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Lakin was born in Portland, Michigan and graduated from Michigan Technical University in Houghton with a degree in mining engineering. He served with the United States Marines during the Korean War as a Mandarin Chinese translator. Lakin married his wife after his discharge from the Marines. The couple worked together for the United States Army Corps Of Engineers in South Dakota. They had seven children together and relocated to the Omaha, Nebraska area in 1964. The couple's youngest son died during that time period and they divorced.
Lakin moved to Michigan to be near his family sometime after his son's death. He was employed part-time in property surveying and construction. Lakin began traveling around the United States in 1980. He often called his relatives and let them know his location. Lakin was in Corona, California near the Mexican border during Easter weekend in April, 1981. He called his family in Michigan and asked them to wire money so he could return home. Lakin has never been heard from again.
One of Lakin's daughters actively searched for her father until 2000, when she decided to initiate the process of declaring him legally deceased. There has been no activity on Lakin's Social Security number since 1981. There were no objections to the process from other relatives and Lakin was declared deceased in Nebraska in September 2001. His family held a memorial service for him in November 2001.
Lakin's daughter believes that her father suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness and that with treatment, he would have recovered and not disappeared. His daughter was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder some time ago.
Douglas County Sheriff's Office