He might have joined the military. In 1970 we were still in the middle of Vietnam and they took people pretty fast. A lot of guys got away from the law by joining the military. That's not as easy today since we have computers to check everything. They didn't have them then. Just a thought.
The known facts tend to indicate otherwise.
The first year Michael Cline was on the run his parents made frequent trips to Acapulco, Mexico and to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. LE had the border patrols watching for Cline as the FBI believed that he was in Mexico, at least for a while. During the second year his parents abruptly cancelled another planned trip to St. Thomas, never to return. The FBI believed that Cline was back in the US by the fall of 1971 spring of 1972 attending college under an alias.
At Christmas time 1971 Michael Cline phoned a friend in Lees Summit and said he was attending school and was well. When asked by LE where Cline was living or attending school, the friend said that Cline didnt say and he didnt ask. It has always been my contention that this friend knows more than he has ever told. And after all of these years it is unlikely that he will ever say anything more.
It is important to remember that Michael Cline had never been issued a social security card. In those days you werent issued a card shortly after birth; only when you went to work at your first part-time job, usually as a teenager. Since his family was said to be affluent for the times Michael had never had a job.
It is also important to remember that Cline had never been fingerprinted for any reason. He had never registered with the draft board. He had no prior criminal history. And he had a new passport with over 4 yrs remaining on it. Even if Cline, using an alias should be arrested even today for some offense in the US it is not likely that he would be identified.
The FBI was aware of one angle working against Cline. If he was attending college he would have had to apply and be accepted using only a GED or other high school equivalency test. He could not have used his high school transcripts and diploma to apply for admission.
The Cline family quickly closed ranks and refused to discuss their son or his whereabouts. A Federal Grand Jury was convened in 1972 and 8 family members were subpoenaed to appear: his parents; 2 sisters; brother; 1 grandmother; aunt; favorite cousin. All 8 testified that Michael Cline was dead but refused to furnish a death certificate or any further details.
When his father Donald Cline died in 1988 the obituary failed to mention a son named Michael as either a survivor or as preceding Donald in death. Its as if Michael had never existed.