FBI announces arrest of Longo, charged with murdering family

Monday, January 14, 2002

Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI has apprehended a man accused of killing his wife and three children last month and dumping their bodies into the Pacific Ocean, the agency said Monday.

"I can confirm" that authorities have Christian Longo in custody, spokesman Bill Carter said.

The bureau had placed Longo on its "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list on Friday.

It said at the time that Longo should be considered "armed, extremely dangerous and an escape risk."

Longo was captured sometime over the weekend in the outskirts of Cancun, Mexico, a law enforcement official said Monday.

This official, discussing the apprehension only on grounds of anonymity, said the apprehension was to be announced later Monday by officials in the FBI's Portland, Ore., field office.

Jim Baker of Traverse City, Mich., father of Longo's wife, Mary Jane, said police notified family members early Monday that Longo had been caught but provided no details. He described his reaction as "a sigh of relief."

Baker said the delay in catching Longo had not burdened him greatly, but had been difficult for his other children.

"I was so busy taking care of things about my daughter that I'd pretty much blocked out thinking about him ... but my kids wanted him caught. They wanted him to pay for what he did to our family," Baker said. "I knew they'd get him eventually. I feel very good about it."

Longo, 27, is accused of killing his wife, who was 34, and children, Zachary, 4, Sadie Ann, 3, and Madison, 2, then dumping their bodies into two Pacific Coast inlets.

The first hint of what happened came Dec. 19, when a child's body was spotted floating in a coastal inlet near Waldport, Ore. No one claimed the child. A little girl was found in the same shallow inlet three days later.

On Christmas Eve, a tip led investigators to Michigan, where family members identified the children as Zachary and Sadie Ann. Their parents had moved to the Newport, Ore., area from Ypsilanti, Mich., about three months earlier, police said.

Divers found the bodies of Mary Jane and Madison two days later in a marina in Newport. Authorities charged Christian Longo with aggravated murder and launched a nationwide manhunt.

Longo was believed to have purchased a plane ticket to Cancun using identification fraudulently obtained from an Oregon man.

The Dodge Durango that Longo allegedly stole from an Oregon car lot was found at San Francisco International Airport in early January. He had been spotted in San Francisco twice in late December, and spent two nights in a city youth hostel.

Longo, who owned a construction cleaning business in Michigan, is named in six lawsuits seeking more than $30,000 and is wanted on two warrants in Michigan for probation violation and a larceny charge. When the Longos moved west last year, they reportedly left behind $60,000 in debts.

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