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Location: Wasilla
Type: Missing person -Murder Indictment

Dispatch Text:

UPDATE: On August 12, 2015, the Alaska State Troopers in Palmer received a report of a missing adult.  Daniel Buckwalter (age 46 of Big Lake) was last seen on August 5, 2015 and was believed to be traveling to the Meadow Lakes area, outside Wasilla. Buckwalter’s vehicle was later located abandoned along Three Bees Rd, Houston.  Blood evidence was located on the vehicle, which was confirmed through DNA testing to be from Daniel Buckwalter.  It was apparent that the vehicle had been moved from the initial crime scene.

Investigators conducted interviews with more than 50 individuals, served over 30 search warrants, submitted over 30 pieces of forensic evidence to the State of Alaska Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (SCDL), and determined Buckwalter was likely murdered at a residence on Kerry Lynn Lane, Wasilla, approximately two miles from where his vehicle was recovered.  The primary suspect was identified as Jay Osmond Gardner (age 55 of Wasilla).  Gardner made several inconsistent statements throughout the investigation. Attempts to locate Buckwalter’s remains at numerous locations throughout the Mat-Su Valley were unsuccessful.

On March 25, 2020, Gardner was contacted and arrested by State Troopers at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport for an outstanding felony warrant for Misconduct Involving Weapons in the third.  In addition, Gardner was charged with numerous counts related to fraud/identity theft, as Gardner indicated he was trying to flee the state under an assumed identity.

On April 6, 2020, Investigators served another search warrant at Gardner’s residence on Kerry Lynn Lane, Wasilla, in the continued search for Buckwalter’s remains.  During this search, the entire property was excavated, however no remains were recovered.  On April 20, 2020, Investigators served another search warrant at Gardner’s residence.  After dismantling the floorboards in the residence, the heavily decomposed remains of an adult human were located buried under approximately three feet of dirt/rocks.

The body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.  The SME determined the remains were that of an adult male.  The cause of death was determined to be a combination of a gunshot wound and asphyxiation, and the manner of death was determined to be homicide. The SME was able to determine the identity of the remains as that of Daniel Buckwalter. Next of kin have been notified.

On June 30, 2020, a Palmer Grand Jury indicted Jay Osmond Gardner with Murder in the First Degree, Murder in the Second Degree, and Tampering with Physical Evidence in the death of Daniel Buckwalter.  Gardner is currently in custody following his arrest by State Troopers on March 25, 2020; he is being held without bail.

Photo of Daniel Buckwalter

ORIGINAL: Alaska State Troopers are requesting the public’s help regarding missing person Daniel Roy Buckwalter, 46 of Big Lake.

Buckwalter was last known to be alive on 8/4/2015 at approximately 1500 hours at a residence in the Meadow Lakes area off of North Kerry Lynn Lane. Buckwalter was reported missing on 8/12/2015. On 8/6/2015, AST patrol troopers happened upon Buckwalter’s pickup abandoned on Three Bee’s Rd in the Houston area but couldn’t locate the man. After the missing person’s report was made, AST returned to Three Bee’s Road, located the pickup and impounded it. Based on the scene investigation of the pickup and where Buckwalter was last seen, Buckwalter’s disappearance is suspicious and foul play is suspected. ABI is investigating the missing persons case as a death investigation and looking for additional leads regarding the case. No additional information is available for release due to the status of the investigation. Any information anyone has in regards to Buckwalter is asked to contact the Alaska State Troopers at 907-745-2131 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously at 745-3333. A missing persons bulletin regarding Buckwalter was issued.


Posted on 7/7/2016 11:37:13 AM by DPS\mapeters

Posting Section: AK Bureau of Investigation