TODAY marks one year since the Morcombes knew their little boy was gone forever.
Though it had been almost eight years, 2790 days, since Daniel went missing while waiting for a bus on the Sunshine Coast, parents Bruce and Denise still held a sliver of hope he was still out there somewhere, alive.
But in a whirlwind emotional rollercoaster from listening to persons of interest at an inquest to the arrest of Daniel's alleged murderer, 2011 would be the year their worst fear was confirmed.
Last night the Morcombes called for new laws to let families of murder victims have the right to say goodbye in "a dignified and timely manner".
They posted a photo online showing the flowers, prayer card, rosary beads, necklace and lit candle they, and Daniel's brothers, left as tributes after a private prayer service at Glasshouse Mountains where his remains were unearthed one year ago.
It was a significant breakthrough in the case and they remain grateful to the searchers but, for them, little has changed - they still do not have their little boy back.
"We draw no comfort from that discovery, because to us, it feels like he was immediately abducted a second time," they said.
"A further 366 days have elapsed and there is no end in sight.
"This is the cruellest twist in a nightmare which began almost nine years ago.
"It is inhuman to treat Daniel's remains simply as evidence for a trial.
"Surely modern forensic science, and in particular DNA testing, in this day and age can demonstrate beyond dispute the legal question of identification.
"Isn't that what we have been led to believe?
"It seems the opposite is true and now we are trapped, surrounded with endless questions and uncertainty, delays, more tests, it just goes on and on.
"The system continues to violate Daniel even after his passing, but we will not let the next unfortunate family suffer as we have.
"Everyone would agree that as a developed ethical society we can do better going forward."
The Morcombes have no special plans to mark today.
They spoke to children at schools in Cairns yesterday and in Mossman today before returning home to Palmwoods early evening.
"That will not be easy but we mask that personal pain and get on with something constructive by educating children on ways to keep safe," Mr Morcombe said.
A photo of Daniel they released last week around the anniversary of Brett Cowan's arrest recorded more than 500,000 views on Facebook.
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