Christian Longo liked money, fast cars and luxury holidays – but surely he wouldn't kill his family for them?
On 19 December 2001, a man reported seeing the body of a small boy floating face down in the water near his home in Oregon.
The boy was identified as 4-year-old Zachery Longo.
Three days later, in nearby waters, divers found a 3-year-old girl’s body. She’d been weighed down – a pillowcase containing a rock tied to her ankle. It was Sadie Ann Longo – Zachery’s sister.
Then, five days on, two suitcases were found. Inside one was the tiny body of Madison Longo, 2. In the other, was her 34-year-old mum, Mary Jane.
Police sought Mary Jane’s husband and the children’s dad, Christian Longo, as a witness. But he was missing, and in serious debt.
By 28 December, Christian, 27, had been charged with the four murders and by January 2002, he’d been arrested in Mexico on suspicion of murder, and deported back to America.
But why would this dad have butchered his family?
Christian Longo claimed to have been a victim of violent abuse in his early years. When he was 3, his mother got divorced and married Joseph Longo, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, who adopted Christian.
Christian became involved in the church, and had a happy childhood. At 17, he met Mary Jane Baker, seven years his senior, through the church.
Unbeknown to her, Christian stole money from the camera shop where he worked, to pay for an engagement ring. When elders at the church found out, they removed him from some of his church duties, but he was not reported to the police.
Mary Jane stuck by him and, two years later, they married.
Christian set up a construction cleaning business. At first it was a success, but then ran into debt. By then Christian had developed an addiction to fast cars, luxury holidays and nice clothes.
Zachery was born in 1997, putting a bigger strain on the finances, as Mary Jane left work. Their next two children arrived shortly after, with huge credit-card debts mounting. Eventually, the family cars were repossessed.
Desperate, Christian took a car for a test drive and never returned it. He hid the theft from Mary Jane, but she Jane grew suspicious. When she checked his emails she discovered he had been emailing another woman. Distraught, she confronted him.
A horrifying confession
Did the call of the wild drive this dad to kill?
It’s believed he told her she wasn’t any fun since having children, and he no longer loved her.
Mary Jane stayed with Christian and his fraudulent ways escalated. He was caught printing false cheques and put on probation. Obsessed with wealth, he got a credit card in his dad’s name and built up $100,000 (£60,000) debt on it.
Then he moved his family to Toledo, Ohio, and continued forging cheques. Managed to blag a condo in Oregon, and got a job in Starbucks.
But Christian sensed his time was running out…
So he strangled his wife and youngest daughter, Madison.
In April 2003, Christian Longo admitted to killing Mary Jane Madison but refused to enter a plea regarding Zachery and Sadie.
Jurors convicted him of all four murders.
A psychological report found Longo suffered from narcissistic personality disorder and he was sentenced to death.