A recovering alcoholic goes out for milk and is never seen again.
A.J. Breaux had lived in Houma, Louisiana, his entire life, raised three daughters, and worked in the same clothing store for more than three decades. For years, A.J. had also battled a drinking problem, which led to an arrest for drunk driving. But A.J. seemed to have conquered his demons and had been sober for eight years.
Almost every evening, he could be found at The Easy Does It Club, a support group for people with drinking problems. According to his daughter, Melissa Tardo, A.J. prided himself on being available at any hour of the day or night to assist those in need:
Because of A.J.’s close ties to his community, it was all the more mystifying that he would just suddenly disappear. On August 28, 1991, at around 8:15 p.m., A.J. was seen leaving the Easy Does It Club. A half hour later, he stopped at a convenience store to buy a quart of milk. He told the cashier that he was on his way home, where he lived with one of his daughters. He never arrived.
Two days later, A.J.’s car was found abandoned in a park across the street from the club.
But there was no sign of foul play. The only clues were A.J.’s wallet and checkbook, which were found tucked under the front seat of his car.
Soon, several witnesses came forward, all claiming to have seen A.J. in the days afterhe disappeared. On the same day that A.J.’s car was found, a local resident named Kenneth Pelligran says that he ran into A.J. outside of a convenience store in Houma:
Kenneth said he also saw a red compact car parked in front of the store:
Det. Troy Naquin of the Houma Police Department recounted how another witnesses saw A.J. around the same time:
A.J.’s daughter, Melissa, said she believes the witnesses’ accounts:
Two weeks after those reported sightings, a chilling handwritten note came into the police station. It read:
The note was signed, “Helene.”
According to Det. Naquin, the description matched a nearby area:
Four weeks after A.J. disappeared, a woman named Christy Boudreaux was sitting on the front porch of her house in Lockport, Louisiana. She says she was approached by what she assumed was a homeless man:
Christy identified photographs of A.J. at the police station:
Det. Naquin thinks A.J. may have been suffering from memory loss:
A.J.’s family has refused to believe that he has turned to alcohol once again or that he disappeared by choice. Because A.J.’s wallet and checkbook were found in his car, his daughter is convinced he was abducted:
Det. Troy Naquin now thinks the handwritten note about A.J. shooting himself was a prank: