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Hawaiian Couple With Alleged Ties To Soviet KGB Accused Of Stealing Dead Babies' Identities

Walter Primrose and his wife, Gwynn Morrison, are accused of stealing dead babies identities, which Primrose allegedly used to join the U.S. Coast Guard and gain security clearances. Authorities allege they may also have ties to the KGB.

By Jill Sederstrom
Police handouts of Gwynn Morrison and Walter Primrose

A Texas man with alleged ties to the KGB is accused of stealing the identity of a dead baby, then living under the assumed name for decades in Hawaii where he joined the U.S. Coast Guard, obtained a secret security clearance and secured identifying documents under his fake persona.

Walter Glenn Primrose and his wife, Gwynn Darle Morrison — who is also accused of masquerading under the name of a baby who died in the 1960s — are now facing charges of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy and false statements in application and use of a passport. Federal authorities also contend that both may have ties to Russian intelligence, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.

The mysterious scheme allegedly began in the 1980s: Primrose and Morrison, both now 67, went to high school together in Port Lavaca, Texas and spent time at Stephen F. Austin University before marrying in 1980 and buying a home in Nacogdoches, Texas the following year.

Their home went into foreclosure in 1987 — the same year that federal authorities allege Primrose and Morrison assumed the identities of two American-born infants who died in the 1960s.

Primrose allegedly took on the persona of Bobby Edward Fort, who actually died in 1967 of asphyxia less than a year after his birth, while Morrison allegedly obtained a Texas birth certificate for Julie Lynn Montague, who actually died in 1968, according to the criminal complaint.

“It was part of the conspiracy that Primrose and Morrison engaged in a scheme, by which, they both unlawfully assumed the identities of deceased United States citizens and obtain the means of identification of another person,” the complaint states.

Using the ill-gotten Texas birth certificates, authorities said the pair obtained Texas driver’s licenses and new Social Security cards under the assumed names that same year.

“Records obtained during this investigation revealed that within a six-month period, Primrose and Morrison had successfully assumed the identities of ‘Bobby Edward Fort’ and ‘Julie Lyn Montague’ respectively,” authorities wrote.

The couple remarried under the new identities in 1988, authorities say.

In 1994, Primrose — who was then 39 years old — allegedly enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and the couple ultimately moved to Hawaii, where they allegedly obtained driver’s licenses under their assumed names.

Even though Primrose was legally eight years over the maximum enlistment age for the U.S. Coast Guard at the time, his assumed identity listed his age as 27 years old and made him eligible for service, authorities say.

"Fort" remained in the U.S. Coast Guard until 2016, when he retired and began working for a Department of Defense contractor. He was still working there at the time of his arrest.

Federal authorities allege that, beginning in 1996, Primrose was also able to obtain five successive passports under the name Bobby Edward Fort. (He also obtained a passport under his own legal name of Primrose.)

Morrison also received three successive passports using the Montague identity, according to the court documents.

Federal prosecutors are hoping the couple now stays behind bars and is held without bond. To support their request, they offered up photos of the pair in what appears to be KGB uniforms. (The KGB was the Soviet-era intelligence agency; its successor agency in post-Soviet Russia is called the FSB.)

Handout photos of Walter Primrose and Gwynn Morrison in their KGB uniforms

Authorities also argued in documents obtained by The Daily Beast that there is some evidence to suggest that Fort and Montague may not have been the only other names they used, and referenced correspondence they had found in their home that referred to two by yet other names.

A “close associate” of Morrison’s also told investigators that she had once lived in Romania and federal prosecutors argued that, as an avionics technician in the Coast Guard, Primrose would have the electronic skills to “be able to communicate surreptitiously with others if released from pretrial confinement.”

Retired FBI agent Tom Simon told Hawaii News Now that he thinks prosecutors filed the initial charges against the couple to “get these people off the streets and begin negotiating with them and seeing what they know.”

Simon said he was struck by the length of the alleged criminal activity, which spanned decades.

“It’s absolutely staggering to me the amount of time and effort the Russians put into this particular project,” he said. “This was not a quick hit to steal some records to get back. This was decades in the making.”

They are expected to appear in court Thursday.

As federal authorities raided their Kapolei home Friday and took the couple into custody, those who lived nearby said they were shocked by the allegations against them, according to Hawaii News Now.

“When we would drive by, they’d always give us a wave,” said neighbor Joshua Guieb-Pangan, describing the couple as friendly.

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