Morcombe family hopes findings will see return of Daniel
IF the DNA evidence in the Daniel Morcombe murder case next week stands up to rigorous testing, his family could finally get what they want most - Daniel.
It has been 15 months since police found the 13-year-old's remains while searching bushland near the Glasshouse Mountains but they have never been returned to his family.
Instead, forensic scientists have tested the remains four times - in three Australian states and once internationally - ahead of the committal hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court.
The two-week hearing will examine scientific evidence relating to his remains and other items found at the search site and re-test witnesses from the inquest who saw reported seeing Daniel or his alleged abductor on the Nambour Connection Road the day he went missing in December, 2003.
"There are times when you want to not think about it because you feel almost physically ill about what's probably going to be presented to us on a daily basis for the next two weeks," Daniel's father Bruce said.
"We cannot prepare for this in any way other than to keep your mind in a healthy place.
"It does affect you as the months reduce to weeks, to days and now hours.
"For one thing your sleep is broken with long periods of reflective thoughts."
Mr Morcombe said the defence team for Brett Peter Cowan - who is accused of murdering and abducting Daniel - was challenging the DNA evidence but he hoped those findings were "sound and world's best practice".
He said he would then try to get his son's remains back so the family could say a proper goodbye and lay their son to rest.
"The focus of the first week is the DNA evidence, if that's sound and whether it will stand up to rigorous testing in a court of law," he said.
"The defence have been waiting to see what is in the reports and then question these scientific people.
"Based on those answers, they will determine whether they need additional tests.
"If there's been four tests done and they stand up in a court of law, how could fifth or sixth tests make any difference?"
Mr Morcombe said looking after his family - wife Denise and sons Dean and Bradley - was his number one priority.
He said they were all planning to attend the hearing but the magistrate had a discretion on whether they let the family stay.
"We have been advised that as potential witnesses at a possible future trial we are likely to be asked to leave," he said.
"We are wanting to stay and observe justice being done but these are frustrating days so we will accept the decision and live with it.
"I'll just be making sure that we're in control of our emotions.
"I'll make sure the boys and Denise are strong enough to sit through that if we are allowed.
"It's no shame if any of us are unable to sit through it."
Mr Morcombe said he and Denise had kept themselves as busy as possible in the lead-up to the committal to keep their minds off it.
He said the committal hearing would be vastly different to the coronial inquest in 2010-11.
"This is high stakes with a man charged with among other things, child stealing and murder," he said.
"I imagine we will all be exposed to some terrible images."
The hearing begins on Monday.