Pawtucket police made a massive break in a January 1988 murder of a 10-year-old girl and arrested a suspect in connection to the death, according to multiple sources.
Joao Monteiro, of Central Falls, Rhode Island, was arrested overnight and charged with the murder of Christine Cole. She went missing more than three decades ago after her mother asked her to leave their West Avenue home in Pawtucket to get milk and clams for dinner.
At the time of her disappearance, detectives confirmed Cole had made it to the market where she bought the milk and some gumballs. Later, she walked to a now-closed seafood market to pick up the clams, which was the last place she was seen.
Officers scoured the state for Cole, hoping to find her alive. After 54 days, a man walking his dog on a beach at Conimicut Point Park in Warwick noticed what he thought was a mannequin or doll in the sand.
Sadly, that was little Christine Cole that had washed up onto the beach…
Monteiro was arraigned and ordered held without bail. A bail hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1.
Police said DNA testing led to Monteiro’s arrest. When the case was reopened in 2018, police found a blood sample of the suspect from inside the victim’s pants. A DNA test resulted in a partial match to Monteiro’s son, who was incarcerated in 2014 and submitted a DNA sample for an unrelated conviction. His son obviously couldn’t really have done much considering he was born four years after Cole was found dead. The match, however, pointed police to his relatives.
Police ultimately discovered the son’s father, Monteiro, was living above the market where Cole was last seen at the time of her disappearance. This doesn’t mean they knew each other, but it does look bad on him.
In an attempt to get Monteiro’s fingerprints and a DNA sample, police rummaged through his trash and mail, which ultimately failed. Investigators then turned to Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick, a genealogist, and founder of Identifiers International, who provided an additional analysis showing a stronger connection between Monteiro and the DNA sample.
He submitted a sample to the R.I. Department of Health and a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest after a match was made, according to the affidavit. Crazy to even think a relatives DNA could help solve this over 30 year old case! Yet here we are, now the bad part is why was this put away for so long? This man was free and walking around for over 30 years after this girl went missing/murdered.
Pawtucket detectives followed Monteiro to figure out where he lived because none of the addresses he used “including the ones on his license and registration are where he actually resides.”
In the court document police said Monteiro, who went by John, bounced around 19 different addresses in the Pawtucket and Central Falls area in the last 30 years. But the most significant location was 78 Slater St. in Pawtucket, in an apartment directly above Saints Market where she was last seen.
While watching Monteiro, police found he would park his car at work “between two large delivery trucks, which makes it impossible to see the vehicle from the street.” While other workers seem to park just like normal, not caring if the car is visible to others.
At home, Monteiro would park “behind the building next door to where he lives and not at his actual residence.” So some part of him knew even all these years later he should stay off anyone’s radar…
Born in June 1960, Monteiro would have been 28 years old when Cole vanished.
Family Court records show Monteiro and his wife divorced in 2003.
Criminal records shows Joao was arrested by Central Falls police in 1989 on two counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon. He pleaded no contest to one count and was given two years’ probation. So even then DNA was nowhere near what we have today, so he pretty much got away with it. Maybe now they will bring some justice to this little girls murder case.
Update: Last week after he was arrested seems that his attorney got him out on bail! So as of now he is still out and about so be safe out there!
Monteiro had been out since Friday after bail was set at $50,000 with surety, giving the option of posting the full amount in property or 10 percent in cash.
He adamantly denies killing Christine Cole, Devine said. His family was stunned when he was arrested. The case will be presented to a grand jury.