Hate Crime Is Eyed in Chinese language-American Teen’s 2017 Killing, Authorities Say

For 3 and a half years, the killing of a Chinese language-American teenager who was set on hearth and burned alive in her household’s Colorado dwelling has confounded investigators.

However now, because the federal authorities focuses on a spate of assaults concentrating on Asians, the 2017 killing of {the teenager}, Maggie Lengthy, is being investigated as a hate crime, the native sheriff and one among Ms. Lengthy’s sisters mentioned in interviews on Tuesday.

They mentioned that that they had lately been knowledgeable by the F.B.I. that the scope of its investigation had developed to take into consideration that the killing of the 17-year-old highschool pupil may need been racially motivated.

“They’ve reclassified it as a hate crime,” mentioned Sheriff Tom McGraw of Park County, Colo.

Sheriff McGraw referred additional questions on the hate crime facet of the investigation to the F.B.I., which didn’t reply to a number of requests for touch upon Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Denver tv station CBS4 reported the event on Monday, with the bureau telling it that the killing was being checked out as a “hate crime matter.” The bureau didn’t present further particulars on the case.

Maggie’s sister Connie Lengthy mentioned in an interview on Tuesday that she was informed by an investigator with the bureau that the choice to deal with the murder as a hate crime was a tactical one which would supply legislation enforcement officers with more cash and assets to attempt to resolve the case. It was not prompted by a particular improvement within the case, she mentioned.

“With the media consideration on anti-Asian hate within the nation, there was one other have a look at our case with that lens,” Ms. Lengthy, 27, mentioned. “It’s positively a unique approach that will deliver new solutions.”

The event got here throughout per week by which the U.S. Home of Representatives overwhelmingly accredited a measure that’s supposed to bolster protections for folks of Asian descent, who’ve been more and more focused for assault for the reason that begin of the coronavirus pandemic.

Handed final month by the Senate, the anti-Asian hate crimes invoice is predicted to be rapidly signed by President Biden. It creates a place on the Justice Division to streamline the evaluate of hate crimes and broaden the channels to report them.

On the night time of Dec. 1, 2017, sheriff’s deputies responded to a hearth on the Longs’ dwelling in Bailey, a small city within the mountains about 45 miles southwest of Denver, the authorities mentioned. Emergency responders had reported receiving a 911 name that individuals had brought about harm inside the house.

When firefighters put out the blaze, they found Maggie’s stays, based on the authorities, who mentioned that they discovered proof of a bodily battle.

A Beretta handgun, an AK-47-style rifle, 2,000 rounds of ammunition and jade collectible figurines had been stolen from the residence, based on the F.B.I.’s Denver discipline workplace, which launched composite sketches of three male suspects in November 2019.

Maggie’s dad and mom have been born in a Chinese language neighborhood in North Vietnam and fled to america in the course of the Vietnam Warfare, her sister mentioned. They owned two native Chinese language eating places and a liquor retailer.

On the night time of her demise, Maggie had gone dwelling to get refreshments and snacks for a highschool live performance, for which she had been answerable for a V.I.P. lounge. She by no means confirmed up for the live performance.

Connie Lengthy mentioned that she had not thought-about on the time that Maggie’s killing may have been racially motivated, however mentioned that her household had been keenly conscious that few folks of their small city appeared like them.

“Me personally, I didn’t go there in my thoughts,” she mentioned. “I didn’t suppose this was a hate crime or overt racism. We positively did take our tradition into consideration.”

Christine Hauser contributed reporting and Jack Begg contributed analysis.

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