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Missing airman found 40 years later living a double life

  • An Air Force veteran  who went missing four decades ago was taken into custody after it was discovered he had been living a double life
  • Jeffrey Michels, 64, was arrested Thursday on charges of desertion after he vanished from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on July 6, 1977
  • He was found by an investigative group for missing veterans using the alias Jeffrey Lantz and residing in Seminole County, Florida with a wife and children
  • Michels is currently in custody of the United States Air Force and was given a discharge under 'Other Than Honorable' conditions

By Jessa Schroeder For Dailymail.com

Published: 20:51 EDT, 17 October 2017 | Updated: 21:23 EDT, 17 October 2017

Jeffrey Michels, 64, was arrested after he was found living under a false identity 40 years after disappearing from active duty in the Air Force
Jeffrey Michels, 64, was arrested after he was found living under a false identity 40 years after disappearing from active duty in the Air Force

Jeffrey Michels, 64, was arrested after he was found living under a false identity 40 years after disappearing from active duty in the Air Force

An airman who disappeared four decades ago was taken into custody after it was discovered he had been living a double life.

Jeffrey Michels, 64, mysteriously went missing while on active duty from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on July 6, 1977.

A missing persons report was originally issued for Michels, alongside a photograph showing him at the time.

He has since been found by an investigative group for missing veterans using the alias Jeffrey Lantz and residing in Seminole County, Florida with a wife and children.

According to a report by WFTV, investigators said Michels utilized the last name Lantz on several legal and business documents shortly after his disappearance.

'Records showed he used the name in 1998 to obtain a business license from the state of Florida for his construction business called Atlantic Development Corporation,' the police report read.

At the time, a missing persons report was issued for Michels, who was never really missing
At the time, a missing persons report was issued for Michels, who was never really missing

At the time, a missing persons report was issued for Michels, who was never really missing

He mysteriously went missing while on active duty from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on July 6, 1977
He mysteriously went missing while on active duty from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on July 6, 1977

He mysteriously went missing while on active duty from the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on July 6, 1977

'Michels wasn't missing; he was living at a home in the Terra Bella neighborhood,' authorities confirmed
'Michels wasn't missing; he was living at a home in the Terra Bella neighborhood,' authorities confirmed

'Michels wasn't missing; he was living at a home in the Terra Bella neighborhood,' authorities confirmed

Police were made aware of the incident thanks to individuals operating the Facebook page 'Veteran Doe'
Police were made aware of the incident thanks to individuals operating the Facebook page 'Veteran Doe'

Police were made aware of the incident thanks to individuals operating the Facebook page 'Veteran Doe'

The property appraisers website also showed he also purchased the home in Sanford under the false identity.

Police were made aware of the incident thanks to individuals operating the Facebook page 'Veteran Doe', who shared an image of the missing Air Force Veteran.

'Michels wasn't missing; he was living at a home in the Terra Bella neighborhood,' authorities confirmed, following further investigation on the matter.

Michels was arrested Thursday and is currently in custody of the United States Air Force.

He was arrested Thursday and is currently in custody of the United States Air Force
He was arrested Thursday and is currently in custody of the United States Air Force

He was arrested Thursday and is currently in custody of the United States Air Force

Michels utilized the last name Lantz on several legal and business documents shortly after his disappearance
Michels utilized the last name Lantz on several legal and business documents shortly after his disappearance

Michels utilized the last name Lantz on several legal and business documents shortly after his disappearance

He used the name in  to obtain a business license from the state of Florida for his construction business called Atlantic Development Corporation
He used the name in  to obtain a business license from the state of Florida for his construction business called Atlantic Development Corporation

He used the name in to obtain a business license from the state of Florida for his construction business called Atlantic Development Corporation

He initially faced charges of desertion, which, according to military.findlaw.com, carries a punishment of 'confinement of five years' while 'desertion during a time of war (carries the possibility) of the death penalty.'

However, the statute of limitations for desertion expired, meaning Michels will stand trial in a military court, according to authorities.

Lt. John P. Longmire told the news station Michels was 'brought back onto active duty at his previous rank of E-3' and given a 'discharge under 'Other Than Honorable' conditions.'

The Air Force Veteran was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, before he moved on to his unpromising career in the military.

The identity of his wife and children have not been released, however, a photo showing the family's Florida home was captured in a video clip from WFTV.

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