Charges dropped against man accused in 1988 cold case murder

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – All charges against the man accused in the 1988 cold case murder of a 10-year-old Pawtucket girl have officially been dismissed.

A hearing took place at Providence District Court Tuesday morning, where the judge formally dropped the charges against 59-year-old Joao Monteiro to no objections.

Monteiro was not in the courtroom. His attorney, William Devine, was there on his behalf.

Monteiro was arrested in July of 2019 by Pawtucket Police when they announced they cracked the 30-year-old cold case. Detectives said Monteiro lived above the market where Christine Cole was last seen in January of 1988.

Her body washed up on a Warwick beach 54 days after her disappearance. Police said DNA matching Monteiro’s was found on Cole’s pants.

But just a day after his arrest, Monteiro was a free man, released from the ACI on bail.

Prosecutors said then that the evidence was not strong enough to keep him behind bars.

Last week, the Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the charges. They said they will not take the case to a Grand Jury, as as the DNA evidence used to arrest and charge Monteiro is insufficient.

The Attorney General’s Office added that while the evidence doesn’t rule out Monteiro, it also doesn’t rule out every paternal male in his lineage.

While the charges have been dropped, this doesn’t mean Monteiro can’t be charged again with the crime.

Pawtucket Police said they respect the Attorney General’s decision, but will not be giving up on the case.

© WLNE-TV 2020

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