An Alaska man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his friend who was missing for five years, after police discovered his remains under the floorboards of his home.
Daniel Buckwalter, 46, from Big Lake, was first reported missing on August 5, 2015 and his truck was later found abandoned and containing his blood on Three Bees Road in the Houston area.
Jay Osmond Gardner, 55, became the prime suspect in Buckwalter’s presumed murder after investigators interviewed more than 50 people, and collected 30 pieces of evidence from dozens of property searches, and determined that it was likely Buckwalter was killed on Kerry Lynn Lane, Wasilla where Gardner lives.
Jay Osmond Gardner, 55, is pictured left and right he is seen impersonating his sister. He was arrested March 25 after trying to flee the state using his sister’s ID at an Alaska airport while wanted for misconduct involving deadly weapons
Gardner became the prime suspect in Daniel Buckwalter’s (pictured) presumed murder in August 2015
An affidavit states that investigators saw Gardner cutting wood in the driveway after it had been stained by Buckwalter’s blood.
Police report that Gardner gave many inconsistent statements in regards to his friend’s disappearance however cops only managed to probe further after he was arrested three months ago on a felony warrant for Misconduct Involving Weapons in the third degree.
Cops had contacted him at his residence in December, 2019 and also interviewed his sister who lived there in a trailer.
States Troopers took Gardner into custody at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on March 25, 2020 and after it finding evidence that he was attempting to flee the state under his sister’s identity, he was charged with numerous counts related to fraud and identity theft.
Gardner’s true Alaska state ID card was issued in his birth name and identity of Jay Osmond Gardner on March 1, 2019. It is alleged that, on January 22, 2020, a renewal of an Alaska state ID was issued to Gardner after he fraudulently presented himself to be Cher Jammes, in name and appearance.
When confronted by an investigator, he told them to refer to him as ‘Janey’ because he was teased while growing up with the name Cher.
Gardener had been a suspected since blood was found in the victim’s vehicle and cops believe he moved the truck two miles from his home where Buckwalter’s body was found in April 2020
At one point, investigators caught Gardner on his property, where his sister lives in a trailer, sawing up wood with Buckwalter’s blood on it
It gave investigators the chance to return to his home on a search warrant on April 6, then again two weeks later when they finally dismantled the floorboards to find Buckwalter’s remains under 3 feet of dirt and rocks.
After his heavily decomposed remains were taken to the medical examiner’s office, it was determined that Buckwalter died from a gunshot wound and asphyxiation.
Cops had conducted dozens of searches in the investigation of the missing man and collected 30 pieces of evidence but his remains were only found five years after he vanished
Gardner told cops that Buckwalter owed him and another man, Josh Vialpando, money for drugs and that he had told him to drive over to his home before he vanished.
He claims he went outside and heard a gunshot then returned to see Buckwalter ‘shot and running around.’
Buckwalter’s vehicle was found about two miles from where his body was discovered and authorities believe Gardner played a part in moving it.
Last Tuesday, Gardner was indicted for Murder in the First Degree, Murder in the Second Degree, and Tampering with Physical Evidence. He is being held without bail.
If convicted, Gardner faces a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in federal prison.
Police also suspect him to be involved in the triple homicide of Michael Attwood, 25 of Big Lake, Alyssa Jimenez, 28, of Big Lake, and Donna Marie Campos, 37 of Wasilla.
Juan Camarena, 51, was named as a suspect in the November 2, 2019 killings. However Gardner denies being present and says he was at home at the time of the deaths.
Left, pictured is the person photographed as Cher Jammes on October 15, 2019 (his sister). Right, pictured is the ID Gardner got in January after cops contacted him in December on weapons charges