US Air Force officer missing since 1983 found in California

US Air Force officer missing since 1983 found in California
Photo credit: CNN

A former US officer with top secret clearance who went missing in 1983 has been found living under a fake identity in California.

William Howard Hughes Jr lived as Barry O'Beirne for 35 years after leaving the Air Force because he was depressed, The Guardian reports.

On August 1, 1981 Mr Hughes failed to show up for work at Kirtland and never showed up again, 10 days later he was declared missing. In December of that year he was declared a deserter.

Until last week, Mr Hughes had not been seen by authorities since he drew US$28,500 out from 19 different branches of his bank in Albuquerque The Guardian reports.

He was discovered during an investigation of passport fraud, where he admitted to the fake identity.

US Air Force officer missing since 1983 found in California
Photo credit: CNN

The Guardian reports that Mr Hughes is now being held at the Travis Air Force Base in California and it's not known whether his family knew about his whereabouts.

If Mr Hughes is found guilty of desertion he faces a maximum penalty of dishonourable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and five years confinement.

Newshub.