48 hours investigates: ypsilanti

I was just down in Depot Town, picking up a pizza with one of the $5.00 coupons that Aubree’s keeps sending, and noticed that a film crew’s set up in front of the gold and coin store, across the street from the shop where you can buy Annette Funicello brand collectable stuffed bear dolls. As there wasn’t a satellite news-gathering (SNG) truck around, and since they had a little cantilever set up to get an elevated shot, I knew they weren’t from the Detroit affiliates. And, since they had nice equipment and looked like they knew what they were doing, I knew that they weren’t filming a local independent. I was working up the gumption to ask someone what they were up to, when I happened to notice Brian from the East Cross site walking toward me. I asked him what was up and he said it was a crew from the CBS tabloid show, “48 Hours.” He said that they were waiting until it got dark to shoot something about one of our local murderers.

After a little bit of research and a visit to the always informative Ypsi-Dixit site, I discovered that the murderer being featured was one-time local resident Christian Longo, a man that apparently drank in Depot Town, when not cruising the internet for young girls, or killing family members, or disposing of bodies in the Pacific. Here’s a short clip from the January 29, 2002 Detroit News:

PORTLAND, Ore. — A missing Michigan girl who police think is in Oregon met Christian Longo, the man accused of killing his family and dumping them in the Pacific Ocean, over the Internet, the girl’s stepmother said Tuesday.

Kala Haller, 13, and her 16-year-old sister Elizabeth have been missing from their Ypsilanti, Mich., home since Sept. 26, when they left their bedroom in the middle of the night through an open window and stole the family’s car, said Donna Haller, the girls’ stepmother.

Longo, who owned a construction cleaning business in Ypsilanti, moved with his family to the Newport area about three months before the bodies of his wife and children were found in coastal inlets in Waldport, Ore. and Newport, Ore., between Dec. 19 and Dec. 27.

Longo, 28, was arrested in Mexico earlier this month following an international manhunt. He is charged with seven counts of aggravated murder and is lodged in Lincoln County Jail.

As he’s already been tried, found guilty, and sentenced to die, I’m not quite sure what there is left to say about the case… other than just teasing out the gruesome details in order to sell network ad time. Still, it’s nice to see Ypsilanti in the national news again.

Maybe there’s some new development, or maybe this particular case is being addressed as part of a bigger piece on the death penalty, but my sense is that’s not the case. My sense is that it’s just gratuitous… At least, I think, years ago when “Unsolved Mysteries” shot in town, they had the hint of a legitimate reason. I haven’t seen that episode in over ten years, but, as I recall, it was about a man that was snatched out of his Michigan Avenue office by armed gunmen one evening in the late 70’s and never heard from again. Robert “the human mummy” Stack was askng for help either finding the man, or his remains. (If anyone has details, or, better yet, video of that episode, let me know. I’d like to see it again.) Linette and I saw it on TV when we were living in Atlanta (we used to go to the bowling alley, buy beers, set ourselves up on their couch, and watch “Unsolved Mysteries” every week) and the footage of Michigan Avenue made us wistful for Ypsi. (Even with the masked men dragging people from their desks, it’s still a hell of a town).

Anyway, those of you not in the area will be able to see my hometown soon. Hopefully, it’ll make a good impression.

(note: Right now, I’m getting all creeped out by the thought that I’ve probably sat in the same seat at the bar as Christian Longo, and hoping that, unlike him, I never have the urge to erase my family and run off with a thirteen year old.)

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  1. Posted May 16, 2005 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I must have just missed you. I got down there just before nine and watched for fifteen minutes or so before my evil dog, Cookie, decided that there were too many people standing around not paying attention to her so she started barking.

  2. chris
    Posted May 16, 2005 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    It very well could be that when Longo was sitting in that seat he was an absolutely normal and upstanding citizen. Reason being? There is some kind of weird Twin Peaks black hole thing surrounding Portland, OR’s outer green belts. (In one belt, of which, my mother lives, therefore I visit often)

    The Longo murders came one year before a young girl was abducted from an apartment complex, murdered and buried under a cement floor newly laid by the father of the girl’s best friend.

    The year after that came the story of a man having escaped from an S&M torture basement of a quiet unassuming suburban home (being imprisoned after “hookin up” on a chat room) ran screaming down the cul-de-sac in a gimp mask.

    Of course, that story was tossed off like so many others buy the local news in favor of the ADA who was a “Swift Boat Veteran for Truth” and whose credibility was shot only after their having unearthed a previous affair with a coworker.

    Brooklyn is so damn tame compared to this place. At best, we get an anonymous body part falling out of a garbage truck, and even than it happens only about once every other year. And of course, there is always a reasonable explanation…like the mob or an unpaid drug/gambling debt.

    Point being? Sit wherever you damn well please Mark, as long as it isn’t in Portland, Oregon’s surrounding communities.

  3. Posted May 17, 2005 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    chris, tell us more about the “S&M torture basement”. Was it in the papers?

  4. chris
    Posted May 17, 2005 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Even better, it was on the news. But I am quite sure it was probably in the papers as well. I wish I could remember the name of the suburb, I would google it. From what I remember, the man was to some degree “homeless”. am not sure of the details of the basement other than that it was pretty…complete. Now I’m curious, I’m going to try and find a link. Wish me luck.

  5. chris
    Posted May 17, 2005 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I think I found something in the Oregonian but they wanted 3 bucks to download it…sorry.

  6. Posted May 17, 2005 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    screw em. $3 is like two 40s of Old English.

  7. mark
    Posted May 17, 2005 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    And about half a copy of Barely Legal (according to Terry’s calculations a few posts ago).

    You can buy half a copy of Barely Legal, can’t you? (If so, I’d recommend the bottom half.)

  8. Kristin
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Mark, I like that you’re “hoping” that you will never get the urge to off your own family and take up with a teeny-bopper. I too will “keep my fingers crossed,” willing you to take the lighter path rather than the darker.

  9. Posted May 18, 2005 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    kristen, I’m assuming that everyone was probably thinking the same thing, but nobody wanted to say anything because we didn’t want to jinx the poor guy.

    speaking of depot town, and chairs that famous people sat in, there is the ‘bill clinton chair’ at cady’s, so maybe mark could go plant his ass in that to counteract the longo voodoo.

  10. Posted May 18, 2005 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    wait a second–It just occurred to me that possibly the bill clinton chair IS the longo chair as well.

  11. Tony Buttons
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    So, are you telling me that there’s some kind of magic/cursed chair somewhere in Ypsilanti’d Depot Town that makes men desire sex with young women? That’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard.

  12. Ricardo el Alab
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Mi esposa sat in the chair and now she have a ding dongs that is 17cm in length. Oh, Dios mios!

  13. An attractive young woman
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I sat in the chair and felt compelled to masturbate… and then bludgeon my family.

  14. Posted May 18, 2005 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    yes, tony, that’s exactly what i’m suggesting.

    also, i’d add that the french family is actually a coven of witches whose sinister plans in depot town are just now reaching fruition. if only the geomantic power of the freighthouse can be obtained, they will have finally repaid their 200-year-old blood debt to the natives which they engendered as fur trappers along the huron river in the 18th century.

    Linda French is actually a 500-year-old demon with ties to the merovingians. her brother dave is a pookah.

    the proposed archways on cross street will have aramaic script reading “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”.

    I can’t even begin to tell you what i know about the city council.

    Mere contemplation of the underlying reality of ypsilanti for even a single moment would cause you to die instantly.

    sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

  15. Posted May 18, 2005 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t Dave French play Satan in Wilhelm Riech in Hell?

  16. Ken
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    i before e, except in Ger-man-knee.

  17. Posted May 18, 2005 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the correction, Ken. I think my Orgone Accumulator may be on the fritz.

  18. Ken
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I think there is a cream you can get that will clear that right up, Dave.

  19. Posted May 18, 2005 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I think that might void out the Accumulator’s warranty, Ken. It requires servicing by a licensed technician.

  20. Ken
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ll bet that chair is full of orgone and that is why it has such strange on wonderful effects on everybody that comes in contact with it.

  21. mark
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I hope you’re fond of the taste of the Frenches’ spit in your beer, Brett.

  22. chris
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Like 2 40’s of Old English? IS 2 40’s of old English.

    BRETT- Don’t forget to tell Tony that the chair only works if you are wearing a Templar cross.

  23. Posted May 18, 2005 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    i love the taste of french spit in my….grail.

  24. Ken
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Brett, I think you mean spit in your San Grael.

  25. mark
    Posted May 18, 2005 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    If only Edgar Allen Poe were still alive to write the story of the accursed chair that makes men lust after young women… and murder their families.

  26. Ken
    Posted May 24, 2005 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    First 48 Hours and now The Onion! Ypsilanti is getting some press lately. Where is Fitzgerald’s Tavern anyway?

  27. mark
    Posted May 24, 2005 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s behind the Stooges Wax Museum.

  28. matilda
    Posted December 19, 2005 at 10:47 am | Permalink


    As far as the French family being a coven of witches-that is debatable… but ‘sinister’? Come on! I contend that we are some of the most kind and humorous witches around. I mean, we don’t eat babies, we quit sacraficing animals a LONG time ago and very rarley can you find us hexing our adversaries. To validate my point further, here is a little something to brighten your life and rid you of the obvious negative energy you so greatly emit. (queue eerie music and fog machine)

    ~This work cannot be misused
    And for those who use it rightly
    For the good of all
    And according to free will
    May the positive magic of the Universe
    Bring joy and power for good
    That cannot be meassured
    And so mote it be~

    double, double, toil and trouble,
    Jessica Jane French

    Disclaimer: the French family are in no way real witches…at least not most of us. Moreover, Linda French is more saintly than malevolent. In fact, to insinuate that the actions of the French family are insidious in any manner is almost as inane as, well, your post.

  29. schutzman
    Posted December 19, 2005 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    ms. french,

    brett here. please be aware that my earlier post just possibly could have been a little sarcastic, and not to be taken seriously. then again, it might have been completely true.

    there are so many of you frenches it’s hard to keep track sometimes, but are you the daughter of the beermaking supply french, whom i met when you and an unidentified fellow were closing up late one night a couple months ago?

  30. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted December 19, 2005 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Sarcasm? You fucking bastard!

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