A Hawaii couple charged by federal authorities with stealing the identities of dead babies decades ago may have past ties to Russia’s former spy agency, court filings indicate.
US defense contractor Walter Primrose and his wife Gwynn Morrison are accused of living under the names of infants who were less than a year old when they each died, according to a court filing unsealed Friday and posted online by the Daily Beast. Their fake names were of babies Bobby Edward Fort and Julie Lyn Montague.
Primrose, who was also part of the US Coast Guard for decades, used the fake identity to help him obtain documents like drivers’ licenses, passports and Defense Department credentials, which led to him notching secret security clearance with the military and then as a defense contractor.
The couple, both in their late 60s, faces charges, so far, of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit an offense against the US and false statement in an application for a passport after they were arrested on a Hawaiian island Friday.
Federal prosecutors want the couple held without bail with Assistant US Attorney Thomas Muehleck saying old Polaroid photos show the two of them wearing KGB uniforms.
Muehleck also said a “close associate” of Morrison said she lived in Romania when it was a Soviet bloc country.
Prosecutors argued there is a high risk the husband and wife would flee if they weren’t kept behind bars prior to trial, noting Primrose is highly skilled to communicate secretly if released. The couple also had other possible aliases, the feds said.
Primrose and Morrison were both born in 1955 and attended high school and then college together in Texas, court records said, before they married in 1980.
Court records don’t explain why the couple assumed the identities of dead children in 1987, but one special agent in the State Department said in an affidavit the couple lost their Texas home to foreclosure that year.
Primrose enlisted in the Coast Guard when he was 39, although because he did so under Bobby Fort’s identity he was listed as only 27 at the time.
He served as an avionics electrical technician until he retired in 2016 when he worked for a defense contractor at a Coast Guard Air station in Honolulu.
Lawyers for the couple declined comment.
The father of Julie Lyn Montague, who died when she was six weeks old in 1968, was shocked that his daughter’s name was used in the criminal scheme.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” John Montague, 91, told The Associated Press. “The odds are like one-in-a-trillion that they found her and used her name. People stoop to do anything nowadays. Let kids rest in peace.”
With Post wires