- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2002

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) At her Catholic school, sixth-grader Christina Long made good grades, led the cheerleading squad and was an altar girl. On the Internet, she used provocative screen names and routinely had sexual relations with partners she met in chat rooms, police said.
They said 13-year-old Christina was strangled by a married restaurant worker she met on the Internet. Her body was found early Monday in a remote ravine in Greenwich.
Saul Dos Reis, 25, an undocumented immigrant from Brazil, confessed Sunday to the killing and led law officers to the body, U.S. Attorney John Danaher III said.
Classes were canceled yesterday at St. Peter School so students and parents could attend a memorial service and meet with grief counselors.
"I'm so devastated," the girl's former teacher Andrea Cappiello said.
"She was a very good student and a very good cheerleader. She was very spirited, just a doll," said Miss Cappiello, who taught Christina's fifth-grade English and religion classes.
But the girl also had a tougher side, Miss Cappiello said.
"She was streetwise," she said. "But you could see the other side coming up, too. It's clear she was very torn in both directions."
Mr. Dos Reis was arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on a charge of using an interstate device the Internet to entice a child into sexual activity. He was ordered held without bond. A bail hearing was scheduled for Friday.
Police said that the teen-ager routinely had sexual relations with partners she met on the Internet, and that she had been with Mr. Dos Reis several times, the News-Times of Danbury reported.
Authorities found e-mail indicating that the two had agreed to meet Friday night. Mr. Dos Reis told police he accidentally strangled Christina while they were having sexual relations in his car in a mall parking lot, the News-Times reported.
Police said Mr. Dos Reis then dumped her body about 25 miles away.
Harold Pickerstein, Mr. Dos Reis' court-appointed attorney, declined to comment on the accusations but said he expected his client to plead not guilty.
Mr. Pickerstein criticized Mr. Danaher for releasing details of the apparent confession.
"It's inappropriate, in my opinion, to discuss evidence in a case in which there has not even been a charge or an indictment," Mr. Pickerstein told the Associated Press.
Christina came to Danbury two years ago to live with her aunt, Shelly Rilling, because her parents had substance-abuse problems.
Miss Rilling, who was awarded custody of the girl, has declined to comment. Police said it appeared that she did not know anything about her niece's online activities.
"There was some pretty graphic stuff," Police Chief Robert Paquette said.
Police said Mr. Dos Reis used the screen name "Hot es300," an apparent reference to a Lexus model.
Mr. Dos Reis has lived in the United States since he arrived here from Brazil at age 10, Officer Paquette said. He attended Greenwich High School and had no criminal record.
He lives in a rented apartment with his wife, a receptionist, and worked long hours at his father-in-law's restaurant in nearby Port Chester, N.Y., neighbor Omar Moreno said.


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