When Homeschoolers Turn Violent: Son of Marilyn and Charles Long

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Series note: “When Homeschoolers Turn Violent” is a joint research project by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Please see the Introduction for detailed information about the purpose and scope of the project.

Trigger warning: If you experience triggers from descriptions of physical and sexual violence, please know that the details in many of the cases are disturbing and graphic.

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Son of Marilyn and Charles Long

After building an imaginative city in a sandpit near his home, a 12-year-old boy from Colorado went on a shocking killing rampage in his home.

A young boy from Burlington, Colorado was 12 years old in 2011 when he murdered his parents, Marilyn and Charles Long (pictured), as well as wounded 2 of his siblings.

A young boy from Burlington, Colorado was 12 years old in 2011 when he murdered his parents, Marilyn and Charles Long (pictured), as well as wounded 2 of his siblings.

The young boy from Burlington, Colorado was 12 years old in 2011 when he murdered his parents, Marilyn and Charles Long, as well as wounded his 9-year-old brother Ethan and 5-year-old sister Sarah with a knife. (The boy’s name has never been released to the public.) The Long family was reported to be “a large, loving and deeply religious clan.” They attended two churches, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The father Charles was part of a Seventh-Day Adventist prayer group and confessed love for both the Bible and Ted Nugent. The mother Marilyn ran the children’s ministry at Evangelical Free Church. They had 7 children, 4 of whom were already adults and 3 of whom were being homeschooled.

The boy himself loved building projects with toy trucks and other wooden objects in a nearby sandpit. He helped with cleaning at church and used money from cleaning to buy Legos. His grandmother described him as “loving and caring,” and said his parents raised him and his siblings to be “God fearing, responsible children.” The boy, however, was said to be lonely and isolated, with his main social activities outside of homeschooling revolving “around the church to which his folks were so devoted.”

In March 2011, the boy was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of first-degree assault. The following September, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in juvenile detention. After the sentencing, his oldest brother Jacob said, “He is dead to me.” The young siblings that the boy attacked have recovered and were adopted by their aunt and uncle.

View the case index here.

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