PALMDALE – This December will mark the 33rd anniversary since 20-year-old Palmdale resident Leslie Long was robbed, kidnapped, raped and murdered.
Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to offer a $20,000 reward to help solve the cold case.
According to official reports, on Sunday, December 3, 1978, Palmdale resident Leslie Long, mother of three small children, was working her evening shift at the Chevron Gas Station (now Alliance Gas) located at the corner of Palmdale Boulevard and Division Street in Palmdale. Unknown suspects entered the office area and robbed Long of the money inside the location’s floor safe. The suspects then kidnapped Long at gun point.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. Long was discovered missing when a customer entered the office area and attempted to pay for his gas. The customer found the gas station office wide open and lights turned on, but there was no attendant in sight. The customer saw that the floor safe was open and empty, and numerous coins were scattered on the floor.
Long’s purse was still in the office and her vehicle remained parked behind the gas station. Deputies were called and they began a massive manhunt for Leslie Long.
On December 6, 1978, the search ended, after Long’s body was discovered at the base of a small hill off the 14 freeway at Soledad Canyon Road in Acton, eight miles south of the Chevron gas station. Homicide investigators responded to the scene and determined Long had been shot and killed at this location. An autopsy later revealed Long was also sexually assaulted. Evidence at the crime scene revealed at least two suspects were involved, perhaps more.
In the months to follow there was extensive media coverage of Long’s murder. It was learned that two prisoners had escaped from a Northern California prison just three days prior to Long’s murder. Circumstances seemed to link the escapees with Long’s murder, so the escaped prisoners were soon recaptured, and though there was a lack of evidence to charge them with the Long murder, it was believed they were involved.
This is the last impression that was left with the general public before the investigation went cold, according to officials.
Recently, with DNA technology, both prison escapees were excluded from the trace evidence found at the crime scene. They are no longer suspects and the case remains open and unsolved.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is seeking assistance from the public with information that may aid in the investigation of this crime.
The Board of Supervisors has offered a reward of $20,000 in exchange for any information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Leslie Long. Those with information are asked to contact Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Detective Brian Schoonmaker at 323-890-5500
“Crime Stoppers Files,” the Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers Television Program has partnered with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and the surviving family members of Leslie Long to air a re-enactment of the robbery/kidnap/murder. The program is scheduled to air on KCAL 9 on Sunday night, October 9, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated 10/4/11 at 9 p.m.: The reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for Leslie Long’s murder is now $26,000. The reward money donations break down as follows: $20,000.00 from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; $1,000.00 from the city of Palmdale; and $5,000.00 from the Chevron Corporation