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The cold case killing of a 17-year-old Colorado teenager who was burnt alive in an alleged arson attack nearly three and a half years ago is now being investigated as a potential hate crime, investigators announced this week.
On Dec. 1, 2017, Maggie Long’s body was found in a charred residence in the mountain community of Bailey, Colorado. Authorities suspect her parents’ home was set ablaze by a group of men.
Long’s death has ultimately ruled a homicide but her suspected killers were never apprehended by authorities. Investigators later publicly released a trio of composite sketches of the alleged arsonists.
“The F.B.I. is committed to combating hate crimes and condemns violence directed toward any individual or group,” Special Agent Michael Schneider of the FBI’s Denver Field Office said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “We are grateful for the community’s support of Maggie’s family and their patience with the ongoing investigation.”
This week, the FBI said they were investigating Long’s death as a “hate crime matter.”
“The F.B.I. is committed to combating hate crimes and condemns violence directed toward any individual or group,” Special Agent Michael Schneider of the FBI’s Denver Field Office said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com. “We are grateful for the community’s support of Maggie’s family and their patience with the ongoing investigation.”
County referred additional inquiries to federal authorities.
During a 911 call, dispatchers could hear people inside the home “causing damage,” federal authorities said. Evidence also surfaced that Long had been physically attacked before the fire was ignited at the home.
A Beretta pistol, an AK-47-type assault rifle, 2,000 ammunition rounds, a safe, and miniature carved jade sculptures were also found in the scorched property.
According to McGraw, the Colorado teen was “purposely set on fire and burned alive.”
Long’s family expressed hope amid the new turn in the investigation regarding possible racial bias in the high school student’s sudden and mysterious death.
“This is an angle that wasn’t looked into in the past, and at this point, it is no stone left unturned,” her sister, Lynna Long, told the Associated Press. “Looking at the extent of violence in this crime, that is certainly an angle to look more closely into.”
The FBI and the Long family have issued a joint $75,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and apprehension of the group of people suspected of the teen's murder.
A skyrocketing number of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans have surfaced in the past year in cities across the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic. Between March 2020 and March 2021, a total of 6,603 suspected anti-Asian hate crime incidents were recorded by the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center.
Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed landmark legislation, with largely bipartisan approval, to address rising anti-Asian hate crimes around the nation.
Anyone with information related to the possible hate crime investigation into Long’s death is urged to contact the FBI Denver Field Office.
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