Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Women Claim Bill Rausch Assaulted Female Coworker in 2011

True Crime Addict is out, today. It is the definitive book on the Maura Murray case and includes several new clues and insights into the 12 year old cold case. It ends with an epilogue in which we learn more about the character of Bill Rausch, who was Maura's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance.

Last fall, four women who worked with Bill at Ray Group International, in Washington D.C., in 2011 came forward with stories about what it was like to work with him. One woman, whom I call "Andie", claimed he pushed her down the stairs in the Metro one day and pretended it wasn't him. Another woman who shared an office with him believes he destroyed ultra-sound photographs of her unborn child which she'd brought to work to show around. Another woman says Bill mentioned Maura one day. According to her, he said he and Maura were breaking up when she disappeared and, in hindsight, he was glad things worked out the way they did.

Here's an excerpt from the Epilogue which explains the rest of Andie's story:

The night she came back to the office, after hours, Andie ran into Bill, who was married at the time. “He was clearly intoxicated. He said, ‘I want to talk to you about something,’ and then led me into the president’s office and locked the door behind us.” Once they were alone, according to Andie, Bill turned to her and smiled in a way that scared her and said he knew that it was her he pushed down the Metro elevators. She tried to leave. But Andie says he used his body to block her. He pushed her toward a wide table. Then, she said, he turned her around and pushed her facedown into the tabletop and pushed his body against her back. She struggled. He pushed her down harder, she said.            At that moment, Carrie came back into the office, looking for Andie. They could hear Carrie outside the door. Andie said that Bill let her go at this time. “He said, ‘Don’t say a fucking word.’” Frightened for her life, Andie called out to Carrie. Bill made a “shushing” gesture to Andie, she said, and then hid his body under the president’s desk. They got the door open and Andie left with Carrie.

After this incident, Ray Group International did "an internal investigation" and Bill never came back to the office. He no longer lists the company in his public LinkedIn profile.

I spoke to Bill about this. He admitted he knew about the allegations and left the job after the women reported it.

There's more, conversations with an ex-girlfriend from Marengo, Ohio, where he went to high school, which show a pattern of alarming behavior toward women. But it's important to note that Bill has a pretty tight alibi for the night Maura was missing and he was actively searching for her after she disappeared, calling her friend, Kate Markopoulos repeatedly.

So why include it, if it's not directly related to Maura's disappearance? Because I believe he was the great instigator of her need to seek a new life. The police believe she may have been pregnant. I can think of no better reason to leave and remain hidden than if she were pregnant with Bill's kid. If that's the case I hope she remains missing.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hoss: "Maura felt she couldn't get away from Bill Rausch"

A little recap: Last week, we learned about a cabin owned by the Outing Club at UMass, which could have been Maura Murray's destination the night she disappeared. The cabin was known to family and police for years (though they never mentioned it publicly on forums as a lead). Lance & Tim from the Missing Maura Murray podcast were told the prosecutors in the case have never found evidence to suggest Maura was at the cabin in February, 2004. But what wasn't known until last week was that Hossein Baghdadi was active in the Outing Club and knew about the cabin. "Hoss" had an affair with Maura in 2003.

When I interviewed Hoss years ago, he told me a few interesting things about Maura. She never once mentioned her father, he said. And she sometimes fantasized about disappearing and starting a new life. "I wish I could disappear" she told him. He always thought she'd choose Mexico.

In light of this new info, I've gone back to my notes on that interview. A few more things are worth mentioning.

According to Hoss, Bill Rausch was very controlling and Maura wanted to get away from him. "There were hints that he got physical with her," he told me. "She felt she couldn't get away from him. He wanted her to be in certain places at certain times. He'd check up on her. He was very demanding."

Hoss is not the only one who told me Bill could be physical with the women in his life.

I've left messages for Hoss. He has not returned my calls or emails.

I will tell you this much, after speaking to Hoss, I think he was the only one who was totally honest with me in my years of research.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Comments Policy

Now might be a good time to explain the comments policy again.

Because of the number of spam and trollish comments, and because of the sensitive nature of the case, I have to approve every single comment. I try to do this in batches a couple times a day. So when you comment, know it could take some time to post but that I am getting to it as quickly as possible.

The following comments will not be approved:

1. Any comment that suggests a specific person murdered Maura. Nobody has been charged with a crime. In fact, there's no evidence that this is a crime at all. It may be. But let's not directly accuse anyone.

2. Any mean or rude comment about the podcast or the blog or specific people. I'm not sure what that accomplishes.

3. Any comment that suggests police were somehow involved in a conspiracy related to Maura's disappearance. This isn't a place for fan fiction.

As always, I welcome fresh insight and especially suggestions for new avenues of investigation.

James Renner

Friday, May 20, 2016

Maura's Hometown Paper Covers True Crime Addict

Today's Whitman-Hanson Express has a lengthy article about True Crime Addict.

"At the time Murray vanished on Feb. 9, 2004, Renner was a reporter for alternative weeklies in northeastern Ohio. By 2009, the fallout from his coverage of an Ohio state senator at the center of a sex scandal had cost him his job and he was looking for a new story.
The new mystery he was ready for was Maura Murray. While conducting his investigation, there were mysteries in his own life to confront: the truth about his grandfather, the violent tendencies his son was beginning to display and Renner’s own impulses."

Check it out!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Podcast Episode Explores Criminology and the UMass Cabin

Fascinating new episode of the Missing Maura Maura podcast, this week. Lance & Tim talk to Professor David Wilson and Elizabeth Yardley of Birmingham City University, in England, criminologists who have some fresh ideas about armchair sleuths and Maura's case in particular.

They also spend a little time talking about the Outing Club cabin.

Turns out Lance and Tim found out about this cabin a few weeks ago, in time to ask the NH prosecutor's office about it. Listen to the podcast for the full explanation but the gist is that there is "no evidence" to support that Maura was going there. Of course, it's unknown at this time if the police knew about Hoss's connection to the club, which, in my mind, makes it exponentially more likely that Maura knew details about the cabin.

Kate Markopoulos, the Week of the Disappearance

I've always believed Maura's friend, Kate Markopoulos, knows some important pieces of this mystery. She's never been completely honest with me - she claimed she didn't know that Maura and Hoss were romantic, even though she used to hang out with the both of them after track practices, when the affair was going on.

And I've always wondered about her actions around the time Maura disappeared. Track teammates of Kate's said she wasn't seen at practice around this time. But another journalist just found some old UMass postings that show Kate was at least showing up to compete, if she was really absent from practice.

On February 7, Kate competed at the Rhode Island Invitational, and did quite well. Here's a quote from the article:

Kate Markopoulos’s time of 5:18 may not have been enough to earn points in the mile, but later she anchored the DMR, running an amazing 5:17 for her second mile of the day.
“Kate Markopoulos ran really nice back to back miles,” LaFreniere said, “and that’s something she hasn’t done before. She really needs to be recognized for that.”

This is the same day Fred Murray arrived at UMass. When Kate returns to campus she meets up with them and goes to the brew pub. Then, afterwards, she and Maura go to a campus party that some say was held in Sara Alfieri's room. Others say it was actually held off campus. I wonder if there were other track teammates present - Kate and Maura sometimes partied with upperclassmen members of the men's track team at the athletics pool, after hours.

Then Maura disappears on Monday, February 9.

On February 13th, Kate competes at the Valentine's Invitational.

During this week, Bill Rausch is calling her constantly, trying to find Maura. Kate is not calling him back (however there is a six-minute call to her dorm room once that week). As far as I can tell, she never traveled to Haverhill, to help in Maura's search.

Maybe she just didn't know anything and didn't care to speak to Bill. Maybe she dealt with Maura's disappearance by focussing on running. Maybe she didn't talk about Hoss because it was none of anyone's business. I don't know.

I still believe these actions are strange, but we can see that Kate was definitely not "missing" for very long if indeed she did stop reporting to practice.

* Thanks to Clint for the new info.