Police have made a surprising breakthrough in the search for a young father missing for 70 years in Sydney’s west.
Donald Gordon Buckley, a 24-year-old laborer and father of three, was last seen at Warwick Farm in 1953.
Despite extensive investigations, the case remained unsolved 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 has since been revealed 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 51.
Donald Gordon Buckley was last seen by his family in south-west Sydney in 1953.
Despite an extensive police investigation in the 1950s, officers were unable to find Mr Buckley.
Following his disappearance, he exchanged a short correspondence with his family before abruptly ceasing all contact in 1954.
At the time he had two young boys aged two and four and a baby, but was reportedly experiencing marital problems.
He continued to pay child support after her disappearance in 1953, but these also stopped in 1954.
Ms Truscott said it was her father Donald Buckley Jr’s last wish in 2016 to be reunited with Mr Buckley, who he had last seen when he was 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 said. the ABC.
Donna Truscott filed a missing person’s report in an effort to find out what happened to her grandfather.
Police said Mr Buckley Sr took on a new identity before he died of natural causes in the New South Wales town of Moree in 1980.
“There were six names written on his death certificate. He didn’t just change his name once he used six different aliases,” Ms Truscott said,
“There were also three changes regarding his age on the certificate.”
Ms Truscott called the NSW coroner to confirm the man buried at Moree Cemetery is her grandfather.
Intriguingly, Ms Truscott’s decision to take a DNA test and upload it to a genealogy website in 2017 in order to find her grandfather led to the identification of another missing woman.
Tanya Lee Glover has been identified as the remains discovered in a Brisbane garage late last year
After learning of a national appeal for people to submit their DNA to police for a national database, Ms Truscott provided hers to New South Wales police to try to help trace her grandfather.
But when Queensland Police contacted Ms Truscott in June this year, she did not expect the reason for her call.
“The officer said, ‘I’m actually calling you about a woman’s body that was found under a unit complex in Alderley, Queensland last year,'” Ms Truscott said.
The officer told Ms Truscott that DNA she uploaded through GEDMatch in 2017 matched an unidentified woman found at the unit’s Brisbane complex.
“Their genealogist was able to see a maternal link, through my mother, my aunt, my sister and me,” Ms Truscott said.
“It’s very distant, but there was enough DNA to make it undeniable.”
Nine months later, Queensland Police were finally able to confirm that the skeletal remains discovered were those of Tanya Lee Glover, who would have been around 38 years old at the time of her death.
Although Ms Glover’s identity was a huge step forward, police are still investigating the circumstances of her death and who might be responsible.
Donald Buckley Jr holds his daughter Donna Truscott in 1979. It was his last wish to be reunited with the father who left him when he was a child
Ms Glover was not officially known to Queensland Police and there had never been a missing person report regarding her welfare.
After discovering her identity, Ms Glover’s parents were then alerted by police to her death.
It is understood she left NSW for Queensland in 2006 and lived in the Fortitude Valley area until 2010.
She was visually and hearing impaired.
No arrests have been made or charges filed in connection with his death or disappearance.
Supt Massingham said investigators were still trying to determine the cause of his death, but there was evidence of trauma.
“This information is very recent at this stage,” Superintendent Massingham said.
Mr Buckley Sr assumed a new identity before dying of natural causes in the New South Wales town of Moree in 1980.
Police concluded the plate belonged to Donald Buckley (pictured), who died in Moree in 1980.
“There were a number of items found at the scene in terms of packaging and such which I spoke about at the time, they are still the subject of ongoing DNA investigations and also forensic work in progress.”
Ms Glover is described as white, between 155cm and 165cm tall, and she had dark brown hair.
As the inquest continues, Ms Truscott said her family was “honoured to have helped give Tanya her identity back”.
“I would like to say that I suppose we played a significant part in this, but the police did all the work, they built a huge family tree of three generations with maybe hundreds of people,” Ms Truscott said .
“How incredible that for science, for DNA, for unsolved homicide victims, the development of this situation is absolutely exceptional.”
“It’s a good thing, I don’t regret downloading the DNA.”
“You would never have imagined that in a million years your DNA would be able to determine the identity of someone like Tanya.”