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Family washes up on Oregon coast

By Andrew Kramer The Associated Press
Monday December 31, 2001

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police say a man burdened with debt and a history of petty crime killed his wife and three young children, ditched their bodies in the Pacific Ocean and then fled south to California. 

Christian Longo, 27, is sought on four counts of aggravated murder related to the slaying of his entire family. 

Longo was last seen in San Francisco on Dec. 26, according to District Attorney Bernice Barnett in Lincoln County on the Oregon coast, where the bodies were found. San Francisco police said they are aware Longo might be in the area, and citizens have called saying they might have seen the car authorities said he drove, but have no hard leads. 

Barnett said she decided to issue the warrant Friday after police divers on Thursday pulled the corpses of Longo’s wife, Mary Jane Longo, 35, and 2-year-old daughter, Madison, from a marina near an apartment Longo had rented in Newport. 

A week earlier, the bodies of his other two children were retrieved from a coastal inlet 14 miles south of Newport. 

Barnett said Longo is still believed to be in the Bay Area in California and is considered dangerous. 

“If in fact what we believe is true about what happened to his family, anyone has to be threatened by him,” she said. 

The FBI has placed Longo on its wanted list because he is thought to have crossed state lines. 

Longo, about six feet tall and blond, had a clean cut appearance and typically dressed in slacks, a dress shirt and leather jacket, according to neighbors in Newport. 

At first blush a successful young man, police say in fact he faced a multitude of legal and financial problems. 

Neighbors said Longo told them he held a high paying job with the Qwest telephone company, surveying for clients for high-speed DSL lines on the coast. 

In fact, he worked at a Starbucks shop inside a Newport Fred Meyer grocery store. 

Christian Longo lived alone in an upscale one-bedroom condominium overlooking the ocean in Newport and was visited by his children and wife, according to condominium employees. 

“I heard his wife and kids walking in and out of the place,” said Todd Hecht, maintenance manager at The Landing. 

“It was a normal, happy-go-lucky group. That’s why this whole thing is so baffling.” 

The murders first came to light as when the unidentified body of a boy drifted ashore in Alsea Bay on Dec. 19. 

Residents of a trailer park spotted the boy’s body, small and pale, floating about two feet from shore. 

Police divers retrieved a second body three days later in the shallow bay, and the pair was identified by relatives as Zachary Longo, 5, and Sadie Longo, 3, on Christmas Eve. 

The bodies of Longo’s wife and youngest daughter were taken from Yaquina Bay directly near The Landing condominium. 

Longo, who owned a construction cleaning company in Michigan, has been named in six lawsuits seeking more than $30,000 and is wanted on two warrants in Michigan for probation violation and a charge of larceny by conversion. 

He was convicted in October 2000 for forging $30,000 in checks from builders in Saline, Mich. 

Longo also is wanted on a warrant in Washtenaw County, Mich., for missing meetings with his probation officer following that conviction, police said Friday. 

The Longos also reportedly left $60,000 in debts in Washtenaw County.