Lesley Trotter One Year After: Toowong Disappearance Still Without Closure

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.

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.

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

Lesley Trotter Case: ‘Items of Interest’ Discovered At Rubbish Tip Not Linked to Toowong Woman

Heaps of “items of interest” found at a waste site in Swanbank in Ipswich have been confirmed as unrelated to Lesley Trotter, the 78-year-old Toowong woman whose disappearance in late March has prompted a massive police search.

Investigators said that the preliminary examination of the items of interest discovered at the rubbish tip were not tied to the ongoing investigations and that efforts to find Ms Trotter’s body will continue. 

The Toowong woman disappeared on 28 March 2023 while her wallet, mobile phone and car were still at home. The police believe that she was killed around midnight and her body was dumped inside a wheelie bin, which was collected and compacted at two possible landfill sites. 

Police started their search in Swanbank, where 3,000 tonnes of waste had to be sifted thoroughly, using rakes and other tools, from a landfill measuring 30 centimetres deep. Until her body is recovered, the police plan to examine over 200 tonnes of rubbish daily. Det Supt Massingham said that the process might take more than three weeks. Once recovered, Ms Trotter’s remains will still undergo forensic examination.

Meanwhile, Ms Trotter’s neighbours told “A Current Affair” that she was always “out and about” in their neighbourhood despite her age. They said they were shocked to learn about the strange circumstances surrounding her death.

“Toowong’s a very nice suburb (with) a lot of affluent people and properties,” said one neighbour, Kirby. “(It’s) very scary to think about what the sinister implications could be of this case.” 

Ms Trotter was planning to move to a retirement facility after selling her unit, where she had lived for over 40 years.

Published 24-April-2023

Lesley Trotter Update: Missing Toowong Woman’s Body Dumped in Bin Collected By Rubbish Truck

Investigators from the Queensland Police Service are convinced that the body of the missing Toowong woman, Lesley Trotter, was dumped inside a wheelie bin, which was collected by a rubbish truck on the day of her disappearance.

After almost two weeks of investigations, the focus has shifted to locating her body in two possible dump sites in Rosedale and Swanbank, now under quarantine. The truck first took the bins to the Nudgee transfer station, where wastes are usually compressed before being taken to the dump sites.

The police could not yet say how they were convinced the Toowong woman has died. According to reports, traces of blood were discovered in the bin area of Ms Trotter’s unit complex in Toowong. Forensic samples were taken for further examination.

“It was evident she was deceased. Due to the positioning of the body, we can’t rule out foul play,” Queensland Police Detective Superintendent Andrew Massingham said.

Two crime scenes were set up close to her unit block in Merivale St, Toowong. Police have not ruled out the possibility that the 78-year-old’s disappearance may be tied to a neighbourhood recycling dispute. 

Ms Trotter was last in touch with her family before noon on 27 March 2023. They called the police when they did not find her at home during their visit the next day. 

When the police checked, they discovered that Ms Trotter left her mobile and wallet behind. Also, her car was still in the garage. A large-scale search then followed. 

Despite finding no traces of a body, senior officers of the investigation concluded on 7 April 2023 that Ms Trotter, may have died close to her Toowong unit on Maryvale St between midnight on Monday, 27 March, and midday on Tuesday, 28 March.  

“Two crime scenes have been established at the Maryvale Street unit complex where Lesley resides,” the QPS said. “Police appeal to anyone with relevant dashcam vision or CCTV, particularly between 5am and 7am on Tuesday, March 28, to come forward.” 

Mr Massingham said during the press conference that Ms Trotter was in the habit of sorting through her neighbours’ rubbish bins to recycle waste. 

“Whether that’s created some angst amongst the tenants, we’re working through that at the moment,” Mr Massingham said. “That’s one line of inquiry we’re following. We have not ruled out that this activity in some way is linked to her death.” 

Ms Trotter, a retired teacher, was looking forward to moving to a retirement village. 

Published 9-April-2023