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."