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Gay New Zealander missing in Florida

Fri 27 Apr 2007 In: International News

Leonard Taku Florida police are appealing for information on missing gay New Zealander Leonard Taku. Taku, a 45-year-old teacher, has been missing since Christmas Day. He was holidaying in Florida, and was last seen at a car rental counter at Tampa Airport on 25th December. He was extending for the third time his contract for a luxury Chrysler Crossfire convertible. The car has since been found abandoned, undamaged, in the Ocala National Forest but Tampa Airport Police Sergeant Peter Bright says no clues were recovered because the area around the car had been cleared with a controlled burn. A US gay and lesbian website, watermarkonline.com, reported that police in Tampa and Orlando had sought assistance from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community “to locate a missing endangered gay man, Leonard Taku”. While the North American Missing Persons website said he sometimes used the name Lennid Taku. “Officials have found several online profiles for Taku and believe he may have met local individuals through various websites for gay males,” the website reported. His family in New Zealand has said he loved America because it was a place in which a person could lose themselves. Taku carried a laptop computer and records show somebody checked his emails on the 28th of December. His credit card was used in mid-January for a room at a five star hotel but his sister Dolly Niemi told the NZ Herald he usually used cheaper accommodation to save money for “fine dining”. Ms Niemi recently flew to Florida to meet investigators and said they had assured her they were following every possible lead. “It's nerve wracking, the length of time we've been through,” she told Fox News. Taku was an occasional familiar face at some Auckland gay venues. One venue operator told GayNZ.com he is "an attractive and quiet man with a ready smile and engaging personality, who hasn't been seen in the city for some time. “I hope he is still OK and feel for the anguish his whanau and friends must be going through." A Tampa Bays news story showing pictures of Taku is on the link below. Ref: Related links:     Ref: NZPA, Tampa Bays 10, GayNZ.com (m)

Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff

First published: Friday, 27th April 2007 - 12:00pm

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