11 Investigates: The unsolved death of Ronnie Long

11 Investigates: The unsolved death of Ronnie Long

PORT VUE, Pa. — Was it murder or an accident? Nearly a decade after a man was found unconscious in his driveway, investigators say there’s not enough evidence to file criminal charges.

Candy Long of Port Vue showed us the road at the end of her driveway where her son, Ronnie Long, was found on New Year’s Day eight years ago. A cross with flowers marks the spot now. A day later, the 36-year-old who worked as a landscaper and disc jockey died at the hospital.

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“There’s a lot of evil in this world right now,” Long said. “But I never thought it would be at our doorstep. You don’t think of things like that. You bring children into the world, you think you are going to have them forever; but it’s not that way.”

The medical examiner said Ronnie died of blunt force trauma to the head. But the manner of death, be it homicide or accidental, remains undetermined.

That New Year’s Eve, Ronnie and a friend stopped at a popular bar, since closed, in Liberty Borough.

Monica Coulter was working at a gas station across the street from the bar that night. She told 11 Investigates that she’s shocked there hasn’t been an arrest in the case.

“They knew who, there was an incident, supposedly a fight,” Coulter said.

A week after Ronnie’s death, his mother received an anonymous letter saying that he had been beaten inside the bar. The letter also identified who it said was responsible.

“We read it, and then we knew what happened,” she said. “There was a woman at the funeral home who told me, and it was exactly the same thing.”

But a detective at the time told the Longs that he talked to a bartender, who said Ronnie fell inside the bar and hit his head, then fell again outside the bar trying to climb a fence.

Allegheny County Police declined to talk about the case on camera, but the Homicide Unit emailed us this statement:

“The Allegheny County Homicide Unit investigated the circumstances surrounding Mr. Long’s death. The individual who dropped Mr. Long off near his home was interviewed as well as eyewitnesses to what occurred inside and outside the bar. The case was reviewed with the District Attorney’s office, to date there is no evidence of excessive force to support a criminal prosecution under the Criminal Homicide statute. As with all death investigations any new information is always welcome.”

Ronnie’s mother told 11 Investigates that she won’t stop fighting for justice. She continues to put up posters offering a $5,000 reward for information about his death.

“If there’s no justice on earth, there will definitely be justice in heaven,” she said.

Watch the full story and hear more from Coulter about what she says happened in the bar on that New Year’s Eve in 2011.

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