Park County sheriff's investigators have no suspect in the homicide investigation of 17-year-old Platte Canyon High School student Maggie Long – despite a statewide police alert on Thursday evening that indicated otherwise, 9Wants to Know has learned.
“If we knew who we were looking for, we would broadcast it from every corner,” Park County Undersheriff Dave Wohlers told 9Wants to Know. “We have an army of people working on a bunch of [tips] at this point.”
At the same time, Wohlers said that the task force believes some weapons may be missing from the girl's family home, including an AK47 rifle, 2,000 rounds of ammunition and a 9mm Beretta handgun. It is also believed a large green safe may have been stolen.
Maggie Long was last seen on Friday, Dec. 1, the day her family's house was set on fire. It was not
immediately clear that the fire and the teen's disappearance were connected, and initially, the case was treated as an arson investigation.
On Saturday, the sheriff's office posted a public note to its Facebook stating that “there are no search parties being organized,” but declined to comment on the possible whereabouts of Maggie Long.
From that day, the investigation was shrouded in secrecy.
The sheriff's office Facebook page was again updated on Sunday, stating: “We are sorry we are unable to reveal more information at this time. We are working on an active arson investigation. We do not believe there is any risk to the public. We continue to ask for prayers for the Long family.”
Then on Monday, a prosecutor filed a motion for a “gag order,” which was granted and signed by a local judge, preventing law enforcement from providing any information to the public. That – despite the fact that there was no court case and no arrests made.
No information was forthcoming until Thursday, when the gag order was lifted and the Park County
Sheriff's investigators acknowledged that Maggie Long's remains were discovered in the home and this is now a homicide investigation.
Later Thursday evening, Denver police scanners broadcast a “be on the lookout” alert – or BOLO – that included a vague description of a white male possible suspect, that the Park County undersheriff said was never meant to be distributed in that way.
“That was not ever intended to go out,” Wohlers said.
Wohlers explained that the information was intended to be reported to the Colorado Information
Analysis Center (CIAC), an office within Homeland Security and Emergency Management, for sharing internally with public safety agencies.
He said the description of the suspect that was broadcast was just one of many possible leads that the task force is considering.
“When hunches and working angles of an investigation get broadcast to the world, it is really
detrimental,” Wohlers said. “We don't want bad guys to know what we know. We want to be in
The undersheriff also clarified that while there is not currently a specific threat to the public, the task
force understands that this is still a matter of public concern.
“Anytime any individual's involved in any homicide anywhere, it's a problem for the community,” Wohlers said. “If there was the slightest hint of the public being in direct danger, we would get that
information out there… The sheriff wants to keep the community informed. We want to solve this