LUSBY, Md. - Nearly seven years ago, in the fall of 2010, a mother of two was found viciously stabbed to death in a southern Maryland parking lot. Sandra Long's body was discovered inside her car, parked a short distance from her home, just hours after she left for work.
Detectives believe she was killed by someone she knew, but despite years of investigating, no arrests have been made.
Long lived in Lusby, Md. with her husband and two daughters. She had a job, loved to cook, and loved Chuck Brown-- and her family.
"Sandy was the life of the party,” said her niece Glenda Johnson. “She was a good-hearted, genuine, caring, considerate person that anyone who was around her just loved to be in her presence."
Long grew up in Calvert County, where she developed a love for the water. Especially in the summer, she could often be found at Solomons Island, just a few miles away from home. Her life was cut short in November 2010, at the age of 43, but to this day it's not clear why she was killed-- or who did it.
"We know that it was a crime of passion, not sure why this happened," said Maryland State Police Sgt. David Sexton, who has been on the case since hunters discovered Long's body in a dirt parking lot near Camp Candy Road.
She had been stabbed several times, in the neck and chest, and had lacerations on her legs and some minute injuries on her hands.
The last time anyone heard from Sandy Long was on the morning of November 30, 2010. It was just after 8 am, and she used her cell phone to clock into work. It would be the last time she used her cell phone that day. Six hours and 43 minutes later, her body was found inside her car in the hunters parking lot at Calvert Cliffs State Park, less than two miles from her home. Sgt. Sexton says whoever killed her may have been in the car with her, and the attack came as a surprise.
Investigators believe Long was killed elsewhere, and driven to the location where her body was found. Why?
"Just because the way her body was positioned and the suspect cut the seat belt," Sgt. Sexton said.
DNA recovered from the steering wheel matches that of a family member, whom Sgt. Sexton says has not been as cooperative in the investigation as he would like.
"We are still trying to figure out why Sandy was killed and what the motive was, and I think we will find out once we find out who this suspect really was, and maybe some family members and friends will start coming forward," Sgt. Sexton said.
Long's husband, Louis, told FOX 5 he has cooperated with the investigation and has given up his fingerprints, DNA and taken a polygraph test. He was already at work when his wife left the house on the day she died. He also said he's not involved in anyway.
"I pray that it gets solved," Louis Long said. "Some closure for me, some closure for the kids and closure for the family so we can move on with our lives. I mean it's an eerie feeling when this is not solved and people look at you differently."
Family members say in the month before her death, Sandy Long had become withdrawn.
"Sandy seemed very quiet and distant,” said her niece Karen Gross. “I went to see her the Sunday prior to her murder and that Monday.
We asked Gross if she asked Long if anything was bothering her?
“No, I didn't ask her because I just figured that she was going through a lot of family issues and I didn't want to pry too much,” Gross said.
Now, nearly seven years later, family members wonder if that change in demeanor may have had something to do with her death.
"I miss everything about her, and I miss her deeply but I know that my pain is unlike the pain that I’m sure her girls feel – every day missing her and the milestones that they have reached in their lives, and they were unable to share it with her,” said Johnson. "We still have faith in God and that someone will hear our story and that they would want to come forward. I have always believed that it is the smallest piece of information that someone is holding, that they may not know whether it is important, but it could be just the thing that opens up everything."
After all of the work he has put into the case, Sgt. Sexton believes Long was killed soon after leaving her house for work that day. He doesn't know who did it, but he says he isn't giving up-- and neither is her family.