For relatives of the people who died in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the death Sunday of the only man who was convicted stirred up questions once again about his guilt and whether others went unpunished.
It also gave families a chance to reissue pleas for further investigation.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence official, died of complications from cancer, a relative said. Al-Megrahi was convicted of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988.
The passenger jet exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people, many of them New York and New Jersey residents.
Among those killed was Colleen Brunner, a graduate of Hamburg High School. Brunner, 20, a junior at Oswego State College, had completed a semester at Imperial College in London in late November. She delayed her return to the United States so she could travel in Europe.
She booked a seat on Flight 103 to get back to her Town of Boston home in time for Christmas.
Syracuse University was hard-hit: 35 students on the way home for Christmas break died in the bombing.
After years of punishing U.N. sanctions, Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi handed over al-Megrahi and a second suspect to Scottish authorities. In 2003, Gadhafi acknowledged responsibility, though not guilt, for the bombing and paid compensation of about $2.7 billion to victims' families.
The families had banded together after the bombing, immersing themselves in anti-terrorism policy, international relations and airline security and lobbying for compensation from the Libyan government. Some relatives attended al-Megrahi's trial in the Netherlands. When he was released to Libya from British custody in 2009 on humanitarian grounds, since he was supposedly close to death, they were outraged, especially after al-Megrahi survived far longer than the few months the doctors had believed.
Still, their views on al-Megrahi's role in the bombing are far from uniform.
"[Al-Megrahi] is the 271st victim of Lockerbie," said David Ben-Ayreah, who represents some British families of victims. He attended the trial and still believes that al-Megrahi was not responsible for the bombing.
Even those who believed al-Megrahi did take part in the bombing say his death at 60 still leaves questions unanswered.
"It closes a chapter, but it doesn't close the book. We know he wasn't the only person involved," Frank Dugan, president of the group Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, said from Alexandria, Va.
To the end, al-Megrahi insisted he had nothing to do with the bombing. Those who believed him got a boost in 2007 when a three-year investigation by a Scottish tribunal found that new evidence -- and old evidence withheld from trial -- suggested that al-Megrahi "may have suffered a miscarriage of justice." Their 800-page report prompted an appeal on al-Megrahi's behalf, but by then, his fate was in the hands of politicians in London, Tripoli and Edinburgh, all of whom jockeyed for position as Libya rebuilt its ties with Britain, and al-Megrahi's health deteriorated.
Still protesting his innocence, al-Megrahi dropped the appeal in a bid to clear the path for his release on compassionate grounds. He flew home to a hero's welcome in 2009.
He should have died in prison, said Susan Cohen of Cape May Court House, N.J., whose daughter was among the Syracuse University students on the flight.
"The fact that he was able to get out and live with his family these past few years is an appalling miscarriage of justice. There was no excuse for that," Cohen said Sunday. "He should have died in the Scottish prison; he should have been tried in the United States and faced capital punishment."
Al-Megrahi's death should not be an excuse to stop trying to find out who was behind the plot, she added. She called on U.S. and British officials to "dig even deeper" into the case.
Bert Ammerman of River Vale, N.J., lost his brother in the bombing and was for years president of a group called the Victims of Pan Am 103. He blames the United States and Britain for not tracking all leads in the case and noted that Gadhafi's ex-spy chief has been arrested in Mauritania. "He holds the key to what actually took place in Pan Am 103, he knows what other individuals were involved and, more importantly, what other countries were involved," Ammerman said.
After Gadhafi's downfall, Britain asked Libya's new rulers to help fully investigate, but they put off any probe.
"Ironically, 24 years later, I now have more confidence in the new Libyan government than the British or American governments to find the truth," Ammerman said, "because I believe Libya would like the truth to come out to show that they were not the only country involved."