Paolilla said one sign that Christine trusted her new friends was that she "felt OK without the wig on with them, which is not something that she did with many of her friends."
Christine also had a friend her parents did not approve of: Chris Snider. Christine briefly met Snider in school, when she was in the eighth grade. He was about two years older and didn't look like her other friends.
He had "body piercings, spiked hair, chains hanging from his jeans ... there was something in his eyes and every time I saw him it made me very uncomfortable," said Lori Paolilla, adding said Snider did jail time for armed robbery, and when he got out he went straight to Christine, now 16. Christine felt bad for him because nobody wanted to be his friend and she thought she could help him, said Paolilla.
Christine and Chris began dating. According to Christine's mother and stepfather, Snider started isolating Christine from her family and friends. Paolilla said Snider emotionally abused Christine, even showing up at school one day and pulling her wig off to embarrass her in front of her classmates. Despite it all, Christine appeared to cling to the relationship.
"Typically in an abusive relationship," said Saltz, "the abuser wants to isolate, dominate. ... And he would be jealous of, and potentially want to get rid of anybody else in her life." It is not uncommon, according to the psychiatrist, for a woman who has been bullied to fall in love with her abuser.
Dick said Snider had some sort of hold on Christine. "We did everything in our power to get him away from her, but you know she's 16, 17 years old. There's only so much you can do." He said they tried grounding Christine and taking away car privileges, but "[Snider] had some sort of mental control over her that we couldn't break."
Christine's parents were additionally concerned about Snider's drug use. The parents consulted with attorneys and police officers, they said, and even tried to get a restraining order and have Snider arrested, to no avail. "We talked to her about it until we were blue in the face," said Dick. "She just felt she was going be able to fix him, no matter what he did."
Saltz tied the relationship to Christine's early loss of her father. "[I]f you lost a father very early in life, you may be susceptible to making a man that comes along in your life overly important," she said. "So important that you would potentially do anything for him."
Paolilla and Dick said Christine was deeply disturbed about the murder of Rachael and Tiffany.
"She came home to tell us ... she was very upset ... she cried most of the night," said Paolilla, adding that Christine was too upset to attend the girls' funerals.
The details of the July 2003 murder remain sketchy. On the afternoon of the murders, a neighbor saw a "male" and "female" dressed in black, walking up to the house. Using the neighbor's descriptions, Houston Police Department forensic sketch artist Lois Gibson created composite sketches of the suspects. The sketches were eventually released, and may have led to tipsters calling in.