DENISE Morcombe's son Daniel was adopted by families across Australia.
Yesterday she thanked a nation for sharing her most painful journey.
As police prepare to return Daniel Morcombe to his parents, Mrs Morcombe and husband Bruce say they would never have found their boy had it not been for the support from the public.
“We will bring him home,” Mrs Morcombe said, seven years and nine months after Daniel’s simple trip to the shops turned to tragedy.
“It’s going to take a little while but we said we’d never give up and we’ve proved it.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone for sharing our journey and never giving up on Daniel.
“I feel that Daniel was your son as well.
“It’s everyone’s strength that got us through the last seven-and-a-half years and you will help us get through the rest of it.”
The Morcombe parents were stoic yesterday when they spoke publicly for the first time since DNA confirmed on Sunday that bones found in Glasshouse Mountains swampland belonged to Daniel.
Mrs Morcombe said all of her son’s remains had to be retrieved from the muddy gravesite so that the family could start planning a funeral that they had been thinking about for almost eight years.
Last night the family shared a quiet dinner together for Bruce’s 52nd birthday.
“You reach a point where birthdays don’t mean an awful lot. But certainly today is the eighth birthday that I’ll have without Daniel and this Sunday is the eighth Father’s Day I’ll have without Daniel,” Mr Morcombe said.
“They’re not lost on the family and they’re certainly not lost on me.”
Daniel’s twin brother Bradley, 21, and older brother Dean, 23, visited the crime scene at the Glasshouse Mountains bushland with their parents last week.
Mrs Morcombe described the dense scrub surrounding Daniel’s burial site as “hell”.
“Just watching the boys’ faces was heartbreaking,” Mrs Morcombe said.
“They just stood there and just stared.”
“I think it was reality setting in that no longer was their boy missing,” Mr Morcombe said.
“The reality was their boy was now murdered.
“That is a massive step for anyone to comprehend.”
The news on Sunday was “another beating” for the brothers.
“At the end of the day it’s a very difficult role that they play – it is their brother who has been murdered,” Mr Morcombe said.
“I don’t think any of us would appreciate how moving that would be.
“They do their best and one thing that we’re really proud of, Denise and myself, is we’re a tight-knit family.
“We spent time together yesterday and will spend time together again tonight, together as a family unit. We’ll just make sure we recover from this and move on.”
As well as authorities and volunteers who have helped find his son, Mr Morcombe also thanked the “whole stack of ordinary Australians that have chipped in”.
“All have contributed to getting us where we are today,” he said.
“Very sadly we had the confirmation that Daniel’s remains are indeed at Glasshouse Mountains.