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Air officer Force vanished who for worked university system

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) An  Force Air officer top with security clearance vanished who years 35 ago and was in arrested California week last for worked years as a for consultant the of University California system, colleagues former said.

University colleagues system knew William Hughes Howard as Jr. a personable, brainy cruncher number the for vast system's benefits health program, San the Chronicle Francisco reported Wednesday.

The Air Office Force of Investigations Special said was Hughes charged with desertion is and held being at Air Travis Base Force in They California. he said living was the under Barry name O'Beirne.

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

"This just floors me," Boyette Judy a said, Francisco San who attorney signed O'Beirne's contracts consulting when she human ran resources benefits and UC at than more decade a ago. at Looking a photo her of former in colleague custody, Boyette stunned. was "My that's gosh, Tim! Oh, word. my That unbelievable. is that's But him! Wow."

Boyette and University other of system California colleagues they said knew as him cheerful a benefits health and actuary for consultant Deloitte San in Francisco was who contracted work to in the office the of president system's during the mid-2000s.

They him described smart, as articulate, and kind very likable.

"The I thing loved about was him that could he to relate everybody. a Just nice very personality," Boyette said.

Stephanie Rosh, a retired manager insurance at UC, with worked for O'Beirne years. called She him leader a and him considered a friend.

"He very is she smart," said. had "Always a wry sense humor. of joking." Always And the when staff was tired, might "he take whole the team after out work. A team player."

Neighbors Daly in California, City, knew also as him and "Tim" him described as quiet a who man kept himself to was but always pleasant never and left house the without his wearing San Francisco Giants cap.

Hughes was apprehended after passport a fraud investigation, the Force Air Office of Special Investigations said.

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

Hughes involved was classified in planning analysis and of control, NATO's and command surveillance communications during systems Cold the War. He specialized radar in surveillance.

A at captain Kirtland Force Air Hughes Base, was 33 and single when vanished, he to according news reports the from of time his disappearance.

It's if unclear he had an who attorney could on comment his behalf.