Peninsula neighbors stunned by man who vanished from Air Force 35 years ago


By JOCELYN GECKER | The Associated Press

DALY CITY — Neighbors knew him as Tim, a quiet man who kept to himself but was always pleasant and never left the house without his San Francisco Giants cap on.

Then his picture appeared on the news and TV satellite trucks showed up Monday on their quiet, tree-lined street in Daly City, just south of San Francisco, and it became clear their neighbor was not who they had thought.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations said in a news release they had apprehended the man, identified as Capt. William Howard Hughes, Jr., an officer who had top security clearance when he disappeared in New Mexico 35 years ago.

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Hughes was charged with desertion and is being held at Travis Air Force Base in California. He could face up to five years of confinement, forfeiture of all pay and dishonorable discharge from the Air Force.

Authorities say they arrested Hughes last week at his residence in California where he was living under the name “Barry O’Beirne.”

Official records show that O’Beirne used Timothy as a middle name.

“Everyone knew him as Tim. He was very pleasant,” said neighbor June Dayao, 60, a retired teacher who recognized her neighbor’s face in a photograph released by the Air Force. “That’s him but he always had his Giants hat on.”

Dayao and her husband had talked about going to a Giants game together with him and his partner. Dayao said the woman was already living in the house when Hughes moved in several years ago.

Messages left on an answering machine at the couple’s home number were not immediately returned.

Neighbor Lorenzo Laurel, 62, said Hughes was an “ideal neighbor.”

“I would only see him when he leaves or throws out the garbage, he was very private,” said Laurel, who never knew his neighbor’s occupation and assumed he was retired. Laurel lives directly across from Hughes and said he had not seen him in recent weeks.

Another neighbor, Michael Tom, 63, said Hughes and the woman would take walks around the neighborhood but otherwise didn’t mingle with neighbors and led private lives.

“This is a complete shock,” Tom said.

Nobody answered the doorbell at the home where Hughes lived, on a street of identical grey, 2-story townhouses. Patio furniture on an upstairs terrace …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

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