THE Morcombe family can finally grieve, after DNA results confirmed they have found Daniel's muddy burial site.
The Morcombes were coming to terms with the news after police revealed three bones found in Glasshouse Mountains swampland a week ago belonged to their son.
Daniel's parents Bruce and Denise and brothers Bradley and Dean were comforted by a procession of family and friends at their home in Palmwoods. They issued a statement which described the news as “extremely sad for all of us”.
“Although we knew in our heart that the search area was Daniel's final resting place, the scientific confirmation is still enormously difficult to comprehend,” they said.
“For seven years and nine months it is that expected shock we have all been waiting for.”
Scientists working overtime at a laboratory in Adelaide revealed the DNA results to senior police late on Saturday night.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson told the Morcombe family the news Sunday morning before it was announced to the public about 11.30am.
“I think there was a certain harshness to this news today for them,” Mr Atkinson said.
“It's a very sad day for them but at least it's the answer.”
The three bones were found last weekend but wet weather has kept police and SES crews from continuing the search for most of the week.
The search will resume at the primary site off Kings Rd as soon as the ground dries out, with police confident they will find more of Daniel's remains.
The two Globe brand runners located near the bones are still being tested.
Police have guarded the crime scene since August 13 when Brett Peter Cowan, 41, was charged with murdering Daniel and burying him in the bushland.
Family lawyer and close friend Peter Boyce yesterday said it was comforting that the Morcombe family would finally be able to say goodbye to their son.
“I must say I wasn't surprised (about the DNA results) because the shoes were obviously very significant,” Mr Boyce said.
“The good thing is that at the end of the day they did want to know and they always wanted to know where their son was. Now they have that answer.
“After a little bit of time to sink in they will at least be able to say goodbye to him. They won't die wondering about what happened to him and where he was.”
Mr Boyce said the family would take their time to decide how to farewell their son.
“I'm amazed at what they've been able to deal with and I have no doubt that Bruce and Denise will come out and they'll be ready to go again soon.
“They just need time to grieve.”
Brett Winkler is a member of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation but he feels more like family to the Morcombes.
“They're remarkable, amazing people but they're still human (and) they have a long way to go,” he said.
“For us on the committee they're part of our extended family.
“Today is a shock ... you absolutely know now that it is Daniel.”
Police Commissioner Atkinson described the milestone as “enormously significant”.
He said the police investigation always had two aspects – to track down the person responsible for Daniel's disappearance and to bring the 13-year-old's remains home to his parents.
“I think all of us who have been involved ... all felt quite strongly about this particular investigation.
“Fortunately here in Queensland I think we have a very good and safe quality of life and when things like this happen I think it brings the community together to find answers and find a solution.”
Locating Daniel's remains was one of the final answers to the questions the Morcombe family had had since he disappeared on December 7, 2003.
“It's the answer. It's a very sad answer but it's the answer,” Mr Atkinson said.
Tributes flow for Daniel Morcombe
FORMER Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Anna Bligh have expressed sympathy for the family of Daniel Morcombe after DNA confirmed remains found as his.
Daniel was 13 when he disappeared while waiting for a bus at Woombye on December 7, 2003, only 12 days before his 14th birthday.
He was on his way to buy Christmas presents when a bus running behind schedule passed him.
When a second bus came minutes later, Daniel was gone.
Perth man Brett Peter Cowan, 41, was charged with Daniel's abduction and murder on August 13, sparking an intense search of bushland near Kings Road in the Glasshouse Mountains.
Three bones were found at Beerwah last Sunday.
The discovery came after two shoes were found, the same Globe brand as Daniel was wearing when he disappeared.
Police confirmed a white four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Pajero had been seized on Russell Island, at Moreton Bay south of Brisbane, as part of the investigation.
At the inquest into Daniel Morcombe's disappearance in April, a witness told of seeing a white Pajero with a vehicle snorkel near the bus stop where the Daniel was last seen.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the discovery of Daniel's bones was every parent's worst nightmare.
"I think every parent would keep alive a little flame of hope and to have that flame dashed today I think is very distressing news for the Morcombe family and for all of us who have kept that little flame of hope alive," she said.
"I think every parent in Australia today will be holding Bruce and Denise Morcombe in their thoughts."
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, used Twitter to urge Australians to spare a thought for the Morcombe family.
"All of us should spend a while today thinking about the Morcombe family. May little Daniel now rest in peace," he said.
LNP Leader Campbell Newman offered his heartfelt condolences on behalf of the LNP to the Morcombe family.
Mr Newman said he had no doubt the Morcombe family were in the thoughts of all Queenslanders today.
"It is impossibly sad news and to Bruce, Denise, Dean and Bradley, our thoughts and prayers are with you," Mr Newman said.
Mr Newman thanked the police, SES volunteers and other agencies who had worked for seven years and nine months to find Daniel.
Across Facebook, tributes flowed for the Morcombe family.
Gerardine Lear said her family would love to see the Morcombes honoured for their incredible community service in promoting child safety.
"I know an award doesn't even count as a grain of sand in relation to losing Daniel but Australia and the World is better because of your example.Daniel would be proud to have such dedicated parents.
"Our Condolences,' the family wrote on the Daniel Morcombe Foundation Facebook page.
Emily O'Donohue wrote: "Daniel you are so beautiful. My heart breaks everytime I think of you, can't even imagine how your family must feel. Your parents are so strong and resilient . We know you're proud.''
Bones belong to Daniel Morcombe: police
POLICE have confirmed the three bones found in Sunshine Coast bushland belong to Daniel Morcombe.
DNA tests have revealed the bones, located in Glasshouse Mountains swampland a week ago near two Globe runners, are the 13-year-old's remains.
Bruce, Denise, Dean and Bradley Morcombe have thanked the searchers for their commitment to finding Daniel's burial spot.
"Today's news is extremely sad for all of us and although we knew in our heart that the search area was Daniel's final resting place the scientific confirmation is still enormously difficult to comprehend," the Morcombes said in a statement through police.
"For seven years and nine months it is that expected shock we have all been waiting for."
Commissioner Bob Atkinson made the announcement about 11.30am today.
The three bones were located at the primary search site at the end of Kings Rd.
The area is still a crime scene and has been under police guard since Brett Peter Cowan was arrested and charged with Daniel's murder on August 13.
The search is ongoing and police are confident they will find extra remains.
Forensic testing will continue on the two shoes, which match the brand Daniel was wearing when he was abducted.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.