Sheriff’s office confirms that Lawrence woman killed by train was local advocate and reporter; suicide and foul play ruled out

photo by: Contributed

Chansi Rose Long

Investigators with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Wednesday that the woman killed by an Amtrak train on Thanksgiving Day was a local reporter and advocate for the homeless, and they have ruled out suicide or foul play.

The woman, Chansi Rose Long, 40 of Lawrence, was walking on the railroad tracks to get to her car after staying the night at an encampment near Burcham Park as part of a “lived experience” story about homelessness she was writing to post online, as the Journal-World reported. Long worked as a freelance reporter for the Journal-World until the summer of 2022 and also wrote for other various other online news outlets and had started her own online outlet in the months leading up to her death.

“At this stage, investigators do not believe she was intentionally trying to harm herself, and they do not suspect any foul play. Results of the coroner’s report are pending,” said sheriff’s office spokesman George Diepenbrock in an email to the Journal-World.

The Douglas County Coroner’s Office said in an email Wednesday that it would take 8 to 12 weeks for Long’s autopsy report to be finalized.

Diepenbrock said Long was walking in the same direction that the eastbound train was traveling and did not respond to the train’s horn before she was struck by it at approximately 8:06 a.m. just north of Sandra J. Shaw Park near Second and Indiana streets.

“The Sheriff’s Office has been in contact with Chansi Long’s family and offers our sympathies as they process this traumatic event,” Diepenbrock said.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Union Pacific Depot at 402 N. Second St.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up in support of her family and her two daughters’ future education. The fund has already exceeded its goal of $5,000, raising $7,625 from 84 donations as of Wednesday afternoon.


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