The death of an Asian American teenager who was set on fire and burned alive in Colorado in 2017 will now be investigated as a possible hate crime by the FBI.
The details: In a statement, the federal law enforcement agency shared that it is looking into the case of 17-year-old Maggie Long as a “hate crime matter,” reported CBS4.
- The FBI noted that a hate crime is a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by the individual’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.”
- Lynna and Connie Long, the victim’s sisters, said that during the time they lived in Park County, they did not see any apparent discrimination against Asians.
- Lynna said that the hate crime angle is worth looking into due to “the extent of violence in this crime,” while Connie, who found this new angle “a little surprising,” agreed that “in some ways it makes sense.”
Long’s death: The teenager’s remains were discovered inside her family’s home in the mountain community of Bailey after her house caught fire on Dec. 1, 2017.
- Investigators posit that before the fire, Long had “a physical altercation” with her attackers.
- According to authorities, items were stolen from the house, including an AK-47-style rifle, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a Beretta handgun, some jade figurines and a green safe, which led them to initially consider it a “crime of opportunity.”
- The El Paso County Coroner’s Office ruled Long’s death as a homicide after determining that she was “purposefully set on fire and burned alive” inside her family’s home.
- Composite sketches of at least three male suspects were released, but no arrests have been made.
Featured Image via the FBI