It was July 6, 1977, and Jeffrey Michels hadn’t reported for duty at Minot Air Force Base, a remote military installation in northwest North Dakota near the Canadian border.
The base is known for its harsh, long winters and its impressive collection of nuclear missile silos. But instead of reporting for duty at the outpost, Michels disappeared — and wasn’t seen again for four decades, according to National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
That’s because Michels had deserted, police say. He allegedly assumed the name Jeffrey Lantz, got married, had kids and started a construction business in Florida. When he was arrested in Sanford, Fla. on Oct. 12 by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, he was charged with military desertion and was handed over to the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, according to an arrest report filed last week.
How was he found? The Air Force hasn’t responded to a request