Thursday, July 28, 2011

Incident at Swiftwater Stage Shop

I'm up here in Haverhill, trying to confirm some information about Maura's disappearance. One of the details I'm trying to run down is this business about Rick Forcier. Forcier lived at the intersection of Bradley Hill Rd. and Rt 112/Wild Ammonoosuc, within sight of Maura's crash. He came forward months later and told police he saw Maura running down the road the night of the accident. It's always been an odd detail. Forcier, unfortunately, has moved and is proving hard to track down.

Forcier is a friend of Bill and Winifred Matteson, who own and operate the Swiftwater Stage Shop just down the road, in Bath. It's a quant little convenience store that serves as a grocery to some of the people who live in the area. In the past, Winnie has been very nice. But today, Bill was working.

Bill's a medium sized guy with a mostly bald head.

"Do you know how I can reach Rick Forcier?" I asked.

"No," said Bill. "And I'm not telling you a damn thing."

Obviously, I was taken aback. "Why?" I asked.

"Because I'm tired of answering questions about that girl. And you're trying to make a buck."

"I'm not..."

"Get out of my store or I'm going to beat your head in."

It's a strange thing to actually hear said out loud. And it took me a minute to react. "Why are you so angry?" I asked.

"That's it," said Bill. He reached under the counter, grabbed a long wooden rod and came at me. I didn't budge because I didn't think he'd really do it. He grabbed me by the shirt and pushed me out of his shop. I suggested we call the cops, have them ask him why he was making such a scene. And then he swung the bat up and I really did think he was going to lay me out. He seemed to think better of it at the last second, though, as two bikers were watching us from under an umbrella in the parking lot. Bill walked back into the store.

It's a weird goddamn reaction to some simple questions about something that happened over 7 years ago. But he's not the only one I've met up here who's acting weird.


  1. Hmmmm, well I would not have been so cordial toward him, but you did the right thing. Where I live (PA) you can legally shoot someone who threatens your life with a deadly weapon. Unreal, be careful as it seems you are getting close to something real bad. Hope you have a carry permit.

  2. I heard a lot of people who lived there have left that area, I feel like someones keeping something hidden or protecting someone else...

    Someone knows something...

  3. Perhaps he's tired of people asking about it and accusing his friend. By the way, Rick didn't report that he saw Maura, he reported that he saw someone running up 112 that matched the description of the clothing she was possibly wearing.

  4. Bill Matteson deserves an Oscar.

  5. Mr Renner,
    I was frankly shocked to read your description of what happened in the Stage Stop Store.
    And you´re saying that you have been experiencing other kinds of weird behavior in that area...I´m not,frankly, altogether surprised.
    It seems to me that lots of people for some reason are feeling "threatened" by your interest in Maura´s case.
    I guess there could be a myriad of reasons, but that Maura´s disappearance has a similar effect of waving a red cloth in front of a bull is pretty obvious.
    Are some people up there feeling a kind of "collective guilt" for Maura´s disapperance, in the sense that the "notoriety" associated with the area reflects badly upon them all, however innocent? Very possibly so.
    I would like to bring up two things in this context:
    1. The non-proven, supposed "first incident" where at least one person in the area purports to have listened to a police scanner shortly before Maura´s accident at the Weathered Barn.
    According to this person there was supposedly a report of a car off the road on the Swiftwater Road and that the female driver of the car in question left in a private vehicle.
    Swiftwater Road is the westerly continuation of Goose Lane and constitutes a direct, minor route between NH10 in Woodsville, past the Cottage Hospital, and Rte 112 near the Stage Stop Store in Swiftwater village.
    2. The mystery of the supposed red pick-up truck (possibly with MA plates) as observed by witness RO on Rte 112 close to the Stage Stop Store and at about the same time as Maura Murray´s accident at the Weathered Barn curve.
    I´m avidly reading your posts and look forward to your continued "digging" into this case.
    I concur with the previous post here:
    Please, be careful and stay vigilant.

  6. The locals sound as if they are tired of fielding the same kind of questions over and over again. Kudos to you Mr. Renner for showing restraint in this situation. This case gets stranger and stranger by the minute!

  7. As for "acting weird" the area has been dragged through the mud by more than one person through both verbal and wirtten publicized articles and speeches. I'm only there on weekends and even I get a little weird when someone brings it up. People trapsing through private property unannounced, assigning blame to an individual who offered to help, and derogatory comments made about the general population of the area....seems a bit unfair.

    Did you ask anything about the red pickup truck with Mass plates that was seen hanging at the Stage Stop that night and drove off when they weren't able to identify the person on foot and then later parked on Bradley Hill Rd?

  8. What you may not be aware of is that a few people, one in particular, made this area a toxic wasteland for asking questions. She and a few others had accused people on the online forums of kidnapping, murder, hiding evidence, that the police were in collusion with the murderers, etc. This went on for years. Fred also didn’t help matters by appearing everywhere and apparently trespassing at will. I think you will find that many of the residents in that area have very hard feelings for how they were portrayed that night and online for years latter. In particular RF and BA had been vilified by these people. The local likely also feel that whatever happened to this young lady who ran away from her car, whatever happened didn’t happen in their town and are tired of the way they have been portrayed and repeatedly subjected to scrutiny about someone they don’t even believe is in their town.

    You should have been around in the beginning, and for years after when some of these people were tearing the locals a new one. Every idiot with car fare to get to the area was up there asking likely the same question and making some of the same accusations. Some were trespassing. There were also the private investigators up there poking around asking question. I am sure many of the residents tolerated this for quite a while in the spirit of looking for this lost young lady. When they started to be portrayed as bumpkins and then possible murderers, not by the police, but by unnamed nitwits in cyberspace, for years, I think that may have soured some of the locals appetite for what happened and talking to anyone about it anymore. Is what he did right? Well, he does have a right to kick you off of his property. Should he have attacked you? Probably not. Is his reaction understandable? Considering how some of the locals have been portrayed, when their only “sin” was helping. Yeah, I’d say it was understandable that some are agitated about this case. If you have been following this case, you should know that there are some locals that are utterly sick of hearing about this case. Personally, if I was you. I would keep my head down, and not make my presence known. And don’t twist this into a threat from me. I am telling you what I would do if I was in that area trying to find out information about Maura knowing what others have done to make it such a toxic subject. You would only be somewhere between the twentieth or fiftieth person to be stomping around there asking the same question and in the locals minds likely going to be making the same accusations.


  9. A red pick up truck is of interest in the latest disappearance in NH. The Celina Cass case.

  10. If you let this guy get away with this everyone will think they can toy with you. Go right to the police station and make a report. I know that this will anger the residents of this peaceful locale, but they need to know that
    you are not going to take any nonsense. Learn about the cop who was killed and how so many people up there acted like he deserved it. Clearly you need to be extremely careful.

    Oh and by the way even if you hope to some day sell a book that hardly puts you in the category of mercenary exploiter of Maura or her family. As long as you report truthfully and diligently to one day make a profit is no disgrace. This "ain't" the Soviet Union last time I checked.

  11. Mr Renner,
    I´m surprised to see that "Bill" is more or less condoning the use of threats and violence against you for merely asking a question.
    Whatever the reasons, there just cannot be any excuse whatsoever for the behavior displayed by the owner of the Stage Stop Store.
    This, unfortunately, is exactly what does make the good people of Swiftwater-Haverhill-Woodsville look very bad indeed.
    A great shame!
    I agree with another poster here:
    You should make a formal complaint to the Haverhill PD.

  12. I have no problem with someone protecting his family or property. Mr Renner was asked to leave. When he didn't he was escorted out. My opinion is the owner was within his rights. If you thought that something illegal occurred you should have called the police. Likely nothing illegal happened. Your pride might have been ruffled, that isn't illegal. If he had committed battery with the rod, you might have a case. Personally, when someone asks me to get off of their property. I take them at their word that they are serious. You should have made a formal complaint to HPD. I suspect that if you had pushed the issue you might have been arrested for trespassing, not for asking questions.

    And Mr. Renner, I am still waiting for an answer on that other question. Thanks.


  13. Not sure about this state, but in mine you are allowed to use force to remove someone from your place of business, after asking them to leave. It's why there are usually signs stating "We have the right to refuse service" etc . . . which is why I believe that you handled the situation well and think filing a police report would only further alienate any sources you could gain.

  14. I believe that there was a laundrymat at the stage stop. Someone correct me if my memory is wrong and I also add that I DO NOT suspect the owners. But, could Maura have hidden there until the police left and then got away?

  15. I understand people might be getting tired of getting asked questions, but they need to think about what's at stake. It's upsetting people are getting angry and becoming unwilling to help. I remember seeing reports on TV either a few months or maybe a year after she disappeared that the residents were getting tired and annoyed with Fred for asking questions and knocking on doors. I couldn't believe their lack of compassion. Someone in the report said, "I'm driven frantic when I can't find my car keys, imagine not being able to find your daughter."

    This store owner's reaction does sound very suspicious. It'd be one thing if he got angry or yelled at you, but to threaten you with bodily harm definitely raises a red flag.

  16. Quite frankly, I don't buy this story for a second! Ive lived in the Swiftwater area since 1997, I use to babysit for Bill & Winnie and Bill is not a violent person. Sure he has it in him to protect what's his if the situation arises, but reacting like this when someone shows up to ask questions? Not likely! The mystery of Mauras disappearance really shook our community and we want answers as much as the next person, but should we be run into the ground constantly because it happened in our backyard?

    Ive watched people damn near every person in this community have a finger pointed in their direction over the years, property tresspassed on (which, if asked for permission from the beginning, it more than likely would have been granted) and residents "turn" on each other. OF COURSE we get "weird" about it. If foul play is a factor, I have my own suspicions but I doubt that's the case.....