Saturday, September 10, 2011

Her Best Friend

Finally got a chance to speak with Kate Markopoulos this week. Kate was a distance runner at UMass, like Maura, and they were quick friends. Everyone on the team I've spoken to referred me to Kate, as she was never far from Maura on and off the track.

Two days before Maura disappeared, Kate went with her and Fred to a brew pub in town and then returned with Maura to Kennedy Hall, where they went to a party at a friend's dorm room. The room was stuffed full of people, some they knew, some they did not, an even mix of men and women. She and Maura drank Skyy vodka mixed with Franzia blush wine, their drink of choice. Around 2:30 am, Kate and Maura left the dorm, accompanied by a male student. Maura said she was going to bed and the male student walked Kate back to her dorm. That was the last time Kate saw her friend.

She tells a different story about Fred than Hossein. "She talked about her Dad all the time. You could tell he really loved her. She loved him. She loved hiking with him." They traveled to New Hampshire together a lot, she says.

Oddly, Kate does not recall Maura mentioning that Fred had come into town that day to help her look for a new car, but is unsure if time has fogged her memory.

At the time of her disappearance, Maura was under a lot of stress, she says. She had quit track to focus on school work. And she was not thrilled about plans to move to Oklahoma with Billy after graduation. "She thought it was in the middle of nowhere, but she was going to move because she loved him."

After she vanished, Kate spoke to several detectives who were not too pleased with her imperfect memory. "What do you mean you don't know who was at the party?" they asked her. "There are good cops and bad cops, I get that. But they were not nice. They couldn't understand why I didn't remember."

Kate misses her friend and wonders often what happened. It's obvious the disappearance still affects her profoundly, today. In light of the news about Hossein and the location of Maura's last known whereabouts, Kate realizes there was a lot Maura must have kept secret. "The more I think about it, the more I realize I didn't really know her. I don't know what she was doing behind closed doors."


  1. When one of Maura´s closest friends at UMass admits that she clearly didn´t know Maura as well as she previously thought, this must be seen as yet another confirmation of Maura being a very private person behind the cheerful persona she apparently exhibited in public.
    It seems as if Kate is as much in the dark about the "real" Maura as all of us who have been following this sad case without ever having met Maura in person.

  2. According to this post, Maura's best friend described Maura's drink of choice as vodka and blush wine. One of the strangest things to me about this case has always been the amount of liquor and wine in the car. Why did she buy Vodka, red wine, Bailey's, and Kahlua at the beginning of her trip and no food? To me, this is highly relevant to the purpose of her trip, which, in turn, is relevant to what ultimately happened to her.

    Option 1: Some of the alcohol was an impulse buy when she went in to buy, say, the vodka and wine. I am not in favor of this theory because liquor is not cheap, and Maura had limited cash reserves. Thus, I think she wanted all of the alcohol for a specific reason.

    Option 2: The liquor was NOT for the trip. But why take the time to stop and get it, when it appeared she was so focused on getting out of town? If these were gifts for someone, or for her later consumption, why not to attend to it when she returned?

    Option 3: She bought the liquor to drink herself to death or to induce a miscarriage. I am not in favor of this theory for a number of reasons, but primarily because I doubt anyone, especially a smart nursing student, would try to do either act with Kahlua and Bailey’s. A bottle or two of vodka (typically 80-proof -- much higher alcohol content than Kahlua and Baileys) would be the most efficient approach, and I think Maura would know that.

    Option 4: Despite Kate’s statement, maybe Maura also really liked to drink White Russians, or some other drink with Baileys and Kahlua. That should be reasonably easy to confirm. And maybe she wanted to drink it on her trip to the mountains. But why ALSO vodka and wine? A box of wine, and three bottles of liquor seems excessive for a night or two away for one thin female, even a hardcore drinker. And unless Maura had a credit card (I’m not sure about that), she wouldn’t have been able to pay for too many nights of lodging with her remaining $240 or so in cash, accounting for gas and food expenses.

    Option 5: Therefore, I think logic indicates, and my gut says, that someone else was meeting Maura, and she was planning to share the alcohol with that person. Perhaps Maura was bringing the liquor, and the friend was bringing the food, given that Maura did not have food in the car. Both Baileys and Kahlua go well in coffee, which might be a more likely wintertime drink for say, an older man, than a White Russian. I’m not suggesting that person was responsible for her disappearance, but if we knew her ultimate destination, it might shed light on her movements after the accident.

    1. I believe Billy's mother mentioned Maura like having Baileys with her coffee.

    2. To me the amount of alcohol she purchased suggests she had planned to go somewhere remote, perhaps somewhere where alcohol would not be available. I have no doubt that she was going to meet another person--probably the person whose car she ended up getting into. My question is, why didn't she take all of the alcohol out of the car to bring with her? (To say nothing of the many other useful items she left behind.) She didn't think the police were coming, so why would she have been in such a hurry?

    3. She probably was seeing a professor of hers-the call she received before she went missing was the clinic to confirm her pregnancy. She concocts a plan to go up to the mountains with him. She brings alcohol because after she tells him she's pregnant while on their trip, she plans to having a miscarriage via alcohol consumption. She doesn't get that far-(maybe she changes her mind about the miscarriage?) he snaps and kills her. No one ever knows. This could also very well be the bf who's alibi was confirmed by other military guys who we should assume would have their brother's back regardless if it's untrue.

  3. I have to admit, I also find it odd that Kate can't remember one single other person at the party. I could understand not remembering a particular person, but to not remember anyone is kind of strange, especially, since this was the last time she saw her missing friend, I would have thought she would have replayed that night a few times in her head. Unless the implication is she got blackout drunk. It doesn't sound like she is trying to be shady, and maybe after 8 years she really cannot remember, but still...just odd, at least to me.