A Sydney woman’s simple decision to select a box allowing police access to DNA uploaded to an ancestry website has led to the identification of skeletal remains mysteriously found buried in a wall of a Brisbane unit complex.
Queensland Police have been working around the clock trying to identify human remains found in the garage of a unit block in Alderley in north Brisbane on December 7.
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 at the time of her death.
Police say Ms Glover’s body was disposed of between 2009 and 2010.
But Mrs Glover’s identity may never have been discovered unless Donna Truscott chose not to allow police access to DNA she had uploaded to an ancestry website, GEDMatch, in 2017.
Ms Truscott said she originally decided to take a DNA test with her mother, aunt and sister “for fun” to find out more about her mother’s paternal side.
Tanya Lee Glover has been identified as the body found in a Brisbane garage late last year
She said she was also interested in finding out more about her father’s paternal side of the family in a bid to find her grandfather Donald Gordon Buckley, who has been missing since the 1950s.
After reading a nationwide call for people to submit their DNA to police for a national database, Ms Truscott said she decided to provide her DNA directly to NSW Police as it could help her find his grandfather.
But when Queensland Police contacted Ms Truscott in June this year, they 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 in Queensland last year,'” Ms Truscott recalled.
The officer explained to Ms Truscott that the DNA she uploaded via GEDMatch in 2017 matched an unidentified female found at the Brisbane unit compound.
“Their genealogist was able to see a maternal connection, through my mother, my aunt, my sister and me,” Ms Truscott said.
“She’s very distant, but there was enough DNA there to undeniably narrow it down.”
Donna Truscott (pictured) uploaded DNA to a public database which helped police identify Ms Glover’s remains
The breakthrough in uncovering Ms Glover’s identity involved the Australian Federal Police National DNA Programme.
Brisbane regional crime co-ordinator Detective Superintendent Andrew Massingham said in August the program used family DNA to match potential family members to missing persons.
“Through the family DNA process, certain DNA markers are used to match what was an unidentified DNA victim of Ms. Glover to known DNA profiles of biological relatives,” Superintendent Massingham said.
“The AFP can, thanks to its skills, identify the people within this family tree and, with the help of investigators, refine this search.”
While Ms Glover’s identity was a huge step forward, police are still investigating how she died and who may be responsible.
Ms Glover was not officially known to Queensland Police and no missing person report had ever been made regarding her well-being.
After discovering her identity, Ms Glover’s parents were later alerted by the police to her death.
It is understood she moved to Queensland from NSW in 2006 and lived in the Fortitude Valley area until 2010.
She was visually impaired and hard of hearing.
No arrests have been made or charges laid in connection with his death or disappearance.
Superintendent Massingham said investigators were still trying to determine the cause of his death, but there was evidence of trauma.
“This information is very current at this point,” Superintendent Massingham said.
‘There were a number of items located at the scene in terms of packaging and such that I spoke of at the time, these are still the subject of ongoing DNA investigations and also other medical work -legal in progress.
The remains of Ms Glovers were found in the Brisbane garage and police believe they had been there for at least 13 years
“Our priority was to identify our victim and the other times were secondary, but they will be part of the investigation.”
Ms Glover is described as Caucasian in appearance, between 155cm and 165cm tall, and she had dark brown hair.
As the investigation continues, Ms Truscott said her family were ‘honored to have helped Tanya find her identity’.
“I would like to say that I guess we played a big role in that, but the police did all the work, they built a massive three-generation family tree with maybe hundreds of people,” Ms. Truscott.
“How incredible that for science, for DNA, for unsolved homicide victims, the evolution of this is absolutely remarkable.”
“It’s a good thing, I don’t regret downloading the DNA.
“You never imagined that in a million years your DNA would resolve the identity of someone like Tanya.”
Ms Truscott encouraged others to agree to police accessing DNA profiles.
“So many people feel like they’re using the DNA on these websites that the DNA will be used against you, but it’s not,” she said.
“I definitely encourage people who have had DNA tests to go to GEDMatch, there are over 700 unidentified human remains in Australia.
“It is important for these people to return to their families.
“For me, it gives me hope that my grandfather is somewhere.”
The remains of Ms Glover were found in a garage in this block of Alderley units in north Brisbane
Ms Truscott said she was confident the police would continue to find answers for Ms Glover and her family.
“We now understand that it is important that her face and her story remain in the media, because the people who murdered her left more than ten years ago thinking they got away with it.” she declared.
“We hope she finds peace.”
Superintendent Massingham urged anyone who may have known Ms Glover between 2006 and 2010 to contact the police.
“This is a single, vulnerable woman who lived a very carefree life and for some reason was targeted for an unknown purpose and treated in a very horrific way in the way she concealed and left his body in that area for a number of years, he said.
Anyone with information about anyone who may have known Ms Glover or interacted with her, particularly during the period 2006 to 2010, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online .