By Associated Press - Thursday, July 18, 2019

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) - Authorities have made an arrest in the disappearance and death in 1988 of a 10-year-old Rhode Island girl who was last seen when she was sent to the store by her mother to buy milk, police announced Thursday.

Joao Monteiro, 59, of Central Falls, was tied to the death in January 1988 of Christine Cole, of Pawtucket, through modern DNA technology testing not available at the time of the killing, Pawtucket Detective Sue Cormier said at a news conference.

Monteiro, who was arrested as he left work on Wednesday evening, was held without bail on a murder charge during a court appearance. He did not enter a plea. A telephone message was left with his attorney.

Christine’s body was found nearly two months after she disappeared by a man walking his dog on a beach at Conimicut Point Park in Warwick. A medical examiner determined she had died of “asphyxia with submersion.”

Cormier reopened the case last August shortly after she created a series of playing cards featuring unsolved Pawtucket cases on them. Christine was the Queen of Hearts.

“This one had particular meaning to me because she is a child, I am a mother,” Cormier said. “They are all important, but this one was really important to me.”

Monteiro and Christine did not know each other, but lived in the same Pawtucket neighborhood at the time, Cormier said.

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