Davidson police hope a wireless router will help them identify a man who was with Sarah Catherine Long the night she died of a gunshot wound in her bedroom, according to search warrants.
The warrants state that an AT&T wireless router that belonged to Long could hold information that could identify the man who entered her home with her about 10:20 p.m. July 19. Police believe Long died between 10:20 and 11:30 p.m., according to the warrants.
The unknown man “may have been involved or have knowledge related to the death of Sarah Catherine Long,” Davidson Police Detective Vernon Siders Jr. said in asking a judge to approve a warrant on Oct. 13 for police to search the router, four laptops, a thumbdrive, memory card and two Barnes and Noble Nooks.
Long’s wireless router was on when police discovered it, according to the warrants. An AT&T representative told police that if a person were to enter Long’s home while carrying a cellphone or any other electronic device, the router would store the other device’s Internet protocol address or phone number, according to the warrants.
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Police also obtained a warrant to search Long’s account at a Wells Fargo branch in Davidson. Siders said in his request that police had probable cause to believe that Long’s financial records “could provide insight into the days leading up to her death.”
Evidence for homicide
Long was found dead in her bedroom on July 23 with a gun in her hand, according to the warrants.
She died of a single gunshot wound to the left side of her head, Dr. Michael Sullivan, Mecklenburg County’s chief medical examiner at the time, stated in an autopsy report obtained by the Observer through a public records request.
Police said Long’s death initially appeared to be from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the warrants returned to Mecklenburg County Superior Court on Oct. 14.
But based on witness statements, police said, they believe someone else was inside Long’s house on Old Meeting Way the night she died, according to the warrants. Police are now treating the death as a homicide.
Responding officers found Long in her upstairs bedroom, clutching a .357 Taurus revolver in her left hand. Police said Long was right-handed, according to the warrants.
She was found on her back, with the gun resting across her chest, the warrants state.
A police sergeant and Sullivan discussed the positioning of the gun “and both believed that it was in an odd location,” the warrants state.
Sullivan also found no blood on Long’s hand that was believed to have fired the weapon, according to the warrants.
Witnesses, secrets and the will
Siders said in the warrants that he was approached by William Becker, who told the detective he was a friend of Long, that she was depressed and had recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Long’s doctor told police three weeks after Long was found dead that she did not have cervical cancer, according to the warrants.
The warrants say that the day before Long’s death, a neighbor reported seeing Long walking her dog with a man that Siders said he later identified as Becker, according to the warrants.
A previous warrant in the case said Becker told a detective about his relationship with Long. They’d met in December and began dating in April. Both were married, and the relationship was a secret, Becker told investigators, according to the warrant.
The warrant indicates that Long’s will left Becker all of her assets – nearly $1 million.
Attempts by the Observer to reach Becker in recent months have been unsuccessful. Calls to the police department on Tuesday were referred to the town’s public information officer, Cristina Shaul, who couldn’t be reached.
Police haven’t identified a suspect in Long’s death. The warrants also don’t identify a suspect. Database editor Gavin Off contributed.