Sources: Missing Afghan trainees likely rented car

Sources: Missing Afghan trainees likely rented car
The two were last seen on Dec. 4, and reported missing on Dec. 8 after they did not report for duty. (Source: WALB)
Irene Taylor (Source: WALB)
Irene Taylor (Source: WALB)
Retired veteran Wayne Hughes (Source: WALB)
Retired veteran Wayne Hughes (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Investigators are looking into whether two missing Afghan trainees at Moody Air Force Base may have rented a car from an airport.

Air Force officials said the two men have been training with the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody, part of a program to train pilots and maintenance crew members on Afghan A-29 Super Tucano fighter planes.

They were last seen Friday during normal hours at the base, and did not report for duty Monday morning.

Sources said Moody Air Force officials told law enforcement agencies they believe the two missing men were no longer in the Valdosta area.

Law enforcement agencies in the Valdosta area confirmed they received an alert about the missing men on Tuesday.

When asked about the missing men, the managers of both rental car companies at the Valdosta airport declined to comment. The airport's manager also declined to say anything.

Air Force and Defense officials said there was no reason to believe either of the two posed any kind of threat.

People in the Valdosta area said they were still worried about the situation.

Irene Taylor owns the Discount Alterations store on Bemiss road right near the base. She said she can't help but think the worst.

"We need to find them. We need to find them because otherwise it's dangerous for everybody here," said Taylor.

Moody officials said they would not be releasing the names of the two men or any pictures of them.

Retired Veteran Wayne Hughes lives in Ray City, and said he is still skeptical.

"I don't believe it," he said. "That's my response. I don't believe it. They do not know what's in those people's minds."

Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress told the Associated Press that there was "zero evidence" the men are terrorists.

Lowndes county Sheriff Chris Prine said they will continue to remain vigilant and will assist if requested by law enforcement on the base.

The 81st Fighter Squadron was reactivated in January, and charged with training the Afghan students.

Moody Air Force Base is located about 14 miles northeast of Valdosta, Georgia.

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