Officially, Adam John “A.J.” Breaux died in 1998, the day a judge declared him legally dead. However, no one knows what happened to the friendly clothing salesman who vanished on Aug, 27, 1991.
The search for A.J. Breaux began 30 years ago this year, but every August, without fail, his three grown daughters reach out to the news media, still hoping to learn the fate of a father they loved.
A.J. worked over three decades as a salesman at the Earl Williams Clothing Store in Houma. An eight-years-sober recovering alcoholic, friends last saw him speaking at an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting at the Easy Does It Club, a building on Bernard Street near the south Houma fire station and the Southern Oaks Country Club.
Witnesses say he helped sweep up after the meeting. A police report says he put out the garbage, got in his car around ten that night. Minutes later, the report says, A.J. bought a gallon of milk at a Barrow Street convenience store. The clerk remembered him complaining about the rising cost.
The next morning, A.J.’s daughters reported him missing. Police found A.J.’s car, a silver, four-door 1988 Ford Tempo, that afternoon in Jim Bowie Park, a tree-filled wedge of land on Bayou Black, less than a quarter of a mile from the Easy Does It Club.
According to the police report, heavy rain forced authorities to tow the vehicle to police headquarters before they could search it. Inside, they found his wallet, but no money, in the driver’s seat inside the locked car. In the trunk of the vehicle, police found two bank books, one for A.J.’s checking account and another for a savings account belonging to the AA group, where he served as the club secretary. Near the checkbooks, police also found the group’s brown bank bag and the $165 he planned to deposit that day.
The car’s gas gauge showed very little fuel in the tank, yet the convenience store clerk remembered A.J. Breaux buying $10 in gas before the AA meeting, and police never found the milk he purchased after the meeting.
The report describes how investigators checked local motels and bars and interviewed jail inmates, once traveling as far as the Avoyelles Parish jail. They once hypnotized a witness, trying to verify an alleged sighting, and they considered a psychic’s account of someone holding A.J. against his will at an undisclosed river camp.
In 2017, Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman told reporters, “I would like to see the A.J. Breaux case solved. No one should go through life not knowing where their loved ones are or what happened to them. Not only the A.J. Breaux case but other missing person investigations as well as unsolved homicides. In all cases like these, the victims’ families deserve closure.”
A.J. Breaux’s daughters had his disappearance featured on a 2002 episode of the television show Unsolved Mysteries, posted fliers all over town, and offered a $1,000 reward for information. These steps encouraged more false reports of unsubstantiated sightings, but their search for their father continues.
When authorities captured serial killer Ronald Dominique in 2006, A.J. Breaux’s daughters suspected their father may have been one of his victims. A. J. professed to being gay late in life, and Dominique targeted homosexuals.
Ronald Dominique selected male victims ages 16 to 46, most of them vagrant drug addicts or homosexuals. He met them during walks, on road trips, or in gay bars.
As bait, he offered alcohol, drugs, housing and a sexual encounter with his supposed girlfriend. Luring victims to his trailer, he would overpower, tie them up and rape them before strangling them. Afterward, he loaded their bodies into the back of his pickup and dumped them in rural areas throughout six parishes.
However, investigators insist Ronald Dominique’s rampage begin in 1997. A.J. Breaux disappeared in 1991.
A. J.’s daughters have not given up hope of finding him someday, but they are also realistic. The women believe their father, who never hesitated to lend a hand to someone in need, stopped to help the wrong person that night.
J. Breaux, 50 at the time of his disappearance, is 80 if he is alive today.
If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of A.J. Breaux, call Houma Police Department at 873-6371.