A recovering alcoholic goes out for milk and is never seen again.

A caucasian man with brown hair in a tuxedo.

A.J. Breaux

Missing:

Gender: Male
DOB: 1/14/41
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 155 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown
Remarks: Last seen 8/28/1991

CASE DETAILS

A gray sedan parked near some trees in a field.

A.J.’s car was found abandoned

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:

Once he got involved with the program, it changed his whole life. He became even more responsible and more dependable and more trustworthy and more of a friend because he was involved with more people.”

A red sedan parked next to a brick and mortar store. There is a man on a red shirt on a payphone.

Who were the men in the red car?

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.
A.J.’s daughter, Melissa, assumed the worst:

“I immediately thought foul play because it just wouldn’t be like him to park his car where everybody could find it and everybody knows him, and disappear.”

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.

A hand is holding flashcard with ineligible writing.

A note was sent to the police station

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:

“It was a strange situation for me to see him in, ‘cause he just didn’t look the same as he always did. He was wearing a flannel shirt, something like a lumberjack style, and the pants were loose fitting, brown, very loose fitting, it wasn’t neat. And he was wearing some old tennis shoes. So that struck me as wrong because of all the times I’ve known him since seven years old, I’ve never seen him with his hair out of place or not dressed up neat. A.J. was nervous. It was like he was being watched.”

Kenneth said he also saw a red compact car parked in front of the store:

“I noticed the car and it had three guys sitting in it. But the engine was running and he was on the phone looking towards them. And when I came back out, A.J. was gone, the car was gone. Had I known he had been missing, he would’ve been found then, because I knew who he was.”

Det. Troy Naquin of the Houma Police Department recounted how another witnesses saw A.J. around the same time:

“Soon after Ken Pelligran called the office, I received another call from a witness who said that he saw A.J. in a car with three other gentlemen. It was a red small compact car on a rural route about eight miles out of town. He waved to A.J. Breaux, but A.J. Breaux did not wave back, and that’s very uncharacteristic of A.J. not to wave back. So he didn’t think anything of it because he didn’t know A.J. was missing.”

A.J.’s daughter, Melissa, said she believes the witnesses’ accounts:

“It makes me think that definitely somebody knows something. If both of these gentlemen who know him from a good while back, one a lot longer than the other, have seen him, we know that they know what he looks like, and they both saw him in the same color car with three men in it. I’m pretty much convinced that somebody, somewhere knows something.”

Two weeks after those reported sightings, a chilling handwritten note came into the police station. It read:

“A.J. Breaux. He was drunk at the time. Self-inflicted gunshot wound. Stomach. Drawstring cotton sack. Put in by friend. Rolled over steep grassy Bayou bank. Near dam.”

The note was signed, “Helene.”

According to Det. Naquin, the description matched a nearby area:

“We called the sheriff’s office water patrol units in and they dredge both sides of the dam on three different occasions, but weren’t able to find anything.”

Two headshots are on a wooden table.

A witness positively identified A.J.

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:

“I saw a van pass up and down the street, two times, I forget. Whoever was in the van was evidently lost. Then I saw him reach over the driver’s seat into the middle of the van and he picked up a bag. I didn’t know what was in it ‘til he got to my porch and as he walked to me, he looked really nervous and he was shaking. He wanted to know if I wanted to buy some frozen fish. And I told him no, and I smelled alcohol on his breath, and he looked homeless, kind of straggly. And as he got, I’d say 10 feet form me, he turned around and glanced at me. And that’s when it hit me that I saw that man on a missing person flyer in the post office.”

Christy identified photographs of A.J. at the police station:

“I was almost certain that that was the man that had approached me while I was on my porch. And that’s what I told the detective, that I was 99.9% sure that that was Mr. Breaux.”

Det. Naquin thinks A.J. may have been suffering from memory loss:

“A.J. Breaux is a recovering alcoholic, and if he did start drinking again, there’s all sorts of things that could’ve happened. He could’ve had a blackout and not remember who he is.”

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:

“When I think back to the fact that his car was found in the park, I’m wondering if he may have seen something or heard something that he wasn’t supposed to see or hear.”

Det. Troy Naquin now thinks the handwritten note about A.J. shooting himself was a prank:

“A.J. Breaux at this time still listed as a missing person. We have no evidence of foul play, but, of course, we have no evidence that he just got up and left either. So we really don’t know what happened to A.J.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season five with Robert Stack and in season one with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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40 Comments

  1. Jim Dandy

    The “reply button” does not work? The gas station attendant remembers AJ putting 10$ in his tank. Back then 10$ would have almost filled up a Ford tempo. Now when they find the car it has very little gas. He also bought a gallon of milk that did not turn up? Bank bag with cash was in the car? We can speculate as to what happened, but I pray they find answers.

    Reply

  2. Cathy

    One of my biggest questions is ‘What happen to the milk?’ He left, bought milk and went back to the park across the street from the club. Did someone ask him for help, which led to his abduction? His wallet and check book under his seat says he was meeting someone he didn’t trust fully. Maybe someone who was always asking for financial help out help with food, etc? Hopefully they thoroughly checked into the members of the club, who was present and missing or maybe anyone who was a regular who suddenly left.

    Reply

  3. John

    Hope the family gets answers something happened no one drops out their own life like that no matter the circumstances what happen to the car that was found abandoned

    Reply

  4. Bonnie

    Two different people now have said in the comments that they think they’ve seen him in a bar in Texas and that he’s “Transgender”. I am extremely curious about this. I guess I’m curious in general as to whether or not he’s alive and just drinking. I know several people have said they knew him and he’d never drink again, but the truth is whether you like it or not, it is possible. If you battle an addiction it never fully goes away.. So if you’ve done a great job at controlling it for a long time, but then you do slip up, you will feel very guilty and often that catapults people into their addiction if they don’t get support right away. It’s so sad but I’ve watched it happen.. people that were sober for years and had a lot of other addicts who looked up to them. People also don’t understand that alcoholics are often totally different people when drinking and can be very self-destructive and very powerless. And if he struggles with his sexuality it may have been an easy out to just go be whatever he wanted. I hope he didn’t succumb to alcohol and that lifestyle but it is very possible. Praying he is alive and will return to or be returned to his family someday.

    Reply

  5. Kara Moore

    I don’t know the man other than what I have seen on the show Unsolved Mysteries, but it seems to me it has nothing to do with sex. First of all, he had no money and no clothing. It’s kind of hard to buy liquor with no money and certainly no moonshiner would give him free liquor.

    As far as selling fish, there was a guy who tried to sell fish where I lived in Ohio, so that doesn’t mean anything. But it would matter where he got the van. He had a home and a vehicle, so he would not have needed another one. But the guy who said he witnessed a guy being kidnapped and reported it, the police didn’t follow up on that because it sounded “sketchy” is sketchy in itself. It should have been very easy to look at his phone records if he were calling people unknown, even if it was for sex.

    If no one was buying the fish, then he would have no money, but it sounds like he was probably at a lake cabin where he could fish. That would explain why he looked scruffy, but still he just didn’t change his personality that quick. The only thing that makes sense is that he probably did know moonshiners because he had been an alcoholic and at the time it was still a huge business in Arkansas and Louisiana, so while it might be a long stretch, he probably knew the moonshiners and they probably thought he might tell law enforcement. Or, he could have known drug dealers.

    This seems to me to be that kind of scenario for a guy who would disappear without money or clothing, suddenly driving to places in a van that he didn’t own. He was looking for someone in that neighborhood and that lady was simply outside when he needed to find an alibi. Being a volunteer at the club, it is very likely he met someone who knew someone and it went down from there. Drugs or moonshine, those are the scenarios I propose. And if it had to do with either of those, then there ain’t a single person who would report him to law enforcement.

    Those are my opinions, don’t take it like I am saying I know because I don’t know, but here in 2021 we have seen a world of drug trafficking displayed on TV and in movies. We should not be naive.

    Reply

  6. Conservative American

    I come back month after month to get any updates regarding AJ……… sadly nothing

    Reply

  7. Graham

    This is my theory: his car was found in the park after the left he easy does it club. Well, I think he went there to meet up with some one and that turned into a possible robbery and perhaps murder. Public parks are known areas for homosexual men to meet up anonymously. Just my thoughts. I have a hard time believing that AJ was kidnapped and then seen around town afterwards. It would seem that his captors would be weary of someone recognizing AJ in such a small town…so the sightings are hard to believe. Why else would someone kidnap or murder AJ unless it had to do with money? He wasn’t involved in drugs. Thoughts?

    Reply

    • Russell Ray

      Here’s my theory, no one that’s not an alcoholic can understand alcoholic behavior, for straight men in AA we have a saying a relapse in the name of a skirt meaning that we could lose focous on our program if detracted by sex, in his case it would of been the same sex spiked by booze and the shame and guilt added to his alcoholic delima, see all us alcoholics we have another drunk in us we just might not have another sobering up, my heart goes out to the family I know he loved his daughters but alcoholism is cunning baffling powerfull.

      Reply

  8. Daniel CORRAL Jr

    Any update ?

    Reply

  9. JayDee

    I was only 8 when this episode aired but remember it like it was yesterday. In fact I remember that the detective’s daughter was in my first grade class. I now live in TX but grew up in Houma. It’s very heartbreaking to know that there have been little to no leads in the case. Thoughts and prayers to their family- May God give them peace.

    Reply

  10. ginny

    i would be looking around Kenneth Pelligran`s place or around it

    Reply

  11. Bill Blaski

    Any updates on AJ

    Reply

  12. Emily

    For those of you who supposedly have pictures of AJ, you should be telling the police! Not us. This man is very much missed by his family, and you should not be spreading rumors. Put up or shut up.

    Reply

  13. McKenzie S.

    Considering a podcast/blog on this story. I would like to shed new light on this case. My heart breaks for the family. Thoughts on this??

    Reply

  14. Shame

    I believe that woman who said he was selling fish was a liar or simply mistaken. He was killed just wonder by who.

    Reply

  15. Anonymous

    Being from Houma, this story has always fascinated me. I look in from time to time to see if there is any new information.

    Reply

  16. Anonymous

    A.J. was a kind, extraordinary, and all around generous man. My mother and father knew him very well for a number of years. I grew up with A.J. at the easy does it club. My dad was sober for a good bit longer than A.J. My father passed away 22 years clean. As for the speculation that A.J. went back to drinking on his own or just walked away is beyond ridiculous. Anyone who knew him knows that. He would NEVER had walked away from his daughters. They were the light of his life. He spoke of them so often we all felt like we knew them ourselves. A.J. was very responsible, and dependable. His routine never varied. So when his car was found abandoned at Jim Bowie Park right across from the club we all knew something criminal had happened. We just continue to pray that his daughters and family, as well as friends find out what happened and finally get some closure. I pray that one day well all be able to give him a proper burial if in fact he has passed on. I always cling to the hope he’s still alive, but the odds of that are astronomically small. We continue to pray for our friend and confidant, as well as his family.
    A.J. Breaux : Loving Father, Brother, and Extraordinary Friend …
    You are missed but NEVER forgotten…
    We hold you in our hearts and memories ALWAYS …
    God Bless you …
    Nikki

    Reply

    • Frost XT

      Hey you all won’t believe me but I think I found AJ. I took video of him. He is in Texas, I’ve seen him around a bar which makes sense since he used to be a drinker. Side note I’ve seen someone comment that he may have been homosexual well the fact of the matter is he dressed in short shorts, pink shirt nails done and pencil eyebrows with a purse.

      Reply

      • Mike Aycock

        All these BS replies and speculations need to stop. If you don’t have anything positive to say, unless you know facts, don’t comment. I knew AJ as a kind loving man, and his lifestyle should have no bearing on what you believe. We are all Gods children.

        I knew AJ as well. I’m from Covington, LA, however, I spent a lot of time in Houma, as i worked offshore in the early 90’s. I spent tome at the Easy Does It Club when I was trying to get sober, which I finally did. AJ even let me stay at his house a couple nights, when I had no place to go. He also saved me from going to jail one night when I left a bar after drinking, by telling the Officer he’ll drive me home and leave my truck parked. I owe a lot to AJ and his daughter who welcomed me into their home. I now live in California with my wife and 2 kids, and have been sober 20 years. I don’t want to think that AJ took a drink, and I hope and pray that he remains sober. My heart goes out to his daughters, AA friends, and those who knew him best.

        Reply

    • McKenzie S.

      I really want to look more into this case to bring new light to it, you seem to know the family personally. I am considering a podcast and/or blog about Mr. Breaux. Just curious what your thoughts on that are…Thanks! Email me if you’d like a response to be private.
      [email protected]

      Reply

  17. Bryan

    Any updates about AJ? Very heart breaking story

    Reply

  18. Tyler

    Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about his rumored sexuality. I am sober and in Houma. I have been talked to by one of his old friends about how AJ dealt with the changes in his life and getting sober in a place like Houma as a gay man. It’s such a sad story.

    Reply

    • Delilah berries

      Does anyone know about a Facebook page it has his name no pictures but it is still working and it says he is a police officer in Louisiana idk if anyone knows about this but the account is activated and working just wondering

      Reply

      • LouisianaGirl

        I am from the area around Houma and I can tell you that in Southern Louisiana “Breaux” is a VERY common name. It’s kind of like Smith or Jones. It’s also not uncommon for boys to go by the initial of their first and middle names. So if you searched the internet for someone named A.J. Breaux I would promise you hundreds of people would pop up from the South La. region alone. I highly doubt that the page you found is the missing father. I also doubt, that if he is alive, that he’s got a Facebook account at his age.

        Reply

    • lilia

      What does his friend think happened to him?

      Reply

  19. Lashan

    So sad I cannot imagine what his family has been going through prayers,

    Reply

  20. Heather

    How old would he be now? I’m from Des Allemands and the pics look so familiar, but I know this guy would be up in age by now.

    Reply

  21. peter

    how sad … I just came here from reading about an unsolved murder in netherlands which shook me up.

    Reply

  22. Mike Aycock

    I knew AJ as well. I’m from Covington, LA. I spent some time in Houma as I have kin folk down. And I worked offshore for awhile. O used to frequent the Easy Does It clib as I too battle alcoholism and I have now been sober for a number of years. AJ had taken me to his home 1 night when I had no place to go. He was very kind and helpful. I dont believe he took a drinl unless someone forced it on him. As for him just up and leabing, I dont believa that either. I believe something and somebody somewhere knows something. Please step forward. Miss you AJ

    Reply

  23. MIKE

    Nikki while you maybe right and I don’t know a whole lot on drug and alcohol addiction from what I’ve heard many never totally get over it.

    Plus in my opinion people with these problems are not responsible.

    If I’m remember in the broadcast he had a drinking problem for a long time and it took a DUI arrest to get him help.

    So while it’s possible that foul play was the cause of his disappearance maybe he still was never totally over it.

    Reply

  24. MIKE

    While it’s possible Mr. Breaux was kidnapped because he was troubled due to a drinking problem there’s always a possibility he wasn’t totally passed it.

    I don’t wanna pass judgement on everyone who’s ever struggled with any kind of chemical dependency I’ve often heard many people who claim to be passed it aren’t exactly passed it.

    I often wonder how some people get addicted to stuff stuff? Is it just a coincidence or do they have problems already and they end up drinking a lot as a poor way of handling things?

    Maybe he was just a man who couldn’t handle everyday life and drinking was his escape and after his treatment, he still had issues.

    Reply

  25. Regina lapeyrouse

    My husband is from Houma and this story has always been in the back of my mine since I saw it on unsolved mysteries in 2008. I would like him to be found. My heart goes out to the family and I pray that one day they have the answer. I just lost my father and I understand their loss but couldn’t imagine not knowing where my father was. The family is in my prayers. God bless the family and may they have answer soon.

    Reply

  26. Riss

    I think AJ was kidnapped by a man who he tried helping out and when that mystery man went back to drinking he sought the help of other friends who kidnapped AJ as revenge. Then they probably forced AJ back onto the bottle and AJ was so embarrassed or maybe he did lose his memory and just never returned home out of fear or loss of memory.

    Reply