WALDPORT, Ore. — The new ABC show Final Witness focuses Wednesday night’s episode on the murders of a mother and her children on the Oregon Coast.
The Christian Longo case began near the Lint Slough Bridge in Waldport, after little Zachery Longo’s body floated to the surface December 19, 2001.
“When I got there I saw a little boy, the corpse, laying on the shore. He just looked so sweet and young,” said Bernice Barnett, who was the Lincoln County District Attorney at the time of the Longo case.
That was just the beginning. A few days later, search crews found the body of 3-year-old Sadie Longo.
Both had been tied to pillowcases weighted down with a large rock and dropped in the water.
“And that’s when we knew that we had a murder,” Barnett said.
On December 27, 2001, divers found the bodies of 34-year-old MaryJane Longo and her 2-year-old daughter Madison.
Both had been stuffed into suitcases and dropped in Yaquina Bay in Newport, just yards from the Longos’ home.
“This was horrific, it was so unbelievable, you know, here was a person who had to kill each of these people that loved him, individually,” Barnett said.
Christian Longo was arrested and convicted of murdering his wife and three children.
He currently sits on death row, where he’s managed to stay in the spotlight, making it even harder for MaryJane’s family to recover.
“They’re sick of hearing about today’s life of Christian Longo, and what they want people to remember are the wonderful people he eliminated, he threw into the garbage,” Barnett said.
That’s exactly what the show Final Witness is expected to do. The story is told through MaryJane’s eyes, shifting the spotlight off of Christian, and instead, highlighting the lives of those who were lost.
“Maybe this will help to bring her alive and let people understand the importance of the people who were murdered,” Barnett said.
A supportive wife, devoted mother and her three loving children.
“We found MaryJane as a very special, gentle spirit, and the children were children, they were little, they were fun and charming and cute, and they ought to be here today,” Barnett said.
Final Witness airs Wednesday, July 11 at 10 p.m. on ABC.