Sunday, November 20, 2011

Request for info: Maura's Last Weekend at UMass

I'm running up against a bit of a vacuum in my reporting, specifically when it comes to that final weekend at UMass (in between the upsetting phone call Maura received Thurs night and her accident in New Hampshire on Monday.) This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most times, when I've investigated a story and run into a lack of facts it usually means the narrative we've been given is not accurate. I'm beginning to suspect that is the case here. And I could use some help.

Here's the problem: Most of what we assume about Maura's last weekend comes from one source, her father Fred. The only proof we have that the reason for his trip into Amherst that weekend was to help her look for a used car is his word. No one has publicly verified their supposed trips to used car lots, or anything else about that weekend. If they were looking for used cars, why didn't they purchase one? There would be a lot of used cars for sale in a college town like Amherst. Why spend a weekend looking for cars if they didn't have money to buy one? More to the point, how do we know her car was even acting up?

Here's what I can verify about that important weekend in Maura's life:
1. Her father came to visit.
2. They went to dinner with Kate Markopoulos.
3. Maura went to a party in the dorms with Kate and was walked back to her dorm by a guy (Kate claims she cannot remember the name of a single person who attended the party.)
4. Maura decided to not call her dad, but to drive out to his motel at 2:30 in the morning.
5. She got in an accident along the way.

Help me fill in the missing info. Is there anyone else who can speak to what happened in the spaces between what we know?

Is there anyone who attended the party with Maura and Kate?

53 comments:

  1. Sadly I can't answer your questions, though I'm hoping someone can and does - I just want to try and express the odd feeling I have about this case after having read about it for most of today.

    It's all about what's not being said isn't it? It's all about the gaps and the omissions and the inexplicable silences. That is what is so unique and baffling. The LE seem to be being almost deliberately vague and hopeless, they don't follow leads, they inexplicably fail to investigate suspicious behaviour. MM's family are cagey and defensive, much more like people with something to hide than people who are trying to find someone, and do *not* even get me started on the Rausches! (I mean what is the deal? Why is BR claiming MM called him even after it's been proved she didn't? Why did he have access to her phone bills? And why is his mom all over the media, doing more interviews than he is himself'?}.

    It all - all of it, cops, family, friends, bf and his mom - feels just wrong. But how could they possibly all be hiding something? Makes no sense!

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    1. What is NOT being said has a lot to do with things. I know that if it was one of my children or grandchildren missing, I would be telling all to the police because that can be a key factor in what happened.

      I believe that Fred Murray and the family in general are saying nothing about some things in their lives to protect privacy. As far as BR and his mom Sharon I think that they thought of her as a daughter and she was close to them. After all they did do nice things for her and knew that she loved BR. Sharon probably is the family spokesperson and has more time for interviews. As far as knowing she did not call BR.......he recieved a call from a calling card which had some noises and so calling whimpering. Everyone knew she used CCs to call long distance and what are the odds of someone calling him, making the sounds and using a phone card like the one they gave her.

      Fred is out there so much and I do think he picks and chooses what to tell the media and what not to.

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  2. ok so if kate went to dinner with maura and her dad then why isnt she saying what guy came with them?? she should know. i think the dad is hiding something.

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    1. Do not forget they were drinking so her mind may have been foggy, which is why I would ask to have her put under hypnosis now any see if she can recall. Perhaps make a calling for all party goers that night,

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  3. BR's mom Sharon has the bills because Maura was on her plan. Sharon's behavior has been all kinds of strange to me from the beginning, but I pretty much have her pegged as a suffocating future MIL to Maura with BR as her golden boy who can do no wrong. I don't think the Rausches involvement extend much beyond SR trying to protect her son's image and generally acting like a meddling mother in law. It's Fred's behavior that concerns me.

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  4. What I don't get about BR is why he didn't get a major amount of attention paid to this when he had the media on his doorstep while helping run Obama's campaign!

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  5. Wasn´t there talk about them having made reservations on a Geo Prizm? I guess this came from Fred Murray as well, so this would need to be confirmed from someone else too.
    Maura was also supposedly working at the art gallery Sunday, but there is no confirmation here either. And WHY is this art gallery such a big secret? There´s got to be a reason. It would be greatly appreciated if mr Renner could look into this.

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  6. Someone has to know what Maura's mindset was during that time right before she went missing. She had to have confided in her fellow classmates/friends about her feelings regarding her boyfriend, wrecking her dad's car, the pressures she may have been feeling, etc. Even if she didn't express herself in great detail, someone surely picked up on her moods or tone. As for packing up her belongings, I know that when I am stressed or have something seriously on my mind, I tend to organize or clean. It's as if I have to keep my hands busy because my mind is spinning. Perhaps, that is why Maura packed things in boxes. I know that if she suspected she was pregnant, that may have been the final straw to all other pressures. I think that may have been what she wanted to discuss with Billy, and was just not quite ready yet (hence, the "I don't feel like talking right now" remark). Could that have been why she went to see her dad that night at the late hour? Did she tell him her suspicions? How did he react? Could his reaction make her want to flee? I do believe she held his opinions of her in high regard. I know at that age, disappointing my dad would have been traumatic.

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  7. If Maura's only plans that night were to go to a dorm party and then to bed, why on earth did she bother to take her father's car? Why not just get dropped off? I think she was planning to go and meet someone that night and borrowed the car for that reason. But she ended up getting dragged along to the dorm party. She wanted to get away and used returning the car to her father as an excuse but her friends kept making it impossible for her. She pretended to be drinking but didn't actually drink as much as they thought. When she finally escaped she grabbed her chance to drive off but had an accident. I don't think she was on her way to her dad's hotel but after the accident had no option but to go there. The accident report doesn't mention any suggestion of her being drunk which contradicts her friends impression, but states she had the accident because she wasn't paying attention. What prompted them to say that? Was she doing something else, like on her phone or trying to read a text or a map? It seems odd not to assume a young girl who has a car accident in the wee small hours after being to a party on a Saturday night wouldn't be assumed to have been drinking and tested for it.

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  8. I just watched the show Disappeared by the Discovery Channel about Maura and I kept on wondering why the bus driver wasn't investigated thoroughly. I was wondering why would he think it was okay to leave Maura at the side of the road after getting into that accident regardless if she supposively asked to have no contact with the police. Most people would have at least given her a lift someplace safe! He was the last credible witness to have seen her last right? I wonder too if the bus driver made any previous calls before his initial call to the police?

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    1. From what I have read Butch Atwood did offer to drive Maura to his house and wait for the police to show up and she declined.

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  9. A lift someplace safe? Are you nuts? Who on earth would get into a car with a stranger after a car accident? Who on earth would offer?

    The bus driver is a dead end. Literally.

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    1. he is deceased now anyway. I believe he was just trying to offer help to her. With Maura having been literally drinking and driving she did not want the police to come and possibly get arrested and not be able to get to where she was going. Wondering if whoever she was supposed to be going with picked her up

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  10. In my opinion, I don't think Fred knew of ALL her daily activities during that weekend to be able to fill in all the gaps.

    Also, to the commenters, who question the Rauches involvement. Billy was in the military. He had to go back and serve. I believe his mother actual paid Maura's phone Bill, so she got the bill with all the calls listed. She liked Maura, so I can see her trying to help in anyway she could. I would wonder more, if she didn't help.

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  11. The bus driver may have offered help, but Maura lied to him re already having called AAA in a known no-cellphone-coverage area. He also might have been miffed by the hazard the location of her car created. Over the years we heard two different things (well, just about THIS, not the thousands of other things):

    (1) Maura already had her hazard lights on and (2) Butch Atwood was quoted as saying he told her she SHOULD put the hazard lights on.

    We have no idea what was happening on the road before the accident --- was Maura "driving distracted" like on the previous Saturday night? Was she driving slow and irritating the bus driver?

    Still, I think Butch, despite any flaws of self-aggrandizement (sp) and (per another poster) being obnoxious with women at bars, really meant well; and I think he stayed in his bus watching the road at least partially for the purpose of watching out for Maura. Like, if she came walking down the road having changed her mind about warming up in his house with mom and wife/girlfriend. I don't believe he could see her car. Is that last part true?

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  12. I've heard contrary stories about where the Saturday night party took place. I might have misheard a "principal" I spoke to in this case, but I thought the party was 5 doors down from Maura's dorm room. Would appreciate having this cleared up!

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  13. It was discussed that Maura got her driver's license at a later age than most kids. Quotes from family and her potential in-laws seemed to indicate that she wasn't crazy about driving. She apparently took her long trips as a passenger. Anyway, it seems she was an inexperienced driver. Heading to NH in the winter, after dark, in an unreliable car after having had an accident 38 hours earlier???????

    A previous poster (John Avellar) wondered why Maura bought the alcohol in MA, since NH State Liquor Stores are less expensive. It's been said that she was a frugal young lady.

    Perhaps, in addition to not being comfortable driving, it was less expensive (and less stressful?) to get rides from others and chip in for the gas, etc? I agree that the unreliability of her Saturn has not been documented, as far as I know, or it might have been exaggerated... or even a confabulation to explain Fred arriving within 17 (?) hours of her security-job breakdown... The Saturn not being reliable was a darn mantra in the MM and MMM discussion boards for years. I had always thought that:

    --Implying the Saturn was not in use distanced Maura from anything that might have happened in the car... (i.e., "Oh, Maura never drove that car since it was unreliable. It couldn't have been her who had [a particular] accident.")

    --SOME kind of spare auto light bulb package was said to been found in the Saturn... and I don't think we've been told what kind of bulb, nor whether there were markings on the package indicating where and when it was purchased... MM family and friends argued strongly over the years that EVERYone carries spare interior or door lights for flukey electronics! But, still, we don't know what Maura's particular bulbs were.

    --If the mysterious bulb was a headlight that Fred purchased and came to Amherst to replace for her, it could mean NOTHING. Maybe just getting ready to trade the car in; or it could mean Maura had some kind of accident (it wouldn't be unreasonable to think this) that she needed her dad's help with... and then? If that was what happened, and it was a problematic accident (big "ifs") then ??? get rid of the car somehow? trade it in? crush it in NH? (There was discussion about a car crushing place not far from Maura's Woodsville/Bath crash site.) Push it into a pond?

    --Her crying breakdown at the security desk within minutes of Petrit Vasi's traumatic brain injury from an unknown misadventure on the road is really a strange coincidence. I understand, though, with the city-sized UMass population that many coincidences must occur...

    All of these things suggest the POSSIBILITY that something unfortunate was being covered up.

    James, IIRC, you assured us Maura was NOT connected to Vasi's accident. Depending on where the Saturn was parked Thursday night, she could've driven to the corner of Triangle and Mattoon quite quickly (maybe to see if a boyfriend was in a nearby pub? or whatever), and could have returned in the amount of time a "long" (as in, ahem, problematic) bathroom break might take.

    Speculation all over the place is all we have, except for the facts you've nailed down!

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  14. Anonymous @9:54 am:

    Or, alternately, she could have lent the Saturn to a friend who hit Vasi, and who then called her and told her about it. That could explain why she was upset, and how she supposedly never left her security job. She tells Fred about it, he believes her that it wasn't her driving, and then goes about helping her buy a new car to take care of any evidence remaining.

    She brings the car to NH to have it "stolen" or throw it off a cliff or something, and something we can't explain happens there.

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  15. I really don't think her disappearance is in any way connected to Vasi. She was at work at the time. And Vasi may not have even been hit by a car. Nobody knows what happened to Vasi. Too much of a stretch, imho.

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  16. I don't think Maura was planning to get rid of her car because of it's involvement in an accident previously, however I do think she was deliberately giving everyone the impression it was unreliable and she didn't feel safe driving it for a purpose. I think it was so that when she disappeared no one would look too far afield initially, giving her time to get well away. I think she planned to abandon it somewhere further away so that by the time it was found she was well away with her other boyfriend. I think she may have put the rag in the tailpipe herself, wrapped loosely round a pebble or something that would make the car sound awful when it fired up, to convince people it couldn't go far. She obviously knew the car was fine and it was fine. Let's face it, it went two hundred miles on a cold snowy night. Not bad for a car she implied couldn't be trusted to take her to her clinics. Had she not had the accident I think she would have travelled much further before abandoning it and travelling onwards with her mystery boyfriend. The accident just shortened things. I think he was following behind and she was able to jump in and head off with him before the police arrived at the scene.

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  17. Seriously, if Maura WANTED help, the area she crashed in is surrounded by houses that are occupied year round. It's not nearly as desolate as other places on 112. Please don't go blaming a bus driver that couldn't move quickly enough to ge tout of his own way, never mind cause harm to a record holding runner.

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  18. The more I research the more I believe that Maura is on the run. A student at UMASS Amherst was a victim of a hit and run accident just days before Maura's disappearance. A student named Petrit Vasi was a victim of hit and run one hour before Maura received a phone call that disturbed her a great deal. Maura would have been driving the Saturn at this time. There is no one that can positively confirm that Maura was at her post during the time that Petrit Vasi was hit. In fact she would be in considerably more trouble for leaving her post and driving out to get something without letting her supervisors know. I think she went to get something up the road and during that time she hit Petrit. She panicked and knew that she would be fired as well as be held accountable for the accident. The phone call she received an hour after Vasi’s accident was so unsettling that she had to be helped back to her dorm room by her supervisor. Could it have been a friend letting her know that Vasi was being rushed to the hospital and was in critical condition? This could be grounds for vehicular manslaughter with attempt to flee the scene of an accident. It also might explain why she was so distraught about going to the police to fill out the damage claim on her father’s car. Coincidently, the victim of the hit and run survived, but lost his memory of the incident. Whatever news she got on the other end of the line on Feb. 6th appears to be the catalyst that set her plan in action. The pieces are starting to fit together in my eyes. Once again judging by the police department’s refusal to come out with certain information and details it leads me to believe that Maura is actually being investigated not for her disappearance but rather for her involvement with a hit and run or other activities related to her multiple car wrecks. The Police at this point have stated that they have ruled out foul play, and that there is no evidence of harm.

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  19. Could it be that the car wreck on the 9th was just a set up to cover up the damage on the front of the car from the prior hit and run. Was someone waiting nearby the weathered barn to pick her up and get her out of the state and possibly out of the country? I think so. I think that the book left behind and the other little tidbits were there to make it seem like abduction or that she had stumbled off into the woods. Could the person in the red truck seen at the scene of her disappearance be a distant friend of the family or someone paid off by the family to pick her up and get her out of there? I think there was a much darker side to Maura and her past than what Mr. Murray is portraying on television. I believe the police have evidence that Maura was involved in that hit and run or some other crime and that is why they cannot come forward with their details. Now things start to make sense as to why she was packing up her things in a hurry. At this point if she did show up she would be subject to whatever criminal activity she was involved in prior to her disappearance as well as charges for faking her disappearance including paying back the state and local authorities for manpower and time they put into looking for her. As I look around the internet, there have been a number of sightings of Maura in Canada. If you require more proof, look at her father’s physical behavior during the interviews on the Disappeared episode. I have studied human behavior and physical “tells” extensively. When someone repeatedly looks down while they are talking, it is a form of submission and guilt. Throughout the episode, Mr. Murray delivers almost all of his dialogue to the ground, especially when he is talking about the accident and the details of the accident. When he is talking about the gloves that were used to search for her he is looking straight down and then juts his tongue out and licks his lips. This is an obvious sign of guilt, stress, and anxiety right before he delivers the lines “I don’t know maybe she did wear it.” Right after her disappearance Mr. Murray does a TV interview on live news where once again he is caught looking down at the ground repeatedly while he pleads for Maura to call them. “Please kid…uhhhh….uhhh…we can just bang away at this stuff same as we do all the time until we fix it.” Does this sound like a father pleading for someone that has been kidnapped or murdered? Towards the end of the episode Mr. Murray talks about getting the FBI involved, and he does another tongue jut then licks his lips. I mean this person just reeks of falsehoods. On a side note, does anyone know why Maura was forced to leave West Point? From my understanding it was due to something she did that West Point deemed inappropriate. Anyone know how Maura’s mother got the broken ankle, which kept her from helping with the investigation?

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  20. This is the time line that I have pieced together of Maura’s “eventful” weekend.

    Friday Feb. 6th (Early Morning) Student is knocked out and almost killed by hit and run driver. An hour later Maura receives a phone call that causes her to have an emotional break down and she is carried back to her dorm.

    Saturday Feb. 7th (Morning) Father arrives in town to help her buy a new car. (Night)She borrows new car, drops her father off at hotel and goes to a party. After the party she wrecks his car causing $10,000 worth of damage.

    Sunday Feb. 8th (Very Early Morning) Maura wakes father up at hotel and tells him she had an accident and that she "Just went off the road." Father drops her off at her dorm. She calls later to talk to her father later in the afternoon. (Late Afternoon) Insurance says that they will take care of the car. Father tells her to fill out accident forms and to go to the police station.

    Monday Feb. 9th 4 am she finishes doing extensive research on the computer about the White Mountains region and checking out condominium information. In the afternoon she goes back to the computer and gets driving directions. 12:55 pm calls Condo owner. 2:05 pm calls for hotel listings. 3:30 pm gets into Saturn and leaves campus. She knew the area very well and the Weathered Barn was a landmark that would stand out in her mind as she had traveled through this region throughout her life. 7:29 pm police are called when Maura’s car crashes into some trees next to the weathered barn. Bus driver arrives on scene. She asks the bus driver not to call the police. 7:45pm police arrive at accident scene and Maura is gone.

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  21. Good. But her father didn't take her back to the dorm until the next day. She stayed the night at the motel.

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  22. Correct. In the interview Mr. Murray says that he dropped her off at the dorm the next morning.

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  23. Why would she spend the night in a hotel room with her father? Why not give his car back in the morning?

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  24. Mr. Renner, I have a strange question for you. But bear with me please. Have you ever felt in danger during your involvement (aside from that run in with that store owner)? I ask this because there are some terribly nefarious possibilities being considered on this thread that - frankly - don't sound at all unreasonable to me given what is known (and mysteriously not known) about it. It thus strikes me, for instance, that if [a] there was some kind of illegal behavior by Maura that either is now (through her disappearance) or was then (through her travels to NH that night, leading to her disappearance), WHICH [b] was/is being covered up, AND WHICH [c] Fred and maybe others know something about it, then a lot of energy has been expended in service of this speculated cover up. Therefore, it must be a pretty vital matter to the people involved, implying some desperation on their parts. In such an event, it would strike me that you would be seen as more than just bothersome or upsetting to folks involved. Instead, you might be viewed as a danger to them. You thus might be the target of harassment or intimidation. As such, if you have been the target of harassment or intimidation, it would add some collateral credibility to the concept that something illegal may have been going on in Maura's life, which is known of by some others and which is being intentionally hidden from view. In this context, if you are comfortable discussing the matter, I would like to hear about how you have been treated by the parties involved (particularly if you have felt harassed, intimidated or threatened by them or by anyone, known or unknown). It might, as aforementioned, shed a little more light on this sad and intriguing, but also maddeningly mystifying story. Respectfully ~ John Green

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  25. Mr. Renner, I wonder if at this point you have a best working theory to explain the known facts and viable potential inferences arising from them and some of the strange blank spots of information? If so, I for one, would like to read a sketch of it in a post. But I am guessing I will have to wait for the book on that one. Regards, ~ John Green

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  26. Mauras mother was sick with cancer-probably just said that ankle isssue to cover up that she was ill in the press-she might have had an ankle injury but she was too ill to search the woods for 2 weeks

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  27. @ Drew:

    Interesting stuff.

    Fred Murray frequently mentioned in interviews "8PM Monday" and sometimes hesitated before stating that he and Maura were to discuss the accident report. I think there was SOMEthing important about 8PM Monday, but I wonder if that was the time he was supposed to MEET Maura somewhere?

    I don't think we know his work schedule or if he was really working in Bridgeport, CT. Google maps say the drive from Bridgeport to Woodsville is 4 hours and 4 minutes. It's around 3 hours 10 minutes from Weymouth, but there'd be rush hour traffic on that route. I know that. Depending on his work schedule, the timing might be right to have planned to meet Maura up there at 8PM.

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  28. In the beginning of Maura's missing, a Boston newspaper reported that according to Kate Markopoulos the party was in another friend's dorm room. That friend was Sara Alferi. While not documented, I read on one of the earlier discussion boards that 1. Kate, Kate's boyfriend and either a brother or cousin of Sara walked Maura back to her dorm. Kate had said the last time she saw Maura was when she left her with Sara's relative. Again, according to Markopoulos in the Boston newspaper article, she, Sara and Maura lived in different dorms: 2. On the discussion board I read that Sara transferred schools in the fall of 04. While many students transfer and her transfer may have no bearing, if true, it should be examined.

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  29. Drew, your analysis is awesome and struck a chord with me. I have been following this case for a couple of years now. In the past I have favored the suicide/accidental death theory, but the narrative you laid out about the hit and run, dark side, and escape, while sexy, just might be true.

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  30. I disagree. I think what is confusing about this case is she's an attractive, young female that was well-liked. People look at her and say a girl like that *can't* commit suicide. Face the facts people: suicide occurs in all races, sexes, classes, and ages. I just took a suicide awareness course for my job, and 20% of all suicides are unpredictable. This young woman was facing a boyfriend that was ignoring her phone calls, a father that was condescending towards her, and she was having trouble coping with college and the different pace of life that comes with it. The signs are there (with a lot of white noise), but I believe 100% she went up there without any intent of coming back. I think she's still up there waiting to be found.

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  31. The whole Petrit vasi-link to Maura has been looked at for many years now. This is not some new discovery.

    The point where petit was hit the intersection of mattoon and triangle street is a very busy intersersection on the campus of amherst. It would be an act of god, for someone to be invovled in a hit and run at that spot and not be spotted by witnesses.

    The police did not do a good job investigating the Petrit Vasi incident. They can't say for sure whether he was hit by a car or beat up and robbed. (Petrit has said that his wallet was emptied and should've had money in it when he gained back consciousness) If the police had investigated and not just scooped up a college guy laying in the road, then they would KNOW FOR SURE whether petrit was hit by a car or not, there would've been pieces of the car (Plastic) etc. all around the scene and even on Petrit.

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  32. I am not ruling out suicide because of her looks. I am ruling out suicide because of the facts. Suicide by what? Was she going to drink herself to death with boxed whine and white Russians? Straight alcohol with a bottle of pills would certainly make more sense than trying to drink oneself to death "tastefully." Most suicidal people seek out ways to kill themselves such as a gun, knife, or pills. She had none of these. Most suicides are quick and easy, slowly freezing to death in the White Mountains region does not make sense. Again, where is the frozen body? If she were going to commit suicide, she probably would have left a note behind to her boyfriend, father, mother and friends. Why would she spend the time packing up her room and most of her belongings in boxes and not leave a note? Why would she not just commit suicide in her room? Where is the body? In 99.9% of suicides, the body is found. The dog tracked her scent 100 yards up the road from the car wreck, which means someone picked her up. Why clean out her bank account of $280 if she was only going to buy some alcohol and drink herself to death in a motel room? If she were going to commit suicide, she would have run into the woods after the wreck. Most suicidal people withdraw from society and prefer to be alone. She was out partying and meeting up with her father and other friends that weekend. In one of her last text messages to her friends the week before she disappeared, she was excited at the idea of going to see comedian Dane Cook the following week. Her father and friends surely would have sensed some type of depressed mood swing. In multiple interviews, her friends and father have repeatedly said that she was upbeat. I do not believe her friends have any reason to lie.

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  33. "Who on earth would get into a car with a stranger after a car accident?"

    I probably would have at that age. At 22 I was very trusting and naive about the dangers of the world. If I were in a wreck at night on a lonely road and scared I very well may have gotten a ride with someone that appeared nice and helpful.

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    1. Keep in mind that Butch Atwood was (is) by all accounts a rather tall, large, intimidating looking man (not saying he is intimidating, but he looks like he is). Someone of that physique probably would give even naive people pause.

      Not only that, but by all accounts I have read Butch Atwood has been interviewed and interrogated numerous times, and his story has never changed and his timeline checks out. He told Maura to come wait for AAA at his place, and she refused. He has even gone on record saying he has been interrogated and investigated so much about this, he regrets stopping at all. So, yes, Mr. Atwood is a dead end.

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    2. "Who on earth would get into a car with a stranger after a car accident?"

      Alas, me too, I'm afraid. When I was a teenager and young woman I took rides from strangers or boys who were a friend of a friend of a friend on more than one occasion. And I was a straight-A, non-drinking, "nice" girl. Fortunately, I was very lucky, and as fate would have it, lived to tell. If a young, clean-cut driver stopped for Maura, she might well have taken a ride.

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    3. I'm about the same age as Maura, and there is no way in hell I would have gotten into a car with a strange man - accident, snow or anything. When I was 19 I got into an accident in a rural area of Georgia and a very large man who had very obviously been drinking stopped to help me. I told him I was fine and I had someone coming to help (a complete lie) but he was very insistent that I come with him (into his beer can filled truck). He was very much giving me the "uh oh" feeling, and I was 30 seconds from taking off into some pitch black farmland, when a very nice lady drove up and shooed him away. I think it's completely normal for her to not hop into a car with a strange man, but aside from that I've always felt that Maura had been drinking, and she got out with the intention of holding up somewhere in the woods or down the road until she was sober enough to call for help without fear of getting a DUI. I think if she had accepted help from Butch she knew the police would have gotten involved before she sobered up.

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    4. Someone picked her up that is almost certain. Who did it is the question that needs to be found out. Whether she had a friend following her but why when she hated driving and to have to drive on a frigid night on dark roads.....esp drinking. Then, knowing that people knew where the cell phones would and would not work are. She was afraid of police knowing she was drinking and driving and another possible conviction.

      Also, there are places in the US that people do still actually thumb it all the time and nothing happens. Up there, the people are much different that down where I live. I would never get into someones car here but may in a place like NH or VT. Whole different kind of people in both places.

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  34. @ Drew 4:58PM nov. 23

    I agree about the manner of suicide; if I were to commit suicide, I'd probably do it in my home bathtub (to limit the cleanup, sorry!), or the back seat of my car with a tarp under me. I'd do it as considerately and neatly as Maura (probably) packed up her dorm room. I'd use a plastic bag (jersey material liner inside to prevent the annoying inhalation of plastic), and straight (not to-be-mixed!) alcohol, and some kind of "downer pills". Maura only had something (like) Excedrin PM with her IIRC. However, if you were planing to hide in the woods (it IS possible), then ANY alcohol mixed or drunk separetely might be enough to induce hypothermia and permanent sleep. Just because Maura hasn't been found doesn't mean she she didn't find a place off the road outside that 5-mile radius that was searched.

    As everyone here, I hope Maura is alive and having a good life somewhere else. Whatever dysfunctions her family had, I believe she would want to stay in touch with her grandmother, Kurt, and others.

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  35. I would like to agree with the improbability of a suicide scenario, although - it must be admitted - it cannot be ruled out because of the unknown unknowns in this case. But based on what is known, I believe it is very unlikely that Maura took her own life. I base this on the what I believe - having read much on the matter - is the virtually universal belief among psychologists that suicide is a form of acting out and that people who kill themselves out of despair in general want to be found. Some would argue in fact that suicidal patterns are in fact a cry for help unheard, resulting in the victim inching closer and closer to the "trigger point" then eventually going through with it. It is very doubtful, in this context, that if Maura were suicidal, that she would have undertaken the act in away that did not virtually assure she would be found or stopped. So much about this case runs against the grain of clinical and anecdotal knowledge from the study of suicide. ~ John Green

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  36. I had a Saturn that was similar to Maura's car around the same time period. This car was a piece of ****. It started to sound like a lawnmower after about 3 years of use. It burned oil like crazy. It was new when I got it, and I did regular maintenance on it obsessively every 3,000 miles, yet I felt like it was going to break down at any moment. I had my husband start driving it to work (instead of me) as soon as we got married. People think that she was exaggerating about the car. I TOTALLY believe that this car was ready to be retired for good.

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  37. How about her father telling his children that when he felt old and worthless he was going to go to a mountain and drink himself to death. He was quoted by maura's boyfriend's mom as saying that exact statement to his children in a news article in the Union Leader.

    How about the KNOWN FACT that maura was obssesed with mountains.

    How about the FACT that Maura leaves the comforts of her school life and takes an unrealiable car nearly three hours away into the middle of nowhere headed straight for mountains.

    How about the FACT that Maura didn't take her clothes or valuables when she left her wrecked her car, just her bottles of alcohol and a back pack.

    No, suicide, that is totally out of the question.

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  38. Drew, the police have not ruled out foul play.

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  39. Just brainstorming here...but there are two things that have always struck me about this case: 1) Maura's behavior was unusual before she disappeared- not just a little unusual, but to me it seems very unusual, and 2) It seems like she was running away (room packed up, lied about why she would be gone from classes, didn't seem to tell anyone where she was going, didn't accept help from the bus driver, etc). One thing that might explain both 1 and 2 is mental illness. It really isn't all that uncommon (1% of the population has schizophrenia).

    I really don't think people give Maura enough credit when considering the possibility that she escaped after the accident. As a runner, I can tell you that traveling 16 miles on foot would most likely have been feasible for her as a trained runner. I believe 16 miles was the distance to the nearest town. It may have taken her about 3 hours or less to travel that distance, and once she made it to town it would have been very easy for her to disappear. It is much easier to withstand cold temperatures when you are running (go watch a half-marathon in freezing temperatures, people will not be bundled up in parkas). Maura was (is?) smart, and I think if she wanted to get away in those conditions she could have.

    It's clear that she took money out of her bank account just before she disappeared- but does anyone know if she left her wallet behind or if she had that money? Also, it's not clear to me what she took with her. Does anyone know this?

    I don't think it's all that hard to hide in plain sight these days. Elizabeth Smart was walking around for a year, and part of that time was not far from home, with a lot of people looking for her and plenty of news coverage about her. She was once almost discovered in a library by a police officer. The only reason people didn't find her was because she was wearing something over her face.

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  40. I do not believe that the Kate girl can not remember a single person who was at that particular party... When I was in college, about 9-10 years ago, I could remember most people I would have even just a few drinks with, for an hour ... So, I do not believe that girl. It's a shame that people who knew her don't like to get involved.

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  41. I know little about this case. I just saw the episode on Netflix. However, one thing stands out to me. Does anyone know if Maura was drinking and driving during any of her accidents? It might explain why she bought the alcohol in Mass instead of NH. If she had some kind of problem with drinking she might have been concerned about getting a DUI - hence, telling the bus driver not to call the police. I'm just wondering if anyone knows how often she drank or if anyone was concerned with her drinking habits. It might shed more light on what happened to her.

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  42. About the upsetting phone call... It may be far fetched but since we know that Maura did later lie to her professor and claim there had been a death in the family, then its not impossible that she planned the lie in advanced and decided to act distressed over a phony phone call to add credence to her planned story if she was already planning her getaway. [BTW, I know the lie was in an email to a prof and the call was at work]

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  43. I feel like I have to comment on this, reading it now.

    There is a lot of discussion about the location of the hit-and-run accident at the intersection of Triangle and Mattoon Streets in Amherst.

    I grew up in Amherst and this intersection is NOT the one that people seem to be thinking of. The major intersection that is mentioned is the intersection of Triangle and E Pleasant Streets. Mattoon St is essentially a driveway-- it is the road that runs through and around the parking lot of Amherst Regional High School. While it is not unheard of that there is pedestrian traffic there, it is NOT a high traffic or high visibility area, nor is it very near many of the bars or restaurants (a couple blocks from all but Bertuccis and The Pub). At the time of the accident I was a student at that high school and it was very surprising to most of us that there would have been a vehicle/pedestrian accident there.

    If Maura was going downtown or going to Hadley, she wouldn't have reason to be at that location. A student going to Hadley from any point on campus wouldn't get on Triangle Street. Maura lived in Southwest, which means the likely location of her vehicle was at the lot directly across from Southwest on N University Dr or at a lot off Commonwealth Ave (where the auxilary lots are located). If she was on Triangle St that night, there would have been very little reason to be at that hour-- as the only thing she would reach going SB on Triangle street at midnight on a Thursday is a pizza joint that was likely closed or about to be closed, and a train station that was CERTAINLY closed at that hour. Unless she was trying to visit someone off campus, she probably used that road very little.

    The only other circumstance that I can think of that would place her on that street is if she was taking the "back way" into the downtown parking lot by taking Kellogg St. That would put her past the intersection of Triangle and Mattoon.

    I think assuming her presence at that intersection at midnight on Thursday raises more questions than it answers.

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  44. That is a great way to use that website- I really like your idea for a book club.Please keep us posted about how it goes.

    hen night london & hen parties in london

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  45. I find it odd that Maura left with a guy that night and no guy has come forward, nor do her friends know who this guy is exactly. I think there is a possibility of Maura being verbally/mentally or sexually assaulted by this "guy." I mean, she spirals downhill at that point.

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