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Woman convicted after using stolen identity of dead child for decades

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Woman caught when she used stolen identity to get marriage license, Pooja Lodhia reports. (KTRK)

A 53-year-old League City woman is heading to prison for the next three years, after admitting to living under a stolen identity for decades.

Federal prosecutors say Cynthia Lyerla has been going by the name of Christina White, stealing the identity of a child who was born and died in 1965.

"In a strange way, she's been relieved since her arrest," Lyerla's attorney John Floyd said. "She's been leading this double life for all these years.

Lyerla's husband was murdered back in 1988 in California.

Another person was convicted for the crime, but prosecutors said police took Lyerla's fingerprints during the investigation.

Soon afterward, Lyerla moved to League City and became Christina White -- a ship captain for Majestic Dinner Cruises.

"She obtained this ID 30 years ago when it was much easier to do those kinds of things," Floyd explained. "She just floated through the system. She obtained federal licenses, they did background checks. None of it ever came up."

Nobody suspected anything until prosecutors say Lyerla tried to use her stolen identity to get a mariner's license.

The fingerprints she provided didn't match and Lyerla admitted to the crime.

"In her own mind, she had almost forgotten about what got her to this point," added Floyd.

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