One Year Later: No Arrests After Woman Shot, Killed In Northern Liberties Purse Snatching

By Steve Patterson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Twelve months later – not one moment any easier.

“You couldn’t have a better daughter. She’s worth talking about. She’s worth remembering.”

One year ago, 26-year-old Philadelphia University Architecture student Amber Long was shot and killed.

Murdered right in front of her best friend, her mother Stephanie.

“As long as I’m alive. She won’t totally be dead.”

On January 19th, 2014, Amber and Stephanie were walking side-by-side after a party.

The rest plays out on surveillance video:

The pair, on their way to pick up Amber’s car from Front Street in Northern Liberties, confronted by two men.

One of them grabs and steals Stephanie’s purse.

When a second tries to do the same to Amber, her daughter holds on.

She remembers the gunshot.

“There was this sound and he was running and she was going backwards,” said Stephanie.

Amber was shot once at point blank range in the chest.

Stephanie watched as her daughter lay dying in her arms.

Homicide detectives recovered and released surveillance video of the shooting as police scoured for suspects.

One year later, the case remains unsolved.

“I have my Special Investigative Unit still on it and as they get any leads and tips, they run on it,” said Philadelphia Police Captain James Clark.

Clark says so far, all leads have led to dead ends.

“I’ve taken it very personally, we want to catch the killers. We’re going to need the public’s help.  We know somebody saw something, we need them to call us with that information,” he said.

“I think the Philadelphia Homicide Department is doing what they can,” said Stephanie.

Still, Stephanie says a year without answers,  without leads, without justice is painful.

Amber’s birthday is in late December. Her mom says that day hurts the worst.

“To wake up in the morning on your daughter’s birthday and know that there’s nowhere in the world that you can call her and wish her a happy birthday… it’s just… it’s a horrible, horrible feeling.”

Despite all the pain, Stephanie stays active in her daughter’s legacy.

She’s spent the year raising money for a scholarship fund established by Philadelphia University, in part by selling some of Amber’s paintings at her jewelry store in Harrisburg.

She says it’s what Amber would have wanted.

“Even that day, all she ever wanted from me was that I’d be happy. I’m not happy. But, on the other hand, in her memory I can’t be a puddle of tears.”

Amber’s discarded purse was found just a few blocks away from the scene where she was murdered. Detectives used the purse to try to collect some DNA and ballistic evidence but they couldn’t tie it to a suspect. There remains a $20,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

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