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What we know about the man accused of killing Christine Cole

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – In the days leading up to the arrest of Joao Monteiro, police conducted surveillance on their suspect and found he lived his life “in a very covert manner.”

Monteiro, 59, of Central Falls, was arrested Thursday and charged in the 1988 murder of 10-year-old Christine Cole.

According to a police affidavit filed in court, Pawtucket detectives tailed 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. That’s where Cole was last seen alive when she was running errands for her mother.

In trailing 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.”

“All other employees appear to park in the front parking lot out in the open,” the affidavit said.

At home, Monteiro would park “behind the building next door to where he lives and not at his actual residence.”

Born in June 1960, Monteiro would have been 28 years old when Cole vanished. Police say they obtained blood from the pants of the victim which they were able to trace to Monteiro’s son through DNA testing. His son’s DNA was captured in a database because he had served prison time on charges of conspiracy and possession of a “stolen motor vehicle or parts.”

Family Court records show Monteiro and his wife divorced in 2003.

A Target 12 review of 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.

In 1996, Central Falls police again charged him with on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, and he again pleaded no contest.

A 2003 domestic charge in Pawtucket ended in a not guilty verdict by a judge, according to records.

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

Monteiro was arrested early Thursday morning at Cintas in Cumberland, where he has worked since 2004, according to spokesperson Michelle Goret.

His job was to load and unload trucks of uniforms that the company cleaned. Goret declined to answer questions about the arrest but said the company is cooperating with authorities.

“Our sympathy goes out to the family of Christine Cole and what they have been through in losing this child,” said Goret.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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