Global Travel Media » Blog Archive » Fingerprints expose cruise captain’s stolen identity

Home » Headline News » Currently Reading:

Fingerprints expose cruise captain’s stolen identity

April 6, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Fingerprints taken during the course of a murder investigation have led to the downfall of a female cruise captain, who pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and making false statements in a passport application, having stolen the identity of an infant who died at birth.

Cynthia Lyerla, 53, a ship captain for Majestic Ventures, Majestic Dinner Cruises and Majestic Yacht Charters dinner cruise lines – operations based in Texas – entered a guilty plea to the charges, acting US Attorney Abe Martinez confirmed.

Lyerla admitted obtaining the birth certificate of Christina White in 1992 and then using that identity to obtain a second Social Security number. She was also able to obtain driver’s licences, passports, mariner licences and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) documentation allowing her to enter secure port areas.

Without a mariner licence and TSA documentation, Lyerla would not be allowed to captain the ships for the dinner cruise companies.

The real Christina White died in 1965 on the same day she was born.

Cynthia Lynn Knox was born in 1964, later married Harold Lyerla and took his name. The marriage ended when Harold Lyerla was murdered in 1988 in Lompoc, California. Although another person was convicted for that crime, Lyerla’s fingerprints were taken by local police in the course of the investigation.

Since that time, Lyerla used the identity of Christina White, providing her date and place of birth, Social Security number and parents’ names in order to apply for and obtain various legal documents.

Authorities discovered Lyerla’s true identity when her fingerprints were taken in connection with a mariner licence application and compared to those taken in 1988 and 1989 during the investigation into the murder of her husband. Additionally, a retired California police detective came forward. He had investigated that murder and he positively identified the defendant as Lyerla.

Lyerla now faces up to 10 years in prison for making false statements in a passport application as well as a mandatory 24 months jail for the aggravated identity theft which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.

US District Judge George C. Hanks accepted Lyerla’s plea and set sentencing for 7 June 2017. Until then, Lyela is permitted to remain on bail.

Written by Peter Needham

Comment on this Article:

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Platinium Partnership


Elite Partnership Sponsors


Premier Partnership Sponsors


Official Media Event Partner


Global Travel media endorses the following travel publication