Air Force deserter captured using a fake ID

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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", USA military journal Stars and Stripes reports.

A USA air force pilot who disappeared 35 years ago has been found alive and well, living in California under a false identity. But the Air Force never heard from him since he left for Europe.

In the days and weeks after he failed to report for duty in Kirtland, investigators found his vehicle at the Albuquerque International Airport. In his home, the investigators found lists of plans and books he wanted to read, the article states.

Captain William Howard Hughes Jr, now 66, was last seen withdrawing $28,000 from a bank in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the summer of 1983.

And then one day, just like that, he vanished without a trace.

His family feared that he had been abducted.

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Although in the past, some believed that Hughes had leaked highly confidential information to the Soviet Union, officials believe that no such leak took place.

What do we know about Capt Hughes?

It is unknown whether family had been in contact with Hughes or knew of his whereabouts following his 1983 disappearance.

The Air Force classified Hughes, who had a "Top Secret/Single Scope Background Investigation" clearance, as a deserter a few months later.

According to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), the State Department was recently investigating a man claiming to be "Barry O'Beirne" during a passport fraud inquiry.

Hughes said he became depressed in the Air Force, created the fictitious identity and has been living in California ever since, according to an Air Force press release.

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But more than 30 years after he dropped off the grid, Hughes was caught. Hughes's disappearance, in the eyes of some, fit right into the puzzle.

In 1985 and 1986, several French and American rocket ships failed to launch properly and subsequently exploded, including the Challenger space shuttle. The Air Force officially declared him deserted in December 1983.

At the time of his disappearance, he was thought to have either been captured by Soviet agents or voluntarily defected to the Soviet Union, the Air Force Times reports. Friends and co-workers also didn't provide any information, the Air Force said. Although Hughes had access to "U.S".

Linda Card, spokeswoman for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, told the Albuquerque Journal that at this stage, investigators have had "no indication that he had any classified information or that he gave any classified information".

"Until we have the whole story, we don't have the story", she told the newspaper.

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