ibusinesslines.com
ibusinesslines.com June 19, 2018


US Air Force Deserter Found After Disappearing For 35 Years

12 June 2018, 06:04 | Erica Roy

Capt Hughes had a top secret security clearance at the time of his disappearance

Capt Hughes had a top secret security clearance at the time of his disappearance

William Howard Hughes Jr. was arrested on June 6, 2018, by Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agents, accused of defecting from the force in 1983 and using a fake identity while living in California.

At the time, Hughes was single and assigned to an Air Force center in New Mexico, where he had responsibilities including "classified planning and analysis of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation command, control, and communications surveillance systems", the Air Force said. He was last seen in New Mexico withdrawing $28,500 from his bank account at 19 different branch locations, the Air Force said in a statement.

Hughes told authorities after his capture on Wednesday that he was depressed about being in the Air Force and chose to leave. The Air Force didn't say where in California Hughes had lived under the O'Bierne name, or what charges he faces.

Hughes is awaiting pretrial proceedings for his desertion case at the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Calif.

He was supposed to report back to Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico in August 1983, but he didn't show up.

That officer, Capt. William Howard Hughes Jr., was apprehended in California on Wednesday, more than 30 years after his mysterious disappearance.


" 'We do not feel he disappeared voluntarily, ' his sister, Christine Hughes, said in the article".

Linda Card, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, told the Albuquerque Journal Sunday that to this day officials still do not have any evidence indicating leaks of classified information. Others speculated that he had defected -possibly to the Soviets - with the highly classified information, a notion that fomented conspiracy theories for years. He was questioned on Tuesday by the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service and maintained that his name was Barry O'Beirne.

Hughes was unmarried at the time, but had three sisters.

However, if an investigation finds Hughes leaked classified information - officials in the '80s initially anxious he might have defected or been involved in espionage - it would get a lot worse than a desertion conviction.

In 1985 and 1986, several French and American rocket ships failed to launch properly and subsequently exploded, including the Challenger space shuttle. "On December 9, 1983, the Air Force formally declared him a deserter".

Interviews with Hughes' friends and associates and inquiries with law enforcement agencies in the United States and overseas failed to locate him, the statement said, and he was formally declared a deserter on December 9, 1983. Those officers suggested Hughes may have been linked to possible sabotage of some failed USA and French rocket launches.



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