Houston area dinner cruise captain of pretending to be dead person for 20 years

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League City cruise captain arrested for stealing the identity of a dead woman. But does she have a dark past?

A Texas woman is facing four federal charges related to using a stolen identity for more than 20 years.

She is known around League City, Texas as Christina White, a captain for Majestic Ventures, which is a company that does dinner cruises and weddings on yachts. Her real name is Cynthia Lyerla. The real Christina White died in 1965.

The feds say Lyerla, 52, used the dead woman's name, date, place of birth, and her Social Security number to get all sorts of government documents and licenses. The U.S. Attorney's Office says: "This indictment alleges her true identity was confirmed after her fingerprints were taken in connection with a mariner license application."

Her prints were taken while police in California investigated her husband's murder back in 1988. Another man was convicted. She was never charged.

"Our family is just thrilled," says Lyerla's former sister-in-law Linda Pickhart.

Pickhart said she knew Lyerla skipped town with a man named John and that she went by Christina White. That John is Captain John, the owner of Majestic Ventures. He said that she feared for her life in California and was instructed by an attorney to disappear. He also said the mariner license to drive their yachts was her only way of making money.

We're told the feds were at his office looking for anything with Christina White's name on it Thursday.

Her former in-laws told KTRK in Houston they were hoping she was arrested for something more serious.

"Apparently not. But we're thrilled with this. You never know," Pickhart said.

They're hoping something more comes out of this arrest: "That justice is served for my brother."

Lyerla is due back in court Friday. She has been declared a flight risk.

Meanwhile, Captain John says this has nothing to do with his business.

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