San Francisco

Daly City Neighbors Stunned Man is Air Force Fugitive

Neighbors of a man accused of deserting the Air Force and assuming a fake identity for 35 years say he was quiet, pleasant and always wore a San Francisco Giants cap.

Residents of the quiet tree-lined street in Daly City, south of San Francisco, said Monday that they were stunned to see news reports identifying their neighbor as William Howard Hughes Jr.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations says Hughes was an officer with top security clearance who disappeared in New Mexico in 1983 and was arrested in California last week.

The neighbors confirmed that photographs of Hughes were the man they knew as "Tim."

"Tim. Just simply, Tim," said Larry Laurel, who lives across the street. "He’s the best neighbor a guy could ever have, around here."

Neighbors said he lived with a woman named Anna and kept to himself aside from talking about the Giants, his favorite team.

"Unbelievable. I mean there’s no way, it’s Tim," neighbor June Dayao said. "He worked as an actuary and is supposed to be retired."

Hughes told authorities after his capture Wednesday that he was depressed about being in the Air Force and decided to leave.

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

NBC Bay Area's Sam Brock contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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