Lesley Trotter One Year After: Toowong Disappearance Still Without Closure

Lesley Trotter disappearance

One year after 78-year-old Lesley Trotter vanished from her Toowong home, her family remains without answers or closure following a major search and a grim discovery near her residence.

The Mystery Unfolds

On 27 March 2023, Ms Trotter, a retired teacher known for her active lifestyle and community involvement, contacted her family for the last time. Living in her Maryvale Street unit in Toowong for nearly four decades, Trotter was a fixture in her local community, participating in activities like bushwalking, gym, and cycling, often exploring the trails of Mount Coot-tha.

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Her disappearance triggered a significant police search, revealing the unsettling detail that her body had been disposed of in a wheelie bin and subsequently taken to the tip, its whereabouts unknown to this day.

While deeply integrated into her community, Ms Trotter was known for her stringent stance on recycling, which often led to disagreements with neighbours. The recent home sale and retirement village plans, combined, presented an image of a life in transition that has been tragically cut short.

The Search Effort

Following her disappearance, a comprehensive search operation spanned areas from Mount Coot-tha to waste facilities at Swanbank and Rochedale. Despite efforts involving police and the Australian Defence Force, and the examination of 3,000 tonnes of waste, Ms Trotter’s remains were never found, leading to the search’s eventual cessation.

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Theories regarding her disappearance include a possible medical episode during her recycling routine, an accidental misadventure, or a more sinister scenario involving foul play. Despite extensive investigations and public appeals for information, the exact circumstances surrounding her death remain elusive.

Lesley Trotter disappearance
Photo Credit: Lisa Trotter Schultz

Police continue to explore all possibilities, with the case remaining open and ongoing inquiries. The community, especially those near Maryvale Street in Toowong, is urged to come forward with any information that might shed light on this mystery

A Community Reflects

One year has passed since the incident, and the family has been searching for answers indefinitely. The situation has also affected Brisbane and the Toowong community, both those who knew Lesley Trotter and those who did not.

“Unfortunately it’s now become a somewhat cold case,” a commenter said on Reddit. “The huge, extensive search at the landfill provided only a piece of clothing and the search was eventually called off. Unless some more evidence appears, it’s likely there won’t be any more updates or closure for the family.”

“I met Lesley prior to her death. She had not long before slightly injured herself while tending to the bins,” another Redditor shared. “She was quite spritely for her age. I would say she’s also eccentric judging by her behaviour and dress. I also know a former unit tenant who said she caused lots of issues re: the bins. If people hadn’t brought their bins back in by 3pm after collection she would yell at them that it’s an offence to leave the bin out in the road. Sometimes she would drag all the bins that had been left out, into the unit block stairwell blocking entry and exit. I hope the police are following leads in the background. Annoying neighbour by the sounds but nobody deserves that.” 

“I remember seeing [the family]  in the media at the time, after the initial reports which didn’t paint her in a positive light,” another commenter wrote. “I believe she was pedantic about how people sorted their rubbish amongst other things, and the crappy media spun that horribly, almost implying she deserved her fate in a rubbish bin. It was ghastly.”

Lesley Trotter disappearance
Photo Credit: QPS

“Her friends and family spoke of her love of certain hobbies. They also shared happy photos of her enjoying life generally, in contrast to the unfavourable pic the media initially used.

“I know her remains are long gone but I really hope her murder is solved and someone is held to account.” 

Published 4-April-2024