It has been roughly 642 days since the brutal murder of Maggie Long sent shockwaves of grief, anger and fear throughout the small mountain community of Bailey.

Since that time, a tangible sense of collective sadness and grief has prevailed within the community, while the desire for justice and closure in the case has seemingly grown stronger.

According to Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw, investigators at local, state and federal levels are sparing nothing to solve the case and deliver justice to those responsible for the heinous act.

In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigations recently announced that it would be investigating Long’s murder as a possible Hate Crime, resulting in additional manpower and assets being dedicated to the case.

As was noted in a CBS News report last week, the FBI also released a public statement explaining the Hate Crime element of its ongoing investigation:

“The FBI is investigating the murder of Maggie Long as a potential Hate Crime matter. A Hate Crime is a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias against a religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.”

McGraw discussed the implications of that announcement in a May 21 interview with The Flume.

“This case is already being investigated by a variety of local, state and federal agencies, and the investigation of this case as a Hate Crime only increases the number of investigators and assets dedicated to those efforts at the federal level,” McGraw said. “It’s also another avenue to explore, and I see it as a positive development.”

McGraw said he knew of at least six investigative analysts and lab personnel working on the Long case across local, state and federal levels, and that the investigation of the case as a Hate Crime could potentially add more.

McGraw also candidly expressed confidence that Long’s murderers would eventually be brought to justice.

“As I have said before, the fact that there are multiple suspects means there is a greater than usual chance that someone will talk and provide a break in the case,” McGraw said. “It would not shock me at all if that’s how this case [is] eventually solved. Recent advancements in DNA technology also give me cause for optimism. When I started as Sheriff we had three unsolved murder cases in Park County, and now Maggie’s is the only one left. DNA technology was vital in solving the other two, and could be a means to solving Maggie’s case as well.”

McGraw added that several years ago, DNA investigators required samples the size of a quarter in order to perform meaningful analysis, and that now they can work with samples the size of a pinhead.

McGraw also discussed what he thinks the apprehension of Long’s murderers would mean to residents of Bailey and beyond.

“Solving this case would be a huge relief for a lot of people, especially for Maggie’s family and friends, but also for everyone in the community,” McGraw said. “It would mean the turning of a page, and would provide much needed closure. This is not a case that is going away, and it is being vigorously pursued by a lot of very capable people on a daily basis.”

McGraw asks that anyone with information regarding Long’s murder contact the Park County Sheriff’s Office at 719-836-2494.

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