An Air Force officer with top security clearance who vanished 35 years ago and was arrested in California last week worked for years as a consultant for the University of California system, former colleagues said.
University system colleagues knew William Howard Hughes Jr. as a personable, brainy number cruncher for the system’s vast health benefits program, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations said Hughes was charged with desertion and is being held at Travis Air Force Base in California. They said he was living under the name Barry O’Beirne.
Official records show that O’Beirne used Timothy as a middle name.
“This just floors me,” Judy Boyette said, a San Francisco attorney who signed O’Beirne’s consulting contracts when she ran human resources and benefits at UC more than a decade ago. Looking at a photo of her former colleague in custody, Boyette was stunned. “My gosh, that’s Tim! Oh, my word. That is unbelievable. But that’s him! Wow.”