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One year later, still few answers in the death of 17-year-old Maggie Long

It's been a year since the remains of 17-year-old Maggie Long were discovered inside her burned home in Bailey. Incoming Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw said he plans to re-evaluate the investigation within two weeks of taking the reigns on Jan 8.

KUSA — Park County Sheriff-elect Tom McGraw said investigating who murdered 17-year-old Maggie Long one year ago is one of his "top priorities."

Long's remains were found inside her burned home in Bailey on Dec. 1. In those 12 months, no suspects have been named in the case. Outgoing Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener also called the case priority No. 1 at the time.

McGraw said he plans to connect with other agencies that are working on it within two weeks of taking the reigns from Wegener and being sworn into the position Jan 8.

"Obviously what is going on is not working," McGraw told 9NEWS. "I have it as one of my top priorities."

He also said he has not yet been briefed on the status of the investigation.

"Hopefully we might be able to produce some information to the public and see if there is any new information out there that the public has that we can use," he said.

On Dec. 1, 2017, Maggie Long had plans to attend an evening concert at Platte Canyon High School. She left school and did not return. Her car was found at her family’s home off County Road 43. The home had been set on fire, and the Park County Sheriff’s Office said it was clear there had been a burglary, but didn't elaborate.

Days later, the sheriff's office announced they found Long's remains inside of her burned home and announced the teen was killed on the last day she was seen, sometime between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 1.

Credit: KUSA

For months, there was little to no movement in the case. No suspects were named. No motive was announced.

The first time a news conference was held addressing Long's death was in February - more than two months after she was found dead. There, the sheriff's office and state and federal investigators appealed to the public for information that might crack the homicide case and also announced a reward increase from $15,000 to $20,000.

RELATED | Update expected in death investigation of Maggie Long

Photographs of a green safe, a Beretta 9mm handgun, an AK-47-style rifle and jade figurines that were taken from Long’s home were shown.

RELATED | Guns, safe, jade figurines stolen from torched home where teen was found slain

Although the pictures were released, Wegener declined to release other information during the press conference – including how Long was killed and whether she was sexually assaulted – because he said it could compromise the investigation.

Sheriff Wegener continued to insist the public was not in danger despite acknowledging that his department has no strong suspects in the murder and that the killer apparently made off with an AK-47-style semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic pistol and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

“I guess you have risk and threats every day,” Wegener said at the time.

In May, the sheriff’s office released a sketch of a man they said was seen at the Long house, but stopped short of calling this person a suspect.

RELATED | Sketch released in murder of Park County teen

Credit: Park County Sheriff's Office

Since then, there hasn’t been a formal update on the investigation.

McGraw said he believes the current investigative team is "doing everything they can to move this investigation further."

"Sometimes in a homicide investigation when you get some news eyes on it and some new ideas you can get some new information," he added. "We might have to start all over again and re-interview everyone in the case."

McGraw said he was bothered that the public wasn't asked to help out early on in the case.

"It was kind of kept in house," he said. "I have used public and social media quite a bit and sometimes you get good results and sometimes you get nothing."

Long would have been approaching her 19th birthday next month.

Below is a timeline of events in the case.

Dec. 1, 2017 – A fire tears through the Long family home on County Road 43 in Bailey. 17-year-old Maggie Long is missing.

Dec. 2, 2017 – The Park County Sheriff’s Office posts on Facebook saying, “there are no search parties being organized.”

Dec. 3, 2017 – The Park County Sheriff’s Office tells 9NEWS they did not find a body in the home. The sheriff’s office posts on Facebook saying, “We are sorry we are unable to reveal more information at this time…We do not believe there is any risk to the public.”

Dec. 4, 2017 – A prosecutor files a motion for a gag order in the Maggie Long case. A judge grants it.

Dec. 7, 2017 – The gag order is lifted. The Park County Sheriff’s Office confirms Maggie’s body was found in the burned home. A police alert mentioning a potential suspect description, missing guns and ammunition is mistakenly sent out statewide.

Dec. 9, 2017 – A friend of the Long family shares a message from the family on Facebook.

Dec. 17, 2017 – It would have been Maggie’s 18th birthday. Hundreds turn out for a Celebration of Life ceremony held at Fitzsimmons Middle School.

Jan. 13, 2018 – The Park County Sheriff’s Office confirms they’ve collected DNA samples from the Long family and associates.

Feb. 7, 2018 – Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener along with state and federal investigators hold the first press conference on the Maggie Long case. They announce a reward increase from $15,000 to $20,000. They show photographs of a green safe, a Beretta 9mm handgun, an AK-47-style rifle and jade figurines that were taken from the Long’s home the day Maggie was killed. Wegener insists the public is not in danger.

Feb. 21, 2018 – The Park County Sheriff’s Office responds to a 9NEWS records request for employee time sheets. The records show sheriff’s office employees worked a total of 1,867 hours on the case during the first 79 days of the investigation.

April 4, 2018 – The Park County Coroner’s Office tells 9NEWS it will not release the completed autopsy report for Maggie Long at the request of the district attorney.

May 4, 2018 - Park County Sheriff's Office releases sketch of a man seen at the house where 17-year-old Maggie Long was found dead.

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