Missing Since 1977, Airman Discovered Living Double Life


By Debbie Gregory.

A Florida man is facing a desertion charge after he was found allegedly living under another name more than 40 years after he vanished from his post at a North Dakota Air Force base

Jeffrey Michels, 64, was arrested on charges of desertion after he failed to report for duty at North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base in July, 1977. He remains in the custody of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Originally from East Liverpool, Ohio, Michels was found living under the name “Jeffrey Lantz” in Sanford, FL. In the ensuing decades, he got married, had four children and started a construction business in Florida. Online records show the name Jeffrey Lantz had a certified general contractor license for construction business Atlantic Development Corporation.

A photo of Michels was posted on July 9 to the Facebook group “Veteran Doe” — a website dedicated to bringing “attention to the many missing veteran/active duty cases and unidentified person cases where there is a possible military connection.”

“Often the missing person turns out to be a John or Jane Doe case,” Amelia Pearn, the Facebook page administrator who first posted Michel’s picture.

“I was surprised by the results of this one,” Pearn says. “I’m glad he is alive though.”

The Veteran Doe post was deleted after Michels was discovered.

Due to the fact that there is no statute of limitations for deserting a military post, Michels will stand trial in military court.

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