The FBI is investigating the 2017 killing of 17-year-old Maggie Long as a possible hate crime, the agency said Tuesday.
Long was Asian American and lived with her family in Bailey, a small mountain town in Park County. Authorities say Long stopped at home to change clothes after school on Dec. 1, 2017, and interrupted a burglary that was already in progress.
Police received a call that unfamiliar people were inside the house causing damage. When they arrived, officers discovered the house had been set on fire and later found Long's remains inside. According to investigators, she was purposefully burned alive after a physical confrontation.
A Beretta handgun, an AK-47-style rifle, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a safe and jade figurines were also stolen from the home during the break-in. No arrests have been made, but the Park County Sherriff's Office released composite sketches of several men they believe were involved.
The FBI has not said why it reclassified the case. Its hate crime investigation into Long’s murder comes as a series of attacks have targeted Asian Americans nationwide since the coronavirus pandemic began.