HOUSTON – A man captured in Mexico after being accused of killing his wife and three children won't fight extradition to Oregon, where the victims' bodies were found dumped in coastal inlets, his attorney said Tuesday.
Christian Longo, 27, briefly appeared in a Harris County court wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and no handcuffs.
His court-appointed attorney, Jeff Ludwig, said Oregon authorities already were in Houston to pick him up and that Longo could be on a plane to the Northwest by afternoon.
"He knew eventually he would have to go back," Ludwig said. "He seemed very alert and was aware of the charges against him."
Longo is charged in Oregon with aggravated murder in the December deaths of his wife, MaryJane, 34, and children, Zachary, 4, Sadie Ann, 3, and Madison, 2. The FBI placed him on the agency's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list on Friday.
District Attorney Bernice Barnett of Lincoln County, Ore., where the victims' bodies were found, said Monday she has decided whether she will seek the death penalty, but she refused to disclose her decision.
Longo was brought to Houston on Monday after he was captured peacefully Sunday night in Tulum, Mexico, a resort town 60 miles south of Cancun, said Bob Doguim, Houston FBI spokesman.
Authorities said a woman who had been in Cancun last month recognized Longo's photograph and called the FBI. She told authorities Longo identified himself first as Brad and later as Mike when they met at a hostel.
Longo had been living in a grass hut at a beach camp in Tulum, and allegedly talked to other campers about going to Guatemala, the FBI said.
Longo agreed to be brought back to the United States, and Houston is the typical port of entry for fugitives arrested in Mexico, Doguim said. By volunteering to return, Longo avoided the sticky issue of extradition from Mexico in potential death penalty cases. Mexico has no death penalty and does not extradite fugitives who might face a death sentence.
A spokesman for Longo's parents in Indianapolis said the couple was pleased their son had been found.
"As these events have unfolded over the last couple of weeks, the only thing more difficult than the answers has been the uncertainty," the statement read. "Perhaps now the family can begin to understand what happened, and we may be able to have some kind of closure."
MaryJane's mother, Susan Lowery, in Trinity, Ala., said she was not surprised Longo fled to Mexico.
"In some ways he's very predictable," she said. "They used to vacation down in Mexico."
Longo, who owned a construction cleaning business in Ypsilanti, Mich., had moved with his family to the Newport, Ore., area last year.
They reportedly left behind $60,000 in debts. Longo is named in six lawsuits seeking more than $30,000 and is wanted on two warrants in Michigan for probation violation and a larceny charge.
On Dec. 19, a little boy's body was spotted floating in a shallow coastal inlet near Waldport, Ore., and three days later a little girl was found in the same place.
On Dec. 24, relatives from Michigan identified the children as Zachary and Sadie Ann.
Divers found the bodies of MaryJane and Madison two days later at a marina in Newport, Ore.
Officials say Longo flew to Cancun from San Francisco on Dec. 27 using a stolen credit card and identification.