BAILEY, Colo. – Someone stole two guns, a gun safe and jade figurines from the home of Maggie Long on the day she was killed, then lit the house on fire before fleeing, authorities said Wednesday.
Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener was joined at a Wednesday afternoon news conference by Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director John Camper and agents from the FBI at ATF to give an update in Long’s murder case.
They said there are still no arrests that have been made in the case, but Wegener said “tremendous progress has been made in the investigation.”
Long, 17, was found dead inside her burned-out Bailey home on Dec. 1. But mystery has shrouded the case in the two months since.
Long was reported missing after she failed to show up to a concert at her school, Platte Canyon High School. Wegener said Wednesday that officers discovered Long’s body that night, but it wasn’t until Dec. 4 that the county coroner publicly said Long was dead and identified her.
There was a standing gag order in the case for several days in December, which Wegener said Wednesday was ordered “to prevent information only known to the suspect from being made public.”
But the officials did release some information that was not yet known by the public at Wednesday’s news conference.
Wegener said “an apparent burglary occurred” before the Long family’s home was set on fire, and also that there were items stolen from the home.
Camper elaborated, saying a green safe, some jade figurines, and two firearms – a Beretta 9mm handgun, and an “AK-47 style” of rifle – were stolen. He showed pictures of items similar to those that were taken.
An FBI official said there was a “high probability” that someone in the community had come into contact with the person or people involved in Long’s murder. All officials said there may be one person, or multiple people, responsible for her death.
The official said that the suspect might live in the community, and may be either following the case closely or seeming detached from their typical behavior and relationships.
He urged residents to report anything possibly-related to the case to the tip line established for the case, saying “no piece of information is too small.”
That being said, Wegener said again “there is no threat to the community.” He said investigators had “conducted a lot of interviews,” and that the Long family has been working with officials and have been “very cooperative.”
He added that officials had conducted DNA testing with several of the people they’ve interviewed, saying there were “specific individuals” investigators wanted to speak with and collect DNA from.
Wegener also acknowledged that a “BOLO” notice sent out statewide, including to media outlets, had been sent accidentally, and said that information “was not supposed to be released.”
Though the notice contained mentions of an AK-47, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a green safe and a 9mm Beretta handgun, Wegener said officials had not been able to confirm all of the information in the notice.
The officials said the investigation continued, and that the coroner’s report would remain under seal while the investigation is ongoing. The joint reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case has been upped from $15,000 to $20,000, the officials said Wednesday.
The officials continued to plead with anyone who has information about the case to call the tip line at 303-239-4243.