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Reinforcements on way

Police and SES at the end of Kings Rd, Glass House Mountains at the base of the search party for Daniel Morcombe. Photo: Nicholas Falconer / Sunshine Coast Daily
Police and SES at the end of Kings Rd, Glass House Mountains at the base of the search party for Daniel Morcombe. Photo: Nicholas Falconer / Sunshine Coast Daily Nicholas Falconer

MORE than seven years after they first searched for Daniel Morcombe, some of the original volunteers are now part of the final hunt for the teenager's remains.

A team of more than 50 police and SES volunteers will be boosted by reinforcements today as the search intensifies in an area at the Glasshouse Mountains.

Late yesterday the state's leading forensic pathologist, Professor Peter Ellis, arrived at the guarded crime scene in dense, swampy bushland 40km from where Daniel disappeared.

It was understood Prof Ellis's presence at the Kings Rd site, next to a macadamia farm, is part of police procedure.

Police would not reveal how they narrowed their search to an area at the end of a dirt track, between the Bruce Hwy and Steve Irwin Way.

They are confident the area they are targeting will be where they close the biggest missing person case in Queensland's history.

Nambour SES group leader Meg Rudder is one of the volunteers on standby to join in coming days.

She was part of the first search teams who scoured areas around Woombye and Palmwoods in the weeks after Daniel's disappearance on December 7, 2003.

Ms Rudder is set to replace colleagues at the Kings Rd site next week as police devise a strategy to continue a search that could last months.

The crime scene is under guard by uniformed police officers, who scrutinise a steady flow of vehicles in and out of the site.

Police and SES volunteers have spent hours sifting by hand through soil. Their search started on Saturday before a 41-year-old man was charged with Daniel's murder.

A nearby resident of the crime scene said it was “spooky” to hear what was taking place on a neighbouring property.

Residents said dozens of cars had yesterday driven through to the search area on roads that were normally quiet and peaceful.

At the site, searchers used equipment that resembled metal detectors and sandbags were laid in swampy areas to create dams.

Ms Rudder said SES volunteers and the police involved in the search were highly motivated to make a discovery.

“We always go out there in the hope of finding a missing child or missing person well,” she said.

“As the days went on and the weeks went on, it got really grim.

“It has affected all of our families as well.”

TOP PATHOLOGIST ON THE TEAM

Forensic pathologist Professor Peter Ellis will be an important figure in the search for Daniel Morcombe's remains.

The Nambour-based professor was one of six experts flown to Port Moresby to identify the people killed in the 2009 Kokoda plane crash.

He was also involved in identifying victims of the Bali bombings and the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Topics:  daniel morcombe, glasshouse mountains, search, steve irwin way




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