PARK COUNTY, Colo. — A closed gate leads to an empty house off County Road 43 in Bailey. It’s a home that’s lost its meaning to sisters Connie and Lynna Long.
“It’s not about, like, coming home without her because it’s not a home anymore,” Lynna Long said. Connie Long nodded in agreement.
“I don’t think of it as home anymore,” she said.
The sisters recently felt the warmth of home spending time inside the Venue Theatre in Conifer. The small, community theater is where their younger sister Maggie Long often performed.
“Yeah, that was the last play she was in,” Connie Long said, pointing to a picture of a costumed Maggie Long in the production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
Seventeen-year-old Maggie Long was a senior at Platte Canyon High School. Like her sisters before her, Maggie Long was eager to get involved in various clubs and after-school activities.
“Everything that we had done combined, she just went the extra mile,” Connie Long said.
“It’s like, we were in student council, but then she was like student council representative,” Lynna Long added. “So, it’s like she really leveled up on all of our achievements.”
Connie Long said she believes her little sister feared missing out on things.
“She just really wanted to be where all the people are at and she wanted to be a part of something,” she said.
Maggie Long was part of so much in Bailey. That’s why the small town stopped feeling like home to her sisters.
“Yeah,” Connie Long said. “Like the moment we lost Maggie.”
On Dec. 1, 2017, Maggie Long left Platte Canyon High School with plans to return for an evening concert she was helping organize. She wanted to pick up water and cookies for the audience. Maggie Long stopped at home, walked into her house and into what investigators called a crime of opportunity.
“It sounded like there was a break-in, so we were really concerned,” Connie Long recalled. “Maggie’s car was in the driveway, so we didn’t know where she was and at that point, we thought she was missing.”
When Connie Long arrived, her home was surrounded by emergency vehicles. Earlier, a tenant renting a room at the Long family’s ranch called 911 to report a fire. He said people were inside the house causing damage.
Investigators believe at least three men, and possibly a fourth suspect, were involved in a break-in. They stole jade figurines, a green safe, a 9 mm pistol, an AK-47-style rifle and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. The men then set a fire that damaged the home and burned Maggie Long alive.
“It gets exhausting thinking about who could’ve done it, why they could’ve done it, why was Maggie there, what could I have done to stop it,” Connie Long said. “There’s just so many ‘what ifs’ and it just, you know, it takes me into a big hole, and I leave that part to the investigators who know what they’re doing.”
Dec. 1 marked two years since Maggie Long’s murder. A task force continues to work the case, but no arrests have been made and no suspects have been named.
“I listen to a lot of murder podcasts and like true crime stuff and I think that’s – we’re sitting here with you today because this is not a cold case,” Lynna Long said.
For sisters, two years still feels like yesterday.
“Having to deal day to day with not being able to talk to her, know how she’s doing or not being able to follow her on her journey through college or finding herself. That part sucks.” Connie Long said.
The Long family no longer lives in the home off County Road 43. It’s sat empty since that night in December 2017. The family has since left Bailey altogether.
“That time is passed and like her not being around anymore changes how I view Bailey as a place that I grew up because it doesn’t feel like the place I grew up anymore without that presence,” Lynna Long said.
Home lost its feeling, but Lynna and Connie Long find comfort in words their sister left behind.
“This the yearbook from her senior year,” Connie Long said. She opened the yearbook to a page dedicated to Maggie Long.
“This is something that [Maggie} wrote right after a classmate of hers had died,” Connie Long said.
She read her sister’s words from the page.
“I think the only real cure to cope with loss is to continue to be good people. Be kind, be caring, be passionate, be thoughtful. Know the value of the people around you and spread good vibes. But most importantly, don’t limit your boundaries. Share love and consider everyone around you, from strangers to acquaintances to peers to friends. We all have our circle of close people, but it surely wouldn’t hurt to feel the comfort of everyone on your side. I think enough people have experienced pain to understand that life is far more measurable in joy and good memories than to be scorched by cruelty and misery.”
Connie Long finished set the yearbook down in her lap.
“It really just like encompassed who she was as a person,” she said.
Connie and Lynna Long honor their sister by trying to live the words she left behind.
“Above all, it’s – we think about Maggie and think about what we can do for her now to honor her,” Connie Long said.
If you have information about the Maggie Long case, you can submit an anonymous tip at MaggieLongTaskForce.com. There’s a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
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