Air Force officer who vanished in 1983 found using fake ID

Ex-Kirtland AFB officer missing since 1983 found

US Air Force Nabs Deserter After 35 Years

But it turns out, Tim is actually William Howard Hughes Jr. - an Air Force captain who disappeared in New Mexico 35 years ago while working on classified planning and analysis of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation surveillance systems during the Cold War.

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

According to the USAF, his duties included "classified planning and analysis of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation command, control and communications surveillance systems".

He had just completed a stint in the Netherlands, where he worked with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officers on the Airborne Warning and Control electronic surveillance aircraft.

Hughes was born in 1951, raised in Seattle and enlisted in the Air Force that same year, according to the Seattle Times.

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.

Linda Card from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations elaborated.

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The reason he did this, he said, was because he was "depressed about being in the Air Force" - so he left, created a fictitious identity in California and never came back, investigators said. Hughes was single when he disappeared and said he had lived in California as O'Beirne since.

In December 1983, Air Force officials declared Capt. Hughes to be a deserter.

Capt William Howard Hughes Jr, who had top-secret clearance, was last seen withdrawing $28,500 (£21,300) from his bank account at 19 different locations in New Mexico.

"After being confronted with inconsistencies about his identity, the individual admitted his true name was William Howard Hughes Jr., and that he deserted from the U.S. Air Force in 1983", the AFOSI news release read. Hughes was arrested at his residence without incident June 6 on charges of desertion, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations announced in a news release Thursday.

He faces a maximum sentence of five years confinement, forfeiture of all pay and dishonourable discharge for his desertion. Nevertheless speculation persisted that Hughes may have been abducted by or defected to the Soviets.

Hughes' sister, Christine Hughes, told The Associated Press in 1984 that her brother wouldn't desert and wouldn't vanish without leaving a note, according to The Washington Post. Hughes also had top security clearance and deserted his post on July 25, 1983.

A high ranking Air Force officer who had gone missing 35 years ago, was apprehended by officials in California. Those officers suggested Hughes may have been linked to possible sabotage of some failed US and French rocket launches.

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