The FBI is taking a new approach to the unsolved 2017 murder of an Asian-American teen in Colorado.
The agency told KCNC-TV on Tuesday that it is investigating her death as a possible hate crime.
Maggie's sisters told the outlet they hope the new focus will encourage people to come forward with information.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday that it is investigating the grisly death of an Asian-American teenager near Denver, Colorado, as a possible hate crime, in a case that remains unsolved more than three years later.
The agency told Denver news station KCNC-TV that it was looking into the death of 17-year-old Maggie Long as a "hate crime matter" in a Tuesday statement.
No arrests have been made in Maggie's death, which authorities ruled a homicide. Her body was found inside her family's home in a mountain community outside of Denver in December 2017. According to investigators, a fire broke out following a report of a disturbance.
Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw has previously said Maggie was "purposely set on fire and burned alive."
Authorities released composite sketches of at least three men believed to be involved in her death, according to The Associated Press. A number of items from the home, including an AK-47-style rifle, ammunition, a handgun, and a safe, were stolen from the property, and the crime was initially considered one "of opportunity," KCNC-TV reported.
The FBI did not provide any additional information as to why agents are now considering a hate crime element in the incident, but did say they are seeking information from the public.
"The FBI is committed to combating hate crimes and condemns violence directed toward any individual or group. We are grateful for the community's support of Maggie's family and their patience with the ongoing investigation," Denver FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider told Insider. "The FBI continues to work with the Park County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and we ask anyone who has information about this murder to contact the FBI immediately."
The agency's decision comes amid a nationwide spike of hate crimes and incidents against Asian-Americans.
Maggie's sisters, Connie Long and Lyanna Long, told KCNC-TV that the announcement of a possible hate crime element was "a little surprising," but also in some ways "makes sense."
"This is an angle that wasn't looked into in the past, and at this point it is no stone left unturned," Lyanna Long told the station. "Looking at the extent of violence in this crime, that is certainly an angle to look more closely into."
Both girls said they didn't notice any overt anti-Asian discrimination in the community, but said they hoped the new focus would encourage people to "reconsider interactions" they had with people during that time and consider any expressions of anti-Asian bias that might be relevant.
"Now is the time to share what you know," Lyanna Long said. "That's not the type of people we want in our society, and it's a matter of time before they hurt or kill somebody else. With now looking into the angle of is it race-related, it is that much more critical that this crime is solved."
Read the original article on Insider