Police have made a startling breakthrough in the search to find a young father missing from Sydney’s west for 70 years.
Donald Gordon Buckley, a 24-year-old labourer and father of three, was last seen at Warwick Farm in 1953.
Despite extensive investigations, the case went cold until Mr Buckley’s granddaughter Donna Truscott again reported him missing in early 2023.
Following an appeal, police were contacted by a member of the public and it’s since been revealed that Mr Buckley had changed his identity six times.
Police believe Mr Buckley died of natural causes in Moree in 1980 when he would have been aged 51.
Donald Gordon Buckley was last seen by his family in Sydney’s south-west in 1953
Despite an extensive investigation by police in the 1950s, officers had been unable to track down Mr Buckley.
Following his disappearance, he exchanged a small amount of correspondence with his family before suddenly ceasing contact in 1954.
At the time, he had two young boys, aged two and four, and a baby, but was reportedly experiencing marital troubles.
He continued to make child support payments following his disappearance in 1953, but those also ceased in 1954.
Ms Truscott said it was her father Donald Buckley Jr’s dying wish in 2016 to locate Mr Buckley, who had he had last seen at the age of four.
‘Being an alcoholic, having problems, and having so many children at such a young age. I think he just didn’t want to be himself,’ Ms Truscott told the ABC.
Donna Truscott filed a missing persons report in an effort to find out what happened to her grandfather
Police said Mr Buckley Sr assumed a new identity before dying of natural causes in the NSW town of Moree in 1980.
‘There were six names listed on his death certificate. He didn’t just change his name once he used six different aliases,’ Ms Truscott said,
‘There were also three amendments to his age on the certificate.’
Ms Truscott has called on the NSW coroner to confirm the man buried in Moree cemetery is her grandfather.
In an odd twist, Ms Truscott’s decision to take a DNA test and upload it to a genealogy website in 2017 in order to track down her grandfather led to another missing woman being identified.
Tanya Lee Glover has been identified as the remains discovered in a Brisbane garage late last year
After reading about a nationwide appeal for people to submit their DNA to the police for a national database, Ms Truscott provided hers to NSW Police in an attempt to help her track down her grandfather.
But when Queensland Police touched base with Ms Truscott in June this year, she wasn’t expecting their reason for calling.
‘The officer said “I’m actually calling you in relation to the body of a female that was found underneath a unit complex in Alderley in Queensland last year”,’ Ms Truscott said.
The officer explained to Ms Truscott that the DNA she’d uploaded via GEDMatch in 2017 had been a match to an unidentified woman found in the Brisbane unit complex.
‘Their genealogist was able to see a maternal link, through my mum, my aunty, my sister and I,’ Ms Truscott said.
‘She’s very distant related but there was enough DNA there to undeniably narrow it down.’
Nine months on, Queensland Police were finally able to confirm the skeletal remains discovered were that of Tanya Lee Glover, who would have been about 38 years old at the time of her death.
While the identity of Ms Glover was an enormous step forward, police are still investigating how she died and those who might be responsible.
Donald Buckley Jr holds his daughter Donna Truscott in 1979. It was his dying wish to find the father who walked out him when he was a child
Ms Glover was not formally known to Queensland Police, and no missing person reports had ever been made concerning her welfare.
Upon discovering her identity, Ms Glover’s parents were then alerted by police of her death.
It’s understood she moved to Queensland from NSW in 2006 and lived in the Fortitude Valley area until 2010.
She was visually and hearing impaired.
There have been no arrests made or charges laid in relation to her death or disappearance.
Superintendent Massingham said investigators were still trying to determine her cause of death, but there was evidence of trauma.
‘This information is very fresh at this stage,’ Superintendent Massingham said.
Mr Buckley Sr assumed a new identity before dying of natural causes in the NSW town of Moree in 1980
Police have concluded that this plaque belongs to to Donald Buckley (pictured) who died in Moree in 1980
‘There were a number of items located at the scene in terms of wrappings and the like that I spoke of at the time, they’re still the subject of ongoing DNA inquiries and also further ongoing forensic work.
Ms Glover is described as being white, between 155cm and 165cm tall, and she had dark brown hair.
As the investigation continues, Ms Truscott said her family were ‘honoured to have helped give Tanya back her identity’.
‘I’d like to say I guess we played an important part in that, but the police put in all the work, they built a massive family tree of three generations with possibly hundreds of people,’ Ms Truscott said.
‘How incredible that for science, for DNA, for unsolved victims of homicide, the evolution of this is absolutely outstanding.
‘It’s a good thing, I don’t regret uploading the DNA.
‘You never imagined in a million years your DNA will solve the identity of someone like Tanya.’