Joanne Kim LACEY &  Leslie David TOSHAK


Joanne Kim LACEY
DOB: 20 years when missing
HAIR: Fair

Leslie David TOSHAK

DOB: Age 20 when missing
HAIR: Fair     
BUILD: Medium


Joanne Lacey and Lesley David Toshak were reported as missing to Paddington Police on 20 April, 1981. They left a note indicating that they intended to hitchhike to northern New South Wales or Queensland for a few days. They were never heard from and haven't been seen since. They had never been reported missing previously.
Reported missing to: Paddington Police Station


Bones in sand dunes reveal a murder mystery

By Kara Lawrence

November 27, 2007 01:00am

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

IT is a murder mystery buried beneath tonnes of sand for more than three decades.

But the sands of time may soon give up their grisly secret with revelations human bones found at the site belong to a man and a woman.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal forensic tests carried out on the bones, dug up during construction of the new desalination plant in Kurnell - near Botany Bay in Sydney's south - show they are the remains of two people who died less than 50 years ago.

And it is understood that rubbish found with some of the bones date them to more recent times - from the 1970s onwards.

This has raised speculation they may belong to one of a number of couples who vanished from New South Wales in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Carbon dating tests on the bones have been conducted in New Zealand and the bones are being sent to the US for extraction of DNA.

There is still no clue as to whether the pair were murdered, died accidentally, or even died together.

However, the dating of the bones has ruled out the prospect they were ancient Aboriginal bones, as was originally suspected due to their location at Kurnell.

The discovery of the bones was first made in early October when workers digging in sand dunes unearthed a shin bone. The following week, 300m away, ribs and other, smaller bones were discovered nearby in sandy scrubland off Sir Joseph Banks Drive.

This was followed by the unearthing of a pelvis and foot bones - still wearing a sock - nearby.

A forensic pathologist and an anthropologist from the University of Sydney were called to the scene to examine the bones and police conducted excavation of the area and sent in cadaver dogs.

The Daily Telegraph understands that police are skeptical the remains could be victims of jailed underworld figure Neddy Smith, whose alleged dumping ground was Botany.

It is understood that while police have conducted an initial check of missing persons records, the search criteria is seen as too wide.

However, there are three high-profile cases of missing couples dating back 30 years that remain unsolved.

Michelle Pope, 18, and her boyfriend Stephen Lapthorne, 21, went missing in August 1978 after leaving his north-west Sydney home in a green van.

Alan Fox, 21, and his fiancee Anneke Adriaansen, 19, have been formally declared dead by a coroner after disappearing during a trip to Byron Bay in January 1979.

Joanne Lacey and Leslie Toshack, both 20, were reported missing to police in early 1981 and had planned to hitchhike up the coast.

The Kurnell bones will be tested in the US for mitochondrial DNA - a form of DNA which lasts longer than nuclear DNA in bones and runs in the maternal line.

In the past two years, a DNA testing program has led to relatives of 84 people who had gone missing as far back as the 1960s, supplying DNA. This DNA is for comparison to almost 150 sets of unidentified remains.

Police said that so far this program had resulted in six missing people being matched to remains.

The Kurnell site is also a short distance from the still-unsolved Wanda Beach murders.

Best friends Christine Sharrock and Marianne Schmidt, both aged 15, went missing from Cronulla's Wanda Beach in January 1965 and their bodies were found in the sand the following day.


Hitchhikers found to have died - 30 yrs on

TWO young friends died in suspicious circumstances, most likely soon after leaving on a hitchhiking trip to the NSW north coast in 1981, a coroner says.

By Sophie Tarr
AAPAUGUST 2, 201212:40AM

TWO happy-go-lucky young hitchhikers who disappeared three decades ago after setting out for Byron Bay on a surfing trip died in suspicious circumstances, a coroner has ruled.

In referring the case to homicide police, Deputy State Coroner Paul MacMahon said it was "absolutely disgraceful" that the families of Leslie Toshack and Joanna Lacey had waited so long to hear what happened to the young friends.

Mr Toshack and Ms Lacey, both aged 20 at the time, disappeared after leaving Sydney for the beaches of northern NSW in 1981.

The pair, who had moved from Melbourne to Sydney in January 1981 and lived in a boarding house in the eastern Sydney suburb of Paddington, left for a beach trip on or about February 23, 1981.

They probably died soon after, Mr MacMahon said.

"They were going to Byron Bay to do some surfing and their mode of transport in those days was hitchhiking," he said.

Mr MacMahon said neither Ms Lacey's family nor authorities, including Medicare, had heard from the pair in 30 years.

There was no evidence they were suicidal.

Mr MacMahon said he was unable to make a ruling on the manner or cause of death but said the case would be referred to the NSW police unsolved homicide unit.

Police prosecutor Matthew Carlin described Ms Lacey as popular and confident.

"Socially Joanne was popular and won several sport championships, and was a confident individual," he said.

A letter to police, signed Mr P R Lacey and tendered to the court, indicated there were concerns the pair, who had just moved to a new city, may have become "mixed up in a sordid lifestyle", but they were much loved by their families back in Melbourne.

In his last letter to his aunt and uncle, Jeanette and Tony Willis, Leslie Toshack described how he was coming to terms with his homosexuality and needed acceptance from his family.

But he expressed big hopes for his future.

"I'm going to use everything I've learned to better myself and to show everyone that I'm not just some young punk that doesn't know any better," he wrote.

"And I'm going to demand the respect that I've given to this society to be returned to me."

Mr MacMahon apologised for the delay to Mr and Ms Willis, who had travelled from Melbourne to be present in the NSW Coroners Court on Tuesday.

"I have to say that I have been around NSW undertaking a large number of inquests and I have had to apologise to a lot of families," he told them.

Outside court Mr Willis paid tribute to his young nephew.

"Leslie was a beautiful young man," he told reporters.

"We just thought we'd honour him by coming here and hopefully some new information will be unearthed which will help with the investigation."