Leonard Taku

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Above Images: Taku, circa 2006

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: December 25, 2006 from Tampa, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: January 15, 1962
  • Age: 44 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'8 - 6'1, 160 - 200 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Pacific Islander male. Black hair, brown eyes. Taku is of Maori descent; the Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. He has the following tattoos: a checkerboard pattern and circles on his upper right arm, a series of solid triangles with lines from elbow to wrist on his right arm, a zig-zag pattern from elbow to wrist on his left arm, a tribal design with swirling pattern on his legs from knee to thigh, a Celtic design on his lower back, and Gothic lettering on his upper back. His hair was shaved at the time of his disappearance. Taku is a native of New Zealand and speaks with a New Zealand accent, which sounds similar to a British accent. He may spell his first name "Lennid."
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A silver-colored watch on his left wrist. Clothing unknown, but he usually wears a t-shirt, shorts and walking shoes or sneakers. He usually carries a backpack.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Taku was last seen at approximately 9:00 a.m. on December 25, 2006 at a car rental agency at the Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Florida. He rented a black 2005 Chrystler Crossfire convertible. Taku has never been heard from again. On December 26, his credit card was used to purchase $46.55 worth of clothing at a Gap store in Altamonte Springs, Florida. His family believes he bought the items, as Taku liked Gap clothing. Someone checked his email on December 28. His credit card was used to check into a luxury hotel in Orlando, Florida mid-January 2007, but his loved ones do not believe he was using the card at this time; they stated he would be more likely to use cheaper accomodation, such as a hostel or a bed-and-breakfast.

    Taku's rental vehicle was located abandoned on February 9, 2007 in a remote part of the Ocala National Forest, near the Little Lake George Wilderness area. It was found during a controlled burn being conducted by the Department of Agriculture. The vehicle was not damaged by the fire, but the potential crime scene was destroyed. There were no signs of a struggle or foul play at the scene, and no indication of Taku's whereabouts.

    Taku is a homosexual and officials searching for him sought the assistance of the Florida gay community. They found several online profiles for him and believe he may have used the internet to meet up with men in the United States. He was on vacation from his teaching job at Marlow Academy in Ramsgate, England at the time of his disappearance, and was supposed to return to it on January 3, 2007; he was reported missing by his friends in England after he failed to return to work. He had taught at a middle school in Statesville, North Carolina from 2003 to 2006, and planned to meet friends in Statesville during his vacation.

    Taku's case remains unsolved. He left behind eleven siblings in New Zealand. His loved ones believe foul play was involved in his disappearance. Some agencies give the date of Taku's disappearance as December 31, 2006.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Altamonte Springs Police Department
    407-571-8276

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    Source Information
    NamUs
    Florida Department of Law Enforcement
    The New Zealand National News
    Tampa Bay's 10
    The New Zealand Herald
    The Statesville Record and Landmark
    Tampa Bay Fox 13 News
    New Zealand Police

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    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 17, 2011; picture added, distinguishing characteristics updated.

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