Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Missing Air Force Officer Found 35 Years Later In California

Missing Air Force Officer Found 35 Years Later In California

The missing airman's arrest follows Hughes having been involved in classified planning and analysis of NATO's control, command and communications surveillance systems during the Cold War.

A US Air Force officer with top-secret clearance who went missing in 1983 has been living under an assumed name in California, according to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. But after supposedly leaving for Europe, he was never seen again.

In the days and weeks after he failed to report for duty in Kirtland, investigators found his auto at the Albuquerque International Airport. In his home, the investigators found lists of plans and books he wanted to read, the article states. He deserted in July 1983 after a temporary assignment in the Netherlands, and was last seen around Albuquerque, N.M., withdrawing $28,500 from 19 different bank locations.

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

His family feared that he had been abducted. There were even rumors he might have been defected to the Soviet Union.

What do we know about Capt Hughes? "We do not feel he disappeared voluntarily".

Hughes reportedly returned to New Mexico on leave in July 1983. The Air Force officially declared him deserted in December 1983.

Hughes, now 66, has been charged with desertion.

According to a news release, Hughes admitted his identity during an interview with the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service as part of a passport fraud investigation.

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He told authorities after his capture Wednesday that he was depressed about being in the Air Force and chose to leave, saying he created a fake identity and lived in California since he vanished in 1983.

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

In a 1986 Los Angeles Times commentary titled "Sabotaged Missile Launches?" for example, the former longtime New York Times foreign correspondent Tad Szulc wrote: "The French and American accidents are adding up to a freaky pattern, surrounded by unusual coincidences and unexplained events, deeply preoccupying Western intelligence".

He had top secret clearance, but "none that could compromise national security", Pentagon officials said in article that appeared in the Journal on May 2, 1984. Although Hughes had access to "U.S".

A spokeswoman for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations told the Albuquerque Journal there's no sign Hughes leaked classified information or was involved with the Soviet Union, but that investigations are underway.

However, she said the investigation was ongoing.

"Until we have the whole story, we don't have the story", Ms Card said.

He is being held at the Travis Air Force Base in California.

He could face up to five years of confinement, forfeiture of all pay and dishonourable discharge from the air force.

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