Left and Center: Taj circa, 1981
Right: Age Progressed to age 40
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 31, 1981
Missing From: Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: June 18, 1971
Age: 9 years old
Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 65 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: White Male, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Taj’s teeth are decayed
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A faded blue denim jacket with faded yellow sleeves, A light blue/orange/yellow long sleeved sweatshirt with the cartoon character Donald Duck on it, blue dungarees, and Moccasins or possible no footwear at all
NCMEC Number: 603378
Details of Disappearance
Taj was last seen in Leominster, Massachusetts on March 31st 1981. He reportedly disappeared from his bed in the middle of the night and took his slippers with him but no other clothing was reported to be missing. He has never been seen or heard from again.
The cloths his mother laid out for him were found along with a note saying ” I’m going away because I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t have to listen to anybody anymore.”
Taj’s mother, Annette, called the boys grandmother, Eunice Narbonne at 8:00 am to say that Taj was not in the yard and was nowhere to be found. She told her the boys slippers were also missing. Searches of the area turned up no sign of Taj.
Annette initially thought her son had left on his own accord. He lived with Annette and his stepfather, Clarence Dean at the time of his disappearance. She believed he may have been trying to get away from his stepfather. Authorities do not believe that the child left on his own accord because the temperature was near freezing at the time and since he was young, he could not have disappeared without a single trace. Taj was also scared of the dark when he disappeared.
In the evening of his disappearance, Taj called Eunice and told her he was scared and that he wanted her to come and pick him up. She denied his request and told him to go to bed. Taj was fearful of Clarence at the time of his disappearance and did not want to live with him. As a result, Taj often lived apart from his family. Both his grandparents stated that Clarence detested Taj and suggested racial issues were the cause. Clarence is African American.
Taj also told a teacher and his best friend that he was being abused at home. Annette was frightened by Clarence and planned to leave with Taj and her one year old child with her. Due to her pregnancy, Annette delayed the action.
And the said that on the day that Taj returned home, Clarence came back home at 11:30 pm and had a beer with Annette buried going to bed at approximately midnight. Annette woke up at 1:30 am and noticed that she was alone in her bed. She got up to look for Clarence and knocked over some beer bottles. She eventually found him and told him to check on Taj as the noise may have frightened him. She went back to sleep.
By morning, Taj was gone. Taj’s disappearance was publicized a week after his disappearance and his family made various efforts to locate him. No solid leads cane in that would resolve his disappearance, however.
In 1982, Clarence was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for the abduction and stabbing of his estranged wife. Annette divorced him in 1983 and briefly went into hiding with her children afterwards when he was released from prison. Clarence suffers from mental illness and has lived in Bridgewater State Hospital.
Authorities searched a Leominster barn on Pleasant Street in June of 1989. The barn was located less than a mile from Taj’s home and authorities stated they were looking for his remains but found no evidence during the search.
At the time of his disappearance, Taj was a 4th grader at Fall Brook School and was described as mature and intelligent for his age and a polite and well spoken child. He saw a school counselor regularly to talk about his home problems.
Taj’s disappearance remains unsolved. His mother remarried and now lives in New York.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Leominster Police Department 617-537-0741