In Dec. 2017, Maggie Long’s remains were discovered in her family’s home after a house fire in Bailey, Colorado.
Now, nearly three years later, the FBI is investigating the 17-year-old’s death as a possible hate crime.
FBI Now Viewing Maggie Long Murder As Possible Hate Crime https://t.co/XwmJp1pDEw
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver)
“The FBI is investigating the murder of Maggie Long as a Hate Crime Matter,” the agency wrote in a statement. “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.”
Following Long’s death, investigators discovered that there was one male on the property and a physical altercation took place between the 17-year-old and her assailants. Ultimately, the El Paso County Coroner’s Office ruled her death a homicide, according to the FBI’s Most Wanted.
There have been no arrests made and no suspects have been named in the unsolved case.
“This is an angle that wasn’t looked into in the past, and at this point it is no stone left unturned,” Lynna Long, one of Maggie’s sisters, told CBS Denver. “Looking at the extent of violence in this crime, that is certainly an angle to look more closely into.”
The shift in focus comes after a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans. According to the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, overall hate crimes dropped 7% in 2020, while hate crimes against Asian American/Pacific Islanders (AAPI) increased across 16 U.S. cities by 149%.
In addition, a July 2020 study conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that over half, 58%, of Asian adults said that it was more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views towards AAPI individuals than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s been a surge of racism. There’s been an increase in hate crimes and overall blatant racism and racist policies,” Dr. Russell Jeung, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate said, WBNS reported.
On Tuesday, in a 364-62 vote, the House of Representatives passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to thoroughly investigate hate crimes, particularly those affecting AAPI individuals.
“The Asian American community is exhausted from being forced to endure this rise in bigotry and racist attacks,” Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) said at a Capitol Hill news conference on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. “Asian Americans are tired of living in fear and being frightened about their kids or elderly parents going outside.”
The bill was introduced in March by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) due to the uptick in attacks against Asian Americans. Five days later, eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent, were killed in a mass shooting at three Atlanta-area spas.
“That’s why today’s vote is so important,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said. “People often ask what Congress is doing about this and we are here today to say Congress is taking action.”
The FBI is offering a $75,000 reward for any leads in Long’s investigation, including information regarding descriptions of individuals or vehicles seen on or in the vicinity of the property.
“Now is the time to share what you know,” Lynna said.
Speaking of the perpetrators, she added, “That’s not the type of people we want in our society, and it’s a matter of time before they hurt or kill somebody else. With now looking into the angle of is it race-related, it is that much more critical that this crime is solved.”
This content was originally published here.