Hi-tech police solving cold cases

SCIENCE EDGE: Officer-in-charge of the Sunshine Coast CIB, Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards, says offenders have nowhere to hide.
SCIENCE EDGE: Officer-in-charge of the Sunshine Coast CIB, Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards, says offenders have nowhere to hide. Cade Mooney

THE Sunshine Coast's top cop has vowed his officers will never give up the hunt for criminals, even if it takes decades to catch them.

The promise came from officer-in-charge of the Sunshine Coast CIB, Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards after the arrest of a man over a rape that happened more than 16 years ago.

The 34-year-old, who cannot be named, was arrested in Marcoola on Thursday after DNA evidence allegedly linked him to the sexual assault of a woman in her Coolum unit in 1996.

It was the second time in 12 months that Coast detectives had been able to make arrests for crimes committed more than a decade ago.

Last year they charged a man over the sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl in 2000.

There also have been arrests for armed robberies, drugs and home invasions which police have been investigating for several months and, in some cases, years.

"You do stupid things - even if it is that far back - we won't give up chasing you," Snr Sgt Edwards said.

"No matter when the crime was committed, whether it was 10 or 16 years ago, if there was DNA taken at a scene, we will find you eventually.

"We don't stop and we do have advances in technology, and if we think it is worthwhile we will run whatever exhibits we have available."

The murder of Daniel Morcombe, who had been missing for more than seven years before an arrest was made, was one of the most high-profile cases involving Coast police.

A large team of officers worked tirelessly on the case, even when it all but disappeared from the spotlight.

A week after a man was charged over Daniel's disappearance, a shoe was discovered at a bushland site in the Glasshouse Mountains area.

An extensive search found human bones, which DNA analysis confirmed to be Daniel's remains.

Almost 10 years after Daniel disappeared and 15 months after his remains were found, Brett Peter Cowan will face court tomorrow charged with Daniel's abduction and murder.


Snr Sgt Edwards said DNA testing had become one of the police force's most valuable tools.


"We do have good facilities here and we do use assistance from interstate and overseas to rerun various tests on hair and any other items we may have taken from a scene," he said.

"We try to explore every avenue we can to assist us with identifying offenders and each year the technology gets better and better.

"In my previous service with Homicide in the cold case area, there were numerous unsolved murders where we got hold of various exhibits and took them back to the scientists to rework.

"It is amazing what you can achieve at times."

One unsolved case still making headlines on the Coast is the disappearance of Sabrina Ann Glassop and Celena Bridge.

Coast detectives have been making new inquiries recently into the disappearance of the women in the Sunshine Coast hinterland during the late 1990s.

"I think it is important to see through the cases, not just for the closure of the victims but also for the police and detectives involved," Snr Sgt Edwards said. "I don't think people ever give up on someone being caught."

Science played an important role in the Daniel Morcombe case.
Science played an important role in the Daniel Morcombe case.

Topics:  cold case police technology

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