'America's Most Wanted' Puts Heat on Hunt for Longo
January 3, 2002, 11:00 AM
By Teresa Bell,
The well-known anchor of the national television program "America's Most Wanted" is putting pressure on Christian Longo, the Oregon man accused of killing his entire family.
John Walsh said, in an interview on KGW-TV, that "America's Most Wanted" will send a strong message out to Longo in an upcoming program: "Don't do the dumb thing, surrender right now. Turn yourself in before you destroy somebody else's life."
Authorities across the nation began searching for Longo after his wife and three children turned up dead in waters along the Oregon coast last month.
Considered "Extremely Dangerous"
"Killing three beautiful young children, he is a very dangerous, psychotic person. I'm really surprised he's been out there this long," Walsh said. "It's pretty obvious that this guy is very smart and he has been able to stay out there way longer than anybody thought he could."
The segment on "America's Most Wanted" will be ready for broadcast on January 12th. Walsh said the FBI asked for help from his crime-fighting program because Longo is considered "extremely dangerous".
"Our responsibility is to help local authorities in Oregon find Longo and arrest him and return him to Oregon to face the local charges," said Charles Matthews, with the Portland division of the FBI.
New Twist in Search
The FBI is also focusing on fast food restaurants and coffee shops across the nation.
Mathews said Longo has a history of working in fast food restaurants, and he may have taken a job somewhere in the country after leaving Newport. Longo worked at a Starbucks coffee shop inside a Fred Meyer grocery store in Newport last fall.
Investigators made the heartbreaking discovery of the bodies of Christian's wife MaryJane Longo and two-year-old daughter Madison in Yaquina Bay on December 27th. The other children, Zachary and Sadie were found in Alsea Bay in Waldport a week earlier.
Crews from "America's Most Wanted" traveled to both locations to videotape the scenes. They also interviewed investigators and people who knew the family.
Now, relatives of MaryJane Longo are coming forward to talk about the case.
"It tears at parts of your heart you never knew it could hurt," said Mark Baker, MaryJane's brother.
MaryJane and Christian were married for nine years. During that time, Christian developed a rap sheet for writing bad checks and building up tens of thousands of dollars in debts. "He's been able to con a lot of people out of different things. This is his hidden past," Walsh said.
"Baker (center) and his family are horrified over what happened.
"Three small innocent children… We just can't understand it. You look at your own and you think: 'how could anyone even think of doing something like that?'"
The manhunt has stretched from San Francisco, where he was spotted after Christmas, to as far away as Interstate 380 between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, where people say they saw him on December 30th. Police think Christian was driving a green Dodge Durango.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department realized quickly it wouldn't be easy to track down their suspect. "We made a request to 'America's Most Wanted' for help, I believe through the FBI," explained Lt. Ed Stallard.
MaryJane Longo's relatives said they won't rest until Christian is found.
"We can't sleep at night, we're in fear ourselves. If he's capable of doing something like this, what else is he capable of?" said Baker.
A memorial service for the Longo family is scheduled for Friday at noon in Yaquina Bay State Park in Newport.
America's Most Wanted" anchor John Walsh also planned to appear on NBC's Today Show Thursday morning to put a spotlight on the investigation. But due to technical problems, his interview was canceled.
"If he (Longo) is still out there by next week, he will be the top of our show ("America's Most Wanted").
We are hoping that people will call in," Walsh said.
John Walsh Talks About Longo Case