US defense contractor, wife charged with stealing identities of dead children

Walter Primrose and his wife Gwynn Morrison were accused of stealing the identities of Bobby Edward Fort, an infant boy who died in 1967, and Julie Lyn Montague, a baby girl who died in 1968.

 Walter Primrose and his wife Gwynn Morrison, who lived in Romania when it was within the Communist bloc, appear in undated photographs apparently wearing uniforms of the KGB, in court papers charging the Hawaii couple with identity theft and conspiring against the federal government filed in Hawaii (photo credit: REUTERS)
Walter Primrose and his wife Gwynn Morrison, who lived in Romania when it was within the Communist bloc, appear in undated photographs apparently wearing uniforms of the KGB, in court papers charging the Hawaii couple with identity theft and conspiring against the federal government filed in Hawaii
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A US defense contractor with secret security clearance and his wife lived for decades under the aliases of two dead children, according to court papers charging the Hawaii couple with identity theft and conspiring against the federal government.

Walter Primrose and his wife Gwynn Morrison, who are in their 60s, were accused of stealing the identities of Bobby Edward Fort, an infant boy who died in 1967, and Julie Lyn Montague, a baby girl who died in 1968, according to a complaint filed in Hawaii federal court.

Since 1987, the couple have used the identities of the children, who were from Texas, to obtain driver's licenses, social security numbers and passports, the complaint said.

US prosecutors did not allude to a motive in court documents for the couple's decision to steal the childrens' identities.

In a motion filed ahead of a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday, prosecutors said Primrose had secret security clearance throughout his time as an avionics electrical technician with the Coast Guard and as a contractor.

Silhouette of a spy agent. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Silhouette of a spy agent. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

"Primrose through his work in the Coast Guard as an avionics electrical technician has become highly skilled in electronics and would be able to communicate surreptitiously with others if released from pretrial confinement," they wrote.

The couple's background

Primrose failed to report several trips to Canada as required under his secret clearance status, although he did report other foreign travel, the detention motion said.

Morrison lived in Romania when it was within the Communist bloc, and federal agents seized photographs of the pair apparently wearing uniforms of the KGB, the former Soviet Committee for State Security, the motion said.

Primrose also used Fort's identity to enlist in the US Coast Guard in 1994, US prosecutors said in the complaint. He used it until he retired and began working as a Department of Defense contractor in 2016.

Primrose and Morrison have been in custody since their arrest on Friday. Their attorneys were not immediately available for comment.