Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trials of Christian Longo


On that rainy night on the Oregon coast, Christian Longo broke down. He was financially and morally bankrupt. He came home from work to a home with the five mouths to feed, house and clothe, and he had no food, nothing but a trail of debt, deception and crime, and no prospects of paying the rent or buying groceries. The world had closed in on him.  He'd been in that situation too long and taken his family on the wild ride with him. He knew they deserved better. They deserved better than he could provide, and based on his track record, he didn't think he could give it to him.

But there was a better place he could send them. They'd be better off, and the pressure would be lifted from his overburdened shoulders.

On December 18, employees at the motel where the Longo family had stayed for a while in November, found baby clothes, women's clothing, family photos, the Longo children's baby books and MaryJane Longo's Michigan identification in their dumpster. An employee at the motel left a message for Chris at the Fred Meyer, where he worked at Starbucks. When the manager delivered the message that his family's photos and baby items had been found, Longo responded that his kids must have left some of their stuff when they moved.

He never picked up the belongings.

The next day, December 19, Longo told co-workers that MaryJane had been involved in a three-year affair. She had taken the children and moved home to Michigan. They would not be back.

Also that day, a Dodge Durango was discovered missing from an auto dealership, just south of Portland. In its place was the stolen red Montana minivan Longo had been driving. Inside it were toys, sleeping bags, cell phones and diving gear. The van also had a book titled Running from the Law, and pillowsincluding one without a pillowcase.