Dance for a cause seeks information in man's death

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Candy Long believes that justice for her son, Ronnie, who died from blunt force trauma to his head, will come in the afterlife.

But she would first like a taste of it here.

To that end, she and her husband, Mike, are staging a "Justice for Ronnie Long Benefit Dance" from 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Palisades, 100 Fifth Ave., McKeesport.

The oldies dance will include refreshments and an auction, and all proceeds will go toward a reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of their son.

Mr. Long, 36, was discovered about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 1 face down in a lot near Glenn Avenue Extension in Port Vue. He died the next day.

Mrs. Long's last conversation with her son was at 12:08 a.m. Jan. 1, when he called his parents to wish them Happy New Year and to say he soon would be leaving the Big Shot bar in Liberty for the family's Port Vue home, where he lived.

After their son's death, the Longs said they received a letter stating that he had been beaten by two men at the bar. And, they said, a woman paying her respects at the funeral home also told Mrs. Long about the bar beating.

When confronted by county detectives, however, the witnesses changed their stories. The investigation remains open.

Mrs. Long hopes a reward will prod someone to step forward and go on record about what happened to her son, a volunteer firefighter and kitchen co-manager at the American Legion in Versailles.

The Longs, who host "Candy and Mike's Magic Music'' on WEDO radio in McKeesport, said driving to and from work is painful because they pass the spot where their son was found and where a makeshift memorial has been erected.

"He was such a good son, and we all miss him terribly," Mrs. Long said. "We just keep our faith and pray for some peace of mind."

Anyone with information on the death is urged to call county police at 412-473-1300.

Admission to the dance is a donation in any amount. Tickets will be available at the door. Details: 412-370-2971.


Margaret Smykla, freelance writer:


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