AFTER suffering the pain of losing their own son, Bruce and Denise Morcombe have been instrumental in helping another parent find his lost child.
After giving up his job and scouring Europe, former New South Wales deputy fire chief Ken Thompson (pictured below) found his six-year-old boy, Andrew, in Amsterdam last week. The child had been missing for almost three years after being abducted by his mother, Melinda Stratton.
Sitting quietly behind the scenes, the Morcombes were helping Mr Thompson.
They set up the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to promote child safety after their 13-year-old son, Daniel, was abducted from Nambour Connection Road in 2003.
No trace of Daniel has ever been found and police believe he was murdered.
The foundation was approached by Mr Thompson’s supporters for a donation and the Morcombes obliged.
They paid Mr Thompson’s airfares to Europe as well as providing $1000 to help him locate his son.
Mrs Morcombe said the result had been “the best outcome possible”.
“We just feel so happy for him,” she said.
“We’d been following his journey around Europe carefully.
“We were really moved by his story and just wanted to help him find his child.
“This is an example of the kind of work the foundation does that no one knows about.”
After Mr Thompson’s son disappeared, the Australian Federal Police issued a warrant for Ms Stratton’s arrest.
Interpol managed to trace her to Frankfurt, in Germany.
However, leads went cold and Mr Thompson took early retirement to look for his son himself.
A massive campaign followed, including a website with information about his son and a 6500km cycle through Europe.
It was the instinct of a school principal which led to Andrew being found.
The female principal became suspicious after noticing Andrew’s passport had expired during an attempt to enrol him at the school.
“I’m not quite sure what alerted the suspicion but the person then went on the internet and decided to do a search for missing children in Australia,” Mr Thompson said.
“She very quickly came across the internet site for Andrew that we promoted. And then she saw the scale of the effort that was put into finding Andrew, and contacted the police.”
Ms Stratton has been taken into police custody.
Andrew is in foster care. It may take up to three months for Mr Thompson to bring his son home.
Since it was established in 2005, the Daniel Morcombe Foundation has spent more than $125,000 helping child victims of crime.
The not-for-profit foundation receives no government funding.
Some examples of the work the foundation has done this year include paying for speech therapy, school fees and swimming lessons for a number of children, furnishing child witness rooms in courthouses, and providing therapy books for homicide victims.
To donate to the foundation go to www.danielmorcombe.com.au.
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