On December 7th, 2003, thirteen-year-old Daniel Morcombe told his brothers he was going to Sunshine Plaza to get a haircut and look for Christmas presents. Shortly after lunch he left his home on Woombye-Palmwoods Road and walked just over onekilometer to an unofficial bus stop located under the Kiel Mountain overpass. Daniel had caught the bus from here to the shopping plaza many times before. Standing underneath the overpass, he waited for the 1:35 pm scheduled afternoon bus service to Sunshine Plaza.
But the bus Daniel was expecting had broken down 750 meters before the overpass. It was out of his sight. At 2:15 pm a replacement bus approached him. Daniel signaled for it to stop and pick him up, but it continued on through the underpass.
Due to the delay, the replacement bus was now going express to Sunshine Plaza. The driver saw Daniel signal him, but he was under instructions not to stop. There was a smaller shuttle bus only a few minutes behind, which was stopping to pick up stranded passengers along the route.
The shuttle bus reached the underpass at 2:18 pm. Only three minutes after the first bus passed. However, during those three minutes, Daniel vanished without a trace.