Christina Long was 13 years old on May 17, 2002. Saul Dos Reis, an illegal alien from Brazil, strangled her after he sexually abused her. Reis eventually confessed to police and led them to the secluded area where they found the sixth grader—face down in the creek where Reis attempted to dispose of her body. (1)
Christina moved to Greenwich, Connecticut two years prior to live with her aunt, Shelly Riling. As an honor student, altar girl and cheerleader at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Danbury, she outwardly appeared to have overcome past troubles with divorced parents and their substance abuse. (2)
“I’m so devastated,” said Christina’s former fifth grade teacher, Andrea Cappiello, “She was a very good student and a very good cheerleader. She was very spirited, just a doll.” (2)
The only evening Christina was unsupervised by her aunt was on Fridays when she went to the mall with friends. On Friday, May 17th, Riling could not find Christina.
Christina met the married Reis in an internet chat room and allegedly had previous sexual encounters with him. Reis told police he accidentally strangled the sixth-grader while having ‘rough’ sex with her in his car. (1) (3)
Riling thought Christina was safer in the house on the computer than outside playing with friends. As a webmaster, she had no idea Christina was communicating with sexual predator Reis. Riling believed she was adequately monitoring her computer use.
Reis denied being a sexual predator. He said, “I was just trying to make another friend.” (1) He was given the maximum sentence for manslaughter, 30 years in prison.