Vietnam War deserter found in Florida retirement community
MARION COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It's a story more than four decades in the making.
Marion County deputies helped apprehend an accused Vietnam War deserter Tuesday morning. According to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, 75-year-old Linley Benson Lemburg lived in The Falls retirement community in Ocala under the false name William Michael Robertson for years.
We knew he was married, but when we knocked on his door, we discovered a wife who appeared to be shattered and in shock. She said, while fighting through tears, that she had no idea her beloved husband had kept this from her all these years.
Neighbor Shirley Strickland says, "I'm just stunned. I really am. He was the first to console people!"
Marion County deputies say they apprehended Lemburg with no resistance and took him to the Sheriff's Office where latent fingerprint technicians confirmed his identity by matching his fingerprints to prints the Air Force had from his enlistment.
Deputies then transported him to Mac Dill AirForce Base in Tampa for questioning. According to MacDill AirForce Base Spokesman Terry Montrose, Lemburg will be court-martialed on formal charges of desertion from a post in the United States in 1972.
According to Marion County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lauren Lettelier, "Whether he has defrauded the government in any way shape or form will have to be investigated. We'll have to see what happened."
Strickland says, "He must have lived a horrible life knowing he did that -- he must have been sorry."
We learned from the U.S. Air Force that, ironically, Lemburg's position when he was reported AWOL was that of an agent whose job it was to track down deserters.