Air Force deserter captured using a fake ID

U.S. Air Force who was formally declared a deserter on Dec. 9 1983. He was apprehended

William Howard Hughes, Jr. was apprehended at his home in California without incident and is now awaiting pre-trial confinement, the OSI said.

But rather than going through the proper procedures to leave the military, he created a fake identity.

Last Wednesday, Hughes was captured during a passport fraud investigation.

A U.S. Air Force officer with top-secret clearance was reportedly found 35 years after he was declared missing.

Captain William Howard Hughes Jr was last seen withdrawing US$28,500 ($37,500) from several banks in New Mexico in July 1983, officials said.

Pressed on inconsistencies, the man said his real name was William Hughes.

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At the time of his disappearance, he owned a house in Albuquerque.

Hughes faces desertion charges, which carries a maximum of five years in prison. Hughes also had top security clearance and deserted his post on July 25, 1983.

Hughes was due back in Albuquerque in August at the time he vanished, and on December 9, 1983, the Air Force formally declared him a deserter. Hughes was expected back on duty from a short stint in Europe on August 1, 1983 but he never reported to duty.

After the Air Force formally declared Hughes a deserter in December 1983, his family said in an Associated Press article printed in the Journal on January 20, 1984, they believed he had been abducted.

Nobody answered the doorbell at the home where Hughes lived, on a street of identical grey, 2-storey townhouses.

At the time of his disappearance, the 31-year-old office had top secret security clearance, working on "classified planning and analysis of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation command, control and communications surveillance systems", U.S. military journal Stars and Stripes reports.

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Officials do not know whether his family knew his whereabouts beforehand.

In Jan. 1984, Hughes' sister, Christine Hughes, told the Associated Press that the family believed Hughes had been abducted.

His mysterious disappearance during the Cold War spurred theories that he had been abducted by the Soviet Union or defected to what was then known as the USSR to work against the US.

"They (AFOSI investigators) said at this point there's no indication that he had any classified information or that he gave any classified information..."

Interviews with Hughes' friends and associates and inquiries with law enforcement agencies in the USA and overseas failed to locate him, the statement said, and he was formally declared a deserter on December 9, 1983.

An article from Maddy Hayden for the Albuquerque Journal referenced a story from journo Tad Szulc about Hughes' disappearance in 1986, which suggested he'd defected to the Soviet Union.

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