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Tara Breckenridge

A waitress at a Houston strip club suddenly vanishes.

Tara Breckenridge


Gender: Female
DOB: 9/30/68
Height: 5’5”
Weight: 120 lbs.
Hair: Brown
Defining Characteristics: Has a small scar under the left side of her lower lip, a scar under her left arm, and a scar on her left side

She was last seen leaving work

Her boyfriend found her car locked


Tara and her boyfriend Wayne

The Men's Club in Houston, Texas, is an upscale adult night spot.   Tara Breckenridge waited tables there from 1989 to 1992.   Tara grew up in Del Rio, Texas, and was the third of five children in a devoutly religious family.   After high school, she arrived in Houston to pursue a career in photography.   It wasn't long before the cost of big city living forced her to find another job.   As a waitress at The Men's Club, Tara found the cash she needed.   According to her friend, Gina Goldrup, The Club never fit Tara's personality:

"Tara wasn't the type of person you would think would work in a place like that.   It was more just for the money, you know, she was going to school and stuff.   So it made her the money that she was comfortable with and she was happy with that."

When Tara Breckenridge arrived in Houston, she was no different than thousands of small town girls with big city dreams.   But for Tara, the dream may have ended in a horrible nightmare.   In 1992, she vanished without a trace.   The police and her parents believed Tara was murdered.   And high on the list of possible suspects was Tara's boyfriend at the time, a young man named Wayne Hecker.  

One of the love notes written by a customer

Wayne and Tara had met two years after Tara arrived in Houston.   Even though Tara never danced at The Men's Club, Wayne was less than thrilled with her job:  

"She was working before I met her in those kinds of places.   And she loved the money and she loved the atmosphere and I guess that's just something you won't grow out of. And I'm not going to tell her where to work."  

Despite Wayne's concerns, he and Tara moved in together.   At first, they seemed happy.   But according to Tara's mother, Betty, the romance did not last:  

"Tara and Wayne's relationship was kind of rocky to say the least.   She was always talking about moving out or thinking about moving.   And we would discuss it and she would say she needed to talk it over with him and, occasionally we talked about her doing it without talking it over first."

Tara's job at The Men's Club distracted her from the problems with Wayne.   But on the night of August 3, 1992, Tara did something that remains unexplained.   It was a slow night and the management decided to send two waitresses home early.   When the manager asked for volunteers to end their shift early, Tara volunteered to leave.   According to Hal Naumann, the former manager of The Men's Club, it was strangely out of character:  

"It would be a little unusual for Tara to ask to go home.   She wasn't always interested in leaving.   She was there until 2:00 o'clock to... make as much money as she could.   Tara... walked past the doorman without saying goodbye... or without responding to his goodbye. And that would have been unusual."

Inside the car was a can of mace

The security guard at the club told police that he walked Tara to her car and that she drove off without incident.   Wayne Hecker later told the police that, at the moment Tara was leaving The Men's Club, he was in a pool hall fifteen minutes away.   Wayne said he called Tara earlier that evening, but never spoke to her:

"I didn't really think anything at that time and they told me that she was on the floor.   I probably got home around five and I expected to see Tara either lying on the sofa or in bed and she wasn't there.   So at that point... I went to find her."

At 7:00 the next morning, Wayne found Tara's car abandoned on a busy freeway:

"When I saw the car, the first thing that came to my mind was what is it doing there.   Apparently she drove the car there.   The car alarm wasn't even on.   The flashers weren't even on, and that really surprised me."

According to Wayne, the car was locked and a can of mace was inside:

"She always carried her mace on her and when I saw the mace in the car, I thought, why is the mace in the car and why aren't the flashers on.   And why was the car, we did have a car alarm, why wasn't it engaged?"

He shot pool while she was at a men’s club

Police feared that Tara was a victim of foul play.   It wasn't long before suspicion began to center on Wayne Hecker.   Sergeant Brad Rudolph of the Houston Police Department, interrogated Wayne and was especially curious about his activities the night Tara disappeared:

"We have employees of the club that indicated that he left the club at approximately midnight and was next seen at approximately 1:45 in the morning."

The pool hall is located fifteen minutes from The Men's Club.   Tara's car was found about three miles from the club.   According to witnesses, Wayne was gone from the pool hall for a full hour and forty-five minutes.   But with no concrete evidence of foul play, Tara was officially listed as missing.  

When police obtained a series of love notes indicating there was another man in Tara's life, they thought there might be a break in the case.   One note said, "Please don't be scared.   Do what your heart tells you.   I'm very excited that you'll marry me."   But, then another one said, "The more you hold out, the longer you jeopardize what I feel for you."   According to co-workers at the club, Tara's secret admirer was a frequent visitor who lavished her with hundred dollar tips.   He apparently had intimate knowledge of her difficulties with Wayne.   But according to Sergeant Rudolph, the notes seemed to indicate that Tara rejected the man's advances:

"There was nothing threatening in those notes.   We interviewed the individual.   Our opinion at this point is he was just an individual that had an attraction toward Tara and nothing more."

But if Tara's admirer was not a suspect, who was?   Once again, a shadow of doubt was cast upon Wayne Hecker, who still maintained his innocence:

"I haven't been charged with a crime.   No, not at all.   I loved the woman to death.   She's the best thing that ever happened to me.   She's a great girl.   Yeah, I do, I love her, I love her with all my heart.   And I hope the whole world hears that.   I did not commit a crime so I cannot be charged with one.   It's as simple as that."

Other than her abandoned car, no trace of Tara Breckenridge has ever been found.   Tara is 5'5" tall and weighs 120 pounds.   She has a small scar under the left side of her lower lip, a scar under her left arm, and a scar on her left side.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season seven with Dennis Farina and coming soon with Robert Stack. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina.


Terry's picture

I'm going crazy. Where the hell is my friend!!

Carrie 's picture sure she was your friend. Where do you nut jobs come from???

Luke's picture

Stop commenting under multiple names and bullying others in this section. If you're not interested in contributing information that could help solve crimes, leave now instead of being disrespectful and go elsewhere.

Blvngod's picture


unknown's picture

Im sorry your guys' friend is missing but it is best to think that she isn't alive if she has been missing a while. Most missing cases involve the victim dying within several days of the disappearance. If you think she is still alive it is best to keep praying for her to return.

Deirdre's picture

The FBI and most law enforcement officials say that the victims are dead within 3 hours usually... Not a few days.

Tammy Thomas's picture

Terry, it must be torture to not know where your friend is, I'm so sorry. I find Wayne's denial very interesting: "I loved her to death". Maybe he did.

Jason's picture

I thought the same thing. I get a strang vibe from the guy. When asked point blank: "how do you respond to the charge that David Hecker had something to do with her disappearance?" He reaponds "I dont owe an explaination to anyone except the Lord." Rambling on about waiting to hear from "Him" for an answer. SUPER weird response. That, and "I haven't committed a crime, so I can't be charged with one, simple as that." Hardly grieving the loss of his "loved one." I guess he died in 2015. My guess is he killed her that night.

Bryan Todd Adamson's picture

I knew Tara well from childhood up. I visited her in 1988 in May. At that time a friend and I stayed at her home for 1 week during a vacation. She had roommates and lived in an apartment complex where many of the tenants were photography students at a local college. At that point, she was afraid of her boyfriend's temper. He was suffocating her. I encouraged her to dump him and she seemed to be seriously considering that course of action. She was a very beautiful lady and despite where she worked, and the stigma that is often attached to those places, she was not using drugs to my knowledge and was an all around good person. I do not know anyone who would dislike her, but I do know that one person in her life at that time scared her...

NG's picture

My sister, was her best friend and as a child I knew her as a big sister too. I believe she showed up in our family home around around 1989-90, I was ten when she came up missing. I know nothing new to the case but I wanted to comment to indicate to those that are looking for her that she really is not forgotten. For almost 23 years of my life I have hoped we would find out what happened that night. I also know Wayne and his family very well, as it is through them that she joined our family. We loved her very much. In knowing Wayne in the aftermath of this, and over the last 23 years, it is not easy to see that Wayne could have done it. But looking at the case as a 33 year old vs. a 10 year old, I don't know. I do know Wayne has suffered since her loss though. I remember over hearing when I was young, that those love letters that were found at her work were written by the brother of one of the HPD investigator working on or near to the case. I don't know, I was 10. I do wish somebody would take a another really good look at her case; I don't think it was Wayne but if it was I want to know.

KnewHim's picture

He passed in October 2015. Meet his maker? I don't have evidence he did it. Just met him through the years. Lil strange to me.

Becca's picture

Hi are you able to prove he dies because i cant find any obituary or anything on find a grave?

Blvngod's picture

Wayne passed away????

So sorry's picture

He's currently where he belongs. That's all.

Paul Kramer 's picture

Yes this woman's case deserves and most importantly deserves having the case My Lord, she is absolutely gorgeous, her looks were of an earth Angle I cant imagine anyone who knows or knew of her has stopped pursuing investigations. In association to soliving this id never stopped , how could anyone. Firstly is to there are some really great Psychics eome that are used exclusively by law enforcement for unsolved mysteries such as this I would lime to assist on this case if possible. & foremost is to Polygraph test Wayne to see how that goes rather he has any affiliation with her disappearance. Curious as to why that wasn't conducted seems to be a real lack of overall concerns with this case and why would an investigator , detective or P.I. having written these notes or letters this strangely unto it's self and would cast suspicions If there is way I can assist friends or family with this matter please e-mail me at My please make a great suggestion in contacting "The Viedoc Society" they my want excepting an opportunity in giving her Family another fresh look into - jump starting this case! Tara`s disappearing really requires a seriousness in new beginnings from Ground zero! In Jesus name praying, that Father asking for her safe return perhaps even word from her to her Mother if not from her then from a sorce that will provide an acknowledgement to give closer for all those who live her Please God give her Mother consultation to peace of heart, mind and soul thank You Father, in Jesus name we pray!!!

Lisa0923's picture

To Paul Kramer:
You seem to mean well, but I have to say that your post is practically unreadable for the most part due to your spelling and grammatical errors. Your lack of punctuation, causing one sentence to run into the next is very confusing and the point you're trying to make gets 'lost in the shuffle'.
Not trying to be rude, just saying I was really trying to follow your line of thinking but was unable to due to the problems I pointed out.

Concerned's picture

Who is this and why would you want family and friends to contact you when they can contact family or HPD?

TMD's picture

Was wondering who posted this.....this is Taras sister...I am always still looking.

Ed groves Marysville, ohio's picture

I can't believe this story,I just wanted this old episode of unsolved mysteries.I can't believe no trace has ever been found. Someone knows something don't give up.

Anonymous's picture

The old episode still plays every now and then.

Lucy's picture

I put big dibs on the murderer being Wayne. If she left the mace in the car, it's b/c she felt safe w/the person that came to help her out when her car stopped working. Easy peazy. The writing is on the wall.

Cary's picture

We all know it was Wayne. I am her blood relative and growing up friend. Her call to me before it happened was seeking direction. The only closure I have had recently is that it appears that Wayne dies a horrible death of drawn out painful cancer. I wish he could have lived longer to suffer longer, but that is Gods' will. She had help, but did help get there first, we do not know. She is at peace, in my mind...but I am not. Always thinking of her and our childhood fun.

KnewHim's picture

Yeah, you are correct, he did die a slow death. Crack cocaine is not pretty after years of use as he admitted to and supposedly being a meth dealer when this happened. This girl was scared for a reason. He told me the story about a girl he lived with and she disappeared, amazingly, after he found out I was always all over the internet and liked crime shows. So like, let me get this set up so if I ran across the story on the web. The show came on tonight but I had an appt to be at and am sorry I missed it. I really wanted to study that episode as I believe I could have answered my own question... Hopefully it will air again. Weird I can't and have not been able to find that episode on the net... I want to look into his eyes. This I believe drove him insane with guilt while alive. Maybe he hid in an anonymous group so God would not be so hard on him at the gates... No funeral, just cremation by the sister. No belongings to gather up either. Died broke, sick and slow. I think God already dealt with it on earth. I just hope Tara has been free and happy this whole time. Her poor family. RIP Tara. You did not deserve another human being taking your life if that is what happened. And where are you in Houston... I think with so much construction going on here, one day, just one day it will be revealed where she has been this whole time.

Alien's picture

Did her car stall? There is no mention if the car was actually broke down or was just left there? If she broke down, someone could have offered her a ride and things went bad with that person. Or she planned on meeting someone there and left her car but what a strange place to leave her car.

Cary's picture

The fan belt was CUT off of her car before she drove away from work. The belt was not found. She was being followed by Wayne who would not and could not account for the time of her disappearance. He is the only true witness, and luckily now he is deceased, unconformed & conformed at the same moment by Sargeant Rudolph from the Houston Police Department. Follow the Wayne, DUH!!!

Mmmmhmmmm's picture

I love how everyone commenting "knows" her.

Debbie's picture

Hey everyone that knew or worked with Tara loved her. It's been 24 years and I still think of her. She and I were working in the same waitress well that night. I'm not sure what time she left that night but at 1 am I realized she was gone. I think she left around 11 or 11:30 pm. She was beautiful inside and out.

Joe's picture

I met Wayne one night at the pool hall near Eisenhower High school back in 1992-1993. I remember her wanted pictures being all over the place. As we were playing pool he commented on the big photo of her next to our tables and I asked him if he knew the girl. He said "Yea, that's my girlfriend". Of course I didn't know anything about what happened at that time. As the night went on and we played many games between about 5 of us, he asked for a ride home. I obliged. When I stopped, he got out and said goodbye. I rolled down my window and responded with "Hope they find your girl...goodluck!" I'll never forget the look in his eye's. It was a little fear, little guilt, little suspicion..I was a long cold look staring right through me. It wasn't until years later that I heard the story on Unsolved Mysteries and just about freaked out. He was in my car and I offered the ride. OMG!!!

Terry's picture

I knew tara personally. I bought her chrysler coraba from her. I just want to say that it feels like her ghost in the car with me when im driving. Wayne had a breakdown on me and cryed for two days at the apartment at candlelight trails. On watonga. Now i have a few doubts about his involvement. But we were real wild people back then we used to go to alot of all night under ground clubs. We used to drink real heavy to all i remember is tara hooking me up with some chick named gina that tara had driven me to her house. About 2 weeks later she disappeared. I think a man named kent stevens had something to do with it. And wayne said to me that tara had an arguement with him at the mens club. You know that im not a bit scared of the mafia.

Steve's picture

I was a bartender at the men's club when this all happened. I was working the day shift on the night in question. However I remember talking to Tara during shift change. She was, having a few problems with a customer. Would love to pass this info on to the right sources. At the time I was never approached by HPD.I had my own problems so never came forward. I been living back in the UK for the last 12 years, and this sometimes plays on my mind

Debbie Carter 's picture

Oh WOW Steve I remember you. I worked with Tara the night she disappeared. I was 8 years older than beautiful Tara. She asked me how I kept from having lines on my eyes... she told me her boyfriend told her she looked old! I was shocked because Tara was a beautiful young woman inside and out! Tara was a sweet, quiet and beautiful young woman. I was heart broken when she went missing. I'll never forget her! I'm sure she would have had a fulfilling life had it not been cut short.

Paul Kramer's picture

Yes you definitely should have come forward with kind of information, especially if it was remotely relevant to Taras disappearing, working the same evening shift as she on the very same evening she became a missing person! You should be feeling so guilt ridden being absolutely miserable,how can you live with your self You knew her worked with her but your problems took persistence and were far more important and invaluable than the life of Tara, your a real piece of work! If what you say is true then Steve the bartender man you really needing to come forward with this are you afraid of being a suspect ! Perhaps I'll contact the Sheriff's office if you don't!

Paul Kramer's picture

Yes you definitely should have come forward with kind of information, especially if it was remotely relevant to Taras disappearing, working the same evening shift as she on the very same evening she became a missing person! You should be feeling so guilt ridden being absolutely miserable,how can you live with your self You knew her worked with her but your problems took persistence and were far more important and invaluable than the life of Tara, your a real piece of work! If what you say is true then Steve the bartender man you really needing to come forward with this are you afraid of being a suspect ! Perhaps I'll contact the Sheriff's office if you don't!

Concerned sis's picture

Never to late to talk to someone if it might HPD have tried myself but with no luck.

Anonymous's picture

I became a waitress at the Men's club in 2001 and I never knew anything about this. I will say that their had been night's where some of the stranges men would come to the men's club. I mean really creepy. Sitting alone no dances just watching. I wish the bartender at that time had come forth. Only God knows what happened to Tara and I pray she is with him. I stopped working there in 2003. But think of here from time to time.

Angie's picture

I knew Wayne Hecker personally. I knew him better than I knew Tara. I was dating a friend of Wayne's at the time, and we had gone on a double date once. It was so long ago that I don't remember details of the date, I just know we went. I like to believe that Wayne had nothing to do with her disappearance. I do know that after she was missing and after he had been interviewed by police that he looked for her. I know this because, my boyfriend had gone out of town to work and I stayed here. Wayne and I used to talk all of the time about Tara missing. He asked me if I would help him put up flyers all over town, if he had them made up. I told him that I would. He had a ton of them made up, and we went driving all over downtown Houston until late in the evening. We put flyers out everywhere. He wanted to call a psychic to see if they could help, which we did.....several times. I remember listening on the other end of the line while he asked the psychic questions, and I got goose bumps. I remember that we tried to form leads or places to look based off what she had said. We eventually gave up on the whole psychic idea and continued to put flyers up, about Tara. I do remember Wayne wanting to raise money to put Tara's picture on one of those giant billboards on the side of the freeway. I also remember Wayne telling me that he thought that the club had something to do her disappearance. He said that she had overheard them (the managers) making deals about large quantities of cocaine and some other shady deals that they were making, and that she had been caught outside the door listening to their conversation. At that point I believed that the club had something to do with it. Not too long after that, another girl that left her shift at the same club had been murdered. This girl went to her moms apartment just a few blocks from the club. She was followed to the gate of her mothers complex and shot point blank in the face. She was taking money to her mother. She was in a corvette and had thousands of dollars on her and jewelry too. Nothing was taken...NOTHING! So why was she shot? This stuff kind of makes you wonder. I think that the club had something to do with it....with all of these bad things. But, that is just my guess.

Debbie's picture

Sorry but I don't think so. The sick boyfriend Wayne took Tara. Tara was sweet and as naive as the rest of us waitresses we all had bad boyfriends but she and few others had the worst.

Shauna's picture

I hope authorities will do an age progression of what Tara might look today at 48 years old. I hope she will be found despite she has been missing for more than 2 decades

Johnny's picture

Beautiful Woman Tara. There was a good clue about her leaving early. Only Hal the manager, the Security Guard, other workers at The Men's Club would know she left early that morning and a few Customers. Wayne's a good suspect for this. The only alternative is Tara decided to disappear from the situation with Wayne staging the car on side of road. The only problem with that Tara would have contacted her family a few weeks later probably. One of the posters made a good suggestion about the killer being the man who gave her a ride when the car stalled. A real mystery case.

Ed Kow's picture

You make a good point. If she uncharacteristically left early, and never really did that before, how would Wayne know? Did he call the club at that time? Did someone call him? Any records available? Cell phones were not really too popular during that time frame....maybe it was something more to do with the club itself. Was anyone else sent home early or just Tara? If she walked past the doorman without saying anything it gives the impression she was in a hurry or upset - sis she hear something and get sent home rather than opting to go home early?

Ciara 's picture

Great point about Wayne not knowing Tara left early! Did he know she left early? I have doubts! A comment indicates that Tara mentioned having problems with a customer.. Was that ever investigated? Something tells me she knew her killer no doubt! This was planned and i really dont think it was the boyfriend.. All just theories of course.

Monika's picture

As a child of the 80's, I feel a connection to this case as I also worked in some unsavory places after graduating in 1983. Tara probably felt safe with tje security guard who also xould have developed feelings for her and easily slipped her notes. Being that they worked together it makes sense for her not to have told work friends. It also seems to me that it would have been easy for him to put her in a dumpster after killing her since she probably rejected him being that she was a good girl who was obviously reluctant to leave her bf., surely there were dumpsters at the club, and that would explain her not being found. The car wouldn't go far without fanbelt, but that only adds to the question of the mace in her car, which she probably had left there while working, knowing she'd be accompanied by the guard when she left, which is why I think he killed her and disposed of her at the club then dumped her car later. He could have moved it out of view when walked her outside the club, right? I think Wayne was telling the truth, his behavior afterwards backs that up. Wayne seems to be getting a raw deal from most. I didn't know anyone involved, just trying to give an objective alternate view.

Ursula McHenry O'Hara's picture

I worked with Tara at the Ocean Club, she was very quite , a good girl. She didn't hang out in my group she didn't "party".
But I believe she was dating a bartender there at that time, he was a little creepy. I remember thinking why is she with him?
Still in shock she disappeared.

unknown 's picture

It been 20 year she maybe. Dead. Now

The Bartender....'s picture

I was one of the bartenders that night at the pool hall. Wayne was acting weird that night. He wanted to start bartending. He was suppose to work as a bar back that night as a way to start learning. He took off and didn't return until almost closing. When he did return he was all anxious to get behind the bar. I was irritated with him because it was a very busy night and really could have used the help. If I remember right after all these years he even asked me to lie and say that he had been behind the bar all night so the owner wouldn't know he didn't bar back like he said he would. I told him I would not lie for him under any circumstances. My husband was working the door that night and knew exactly when Wayne left and when he came back. He was not alone. He was with his friend Dennis Burns. There was talk around the pool hall just a few days earlier that Tara was definitely kicking him out of the apartment this time because he was sponging off her. He was not working that I know of. As I remember it he was trying to make money playing pool. I could be wrong about that. Regardless, it was well know around the regulars that Tara was done with him this time and he was mad about it. One of the jokes I remember is he would have get a real job and stop living like a gigolo. We were all interviewed by the police. We told them every detail we could remember. The way he was acting that night, something was up. He was definitely different. Hyper almost after he returned to the pool hall. Rumor has it that a confession was made by his friend. I think it was Dennis Burns, I could be wrong. It somehow was told to another pool player friend that they will never find Tara, she was sold into sex slavery. At the time my friend told me that confession many years had already passed. I didn't think that there would be anyway she would still be alive. I told that person they needed to go to the police anyway and tell them. I don't know if they ever did. I was so adamant to the detectives that they needed to hold Wayne as the main suspect. I guess seeing how his life ended, Dennis Burns dying of a drug overdose, maybe in the end they got what they had coming. I can't imagine holding onto a secret like that and it not eat you up alive! But Wayne was good at putting on the "boy next door" act. My personal opinion is that he was what we called "stuck on himself"; selfish and self-centered. It was an underlying current to his "good boy" act. From what I remember he half-hearted attempts at "finding" her. If he really did kidnap her and sell her into the sex trafficking trade, he would have to spend his life pretending to mourn her, pretending to find her abductors. I did not see any great grieving from him around the pool hall after she disappeared. Hope this doesn't upset anybody.

Cuz...Cary's picture

Your information seems to be the most accurate accumulation of the truth that night. Thank your for sharing and acknowledging what we all know to be true. He could not (and would not) account for his time and place during the time of her disappearrance. And hopefuley wayne (he does not deserve a capital "w" in his name), knew even in his own soul that he was a waste of oxygen. Ghost. Do noy allow the memories at the end to over-shadow the good memories of her wonderful life. Peace to Tara, Peace to all. Good night.

Concerned's picture

Read what you wrote am still searching for her. She is greatly missed and if there is anything that you know that might help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and God Bless.

Leigh's picture

Your story sounds very plausible and believable. My one question is re: the sex slavery statement. Was Wayne in a position to know people that did things like that? Most folks would have no idea how to 'sell' someone, thank goodness. I wonder if the rumor was started to stop people from looking for her. Of course, he sounds like an awful person that could have been capable of a cold blooded act like that.

:)'s picture

Seem like all of her friends are trying to solve this.

some body 's picture

Its been 20 years with no contact. Shes obviously dead. Maybe the boyfriend was involved, but her place of employment is where pervs hang out. So there is potential for it to have been an acquaintance from there,nor the customer she was having issues with. I would still like to see an age progression of her. I


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