DANBURY, CT — At her Catholic school, sixth-grader Christina Long made good grades, led the cheerleading squad and was an altar girl. On the Internet, she used provocative screen names and routinely had sex with partners she met in chat rooms, police said.

"It seems impossible to imagine, much less to reconcile," the Rev. Albert Audette, pastor at St. Peter's Church, said after a memorial service Tuesday at the church school that was closed to reporters. "People make decisions we can't fathom."

13-year-old Christina had good grades, led the cheerleading squad and was an altar girl.

Police said 13-year-old Christina was strangled by a married restaurant worker she met on the Internet. Her body was found early Monday in a remote ravine in Greenwich.

On the Internet, she used sexy screen names and routinely had sex with men she met in chat rooms.

Saul Dos Reis, 25, an undocumented immigrant from Brazil, confessed Sunday to the killing and led law officers to the body, U.S. Attorney John Danaher III said.

Classes were canceled Tuesday at the St. Peter School so students and parents could attend a memorial service and meet with grief counselors.

"I'm so devastated," former teacher Andrea Cappiello said.

"She was a very good student and a very good cheerleader. She was very spirited, just a doll," said Cappiello, who taught Christina's fifth-grade English and religion classes.

But the girl also had a tougher side, Cappiello said.

"She was streetwise," she said. "But you could see the other side coming up, too. It's clear she was very torn in both directions."

Dos Reis was arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on a charge of using an interstate device — the Internet — to entice a child into sexual activity. He was ordered held without bond. A bail hearing was scheduled for Friday.

Police said the teen-ager routinely had sex with partners she met on the Internet and that she had been with Dos Reis several times, The News-Times of Danbury reported.

She was strangled while having sex in a car in a mall parking lot.

Authorities found e-mail indicating that the two had agreed to meet Friday night. Dos Reis told police he accidentally strangled Christina while they were having sex in his car in a mall parking lot, The News-Times reported.

Police said Dos Reis then dumped her body about 25 miles away.

Harold Pickerstein, Dos Reis' court-appointed attorney, declined to comment on the allegations but said he expected his client to plead innocent.

Pickerstein criticized Danaher for releasing details of the alleged confession.

"I would give anything to take that computer back," her father said.

"It's inappropriate, in my opinion, to discuss evidence in a case in which there has not even been a charge or an indictment," Pickerstein told The Associated Press.

Christina came to Danbury two years ago to live with her aunt, Shelly Rilling, after her parents divorced. Her father, Bruce Long, of New Milford, said "there was no hint" that his daughter was using the Internet to arrange encounters with men.

"I would give anything to take that computer back," Long told The News-Times.

Rilling, who was eventually awarded custody of the girl, has declined to comment. Police said she apparently did not know anything about her niece's online activities.

"There was some pretty graphic stuff," Police Chief Robert Paquette said.

Police said Dos Reis used the screen name "Hot es300," apparently referring to a Lexus model.

Dos Reis has lived in the United States since he arrived here from Brazil at age 10, Paquette said. He attended Greenwich High School and had no criminal record.

He lives in a rented apartment with his wife, a receptionist, and worked long hours at his father-in-law's restaurant in nearby Port Chester, N.Y., neighbor Omar Moreno said.

"When you're a teen-ager, you're kind of experimenting with who you are."

A Youth Internet Safety Survey in 2000 found that one of five youngsters between ages 10 and 17 received an unwanted sexual solicitation in the previous year.

The survey by the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire collected information in telephone interviews with 1,501 youngsters nationwide who used the Internet at least once a month for six months.

Spokeswoman Kimberly Mitchell said the dangers are heightened by a combination of youthful curiosity and computer know-how.

"When you're a teen-ager, you're kind of experimenting with who you are," she said. "When you're a kid, you're the first to embrace new technology."


Slaughter and Consumption:
Associated Press, Dec 3, 2003
  Internet advertiser finds volunteer good enough to eat.  
Take My Life — Please!:
North Carolina News & Observer, Nov 3, 1996
  Anything can be found on the Net. Even death.  
Washington Post, Aug 24, 2003
  With help from the internet, suicide's no longer a solo sport.