July 19, 2020

Christine Cole // Rhode Island // 20

Christine Cole // Rhode Island // 20

Christine Cole left her home to buy groceries for her mother two days after her 10th birthday.  Her body was discovered 54 days later and the case remained unsolved for more than three decades.  After the case was reopened in 2018, DNA was checked in a database.  The closest match ended up being a man that wasn't born when Christine disappeared.  The DNA matched his father, but criminal charges will not be pursued at this time.


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Just two days after her 10th birthday, Christine Cole disappeared on a chilly evening from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She left her home around sunset on January 6th, 1988 to buy groceries for her mother, but sadly, she never made it back. Christine's lifeless body washed up on a beach about 15 miles away in the city of Warwick, 54 days later. This case actually remained unsolved for more than three decades. The Pawtucket Police ended up reopening the case in August of 2018 and discovered evidence that had been submitted for forensics testing earlier, wasn't included in the case file. The results had actually been returned in 2010 and revealed there was blood from a male on the inside of Christine's pants.

Further testing was requested on the blood sample as there had been new advances in technology. The results produced a larger genetic profile, which was then checked against a DNA database that was maintained by the Rhode Island Department of Health. The closest match ended up being a 26-year-old male that wasn't even born yet at the time of Christine's disappearance. He happened to be in the database because he had served prison time on charges of conspiracy and possession of stolen motor vehicle parts. Investigators began looking into the man's father, Joao Monteiro. 

Montiero was born in 1960 and would have been 28-years-old when Christine vanished. When they ran a background check, it showed that he had lived at several addresses in Christine's neighborhood, including an apartment directly above the market where Christine was last seen in 1988. Monteiro actually bounced around to 19 different addresses in Pawtucket and Central Falls over a 30 year time frame. 

Here's a snapshot of what this guy's rap sheet looks like. 

-In 1989 he was arrested on two counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon. He pleaded no contest and was given two years probation

-In 1996 he was charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, he pleaded no contest

-In 2009 and 2011 he was arrested on DUI charges by North Providence and Cumberland police. The North Providence case was dismissed and the Cumberland charge ended with an amended conviction of reckless driving.

The police had to trail Monteiro because he wasn't residing at any of the listed addresses. They found that he would park his car at work, between two large delivery trucks, so it was impossible to see his vehicle from the street. All the other employees parked in the front parking lot out in the open. At home, he would park behind the building next door to where he lived and never parked at his actual residence. 

A search warrant was obtained to collect swab samples from Monteiro and it matched the DNA found on Christine's pants and Monteiro was arrested at his place of work.

Now, unfortunately, police announced in January of this year that they do not have sufficient evidence to prosecute Monteiro. They said, the DNA and other evidence, as it exists at the present time, doesn't narrow the field of those culpable for the death of Christine Cole to the degree necessary to move forward with prosecution of the defendant. 

The DNA was run through a database and while it didn't exclude Monteiro, it also doesn't exclude all of his paternal male relatives. That means, they can't eliminate his father, brothers, uncles and cousins on his father's side. Prosecutors say that if they haven't excluded all of these people, and there is no other evidence establishing that he committed the murder, criminal charges will not be pursued. 


Police arrest suspect in decades-old cold case murder of 10-year-old girl after obtaining DNA sample


What we know about the man accused of killing Christine Cole


Unsolved 1988 Murders of Two Young Girls In Rhode Island