Ship Captain Who Moved to Galveston With Lover After Husband's Murder Gets Prison Time for Living Under False Identity

A woman living in Galveston for the past two decades as a ship captain has been sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for stealing the identity of an infant who died the year she was born.Cynthia Knox, who had been living under the stolen name Christina White, was known around town as "Captain Christina," the Houston Chronicle reports. She moved to Galveston in the mid-nineties from California with John Litchfield, with whom she started a cruise business. The two were reportedly persons of interest in the slaying of Knox's husband Harold Lyerla in 1988. Lyerla's sister told the Chronicle that Knox and Litchfield had an affair throughout Knox's relationship with Lyerla. The two were also briefly married, a year after Lyerla's death. Another man went to prison for her husband's death, Victor Parea, who maintained that he was set up. During the trial, Knox disappeared and Litchfield pleaded the Fifth Amendment to not testify. Two months later the couple divorced, leading one attorney to believe that they only married so they were unable to testify against one another, according to the Chronicle.Around the time Knox and Litchfield got married in 1989, Knox's daughter with her ex-husband, Kajsa, drowned in a shallow pond. Harold Lyerla's mother sued the pair, accusing them of conspiring to kill Harold and Kajsa to cash in on their life insurance policies. The case was dismissed after an appeals court ruled Lyerla's mother didn't have the legal standing to sue. Knox's new identity unraveled when she filled out a routine Coast Guard application for her job as a captain. Despite living under the new alias for decades, last year the application turned up a fingerprint match -- leading authorities to the South Shore Harbor Marina in March 2016 for an arrest. In March, Knox pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and making false statements in a passport application.California police have interviewed Knox since her arrest, and Harold Lyerla's murder case remains open.  Continue reading...

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