the day Daniel disappeared. Does have access to a blue van but does not fit the shape and colour of the van seen. He denies he had been telling other people he was involved. Police say he appeared to be honest with them.
• Lengthy criminal history, which includes snatching a young boy from a group of his friends and trying to sexually assault him in broad daylight.
• Was released from prison a month before Daniel disappeared.
• Owned a blue car and had plans to be on the Sunshine Coast the weekend Daniel was abducted.
• He has constantly changed his story about his movements on that weekend.
• Drove from Goodna to Noosa for a court case on Monday, December 8, and took the Nambour Connection Road, which was out of his way.
• A letter was sent to him in 2006 when he was back in prison, written by someone claiming "you killed that poor kid, his parents need to know".
• Biological psychopath
• Believed to have made a phone call from his home at Goodna at 3.33pm on December 7, 2003, which would have made it impossible for P5 to be on the Sunshine Coast at the time Daniel was abducted.
• Witnesses later create phone call discrepancies giving him enough time.
• Several witnesses say he threatened them into providing him with alibis.
Police uncovered a lot of evidence which cast suspicions on P5. He cannot be eliminated because some versions give him a wide enough timeline to have travelled to the Sunshine Coast, abducted Daniel and returned to Goodna. His history gives him the "propensity" to commit such an act. Conversely there is no evidence to say he was on the Sunshine Coast.
• Lengthy criminal history including armed robbery and other violent offences.
• Alleged to have sexually assaulted adult males during raids on other drug dealers.
• Has psychopathic tendencies.
• Is similar to witness sketches of men similar to those seen near Daniel.
• Confessed to car thefts in south Brisbane area to provide himself an alibi.
• Says he was involved in a chase after a car theft that police could confirm at 2.15pm.
• His DNA was found in one of the vehicles stolen.
Police believe it is most likely P6 was committing these offences in Brisbane the day Daniel disappeared.
• Lives at Beerwah. Is a member of a Woombye church.
• Has convictions in 1989 and 1994 for serious sexual offences against two boys, aged seven and six.
• Drove along the Nambour Connection Road twice the day Daniel disappeared and saw a broken down bus at Woombye.
• P7 was collecting a mulcher. Phone records show he left between 12.50 and 12.58pm.
• A return time cannot be confirmed but his neighbour recalls seeing him using the mulcher in his garden mid-afternoon.
• Bears a striking similarity to one for the comfits created by witnesses.
• Was wearing shorts, singlet and thongs which did not fit with witness descriptions.
• P7 did not have access to a blue car or white van similar to those seen near Daniel when he disappeared.
Police cannot rule him out fully but are satisfied with his description of what he did that day.
P 8 and 9
• They were living at the Woombye Gardens Caravan Park around the time of Daniel's abduction.
No other information has been provided in the inquest yet.
• Reports of a cyclist seen riding down Nambour Connection Road.
• At least one witness reports having seen him around Nambour CBD many times.
• Was living at Woombye Gardens Caravan Park at the time.
He was positively identified and excluded by police.
• Police searched the persons of interest list on an unsolved Perth murder.
• Gerard Ross, 11, was on holidays in a seaside suburb with his family and rollerblading with his brother, who looked around and suddenly noticed Gerard was gone, in 1997.
• His body was found 15 days later but nobody was charged.
• Police discover one person of interest in that case is now living at Caloundra and has a blue car.
No further information on this POI has been provided during the inquest.
• P15 had a silver-blue Mazda 929 that was taken from the Yandina caravan park to the Tanawha caravan park to pick up another person of interest and get drugs the day Daniel disappeared.
• He was worried the men might have used his vehicle for other purposes because they took so long getting back.
• P15 was charged with indecently dealing with a child but the charges were dropped.
He has been excluded because there is nothing to connect him to Daniel's disappearance.
P16 and 17
• Borrowed a silver-blue car from P15 the day Daniel disappeared.
• P16 was once sent to prison for nine years for serious charges including arson. Has a common assault conviction against a partner's child. Denies involvement.
• P17 was difficult to interview because he had learning difficulties or a low IQ. Had a history of property and drug offences.
• Car was examined and DNA samples taken but no evidence found.
• Partner of P15 believed the men returned the car between 1pm and 2pm, before Daniel went missing.
Pair excluded by police because the car was not the right colour, time lines did not match and there were no phone records to say where they were that day.
P19 A, B and C
• Police receive tip-off from prisoner that one of the trio was driving a squarish blue car in December, 2003.
• P19D, who was involved in the manufacture of methamphetamines, leant the car to P19A.
• On December 6 or 7 the blue Holden Gemini was abandoned in a tunnel under a railway line.
• They said they left the car there because it ran out of fuel.
• The POIs told police they went to a nearby property well-known for producing amphetamines to buy drugs.
• All three were heavy amphetamine users and had been using for three or four days.
• They used another stolen vehicle to commit burglary offences in the Coolum area and were then involved in a traffic crash at Beerwah.
Police believe it is highly improbable this trio was involved because there is nothing to support they were responsible.
P20 and P21
• P20 (62yo) worked at Woombye. P21 was in an on-and-off relationship with P20's daughter.
• P21 drove a blue Sigma sedan; P20 drove a number of white vans in December, 2003. Police have never located P21's sedan, believed to have been sold to a woman he met in a Caboolture pub. The white van P20 drove had windows all around it, different to witness accounts.
• P20 had lengthy criminal history including property offences and conspiring to manufacture amphetamines.
• P21 had a history of property and drug offences.
• The sister-in-law of P21 alleged in 2002 that P21 had indecently assaulted her daughter at their home in Nambour. The complaint was later withdrawn.
• P21 was an alcoholic and a shady character. He denied being involved but could not remember where he was on the day Daniel disappeared. Three days after being interviewed about Daniel disappearance, P20 committed suicide. Police do not believe the suicide was a result of the questioning.
Police have no evidence positively linking P20 or P21 to the scene at the time or date. The sedan and van the pair drove were similar but also had substantial differences to the vehicles police were searching for. Neither man fitted witness descriptions of the man standing near Daniel.
P23 and P24
• The men, in their 20s, were first investigated by police on June 13, 2004, when they were found by officers in the Glasshouse Mountains area in bushland with a young male.
• They were taking photos of the boy with an intention of committing sexual offences against him.
• The men told police they had driven with an associate to the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003, to look for young boys, mainly Nippers on beaches around Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Alexandra Headland.
• They met some boys at Mooloolaba and took them to have pizza with a focus on grooming the boys. They regularly come to the Coast with the same intentions.
• Both have admitted to a sexual interest in young boys.
• They networked with other paedophiles through an internet chat room called Boy Love.
• Both men and others from the chat room have been charged with serious paedophile and child pornography offences.
They were ruled out as suspects because their manner of offending was different to what police believed happened to Daniel. They also drove a different car, a gold Holden Commodore.
• Police received an anonymous letter, claimed to have been written by an international visitor, saying they had been involved in a crash with P25, which was caused when P25 was forced to veer away from a suspect blue vehicle.
• The letter included a registration number of P25's vehicle and the blue car that had caused the accident. The rego of the blue car led police to a Holden Calais but the rego had not been issued until a month after Daniel disappeared.
• P25 was facing criminal charges and police believe he wrote the anonymous letter himself to blackmail them for a letter of comfort to say he was assisting officers in their investigation into Daniel's appearance so that he did not have to face court for other charges.
P25 is described as a pest. Police confirmed that P25 was driving from Sydney to Queensland on December 7, 2003, by using mobile phone records. Officers were originally hopeful the registration would be a strong lead, but subsequently they found that P25 was just trying to benefit from other people's suffering.
P26 and P27
• Police searched for cases across Australia with similar circumstances.
• At 3pm on August 30, 2005, a 14-year-old boy disappeared from a Perth railway station.
• His family received a call from the boy saying he wanted to come home but the call was terminated.
• Police found him on September 19 with two people who were charged with abduction and committing sexual offences against the boy.
• Both men had bank details showing they were in WA a few days either side of December 7, 2003.
• P26 said he had never been to Queensland; P27 said he had once been to Queensland in 1981
Police could not find any evidence the men were in Queensland at the relevant time.
• P28 was staying at a motel near Daniel's disappearance.
• Her mother and mother's partner were suspected of selling and producing drugs from the property P19A, B and C visited.
She became a person of interest because of her lifestyle, her association with others and her proximity to the scene. Little else has been revealed.
• P30 came to police attention after he told a friend two men had borrowed his blue car, which was similar shape and age to the one seen near Daniel before he disappeared.
• The Caloundra man told police the car was not drivable on December 7 because the two men had crashed it into a trailer and then a pole resulting in it being towed on December 3.
• Police conducted numerous tests on the car but found no forensic results of value.
• The car was regularly leant to people to supply drugs on P30's behalf.
• One of the men who used the car knows P1 and some other POIs.
There are discrepancies but police cannot find any evidence to suggest the car or people were involved in Daniel's disappearance.
P32 and P33
• P32 and P33 have a closet homosexual relationship but call themselves adoptive father and son.
• P32 was 50 years of age when he "rescued" P33 off the streets in Victoria at age 14 or 15.
• P32 was convicted interstate of soliciting a 12-year-old boy for a sexual purpose in 1980.
• P33 has convictions for possessing child pornography, arson and sexually abusing his daughter. He is currently in jail.
• P33 claims he drove a blue car and P32 drove a white van to the abduction site, that P32 had a conversation with a boy and the boy got in the van. Later says he tied the boy up with rope.
• P33 claimed he had seen Daniel's property at a Park Ridge house.
• P33 says P32 drove him to "a small wooden shed" in the Greenbank army reserve where the boy was tied up. Says P32 sexually assaulted him.
• Police say the sheds did exist but they were often moved around and that a fire through the area had burned the ones P33 had described.
• P33 claims P32 dumped Daniel's body in the Brisbane River after weighing him down with chains and car parts.
• Police find two batteries at that spot but they are too new and appear to be truck and boat batteries.
• P33 considered "a pathological liar". His family says he often makes up stories.
Police hold doubts about P33's motives for providing information, ranging from a vendetta against P32 for dobbing him in for abusing his daughter, his attention-seeking tendencies and suggestions he might receive a portion of a government reward for information that leads to Daniel. P33 has consistently lied to police and P32 has always denied he was involved but they cannot be eliminated as persons of interest in the case.