Real Name: Tara Suzette Breckenridge
Location: Houston, Texas
Date: August 4, 1992
Date Of Birth: September 30, 1968
Weight: 120 lbs.
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Brown hair, brown eyes, a scar on her lower lip, scars under her left arm and on the left side of her body, two upper teeth are discolored at the center, wears corrective contact lenses or eyeglasses
Details: From 1989 to 1992, Tara Breckenridge worked as a waitress at the Men's Club, a upscale strip club in Houston. She grew up in Del Rio, Texas, the third of five children in a devout religious family. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1987, she moved to Houston to pursue a career in photography. However, due to financial problems, she ended up working at the Men's Club. Most of her friends and family were fine with her working at the club. However, her boyfriend Wayne Hecker, whom she had met in 1989, was not happy with her working there.
The couple later moved in together and seemed happy. However, as time passed, their relationship became strained. In July of 1992, she visited her parents in Del Rio. Her parents felt that something was wrong, although she did not mention any problems. Two weeks later, on August 3, she was back in Houston, working at the club. It was a slow night, so the manager decided to send two waitresses home early. Her co-workers were surprised when Tara volunteered to leave. This seemed out of character because she usually tried to stay as late as possible to make more money. She changed into street clothes and punched out at 12:29AM. Strangely, she walked past the doorman without responding to his goodbye. The security guard took her tote bag and escorted her to her vehicle. She left the parking lot and vanished without a trace.
At the same time, Wayne claims that he was at a pool hall with friends, fifteen minutes away. He tried calling her that night but did not hear back from her. At 5AM, he returned to their home to find that she was not there. He and a friend went out searching for her. At 7AM, they found her car abandoned by the side of a busy freeway, locked and with a can of mace inside. The car alarm and flashers were not on; this made Wayne believe that something bad had happened to her.
Her parents and investigators believe she met with foul play and that Wayne could be behind it. However, he maintains his innocence in the case. Tara remains missing.
Suspects: Investigators consider Wayne Hecker a suspect in Tara's disappearance. According to her friends and family, their relationship had problems and she had talked about leaving him. Investigators looked into Wayne's activities on the night of her disappearance. According to employees at the pool hall, he left there sometime between 12 and 12:30AM. He did not come back until 1:45AM.
Investigators noted that Tara's car was found three miles from the men's club, halfway between the club and the pool hall. They believe that Wayne may have had enough time (one hour and forty-five minutes) to find her, kill her, and dispose of her body and car. When asked about him being considered a suspect in Tara's disappearance, Wayne claimed that he did not "owe an explanation to anyone but the Lord."
Investigators are also suspicious of a male admirer who left her $100 tips as well as a love note stating, "Do not to be scared. Do what your heart tells you. I'm very excited that you'll marry me." Another note from the admirer said "The more you hold out, the longer you jeopardize what I feel for you." She had apparently rejected his advances. The man was interviewed, but investigators no longer consider him a suspect.
A man named Robert Beaty was also considered a possible suspect in Tara's disappearance. He contacted her family shortly after she vanished, claiming to be a police officer. He was later arrested for impersonating a police officer; in his home they found handcuffs, a BB gun, and detective magazines. He told police that he believed Tara's abductor was a "detective wanna-be" and a cab driver. Interestingly, Beaty himself was a cab driver. Her family, however, did not believe he was involved in the case.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the March 24, 1995 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Unfortunately, Wayne died in Houston in October 2015, and his connection to the case was never resolved. Sadly, both of Tara's parents and two of her siblings have also since passed away. Her remaining siblings believe that she is deceased.
- Tara Breckenridge at Unsolved.com
- Tara Breckenridge at The Charley Project
- Tara Breckenridge at the Doe Network
- Tara Breckenridge at NamUs
- Tara Breckenridge at Whereabouts Still Unknown
- Tara Breckenridge at the Texas Department of Safety Website
- Former Del Rioan Missing
- Parents doubt suspect's significance
- She left work 25 years ago, then disappeared
- Tara Breckenridge at Find a Grave