Thursday, January 19, 2012

Public Records

Just sent out several requests for public records to the following offices:

- Grafton County Superior Court
- New Hampshire Supreme Court
- New Hampshire Attorney General's Office
- Weymouth Police Department
- Quincy District Court
- Norfolk Superior Court
- Eastern Hampshire District Court
- Amherst Police Department

These requests mark the midway point of my research. I'll use the results as supporting documentation and as a jumping-off point for further interviews.

And I'll share scans as they come in.

54 comments:

  1. Mr Renner,
    This is just great.
    I´m glad that you are doing now what other journalists should have been doing a long, long time ago.
    After nearly eight years it´s about time to do what you have just now set in motion.
    Best of luck!

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    1. *idea:cops messed up forensic evidence and how the disappearance was supposed to be handeled so therefore may be treating it like a run away so they arent hounded to find a murderer with lack of dna/footprints/etc. hence why they havent done much with a case that seems has all the pieces to a the puzzle, just out of place* As much as I hate to say it, because Ive always been so optomistic on this case thinking ok,she did have some baggage and things going on in her life that couldve potentially messed up mauras nursing career along with insurance so I was banking on her fleeing intentionally. However,the longer I tread through tons of endless theories online,in depth facts on suspects, wintesses and actions taken that evening, so much points in the same direction. Theory I have is this, ya I think Maura was stressed especially under the conditions that were on-going, but come on what 21 yr old female, college student isnt feelin it a little? We all go through that at some point. Im thinking Maura planned a lonely vaca by herself up in the mountains to read a little, relax, find herself and mainly get away to deal with her troubles because she felt like she wasnt able to go to friends & fam. Explaining why maura would next contact her professors and say that she'd be absent for a wk, showing intentions to come back to class. She then leaves, buys a good amount of liquor to make herself drinks(white russian ingriedients and red wine)during her stay. After departing the store I believe she may have been drinking the easy accessable boxed franzia during the solo trip alone up there. This may be why she decided to go the rural route so she wasnt seen on main roads by police. Between the booze and road conditions the car easily couldve gone off track and been over corrected puting her faced the opposite direction. She then dumped out the drink so she had nothing on her if cops arrived(may of been the time she tried calling her bf in a panic and got voicemail). Think she might of abandoned the car to look for someone with a landline to call her bf or AAA bc she had no service, maybe got picked up or wandered to the wrong house). Either Butch the busdriver or Rick Forcier had seen or know about somebody getting ahold of Maura and I think that their too afraid to come forward and tell what they know bc theyve been threatened along with their families. I think it was a getaway gone bad, wrong place and bad intentions filling rt 112.Butch, his wife and mother relocated to Florida a time after the night maura vanished and when police went down to conduct another interview he wouldnt talk? did he move because he was scared? Forcier wouldnt let police inside his trailer when they conducted a follow up.I dont believe butch contacted police until after she got captured and made it sound like the accident had just taken place? She was probably walking around frantic for a while.

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  2. Have you ever heard the story of Emily's Bridge in Stowe, VT? It is about a young woman who waits for the man she wants to marry but he never shows so she commits suicide. It is a supposed ghost story. It makes you wonder with her state of mind if she ever heard of it since everything about her story tends to center around her car and herself. Basically the two lovers are supposed to meet at the bridge but the man never shows.

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    1. I've been going to Stowe for over 40 years and never heard of the lore. It's been too much fun over the years to focus on "suicide" with Stowe as a destination. Forgive the harsh tone, or not....but there is so much reaching with regard to MM's disappearance.

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    2. I think the lore aforementioned (which I have heard of, despite having been to Stowe only twice) is potentially marginally relevant to Maura's state of mind, if only to illumnate it indirectly. It reflects the way in which the area draws out a certain kind of romantic association, which I myself have felt. (I always felt that that particular legend commonly reflected the feel of the place). There are legitimate theories floating around - and reflected in various posts on this blog - that Maura was despondent, possibly related to one of several romantic matters. While I personally feel it is prohibitively unlikely that Maura went up there to kill herself or at any point decided to, some reasonable people with well reasoned arguments think so and nobody at this point knows for certain. Maura researched Stowe. She may well have heard that legend. It does lend some marginal credence on the possibility that Maura, like many, had romantic associations with the area. In any case, I think a sincerely offered contribution adds more to the discussion than a criticism of it. Just my two cents. No disrespect intended to anyone. ~John Green

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    3. John Green ~ You use the word "romantic" twice.
      While there is evidence to suggest her emotional upset just prior to her leaving UMASS without telling anyone in her social and family circle of her plans, and by her having an accident with significant damage to her father's vehicle, that she was tearful, upset and unhappy. There is no reason to believe she was in a "romantic" state of mind.

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    4. Three points. First, you missed the significance of my post. Second, your argument is specious (slightly convert my statements into an argument that they don't actually represent and then refute the modified version). Third, and most of all, I have no interest in arguing with you. I am getting a lot out of the thoughtful and considered posts on this excellent blog. I appreciated the post about Stowe. Please don't be offended if I ignore additional comments on this particular sub-thread. Best regards ~ John Green

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    5. Actually, Stowe has always been more rugged than romantic; skiers ski; little to no ambiance, except at private residences, and until recent years, fairly undeveloped. It remains unglamorous, as mountain facilities go, and the condos are spoilers, imo.
      If you're courting someone, you may consider it romantic. 21 degrees below with the wind blowing sideways is not my idea of romantic. In recent years, rain, warming and mud ruts in January are even less romantic.
      Intensive marketing brings a few more visitors than before.
      Really, if Maura had a bond and association with The Whites, I don't see her heading to Stowe for a tryst. She certainly couldn't afford to ski. Again, she was hardly in a romantic state of mind. Fairly distressed, by all accounts.
      Suit yourself by believing what you wish.

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  3. a great, organized approach. feel certain some of these have been obtained separately, but i like the gathering of them in this context. keep up the good work!

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  4. Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I really admire all the work you have done, and still continue to do. I think some people on here are a little harsh with some of their comments that are directed to you.. and that's a shame.. because it isnt like a single one of them are doing this work, you are.


    Keep up the good work! I know you atleast have one loyal fan that thinks you're amazing!!

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  5. Mr. Renner,
    I have a suggestion, as an avid and loyal reader of your blog. I look at this blog several times per day and usually have to view each topic to ensure I haven't missed someone's comment. Is there any way that you could alert your readers if there is a new comment posted on an older topic? It would be most helpful.
    Thanks!!!

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    1. I second that suggestion!
      Great idea.

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    2. Me too .. that or a "new comments" list or links. ~ J. Green

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    3. Thank you for adding this to the sidebar! :-)

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  6. I wonder if any "people of interest" were ever asked to take a polygraph. Anything could have happened obviously, but I dont feel theres much of a doubt she was abducted/murdered. Her remains could have been taken anywhere, even been found and gone unidentified. At some point they need to release the case file to the father/family as requested; if he doesnt already know everything at this point. Who are the police going to trap with any specific details or findings .. the killer

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  7. Anonymous Jan 21, 2012 12:44 PM There is. There is a gadget for that. Choose layout, add gadget, most popular and the recent posts gadget appears first in my list.

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  8. When you look at this case you have to start from two premises: 1. The car she was driving was in need of repair(operating on 3 cylinders, what I read, correct me if I am wrong) and 2. The route she took was not familiar to her(according to her dad).

    From experience I can tell you driving a car on 3 cylinders is not fun. It is doable but the car will stall a lot, especially at lights. What you do is keep one foot on the brake and the other a little on the gas to keep stalling from happening. So driving on the expressway would also not be a smart idea as it would put excess strain on the engine because of the lack of "pick up" to the vehicle speed. So one question would be "Why would someone put a rag in the tail pipe of a car that will stall out all by itself anyway?"

    Second, speaking from experience, when I drove to college, the expressway got borring to me so what I would do is look up different routes to the same destination, my college. I figured it made it more interesting, especially if I was not in a hurry. I do not understand why so many people think Maura Murray was in a hurry?

    I feel bad for Maura Murray. A girl who is still using prepaid calling cards as late as November 2003 seems like someone who has parents that expects she work hard and earn the things she gets. One question I would ask of the group of 7 friends is, "Out of all of you, who was the last one to get a cell phone?"

    Cops will often tell you the following: Things are not as complicated as they seem. If you understand that you know that the reason it seems so complicated is because the answer is often alot simpler than it seems.

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    1. Maura had issues. There was a dysfunctional family life due to alcoholism and illness; siblings were apparently left to care for each other when the mother was unable to care for herself or the youngest children. West Point was an option for free tuition, but when she couldn't stay (if she was asked to leave) or wouldn't stay (she couldn't perform in some area or didn't want to commit to the future), then there were even greater financial issues. She was obviously reacting to yet another upset in her life just before she left UMASS. It is highly doubtful she was taking a relaxing route along back roads in the middle of winter. What was she doing in that area, anyway? She should have been in school.

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    2. Hello anonymous 1/23/12 @ 7:22 a.m.

      I don't remember reading much about the dysfunction, alcoholism and illness in here family - or that children were left to care for each other. My curiosity is heightened. Can you refer me to some sources about all this? My apologies if it is on this site and I missed it.

      Best regards,

      John A. Green

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    3. Hello again. I read back through some early posts. I see now where this came from. Apologies. ~ J. Green

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    4. JAG -

      My recollection from various online discussions over time suggest alcoholism in the family. The father was observed by local residents in NH to over drink and be noticeably rude and rowdy in bars during the time he was looking for her in the community; in one instance, it was informally reported he was witnessed pounding on the doors of town hall after hours after leaving local bars. Was drinking involved?

      See also JR's blog entries 8/4 & 8/5/11 and 11/4/11. Is family dysfunction implied?
      It has also been discussed and noted on forums that the family was known to the police for multiple domestic violence calls. Truth? Or fiction?

      Are you unaware of her mother's long-term illness / cancer, and her physical decline?

      A constellation of dynamics, unique and differentiated from other families.

      FYI - Nancy West Union Leader Oct. 30, 2007

      "It makes me pretty mad. This involves the same people who are my chief suspects and the cops say, 'We looked into that,' but I don't know what that means," Murray said."

      * his chief suspects?

      "Murray has been to most surrounding towns on the prowl for "dirt bags" and "renowned dirt bags" in Littleton, Lisbon, Landaff, Bethlehem and Whitefield. He cruises rural roads, looking for turnoffs and secluded areas a killer might seek out."

      "Murray has been to most surrounding towns on the prowl for "dirt bags" and "renowned dirt bags" in Littleton, Lisbon, Landaff, Bethlehem and Whitefield. He cruises rural roads, looking for turnoffs and secluded areas a killer might seek out."

      *an unflattering picture of a father who might have found benefit to cooperating, not maligning authorities.

      Respectfully,

      Anon

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    5. No problem. I answered you with some specific references to this blog, but my post hasn't appeared, yet. I hope I completed the submission as I didn't copy it. Thanks for your reply.

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  9. This is all interesting and there are a lot of thoughts here but one that's been overlooked is - what if she were picked up by a woman or a couple? She would have been trusting because there was a woman there but if you look through the list of serial killers and sex offenders that involve couples, it's not that unusual. I know this is just more speculation but if there's a school of thought that she ran away from the bus driver (because he was a scary guy) and wouldn't hitch a ride with just some guy, and if we believe that the evidence points to her getting into a car then it makes sense that she got into a car wih someone she wasn't afraid of - a seemingly nice woman or couple?

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    1. This is quite a good thought. More abstractly, any number of factors could make her prefer one stranger to another. Reference - for instance - my towing comments, in reply, above. If she broke down on I-91 and was getting towed somewhere, then the car broke off the tow at the sharp curve on 112, well then she might have preferred the company of the good samaritan tower over butch, based on having already met that person and possibly not being comfortable with Butch's appearance as a large man on dark road in area unfamiliar to her. After that, for all we know, she could have died accidentally in some way. But again, if you knew what was up in her head the prior few days, you might have a better idea why she went up there, and if we knew that - I am convinced - LE could really focus on a much more finite vector of possibilities and leads. Regards, John Green

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  10. That is wonderful that you've sent for those records! It's been said that Mr. Atwood, the school bus driver passed away but has anyone ever seen an obituary or a death certificate? Not to be intrusive on anyone's private life, but is it possible that his death is a rumor to protect him from more questioning by the media and others? Could Mr. Atwood be alive and able to shed more light on that fateful evening of February 9, 2004?

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    1. Mr. Atwood is not a suspect, except in the minds of his stalkers. It is intrusive to chase his family down after has death, as recent inquiries would suggest, both here and on Topix.

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    2. Yes, I think that it is not healthy for anyone to talk about Mr. Atwood as a suspect. He was kind of genial, large man. Not very sophisticated. If somehow - against the intuition and evidence (or lack thereof) - he had hurt Maura, I doubt he would have held up under interrogation by LE and he would have given away some clue or confessed or got the hinkies riled in LE. None of that happened. I appreciate the question by Anonymous 1/23 @ 5:22 a.m., but in my opinion Atwood and his family were collateral victims of whatever happened and there is no indication other than that he was just school bus driver and trying to help.

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    3. Atwood died sept 2009.. Atwood's mother died february 2010. Yes I can prove it: http://www.tributes.com/show/Arthur-Everett-Atwood-86724370

      Butch was a nickname.

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  11. He has passed away. Someone posted his obituary on another forum some time ago.

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  12. Speaking of public records, I just noticed something in the police dispatcher's report from 2/9 that I am curious about. The very last entry related to the crash of the Saturn on 112 reads as follows. I have added the parentheticals for clarity.

    "h2, clear of the scene, lagoies [i.e., the towing company] has the veh [i.e., vehicle]. Any luck locating the party or has she shown at the cottage?

    What is the cottage that is being referred to? Maybe I am reading it wrong, but it sounds like LE had some belief that Maura might show up at a cottage.

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    1. cottage hospital. Le thought maybe she was taken to the local hospital.

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    2. "Cottage" here refers to Cottage Hospital at Woodsville, Grafton County, located near NH Route 10 in Woodsville, some five miles or so west of the accident site on Rte 112 at the Weathered Barn curve.

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    3. Many thanks. ~ J. Green

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  13. There was just an assault in Maine of a female stranded motorist, by a guy in a truck with New Hampshire plates. Could there be a connection? http://www.wmtw.com/r/30278700/detail.html

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  14. I can only speak from my experiences as they might relate to how Maura Murray might have felt regarding her state of mind.

    First, education means nothing. Whether you are in the top ten of your senior class or whether you are on the Dean's list in college, that has very little to do with how a person feels emotionally.

    Second, when a person goes to withdraw all their money and then hits the liquor store, it might seem strange. I do not think a person like that is suicidal. It is more like they just don't care. Many people do not know what it is like to be down to your last dollar.

    It is hard to believe this case is anything other than what it appears to be, a girl on her way somewhere, who crashes and then is kidnapped by some would-be opportunist. I cannot imagine a runaway where a person intentionally crashes their car in the middle of nowhere and hits their head on the windshield only to fool every one.

    Looking at it from the other perspective for a second, if by some wierd off the wall possibility it is indeed a runaway, why would anyone go to all that trouble? Psychologically, the only reason would be "I crashed your car, you get on my case. I crash my own car, you won't be able to." For a person to go to all the trouble the act(crashing the car) would have to mean something.

    I have heard of alot of different types of runaway suicides, but never one in which the victim engaged in starting the act before they were at their final destination. For example, a person might go to a secluded place, then swallow a bunch of pills. Or they might buy 4 bottles of vodka, go to a hotel room, THEN start drinking. It is rare to hear of a case where the victim starts the act on the run so to speak before reaching their FINAL destination. I am not an expert on suicide but it almost seems that where it takes place is almost as important as how it takes place. The point is that it is usually planned. The real question should be what was she looking up on the computer or planning in the week not just the day or two before leading up to her disappearance. Even her friends have the email showing she was interested in a concert headliner leading up to the day of her disappearance. So why spend $280 in liquor and whatever else versus concert tickets, etc?

    As for the romance in her life, speaking from experience, all the tomboyish girls I knew all had one thing a common. They never really let guys get to them as much as other girls because in their head they understood guys better than those girls. The way girls like that think from my own experience can be described like this:

    "Guys are like the stars. The moment one burns out there are three more to take his place."

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    1. The only thing that might have lead her to start drinking before she arrived at her given destination is that she was known to be afraid to drive the car she was driving that fateful evening around campus and to nursing classes off campus. It was said that she even had a friend drive her around, so afraid was she of that awful Saturn. Now if we believe what was written about her in terms of her concerns about this vehicle, then it makes sense that a person who is very worried about some difficulty in her life and thereby feels compelled to do something to handle the situation, might need some "liquid courage" to accomplish her task. Granted within the comfort of our respective homes it is difficult to imagine ourselves being so foolish as to use booze at a time when we want to do some dangerous driving up north in the dark, but I think if her immediate need suggested that she had to steel herself in order to get out of dodge as it were, the hope of drinking just the right amount of booze to feel comfortable might have made sense at the moment. Still if this were true then why didn't she start drinking before she set foot in the vehicle? And if in fact she did start drinking before leaving campus and we simply have no idea that she did so, then could it not be true that she bought more booze to make sure that she did not sober up before she arrived at wherever she was going? In any case she had just smashed up her dad's car and was now putting herself in a very good position to smash up the Saturn that was technically his, so I hope that she was not so irresponsible as to have been setting off on a mere holiday with booze in her body and the need to get to a given destination while driving a car that she should have been anxious to keep in good condition.


      One thing seems obvious. She somehow did not get arrested for drunk driving after she left the party and got into a very expensive accident with her dad's car. So she had either not been drinking at the party but simply appeared to have been, or she somehow managed to have walked away from an accident despite having had some booze in her system. If she were drinking and somehow avoided detection, could she have believed that she would be able to talk her way out of any problems with the police since she had great success with this in the recent past?

      In any analysis of what was going on that night it is safe to say that those who believe that she were merely going on a simple trek for fun have not thought things through.

      John Avellar

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    2. Speaking from experience all I can tell you is this:

      If Maura Murray did start drinking while driving a rundown car in the middle of nowhere on an unfamiliar route to meet someone unknown in the middle of the night or checking in at a hotel, the only thing I would say to her is this:

      You are the most confident girl I have ever seen.

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    3. I agree. If she took off in that car knowing that it was in such ill-repair, she was very determined to get wherever she wanted to go.

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  15. There is one last thing, speaking from experience again, that I could never get over after watching the ID program. Forget about the accident and everything else. Maura Murray just had an accident two nights ago, an accident that might have been alcohol related. She remembers to call her boyfriend, check her messages before she gets to the mountains. Now she has an 8pm appt to call her father on February 9th.

    This is the question that if I were an investigator would keep running through my head:

    Why in the world would anyone get drunk and THEN call their father?

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    1. Maybe the 8PM phone call changed into a 8PM meeting?

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    2. So your contention is that she was planning on showing up drunk too?

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    3. Anon Jan 24th 2012 09:27 PM
      She had an 8:00 pm appt to call her father, on the night she disappeared? I don't know how I missed that.

      Jenni

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  16. Here are a few of my thoughts. Personally I think she is alive and by now the family knows it. That's why they won't talk to James. I think she was pregnant, but miscarried (death in the family) and decided to get away with the father. I think she was maybe following him to where they were going and when she crashed it took him a bit to realize it, turn around and pick her up. If the guy was married that could be why there are no phone records or emails. This is just my opinion on what happened,but will be looking for updates.
    John

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    1. I dont think this is true. If she is alive, I don't think anyone in her family knows it. If they are a normal family they are not going to want a bunch of people gossiping and and speculating about what has happend to their daughter. I think if she was alive and the family were aware of it, they would have released a statement saying she was alive and well and did not want to be located. At least this would take the heat off of all of them.

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    2. But if she was driving to get away with her father which I think was the case as well. The rag in the exhaust really bothers me because the car wasn't going to be going anywhere with the rag in the car exhaust. So why would she or her father put the rag into the exhaust after?
      -Tom

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    3. The rag bothers me too. But it could have been placed there (as someone noted) to make the car look as though it ran bad. Maybe she had put it in there weeks before and forgot it was there and means nothing regarding her missing.
      As for her still being alive and her family knowing about it, that was just an idea. Of course if any fraud was committed they would be not too quick to come out and say she is alive.
      Also in re: to the miscarriage, that could have been why she was crying that night at work. She may not have known she was pregnant until she miscarried, that does happen. I'm just throwing some things out there, I am not as up to speed on this case as many of you.
      John

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  17. My opinion after reading everything already posted is that perhaps the police and investigators' know who is responsible for her dissapearance or have a very 'strong' idea. Maybe they realize their most likely never going to find the body, which makes bringing a case against that person nearly impossible. They could be resorted to waiting for this suspect to make a mistake. To me, after reading about some inconsistencies and the father lashing out, this is what makes sense .. however if I'm right I would think they would release statements in an attempt to induce a mistake. I am from a small town, within miles of where an abduction and murder took place in the early 1980's(Ohio). The story is folklore within the community and everyone knows who committed the crime, the body was even found. Hopefully the person responsible for Maura's dissappearance doesnt walk free due too destroyed evidence and sloppy police work.

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  18. Mr. Renner, I'm assuming you've had occasion to view the Topix forum related to this case. If that's correct. Have you any idea what, precisely, it is about this case that brings out such venom? I have no horse in the race on either side, but there is this local/anti-local, Maura-bashing ridiculousness going on over there. A quick glance through the recent history of the Topix board reveals a history of this. It's such an oddity. I don't get the phenomena.....

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  19. Does anyone know if she had in her possessions a white parker type jacket with a fur lined hood?

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  20. The time line is the key! BA is responsible for abduct then homicide of MM. Used a stun gun then duck tape. Put her on bus(dogs lost her sent @ end of his drive) takes her off bus puts her in his car when he volunteers to drive around and help LE search for her! Why would he think she would get into car w/ him after she already refused his help once!!?? He has keys to her car which was towed near by then left outside LE didn't open trunk til next day. He put her body down a well near town he grew up in, in MA. He is dead so LE has no one to prosecute! Boom end of story. Her spontaneous utterance at work" my sister " was due to her finding out Sis Julie & BF Billy were screwin around together! Time line!! Less than 10 min! Plus BA knew her cell useless. Why wouldn't she just walk to closest house to stay warm and call AAA??? Think logically, this isn't as complicated as everyone seems to think. Time line bus blocks all view of MVA scene poof she disappeared!BA was ready and waiting for this opportunity. He could have parked bus at home and walked back to scene but he needed bus. I would look in all wells were he grew up! He may have even knowm he was dying and figured if I get caught I won't be spending too much time behind bars!!? Sound plausible? GM should declare dead and get LE file. BTW BA failed 1 of 2 polys!!!

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    1. why would you assume he put her in a well near where he used to live?

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    2. I'm not sure how to answer your? I would call it, a knowing. It is near some place he hung out as a kid it feels safe and familiar to him.

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  21. Opps he puts her in trunk of her own car after towed and left outdoors goes back and gets her later. FM should declare her deceased to obtain all LE files.

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  22. I m not sure how to answer your ? I call it, a knowing. Its near some place he hung out as a kid, its feels safe and familiar to him.

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