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Missing James Michael Welter
Welter, circa 1986
Missing Since 01/01/1986
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 10/02/1951 (69)
Age 34 years old
Height and Weight 5'7, 160 pounds
Clothing/Jewelry Description Civilian clothing, but he may have been carrying military accessories such as a web belt or military identification.
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Welter's nickname is Jimmy. He has a mustache.
Details of Disappearance Welter was last seen in Ocean Springs, Mississippi in early January, 1986. He disappeared a day or two after he was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) after having a minor accident on New Years' Day. He lived in Jefferson Davis Apartments at the time, and was a staff sergeant at Keesler Air Force Base. He was on leave when he disappeared and was scheduled to return to duty on January 6, but never arrived.
The Air Force listed him as absent without leave (AWOL) on January 8. Welter's court date for the DUI charge was on January 15; he never showed up. He left behind his checkbook, savings book, passport and other personal belongings.
Welter was driving a blue 1978 Ford Grenada at the time of his disappearance; it was later located being driven by another man. The man told authorities he'd bought the car on a salvage bond from two unidentified individuals in March 1986.
There has been no activity on Welter's Social Security number since January 1986. Private investigators hired by his family believe he may have taken another name and moved to Shreveport, Louisiana with a girlfriend, but this has not been confirmed.
Welter, one of ten children, grew up in Illinois and attended Grant High School and Lake County College, where he was a champion athlete. He was declared legally dead in 2002, and his family held a memorial service. His case remains unsolved.
Investigating Agency / Department
Air Force Office of Criminal Investigations