Announced December 2014
Homicide Squad detectives are continuing to appeal for information in relation to the 1994 murder of Leah Buck in Williamstown.
About 12.30pm on Tuesday, 20 September 1994, Leah spoke to a family member and mentioned she had an appointment with a local optometrist.
Investigators believe the 79-year-old left the optometrist about 2.30pm and was seen by a witness shortly after pushing a shopping trolley in the direction of a friend’s home on Dover Road.
Around this time, another witness reported seeing Leah kneeling up against a brick wall next to the footpath on Dover Road with her shopping trolley lying next to her.
Leah was bleeding and disoriented, and repeatedly told the person that something had hit her.
This was consistent with a number of injuries Leah sustained to the back of her head.
She was conveyed to hospital for emergency surgery due to bleeding on the brain, however Leah fell unconscious and subsequently passed away the following day.
Around the time of Leah’s death there was a spate of incidents reported in and around the western suburbs where elderly women had been targeted in a similar manner.
In these cases, the victims were struck from behind and had their handbags and purses stolen.
Leah’s handbag, purse and personal belongings she had with her at the time of the assault have never been recovered.
Leah was profoundly deaf and despite suffering some mobility issues linked to a hip replacement, she lived a relatively independent life.
She was also described as a creature of habit, rising early and walking to the Douglas Parade shopping strip daily.
Leah was regularly sighted pushing her shopping trolley to and from the shops, often calling in to visit a friend on the way home.
Despite a significant investigation over the past three decades, no one has been charged with Leah’s murder.
In December 2014, police announced a $1M reward for information in relation to Leah’s murder.
A reward of up to $1M will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police, for information leading to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Leah Buck.
The Director of Public Prosecutions will consider, according to established guidelines, the granting of indemnification from prosecution to any person who provides information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders in this matter.
Investigators would like to speak to anyone else who has knowledge of who was responsible for Leah’s death and are hopeful that someone will be able to provide information which may lead to further avenues of enquiry for the investigation.
Leah came from a close, loving family who have never given up hope that the person who hurt Leah would be found.
Her death was a crime against one of the most vulnerable members of our community and police are hopeful someone out there has information that could lead to a breakthrough.
Police have also released a photo of Leah as part of this appeal.
Reviewed 02 November 2022