FINDING clothes and shoes that belonged to Daniel Morcombe was "significant" to the investigation but not the most important thing for the boy's family.
Finding their son's remains has always been the driving force for Bruce and Denise Morcombe since Daniel disappeared seven years and 10 months ago.
"The clothing and the shoes is clearly significant, but nowhere near as significant to the family as Daniel's remains," Mr Morcombe said yesterday after police announced the end of the search for Daniel.
"We've found a small portion of him ... that's better than never knowing."
Police started the final hunt in bushland near the Glasshouse Mountains after the arrest of Brett Peter Cowan on August 13.
In nine weeks the search turned up several bones, some clothing and two shoes that are currently the subjects of forensic testing.
The bones have been confirmed as belonging to Daniel and the other items located are also believed to be the teenager's.
"We always wanted to find more but at the same time we've just got to say thank goodness we've found something," Mr Morcombe said.
"What we've found is significant, but there's a lot we haven't found."
Mr Morcombe said senior police had been in regular contact in the week leading up to yesterday's announcement.
He said the news was partly sad for the family.
"But we can only rely on the experts that have been called in - their experience far outweighs what our emotional search may be," Mr Morcombe said.
"Even though you really want to tell yourself 'if I go down there I'll make a difference', you know you'll just waste your time and tear yourself apart."
Police have offered the Morcombes a chance to revisit the search site.
The family visited after earlier discoveries but their movements were restricted so as not to contaminate the crime scene.
Mr Morcombe, who described the dense marshland as an "eerie" place, said the family had not yet decided whether to visit again.
"It's not an area that we cherish or feel comfortable with," Mr Morcombe said.
The family hope Daniel's remains will be returned to them as soon as possible so that a funeral can be held.