At one point, it seemed that Lance Tyler Hering had found a happy ending to his incredible story. Rather than return to Iraq as a Marine, Hering cooked up an elaborate scheme in which he would disappear in an Eldorado Canyon climbing accident. An expensive search did not locate his body -- and a year later, Hering was arrested, very much alive, in Washington state.
Hering spent 33 days in the Camp Pendleton brig for desertion. And in 2009, he accepted a plea deal from Boulder County that included eighteen months of probation and ongoing treatment for head injuries sustained in Iraq.
Which it looks like he'll need.
Hering made it through that probation, but he's in trouble again. This past weekend the now-27-year-old Hering was arrested in Boulder on suspicion of unlawful conduct: Police report that they answered a call from his roommates and found Hering drunk and violent, wearing only a pair of pants and having trouble standing. He told officers he'd had seven to ten shots of vodka earlier in the evening and had become distraught thinking about his tours in Iraq.
The ones he actually did.
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Hering now has another court date in Boulder on September 19.
Hering's best friend, Steve Powers, had helped him fake his disappearance, and issued the call that set off a massive search, which used up many many hours and cost $33,000. Powers got a plea deal, too: He had to stay out of trouble for eighteen months and complete 200 hours of community service.
Read our 2007 cover story about the friendship and Hering's fake disappearance in "An Uphill Battle."
Some people lie about ever being in Iraq: Rick Strandlof pretended to be a decorated vet, but he was never in the service. Click to read Kelsey Whipple's "Will the Real Rick Strandlof please stand up?"