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William Howard Hughes

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Official portrait of William Howard Hughes

William Howard Hughes, Jr. (born c. 1951) is a United States Air Force captain who disappeared on July 19, 1983 and declared a deserter on December 9, 1983. In June 2018, he was found living in Daly City, California and was arrested by the Office of Special Investigations.

Early life[edit]

Hughes was raised in Seattle, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1973, subsequently commissioned as an officer in 1976 and attaining a master's degree in 1979 from Air Force Institute of Technology.[1] At the time of his disappearance, he owned a house in Albuquerque.[2]

Disappearance and discovery[edit]

Hughes disappeared on July 19, 1983 when he was supposed to return from a Temporary Duty (TDY) in Europe. After his disappearance there were theories that he was abducted or defected. The Air Force declared him a deserter on December 9, 1983.[3] The Seattle Times reported in 1984 that the classification was made "primarily for administrative purposes".[4]

In June 2018, as a result of a passport fraud inquiry, he was found living in Daly City, California and was arrested by the Office of Special Investigations on charges of desertion. After his arrest, he was held at Travis Air Force Base in California.[5] He had returned to the United States from Europe and begun living under an assumed name, Barry "Tim" O'Beirne.[6][7] Hughes told authorities, after his capture, that he was depressed about being in the Air Force and decided to leave. For this purpose, he created a fake identity and lived in California.[8]

See also[edit]

  • List of fugitives from justice who disappeared


  1. Associated Press 1984.
  2. Albuquerque Journal 1984
  3. Office of Special Investigations 2018.
  4. Seattle Times 1984.
  5. Paul, Pritha (2018-06-11), "William Howard Hughes Facts: Air Force Officer, Missing For 35 Years, Arrested", www.ibtimes.com
  6. Chris Boyette; Susannah Cullinane; Eric Levenson. "US airman missing for 35 years found living in California". CNN.
  7. USA Today 2018.
  8. "Missing Air Force officer found 35 years later". Associated Press. June 11, 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.


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