Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Porchlight Project Begins!

This last year, I’ve been working hard to put together a new non-profit that can provide financial help and media attention to the families of the missing and murdered, focusing on cold cases in Ohio. I’m excited to announce that The Porchlight Project is here and our first case is the 1987 unsolved murder of Barbara Blatnik.

The board members of The Porchlight Project include former police chiefs, private investigators, journalists, lawyers, and podcasters. We’ll be working together to bring closure to a handful of cases this year. Please visit our website and consider a donation today.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Woman Claims Maura Murray Was Seen with Cult Members in 2004

The latest unconfirmed sighting of Maura Murray centers around a strange group who call themselves The Twelve Tribes, residing in Lancaster, New Hampshire. The Twelve Tribes are a religious community (read: cult) that sprung out of the hippy movement in the early 70s - and whose aim is to recreate the Christian church of the 1st century, an effort to get back to the basics of Jesus' teachings. However, Twelve Tribes communities across the country have gotten in some trouble over child abuse and child labor.

Here's some emails I received from the witness this week:

Maura was wearing a white coat when I saw her for three days following her accident.
That's why I asked if she had one. I had sent an email to her boyfriend, and he wrote back saying "not a clue" no more, no less.

Maura was alive, unhurt after her accident.

She walked past the store I worked in everyday for three days.
Until the day she was leaving, her new friends came into the store with her and I met her.  I will never forget her dimples. Never.  They even gave her a new name, translated it meant, "to be free".
She smiled.  She is clearly a runaway.

Her friends that helped her were told never to speak of the incident again,

I will tell you that Maura met these friends right there in Amherst.
I am sure it was at their festival that is held each year in the common.  But for the last 2 years has been held elsewhere on the university grounds because it got too big for their town common.  These people go to all the universities and some of the bigger malls.  Even thou they don't recruit
they are always there to help those that need some.
The name of the "GROUP" as you call them are members of the "Twelve Tribes". They are all over the country and if you give them trouble, they can make trouble for you.  As I suspect they did with sending members of the family to some unknown location in the middle of the woods on some foolish mountain.
I've forwarded this info to family and police. I'm inclined to think this could be a look-alike, but this woman is adamant the person she saw was Maura Murray.

I should note that this woman says she reported this sighting years ago to police, family, and Bill Rausch.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Bill Rausch Returns to Court

Bill Rausch appeared in DC Superior Court today for a hearing related to a charge of felony sex abuse. He stands accused of attempting to rape a coworker in the office of Ray Group International, in 2011. Since the victim shared her story, other women have come forward alleging behavior from harassment to assault dating back to 2004, the year Maura Murray, Bill's girlfriend, went missing.

Rausch arrived ten minutes before 11 and sat quietly in the front row, eyes forward, until the judge returned to his bench. He was alone. No friends, no family, no coworkers in his corner. Rausch's lawyer argued that the prosecutor should allow Rausch to review Grand Jury statements. The government is concerned that if Rausch is given the chance to copy or download the documents, he may distribute them. Grand Jury statements are secret for a good reason - to protect witnesses.

And the prosecutors in this case should be concerned about this. Rausch loves to share information he digs up on people. He did opposition research on me, a journalist covering the disappearance of his girlfriend. In fact, I believe he passed such information to people who were harassing me at that time. Rausch was also suspended by Twitter for posting my personal phone number in an attempt to dox me while he was serving as head of a propaganda campaign for the US Army. All very odd and alarming behavior.

Later, the government said it would consider a plea deal but that no deal has yet been offered. The judge said they should either work out a deal or prepare for trial before the next court date in early October.

Adding to the drama of the day, I was served with a subpoena while having lunch around the corner from the courthouse. Rausch wants access to my interviews and notes in the Maura’s Murray files and the names of the people who contacted me about his sex assaults and harassment. He will, of course, not be getting that info. More to come.

Here is a recent podcast that discusses Bill's strange behavior following Maura's disappearance. One note: Kate M did not date a professor at West Point.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

**UPDATED** Persistant Rumor: Maura Murray Was Spotted in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

About a year ago, several people noticed a woman that looked like Maura Murray in a clip posted to YouTube. The video shows a woman and her daughter during a kind of prank that happened outside a preview screening for The Force Awakens in 2015. Here are some screen caps. Click here to see more.

I have not posted about this because I kept expecting it to be debunked, but it has not been and the rumor persists that this may be Maura with a child. Tracing back the origin of this clip takes you to Reddit, where it was originally posted by "KayPeaches09," who then deleted their profile. The timing, coming as a grand jury began its investigation into Bill Rausch, was curious. As one Redditor notes:

If the footage of the woman resembling Maura was shot at a preview for 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Maura (if living) would have been 33 at the time and if pregnant around the time she went missing her child would have been around 11. This does seem to match the ages of the woman and child we see in the video.

As to the timing of the release of this video...Bill's name has been coming up online as of late with the idea that he might have done harm to Maura. If Maura were alive, perhaps she would feel bad about Bill's name being linked to her presumed demise (or someone who knows her feels that way), and thus the video has been pointed out to us as "proof" of Bill's innocence.

Btw, kaypeaches09, the person who posted this here only a few days ago has deleted his or her account.

The original video has since been deleted from YouTube.

Hopefully the woman in this video sees this post and comes forward to debunk this theory.

Someone found the video!
The woman appears at 1:20 in.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bill Rausch's Indictment

Here's the indictment filed in DC Superior Court, which provides some context for the crime Bill Rausch is charged with. He did not show up for his scheduled arraignment today because he has not yet left Camp Lemonnier, in East Africa. Word is the Army is having issues with getting a flight out, though they do have the option of sending him on a private airline (which they have not done).

The hearing has been rescheduled for next week. The way it works in DC, Bill will show up in the morning, be arrested and processed through the police department then escorted to the hearing. He does not have to post bail for this charge, so he will likely return home after the hearing.

This felony indictment is very serious and Bill faces up to 10 years if convicted. There are four more women who have alleged harassment and abuse, but those cases can no longer be prosecuted. You can read their stories here. Also, the victim in the felony case also claims Bill pushed her down the escalator in the Metro - a clear and frightening attempt to harm her - but that case is beyond the statute of limitation.

The victims are asking the New Hampshire State police to review Bill Rausch's whereabouts after he arrived in New Hampshire to search for Maura in 2004.

I believe Maura was traveling in tandem with another driver and made it to her destination the night of the accident. If that is what happened, she may have been harmed later in the week, and nobody has an alibi.

At least two soldiers from Camp Lemonnier have also filed complaints with the Inspector General against Bill Rausch in the last few weeks, alleging Rausch harassed and abused them and created a toxic work environment.

If you know something about Maura's whereabouts the week of the crash, please contact the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit.


The Washington City Paper covers the case.

**UPDATE 2***
Here is the official statement from the Army unit Bill was a part of.

"We are aware of an incident involving Maj. William Rausch.  The Army sets
high standards for all of its Soldiers and demands adherence to the Army
Values and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This incident is the
subject of an ongoing police investigation and it would be improper for us
to comment. We will continue to review the information related to this case
as it becomes available.  All further questions should be directed to the
Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department."
**UPDATE 3**
Bill Rausch appeared in court today, April 23, for his arraignment. If they followed standard protocol, he would have first turned himself in to the police next door to the court house, where they would have arrested and processed him through their system before leading him through an underground walkway to the court for his arraignment.

Rausch is set to return to court May 17th for a status hearing. He is being represented by a DC attorney skilled with serving defendants who are in the military. He was released after the hearing today and will remain free (in DC, they usually don't issue bail even for felonies.) He is ordered to remain in the United States.

Rausch faces 10 years in prison if convicted of sex abuse. He is also the subject of at least three separate complaints with the Inspector General's office for his actions and behavior when he was deployed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Send Tips 100% Anonymously

Today, I set up a Globaleaks server and website specifically for sharing evidence and information related to the Maura Murray case.

This is designed for two purposes:

1. For Maura Murray herself to provide proof of life without revealing her location (this would include a photograph or video).

2. For anyone with information about the death of Maura Murray to provide evidence or information without fear of being traced.

How it works:

Step One:
Download the Tor browser.

Step Two:
Open Tor and input this address in the address bar:

Step Three:
Follow the prompts to submit info.

Step Four:
Copy the 16-digit code so that you can log in later to communicate further.

That's it. Let's have closure.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

**UPDATED** Maura Blogger is Lying About Her Whereabouts the Day Maura Murray Went Missing

I just don't know what to make of this. A little background - Erinn Larkin is a woman who went to UMass with Maura Murray. She worked the same security job as Maura Murray. And she ran track on the same team. Her "Big Sister" was Maura's best friend - Kate Markopoulos. After the publication of my book, Erinn inserted herself into the investigation. She ingratiated herself with the Murray family and the admin of the official site, giving her access to information that filters in.

After I reported that Bill Rausch was under investigation by a Grand Jury in DC, she took aim at me, claiming I was lying and that the women he attacked were exaggerating. She posted my unlisted home address online, with a map to my house. Eventually I took down my blog just to have some peace.

Her blog makes every effort to direct the narrative of the investigation, going so far as to defame a man - allowing a guest on her podcast to literally accuse an innocent man of murdering Maura and using his name.

I've been confused by her actions for months and have had this inkling that I was missing or forgetting an important piece of it. So I went back to our first email exchanges. I found this email from Erinn in which she says she was at Bretton Woods skiing with her family and returned on Monday evening and may have driven past Maura's accident.

I had completely forgotten this. Why? Because she never brought it up again. Now, as a memoirist and journalist, if I'm coincidentally at the same location at the same time as the case I'm writing about, that becomes a big part of the story. An easy way in. But she never mentions it again. But she does tell a different story to Tim & Lance just a couple months later. Listen for a minute here:

Tim: "How do you recall the day so clearly?"

Erinn: "I had been skiing in Bretton Woods and Waterville Valley the weekend before with my family and they were still there. And I had decided to come back for practice and for classes and I drove back the opposite route she had taken on that Sunday night and the next morning was really the first official day of Spring track that Monday and it was a morning practice and it was absolutely freezing and really awful not very fun at all and I got injured and it was actually an injury I got the day before skiing but it got a lot worse that day and it ended up that I was done running competitively in college after that."

It is absolutely clear that Erinn Larkin got caught in a lie here. But what was that lie's purpose? To sound cool - having driven by the scene when Maura disappeared?

I would imagine she will try to explain this away as a faulty memory but she was VERY specific in both the email to me in which she says she was driving along Rt 112 at the time of Maura's accident, and the interview with Tim and Lance, in which she has changed it to Sunday - because she reminisces about the cold weather and the first day of practice. Each are stated as fact. One or both of these must be a deliberate lie.

Now, compare that to Chief Cecil Smith for a moment. Cecil Smith went on the Oxygen special to explain the timeline of Maura's accident. Erinn called him a liar, picked apart his every word, said it was impossible for him to simply have forgotten key details... when he was suffering from Alzheimers. And then Cecil killed himself. His son believes online harassment like hers may have been on his mind, may have made matters worse for him in those last days/weeks, may have contributed to his decision in some way. Even if it was a drop in the bucket, how very sad.

This isn't the first lie, but it's the most egregious. In closing, here are few posts in which she claims that the Grand Jury never existed with the same confidence.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Text Exchange Supports Internal Investigation at Ray Group International Following Alleged Assault by Bill Rausch

I have obtained some evidence given to the Grand Jury in DC that is reviewing the sex-assault allegations against Bill Rausch, there. One piece of this is a text conversation between two coworkers of Bill's the first working day following the assault. He is accused of forcing himself on a woman in Michael Louden's office on St. Patrick's Day, 2011, and also pushing this woman down the escalators in the Metro.

10:33 AM Coworker1: i basically told them that i don't feel safe. that bill scares the crap out of me. i'm not the only one who feels this way and that Mike [Louden] has no idea what bill is actually like
  i explained some of his erratic behavior in the past-i told mike that bill puts on a show for him
10:34 AM that he's a completely different person when he crosses from the left side of the building to the right
 Coworker2: its true
  what did he say>
 CW1: i gave my personal opinion about his mental health
 CW2: oh good
  youre my hero
 CW1: they're rethinking him coming in this afternoon and talking about security
10:35 AM i need to go for a walk-but i basically aired out bill's dirty laundry re:he's fucking crazy and a sociopath and doesn't understand human emotion
  but said differently
10:36 AM and i told them that while things people might say today might sound a little "far out", but that it's not "female histrionics" and that Mike, Alex etc need to understand that anything anyone states today is not just opinion and not a situation being blown up or taken out of context
  but completely accurate and true
  and basically that they better listen and not discount anything anyone says today
  i also pointed out that bill hates strong, intelligent women
  and that he has to assert his power over them
10:37 AM and now i need to take a long walk:)
  ps we're going to be sent home i think after we talk to alex
  i'm thinking movie party at VICTIM's so she's not by herself
10:38 AM i literally just told the head of our company that he has no idea who the real bill is...hmmmmm
10:39 AM CW2: you were awesome
Following the investigation at Ray Group, Bill was barred from the office during the day and removed from his job shortly after. He did not list Ray Group on his LinkedIn page for several years.

Whatever happened in that office, one thing is clear - his female coworkers were frightened of him.

Read about the other allegations here.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"I'm Going to Kill You Like I Killed Maura"

Three Five women have come forward to ask police to investigate Bill Rausch and what role his actions may have played in the fate of Maura Murray. Here are their stories.

Lawton, OK, 2004

Two weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman who lived in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 2004. She knew Bill a few months after Maura Murray disappeared in 2004. He visited the people who lived in her house, often, as some had ties to Fort Sill, where Bill was working at the time. He was friends with the man she was seeing at the time, who warned her that Bill "had gone off the deep end" and that his girlfriend was missing.

One day, Bill found out that her guy was not home for a while and he texted her, asked if he could come over. There was a party at the house that night and so she didn't see the harm. Once he arrived, though, he took her outside and grabbed her and started kissing her. He suggested they go to a hotel. She agreed and went with him in the car.

At a stoplight, she says, Bill reached over and grabbed her by the neck and said, "I'm going to kill you like I killed Maura." She reached over and dug her nails into him. "I'll rip your crotch off," she said.

Immediately, Bill's demeanor changed and he became gentle again. He said he was just joking and they continued on to the hotel. However, at the hotel she decided not to have sex. Later, she says, Bill explained that he was glad she never slept with him because "the only people I care about that I have sex with die."

Washington D.C., 2011

Please listen to the interview (click YouTube link above) with these two women to hear the story in their own voices. Below is a summary.

Two years ago, I learned that Bill lost his job at Ray Group International in 2011 after a woman alleged that he sexually assaulted her in the office one night. This woman says his aggression toward her began before that, when she was going up the escalators on the Metro one morning. Someone jogged up beside her and pushed her down. Luckily fellow commuters caught her before she could tumble to the bottom. But her dressed was ripped. She looked up and saw Bill at the top of the escalators. Later, when he assaulted her, he began by saying that it was him who pushed her down that day as (in her words) the humanity in his eyes went away and he became robotic in the attack.

***Originally published November, 2017***

Insert: Here's a photo of the woman inside the "man trap" at Ray Group with Bill behind her.

Last month, another woman contacted me about her encounter with Bill in the fall of 2011. She was working as a bartender at the time. She hooked up with Bill one night. The sex started consensual but quickly progressed to choking. He wanted to hear her gasp for breath. She too described the lack of emotion in his eyes. After it was over, she says he was threatening. "This never happened."

When I asked Bill about the second woman, he said it wasn't true. That he never knew her. When I told her that he denied it, she sent me a picture of the napkin they used to communicate at the bar that night. It contains his cell phone in his hand writing.

Note by the Author

If you have any information that could help in solving this case please contact the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit at coldcaseunit@dos.nh.gov

You can also contact me directly at jameswrenner@gmail.com

If you have specific evidence and wish to remain 100% anonymous you can also submit tips through Globaleaks. 


A 4th Woman

Another woman came forward yesterday. She and Bill had a brief relationship in 2006. "I'm not surprised to hear all this," she said. "He was a pathological liar."

He spoke about Maura Murray only once, by saying he had a girlfriend who had "passed" but that they were broken up at the time.

She describes Bill as being extremely pushy, obsessive, arrogant, and controlling. She said even his friends at Fort Sill called him, "Billy Liar."

***3rd UPDATE***
 May 8, 2018
A fifth woman has come forward. Here is her story:
I spent one night with Bill when we were both working in politics in Ohio in 2008 and he was violent and degrading towards me. We were at a bar with other political staffers one night when he sent me one text  saying that he wanted to go home with me and a second that said "I want to break you." I seriously thought the second one was a typo because I didn't know why someone would send that message in a flirty situation. He came to my apartment after the bar and it was clear that text was not a typo. The language he used and the demands he made were threatening and demeaning. We only spent the one night together but I could see the potential for regular abhorrent behavior towards women. The next day I was shaken and decided to google him and that's when I saw the case about Maura. I was deeply disturbed and felt lucky that nothing more had happened to me.

Bill was working at the ODP at the time and I asked other women there if they knew about Maura or if any of them had witnessed this kind of behavior. They said Bill had been proactive in declaring innocence in Maura's case during his interview process. It was top in google results, so he had to talk about it straight away in the interview vetting process. The women brushed Bill's relationship to Maura as a weird coincidence,  but confirmed that he made inappropriate comments to women in the office and was often seeking sexual relationships.
Follow up:

There are other similarities between the stories from the women you interviewed on youtube and my story though. Firstly, looking back at that night I felt like he was testing me to see how violent he could get away with being without me resisting and in my case, the answer was not very. He might have been less aggressive with me than other women who were continuously choked because he realized I was going to resist submitting to that and/or because I had connections to political leaders and he feared retaliation. Also, when we were at the bar, Bill was passing notes on napkins with the bar tender and trying to get her to write her number down. It was like a manipulative game he was playing that she was not interested in and he wouldn't let it go. He wrote a note to me also, which I've attached photos of. There were cheap paintings for sale at the bar I bought one. On the back, Bill wrote "fuck you -captain bill". The handwriting isn't identical to napkin notes posted on your blog that also start with "fuck you". It's more of a cursive scrawl, but he wrote it. He also seemed to be blaming me for his inability to control himself, like the bartender in your story said, and I think that's what the "fuck you" meant. Like "fuck you for triggering these urges in me." I thought it was kind of funny, but it did not seem so funny later on. Also when Bill left my apartment he said, "This never happened", just like the bartender in your story said. 
DC Police are currently investigating this string of odd behavior. Subpoenas have been served for files related to Bill's dismissal from Ray Group International and witnesses have appeared before a federal Grand Jury.