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, PEOPLE confirms.
Jeffrey Michels, 64, was arrested on Thursday and charged with military desertion, according to a spokeswoman with the Seminole County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office.
Michels was handed over to the U.S. Air Force that same day, the spokeswoman says. He remains in custody.
On July 6, 1977, Michels failed to report to the Minot Air Force Base in northwest North Dakota, McClatchy reports, citing the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
In the ensuing decades, he allegedly changed his name to Jeffrey Lantz, got married, had children and started a construction business in Florida.
Michels, originally from Ohio, was recently found living in Sanford, Florida, with his wife and four children, according to local TV station WFTV. In 1998, he allegedly used his fake name to obtain a license for his construction business, Atlantic Development Corporation, the station reports.
The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE. It was unclear Wednesday if Michels has entered a plea or retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
He will stand trial in military court, WFTV reports.
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For years, Michels had gone unnoticed — until July, when administrators with the “Veteran Doe” Facebook page shared an old photo of him and details of his disappearance.
The group took down his photo after learning that the case had been resolved.
“Often the missing person turns out to be a John or Jane Doe case,” Amelia Pearn, the page administrator who first posted Michel’s picture, tells PEOPLE.
“I was surprised by the results of this one,” Pearn says. “I’m glad he is alive though.”
Authorities identified him thanks to a a scar on his left leg, according to McClatchy.
Neighbors told WFTV that they were shocked about Michels’ past.
“It’s very interesting the fact that he moved into the neighborhood,” one said. “He set himself up as being in construction … and to find this out that he has a second life. It’s totally unbelievable that somebody could live that long without being caught.”