Platte Canyon High School student Maggie Long was found dead in her family home in Bailey, Dec. 1. There had been a fire at the house, and deputies from the Park County Sheriff’s Office, firefighters from the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District and the Elk Creek Fire Protection District were called to the scene.
A press release, issued by Sheriff Fred Wegener Dec. 7, claimed Long’s body was found in the house.
“It comes with great sadness we report that human remains discovered in the burned home of the Long family have been positively identified as those of 17-year-old Maggie Long,” the press release said.
Law enforcement considers the incident as a homicide and arson.
As of this writing, law enforcement has not named a suspect or released any information on a possible future arrest.
Using audio recordings of radio transmissions to the fire districts, records of the radio traffic to the Park County Sheriff’s Office and an interview with the manager of Derrick Thai restaurant, which belongs to the Long family, The Flume has managed to tie together a time line of events that happened that evening.
Radio transmissions are only good for getting a general overview of what happened at a scene. Conversations happen between personel on the ground, cell phones are sometimes used to communicate and the Sheriff’s Office has one encrypted radio channel that cannot be monitored.
Dec. 1, 2017, time line
About 7:01 p.m. that evening, Fairplay dispatch sent a call out to deputies in district five (Kenosha Pass to the Park County border in Pine Junction), explaining that a person (known in law enforcement jargon as the “reporting person” or RP) at 3763 County Road 43 claimed that he was in an attic apartment at that location, and one or more persons downstairs in the house were arguing, throwing things and trying to set the house on fire.
At the same time, Fairplay dispatch made a call to PCFPD informing them of a structure fire at that address. Dispatch said the RP was not making much sense. In a follow-up call at 7:04 p.m., dispatch told PCFPD that the RP stated “the people who own the home are violent, smashing and burning things,” and he was refusing to leave the attic.
PSCO deputies arrived at the Long’s house just before 7:12 p.m. PCFPD was staged near the property at 7:12 p.m. Deputies who first arrived at the property could see some fire activity at the house as they came up the quarter-mile driveway.
The deputies reported to dispatch that they could see “visible flames in garage.” At 7:14 p.m., dispatch told PCFPD to “roll fire,” meaning to leave the staging area and come up to the house.
While the PCFPD started to work on the fire, PCSO deputies were running license plates of vehicles at the scene. One vehicle belonged to the RP (in the attic), one to Maggie Long and one was registered to Maggie’s father, San Long.
At 7:20 p.m.. Evergreen dispatch called ECFPD, asking for mutual aid to the property. They requested a tender. ECFPD dispatched a tender to the site.
About 7:30, according to the manager of Derrick Thai restaurant, the person in the attic called Heather Long, Maggie’s mother, at the restaurant to inform her that he heard a “bang” and the lights went out.
The manager told The Flume that he went over to the house to see what is going on. The restaurant had customers and the manager suggested that Heather continue taking care of the customers. The manager took Heather Long’s vehicle to the property.
The manager could not get up to the house because of the numerous law enforcement and emergency vehicles parked along the driveway. The manager called Heather Long back at the restaurant to inform her that he thought she should get up to the house.
Long did not having a means of transportation, a couple who was dining at the restaurant offered to takeher to the scene.
At 7:49 p.m., PCFPD informed Fairplay dispatch that there was a barricaded room at the house and they were going to make entry. It is not known where this barricade was, whether inside the house or something to do with the attic apartment.
A deputy, at 7:53 p.m., informed Fairplay dispatch that there were firearms in the house and some may be missing. There are no radio transmissions or record to indicate how anyone knew that weapons were missing from the house.
At 7:58 p.m., Fairplay dispatch was asked to send a detective to the scene.
The RP who first made the 911 call finally left the attic apartment around 8 p.m., came around the house from the back entrance of the apartment, with his cat in hand, and met the deputies.
After the fire was put out, around 8:12 p.m., PCFPD asked Fairplay dispatch to get the Colorado Bureau of Investigations out to the scene, since they had found “numerous starts to the fire.” That indicated that the fire may have been arson.
A radio transmission from PSCO to Fairplay dispatch, at 8:40 p.m., asked “Do we have an age on the daughter yet?”
A later call to Fairplay dispatch indicates that CBI would be on the scene and that entrance to the property would be monitored by Colorado State Patrol.
At 8:48 p.m., PCFPD informed Fairplay dispatch that there was going to be an arson investigation. By 9:03 p.m., a victims assistant from PCSO was in route to the scene and was going to wait at Hangman Road and CR 43.
Victims assistants are usually called to engage family members and others after a traumatic incident has taken place.
According to the manager of the restaurant, San Long was in Oakland, Calif. that night, attending to some business. The father was called in California and he booked a flight back to Colorado. Long arrived back in the Bailey area sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Saturday morning.
At 9:58 Saturday morning, one of the Park County Coroner’s deputies was cleared to come up to the house. That would indicate that a body had been found at the house.
CBI spent a good part of Saturday at the scene, collecting evidence. According to radio transmission records, there were a number of interviews with interested parties at the Bailey substation that day, and by the end of the day, CBI had released the property to the family.
Park County Undersheriff David Wohlers, in a statement released Saturday, Dec. 2, on the PSCO Facebook page, said, “On-scene investigation is wrapped up. Cause and origin of the fire is inconclusive … still no sign of her, no body at the fire scene.”
Wohlers’ statement seems to contradict the fact that a coroner’s deputy was sent to the scene. Those Facebook statements have been removed from the PSCO Facebook page.
The 11th Judicial District issued a gag order Monday, Dec. 4, to all involved agencies. These agencies were not permitted to release any information to the public or the media.
After the gag order was rescinded, a press release, issued by Sheriff Fred Wegener Dec. 7, claimed Long’s body was found in the house.
Wegener’s press release also indicated that a task force, comprised of “federal, state, and local law enforcement” had been formed to bring any individual involved in the Maggie Long homicide to justice.
A “be on the look-out” was broadcasted at 4:40 p.m. later that day to the Denver Police Department. The contents of the BOLO was reported by numerous TV stations in Denver. The Flume has an audio of the BOLO that was released and can confirm the language used in the BOLO.
“The BOLO is going to be for a late model 90s to 2000, light colored minivan, possibly driven by a white male in his 20s. Homicide occurred during an arson and the suspect driver may have some flash burns, as well as gasoline taken from the house, a large case, AK47, 2000 rounds of ammo of 7.62 and a 9mm Beretta. Please advise the subject is considered armed and extremely dangerous.”
The Flume has not been able to verify the existence of this van or the list of possible items removed from the property.
According to a statement made by Wohlers, “We did issue a BOLO, but it was not intended for public consumption. It was supposed to go out through a confidential law enforcement source. … I can’t confirm what [the news stations] are reporting – it’s really quite disruptive to our investigation. Because of the problems that has caused, we’re going to have to reconvene the task force and decide how information for a public clarification [on the BOLO] will be crafted.”
Wohlers also stated that the community was not in any danger.
Rumors have been flying fast and furious on various social media sites,in reference to this incident, on places like Facebook and Web Sleuths.
One of the most repeated rumors is that the Long family may have been having financial problems and may have owed someone money, and that led to what happened at the house.
The Flume, when speaking to the manager of the restaurant, asked about the financial stability of the Longs.
The manager indicated that the Longs did not like to keep money in banks and that they could get a better return on their money by investing in real estate.
He told The Flume “no money problems.”
The Flume searched property records in Colorado, and those records indicate the Longs had properties in Bailey, Pine, Conifer, Denver and Louisville. There may be more properties, including out-of-state locations.
The manager indicated that the reason San Long was in Oakland, Calif. that night was because he was working on a purchase of an apartment complex there.
Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to contact the PSCO at 719-836-2494.
(The information in this article was current as of Wednesday morning. This is an on-going story and updates will be posted to The Flume’s website at www.theflume.com and the newspaper’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheFlume/.)