Sunday, January 8, 2012

Scarinza speaks

Since Day 2 of Maura Murray's disappearance, John Scarinza was on the case. Until 2009, when he retired from the New Hampshire State Police, he was the point man for the investigation and probably knows more about the details of her mystery than anyone. I caught up with him awhile back for a lengthy interview.

"I got the call at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning from the chief of police in Haverhill," recalls Scarinza. "They had a car accident. But they didn't find a driver. At first, if didn't seem like an unusual occurrence. If you've had too much to drink and then have an accident, you don't want to wait around for law enforcement. We see similar incidents all the time. But you expect a call eventually. The driver calling in, looking for their car. That didn't happen."

The car Maura was driving at the time was registered to her father, Fred. Haverhill P.D. tried to contact him early on Tuesday, but only got the answering machine. In the meantime, the police obtained a search warrant to open the car and examine the contents. Inside they found a box of wine, a book about the dangers of the White Mountains (Not Without Peril), and a receipt from a liquor store.

"She had purchased Kahlua, wine, and a six pack of Seagrams. The box had splashed all over the car. The bottle of kahlua was not there."

Around mid-afternoon Tuesday, Fred Murray called Haverhill P.D. "What I was told was that the first thing out of Fred's mouth was, 'She's gone to the North Country to commit suicide, to go off and die like an old squaw."

"Then, the scenario changed," says Scarinza. "Now we have a missing girl."

Scarinza and the detectives of Troop F began to backtrack Maura's last few days. They quickly learned about the phone call she received while on duty at Melville Hall Thursday night, four days before her disappearance. The call was with her sister, Katherline, but no one can recall the specifics. "We have never understood what caused Maura to be so upset."

That Saturday, Fred Murray appeared in Amherst. "They went out drinking, her and her father and her friend. Father goes back to the hotel. Maura has his car. Gets in an accident. Why she doesn't get arrested then is beyond me. And she's headed to her father's hotel when she wrecks. She has a dorm room. It's weird."

They took to the skies to try to find Maura's tracks in the snow, or maybe her body. Scarinza, himself, rode in a helicopter. Fish and Game assisted. The helicopters had heat-seaking cameras. "I remember seeing a gorgeous red fox that stuck out like a beacon down below. Deer stands. You could see great detail. You could see human footprints. There was good clean snow in the mountains and it had not snowed since the crash." But there were no footprints leading into the woods around the site of the accident and no sign of Maura.

Later that Wednesday, they brought out the blood hounds. They gave the dog a scent article from the vehicle. "The blood hound went 100 yards East down the road, then appeared to lose the track. Does that mean she got into a vehicle? Perhaps. Does that mean it wasn't a scent opportunity? That it had been too long to follow? Perhaps."

They had people check Maura's dorm room at UMass. "All her belongings were in boxes. The sense was that she was leaving school." On top of the boxes was that email from Billy. Maura had discovered her boyfriend had been seeing another women when they had taken a break from each other.

The rag in the tailpipe is its own mystery. "Fred said he had suggested putting the rag in the tailpipe. Was it an attempt to kill yourself? If so, that's not going to work. But why the hell else would you stick a rag in a tailpipe? It's an anomaly."

When police asked Fred what might have been going on in his daughter's life that would make her want to leave, he would only say, "That's not important. She's missing. Find her." Scarinza sighs. "If we understood why she left, maybe we could understand where she was going."

Since 2004, investigators have put in something close to 6,000 hours on Maura's case, he figures. "We've been to Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine. We got a report that she was in a bar in Rochester. So we went out and interviewed the bartender."

"I've said this all along: My sense is that Maura's original intent when she left Massachusetts was to come to the North Country to get away from something that was occurring in her life down there. I take into consideration the family's thought that she was coming up to kill herself. But what was the initial catalyst to make her want to do that? And what happened when she got here? My sense is that she is not still alive."

Scarinza continued that train of thought: "My sense is that she might have gotten a ride. But we don't know her ultimate destination. It's interesting that her backpack was missing from her car. That some liquor was missing. Until we know for sure what happened, we're going to treat this case as if she was a victim of a crime."

45 comments:

  1. Many thanks for this... very important stuff. Question: how does "The bottle of kahlua was not there" square with your post last July: "Official word from Haverhill PD: all booze was accounted for. Vodka. Baileys. Wine. Maura left it all behind in the car." What is your current read? - Gnomony

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  2. Thanks for this! It's a good summation of just about everything we know about the case, without getting bogged down in details/speculation that really don't solve it.

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  3. Gnomony: I'm not sure what to make of the discrepancy.

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  4. Perhaps LE was just exercising their right to not disclose data, nothing clandestine. Scarzina was retired before Mr. Renner broached the subject with LE, I believe? Scarzini's makes sense. Of course, where did the Kahlua get to and why?

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  5. Thanks Mr Renner for this information. I have always felt that for some misguided reason Mr Murray won't say all he knows about how Maura felt before she disappeared. Maybe she was in some kind of trouble and her dad thinks he is protecting her by saying nothing. Maura was just a young girl who maybe did make some mistakes but she was not a bad person. There are not many of us who can say we never made mistakes or had some bad judegment calls. I really just wish for Maura's sake her dad and friends would finally tell everything they know,

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  6. Thanks for this post. I've been avidly following this case from the old MMM boards, to WS, to Topix (I know, I know, what was I thinking...) and even to that board created by one of those faithful MMM posters - can't remember the name for the life of me though.
    Just a quick question....you stated that you interviewed Scarzina "awhile back"...how far back was that, if I may ask? Just being nosy.

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  7. I really really hope he gave you some more info off the record -- his opinions, his suspicions, etc. Other than the Kahlua detail, nothing is new :^(

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  8. So was it Kahlau or Bailys? Why is there conflicting reports on this?

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  9. i read on "mauraismissing.com"

    ----Fred said there was an empty beer bottle found in Maura's car. I was told by others that the bottle was in the back seat and the rear driver's side window was open a crack.----

    this is the first i have heard about a beer bottle and the window. is there truth to this or is this just misinformation?

    dave

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  10. It seems that the sister is a material witness. If the police feel - and can substantiate that some kind of crime occurred (which I think would be easy in this case), then the police have every right, duty and capability - through a court order if necessary - to compel the sister to explain why Maura was upset. Here's a good question, why wouldn't the sister volunteer this? Morever, I agree with other posters that the long lingering suggestions that Fred was not disclosing something (and perhaps has something to hide) is becoming more and more concrete and seeming more fact than suggestion or speculation at this point. Beyond this, I would like to remind that the highly likely conclusion that Maura did not hit Vasi does not mean there is no connection between what was going on in her life at UMASS prior to her disappearance and that incident. For instance, suppose that someone she knew hit Vasi? Maybe that person was driving her car? Maybe the trip to New Hampshire was to get rid of the car or stage an accident in an attempt to cover up the damage? Speculation, certainly. But it makes the point that if the sister told what upset Maura, it may very well lead to a better idea of why she went to NH and this would make more likely finding her. So plainly evident is that line of reasoning, in fact, that it circles back suspiciously to the family, if you ask me, in not saying what they know, not only to the public, but also to the police.

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    1. An incisive post, Mr. Green. I've dabbled in this fascinating mystery for a while, and I too am perplexed by the apparent failure of Murray's father (and sister) to be more forthcoming. This seems key to the entire mystery. It seems inconceivable that law enforcement would not have thoroughly pursued those angles.

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    2. Thank you G. Gamfino. I wonder if LE has information from the family already that is not known to the public? From Fred's letters to the Governor, etc., it does not seem that there is much accord between the family and LE. So I kind of doubt it. But I just wonder if LE knows what the Murrays are concerned about and perhaps have pursued that angle, to no avail and out of respect for the family are letting it lie? Thus, this missing element may be confounding us more by being unknown than it is in fact confounding. I don't know, just throwing it out there.
      ~ John Green

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  11. This is a very insightful blog about Maura Murray's case. One of the things I wondered about was the crack in the windshield of her car?
    It makes sense to me that she crashed into a snow bank as the back end of the vehicle would come around first causing damage to the passenger side, the car would bounce off as she overcorrects causing her car to go into the ditch. I think she bounced and hit her head on the windshield. I read those Saturns have the airbag sensors under the seats so it would make sense the airbags would go off.
    It would certainly be a very strange runaway if the person wanted to crash the car hard enough to cause airbag deployment in addition to hitting themselves in the head.
    As for any ideas I can only suggest that alot of times when college students have trouble they confide in a professor and stay in touch even if the professor goes to another school. I did that with one of my professors. Maybe that is where she was headed or got advice to get away. If it is a runaway it is certainly one of the strangest I have ever heard about. There seems to be two different types of Maura Murray's: one who is passionate about nature and relationships and one who is pragmatic about school and work. The key to solving the case is probably finding where they colide.

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    1. I believe the airbag caused the windshild to crack. That does happen sometimes.

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  12. This was a very interesting, but important interview you did. In my opinion, I think it is unfair for her father to not disclose further information about his daughter's past other than, 'it doesn't matter, my daughter is missing, find her'... Nonetheless, I feel very sorry for her family who has to live with this everyday of their life. It's tragic. I really admire all the work you do, and all the research you put into this, that's very admirable. Even if the father doesn't want you to pursue writing a book, I still have much respect for you for going above and beyond, probably more than what anyone else has.

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  13. "And she's headed to her father's hotel when she wrecks. She has a dorm room. It's weird."

    I always thought it was weird, too. But, here's a hypothesis (one that doesn't really help explain anything as much as maybe explain AWAY something): What if she wasn't going to see her dad at the hotel, but going somewhere else (to see someone else?) that was in the area or in the direction of the hotel, and, knowing she would need an explanation as to what she was doing in that area (to the cops and probably her father), that was the first thing she could think to say, so that's where she said she was going. It's a possibility.

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    1. The only normal reasons I can imagine leaving a campus party at that time of night would be: 1) a later/better party; 2) food; or 3) boys. It seems like the first two would likely have included -- or at the very least have been discussed with -- friends. So that leaves me with boys. Either a local boy that she was going to see, or some drama with Billy (either his cheating and some involvement with her sister...whether it be with her sister's friend/sister's knowledge/something that her sister downloaded to her on that phone call/etc....or pregnancy...) that she felt she needed to talk over with her dad immediately because it was eating at her beyond the point of being able to sleep -- or drink -- it off.

      J

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  14. 1. I believe the tearful phone call at work probably had to do with Billy cheating. That makes about as much sense as anything, especially if that email was confirmed. That's also one possible explanation for her strange departure from school.

    2. This post definetly paints Scarzina in a whole new light. In fact, since you are probably not going to be able to reach any sort of communication with Fred, (one on one anyway), I think you should use Scarzina as a major character in the book, to initiate the reader with a similar point of view. (Not to mention some of Maura's friends who are uncontained by Fred) Being an investigator, he obviously directed his attention to the facts, however unflattering they may be, which is far from Fred's notion of the NH state troopers as a bunch of stonewalling tools, (as portrayed on "20/20").

    3. It's also interesting to hear Scarzina voice his puzzlement with the circumstances surrounding Maura and Fred's relationship. I certainly don't doubt Fred's grief, nor I do want him to be object of dangerous, possibly unfounded accusations, (as was the case with the Ramseys and missing baby Sabrina's parents), but many questions do need to be addressed.

    4. This OTHER SIDE to Fred and Billy's persona -- that of the crusading father and Maura's seemingly polite, mild-mannered soldier boyfriend with the sweet little mama, is a stark reminder that not everything nor everyone is exactly what they seem. Everyone has a dark side, and this may very well apply to Maura as well. Also, bad things happen to good people, and good people can do bad things. This could also be true of Fred and Billy. Who knows.

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  15. mr renner, did you ask him about the Duct tape w/hair that was supposedly found by a hunter.

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  16. very insightful posts....especially Anon - 1/9 @ 2:27 point #4, and John Andrew Green 1/8 @ 6:32. my thinking is totally in line with these posts. great ideas with rational filters and reasonable conclusions made.

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  17. James, I really appreciate your posts. You're giving us perspectives we obviously couldn't obtain ourselves!

    1. We had all been told that the 10PM-10:20PM phone call between Maura and her sister Kathleen had not upset her. Kathleen said there was nothing unusual about their conversation and that she had taken a sleeping aid soon thereafter that night. And Kathleen didn't remember much about the conversation.

    It was apparently about 2 hours later that Maura showed great distress.

    It was stated in the media (I can find, if necessary) that there was a later phone call, nearer the time of Vasi's injury, that was made from within UMass Amherst, from a "common area" and that LE had said the caller "had moved on". Needs to be double-checked!

    2. James, your interview with Scarinza mentioned something I hadn't heard before: the six-pack of Seagrams!!! Before, we were told it contained a box of Franzia wine, a small bottle of Bailey's, a small bottle of Kahlua, etc.

    3. It's worth investigating the lack of footprints on the road with the statements that the road was "dry". There may have been dry (tire-track-size) dry lanes to run in.

    4. I've got to repeat that, haven spoken to security guards, a guard could leave his/her post to use the restroom and to ask someone to replace him would not necessarily be noted. Think of the kinds of instances you need to spend 20 minutes in the bathroom! So, since we don't know where Maura's car was parked that particular night, we can't definitely conclude she couldn't have taken a 20-25 minute break! I mean, students have friends. Friends might not be able to remember things because it might get a friend in trouble. Or friends might forget who was at a particular party. It's probably true innocence, but I believe some of Maura's friends hold the key to her disappearance.

    5. How is it known for sure that there wasn't a "first accident"?

    6. To have a printed-out letter from Maura's boyfriend, Billy, on top of her packed boxes; doesn't that send a message? Like, I'm out of here?!!! Since it illuminated Billy's cheating on her?

    7. In terms of lying as to a death in the family, it seems Maura did not intend to return to school and deal with the aftermath of her lie. I'm going to check the SSDI to see if anyone around her age died in the Stowe, VT area around that time... I discovered once that a week before she disappeared a former West Point student (who also transferred schools) died during a basketball game.

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  18. On top of the boxes was that email from Billy. Maura had discovered her boyfriend had cheated on her.

    This is the first time I've heard that the email she left on top of her things had to do with Billy cheating. Has this been known all along? What exactly did the email say?

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  19. "In terms of lying as to a death in the family, it seems Maura did not intend to return to school and deal with the aftermath of her lie."

    Why do you say that? Also why would there be any "aftermath". She told the lie to her professors to account for her missing class. Seems like a pretty standard excuse to me.

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  20. To Anonymous Jan.8th, 9:50 pm, She may have gone to her father's hotel room to inform him of his wrecked car. She could have called him, but after a few drinks (dorm party) she made the decision to go there. Either way, it doesn't seem weird to me.

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  21. 4:44, that doesn't make sense. She was talking about going to her dad's at the party, BEFORE she wrecked the car. She wrecked the car on the way to her dad's hotel.

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  22. Although it does seem like a common lie to tell that one has had a death in the family, it becomes a somewhat more problematical situation because she had friends in her program-the nursing program that is-whom she does not seem to have informed about what she had told her professors. It has also been asserted that certain of these friends were from her hometown and would easily be able to learn that nobody in her family had died. This makes one think that a normal person would not want to explain to friends why she had not confided in them. Moreover it seems as though it was a particularly bad time for her to leave as school had not been in session that long. How does one explain a lie about a death in one's family as an excuse to go on a vacation excursion while classes are in session and other students may well have been expecting her to contribute her fair share to one project or another? In an interview I read online, a friend of Maura's spoke of how secretive she was by nature. This young woman whose name I cannot recall stated that after Maura's accident after the party, she had not said a blessed word to anybody about what had happened. It would seem that a private person as Maura was and one hopes still is would find it very hard to endure the questions from her friends about where she had gone and why she had not bothered to confide in them. Perhaps it is also true that her boyfriend's having cheated on her as well as her having cheated on him, may have contributed to an atmosphere at school that simply was not conducive to study and maintaining one's piece of mind. In any case the packed boxes with the e-mail letter indicating an awareness of Bill's cheating may be the best sign of all that Maura was through with UMASS Amherst.

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  23. As was pointed out by a poster above, the issue of a first accident has not been adequately addressed or put to rest. Although I wondered at the contention of the woman who on the old list asserted with confidence that she could recall with certainty that on the night of Maura's disappearance there had been some sort of radio/CB traffic indicating that officers and/or ambulance personnel had been dispatched to an accident but had been called back, I am not so sure that her statements should have been so quickly dismissed by myself and certain others at the time. As I recall this woman asserted that she and her husband were especially concerned that a friend of theirs from a warm climate who was completely unused to New Hampshire winters and who had begun a new job that very day, may have been the victim of the accident they had heard communicated over the airwaves. This potentially tragic situation caused her husband and she to be at peak awareness until they heard that the official vehicles had been called back. Of course if there were such an accident it by no means automatically points to Maura as having been involved in it, but given that the vehicle involved in the accident left the scene before rescue vehicles could reach it's destination, and given that this was supposed to have occurred shortly before Maura's accident that we all know as the one she disappeared from, it is very important to check into this to make absolutely sure that such an event did not occur.

    John Avellar

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  24. If we now know with certainty that there was not a call at a later hour than the one in which Maura spoke to her sister, then this is big news indeed. As the writer above points out, investigators maintained that they had traced the later call to somewhere in the Umass Amherst complex. Now it seems as though we can safely ignore what had been accepted by everybody-or nearly everybody-on the old Maura listserv, and which had been investigated by the authorities as reported in at least one newspaper article, as a call that had in actuality never taken place. If this is indeed a fact then this forum should be used to explain why this non-call had been seen by different individuals and the police as having been made.

    John Avellar

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  25. This case has intrigued me from the getgo. I have gone over and over the info and here are my conclusions: The Vasi connection, although not entirely dismissable, doesn't explain why she would leave the email from her boyfriend on top of her packed boxes. To me, if that was the only thing in site, not having been boxed, then she is sending a message. If she was pregnant, or thought she could be (the pregnancy searches on her computer), then finding out the father of the baby is cheating could have caused her to want to flee. However, I don't think she had intentions of leaving for good or she wouldn't have bothered to take her school books or contact her professors. These actions also dispute the suicide theory, in my opinion. It seems if she found out her boyfriend was cheating, there would have been some heated arguments to follow. I wonder if she threatened to just leave or end it all or anything of the such, during what I can only guess were emotional phone conversations. Did the police adequately question the boyfriend about specifics that were discussed or her demeanor at the time before she left. Did she explain to her boyfriend that she would be gone for a few days?

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    1. I think that the books may just have been in the car. I think she told the story to the professors because she wanted to allay any concerns other students may have expressed when she did not show up for class; she needed time to make her escape! Certain of them may have immediately contacted her parents. This may not have been what she wanted to happen. How does one explain to one's parents that you need a week away from school when classes had just started and intelligent people speculate that she may not have even unpacked yet? Moreover it was stated on the old Maura list that she had had an active and eventful break, so it was less understandable that she needed to get away. Best case scenario is that she needed a week to steel her courage to return to Umass Amherst long enough to pack her boxes into the trunk and to drive home to explain that she was dropping out of school because she was pregnant or god only knows what else. Hell, given the fact that the law has made a man fathering a child into an indentured servant of the state for 21 years or so, not to be discounted is the possibility that a man who found out he had impregnated her may have been none too happy. This lack of joy increases exponentially if said man happens to be married.

      I think that things were closing in on Maura. She was financially dependent on Fred and others to a degree that may have come to be seen by her as unhealthy or enormously constricting. I think that she had had a difficult relationship with Bill that caused her to see other men and this did not jibe with her moral standards. I think she had read about the White Mountains all her life and for her they symbolized a chance to embrace freedom. I think her mom's illness and certain problematical family issues made taking off and starting a new life seem all the more compelling. I think she enlisted a perceived friend to follow her in case her car broke down. He/She did not disappoint as Maura was whisked away before the police could arrive. I think Maura is in a huge city like New York City because she knows that nobody would associate her with the city, and that in a city of millions one can hide rather well when all is said and done.

      She is alive and if not then the culprit is not a serial killer with the extraordinary luck to have happened by at the perfect time. Nor would a local killer chance being spotted by the occupants of the homes in the area. If there were foul play I believe it most likely assumed the form of a trusted friend.

      John Avellar

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    2. Mr. Avellar,
      I think there is a possibility that she just wanted to escape the pressures and stress in her life and maybe after being gone for so long, she is afraid now to come back..and possibly she doesn't even want to. I do wonder though if she could have been involved with an authority figure from her college or from West Point even, who may have disappeared around that same time. I find it odd that she would have escaped to a new life without an accomplice to entice her, if in fact she did. I find it too coincidental that a killer happened along at that precise moment, unless it was one who listened to a scanner for such an opportunity. I can't help feeling that she was involved with someone else, but for whatever reason, it was kept hush hush. It appeared that she had grown apart from Billy, perhaps because of this new interest??

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  26. I was hoping he would offer more than the little he told you in the interview. But I suppose you have to work with what you get.

    Does anyone know if it an actual fact if she got kicked out of West Point for credit card fraud? I read an article, noting that Maura had also committed credit card fraud, again at UMass..by using someone else's credit card inappropriately to order pizza for herself. I also read somewhere that it wasn't until Maura came back to campus, after winter break, that she learned the school had found out about her committing credit card fraud.

    That would make sense, if it is true, why she waited until a few days after she came back from break to leave, as opposed to just leaving when she was already on break, and not at school.

    I think its interesting if law enforcement didn't check into this, at her school.

    I remember reading an article, with a friend of Maura's had said 'I don't want to get Maura in trouble' when she was questioned by law enforcement. It makes me wonder what was so horrendous that Maura had done..that her friend, who must have cared about her..would not disclose to law enforcement, knowing that Maura was missing, and no where to be found...even after these many years.. you would think whatever it was..the girl would have spoken up by now.


    I remember also reading in article, in which Sharon Rausch ( Billy's mother) stated that it wasn't unusual for Maura to bring her book "Not Without Peril" with her on trips. She had noted that one summer, while Maura was visiting them she brought her book. So, perhaps, it wasn't out of the ordinary, for her to have this book with her in her car.

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  27. First, this blog is fascinating. Second, thanks for reader comments. It's so interesting to hear others' opinions.

    I am not as familiar with the case as many - but am fascinated by it.

    It seems highly, highly improbable to me that Maura ran across foul play in that short span of time -- when all other indications are that Maura was in various forms of trouble... boyfriend problems, upsetting phone call, inability to complete shift at work due to emotional turmoil, wrecked vehicle late at night and while drinking, possible other personal issues that have been alluded to in this post.

    That being said, it seems to me that she was deeply troubled and had taken steps to disappear - she had packed up belongings in her dorm room. Who does that when going away for a few days?

    She had provided an excuse (death in family) to keep people off her track for a few days. She had withdrawn funds from her ATM - most funds, I believe.

    So she started her planned departure - one that seems to be a scary one - either to run away or possibly worse. However, something unplanned likely occurred when she had yet another wreck, quite possibly due to a combination of inclement weather and drinking.

    I believe that Maura found a way to keep on the run... either on foot or by catching a ride ... and to then continue with her original plan - whether it be starting a new life or possibly ending hers.

    Just my two cents, but to me, this follows the logic of the other facts that have been reported.

    I just don't buy that she also ran into foul play in that short of a time period - with all the other facts taken into consideration.

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  28. I think we are being misled by the idea that she was shocked by some revelation by her bf. the "note" was an old email from 02 acc to early reports. This wasn't new news to Maura. Why she printed it out isn't clear but maybe it just stood out from a bunch of other emails. Her mom said their relationship was good - although I guess she didn't know about Maura's others guys but generally moms are critical so she must have at least seemed happy with her bf. the cops would have checked her emails and computer and found nothing to worry them so that means one thing as far as I can see. Whatever it was that made her cry and then decide to quit school was something or someone she didn't commit to over email or phone. That to me suggests it was someone she saw on a daily basis or regularly at least someone she could discuss things at short notice. The Question is who? Who did she see regularly enough to not leave a trace on email phone or text??!

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  29. I agree that the rag in the tailpipe is an anomaly. Is it possible that Maura put it there once the car hit the snowbank in order to prevent it from starting, so that no one would take it (in addition to locking the doors)? Since she was something of a tomboy, she might have known that was an option. Or is it possible that, because the car wasn't being driven in Amherst as far as he knew, Fred put the rag in the tailpipe? The below website and a couple of others I saw recommends doing that for winter storage.
    http://kelly-denine.suite101.com/how-to-prepare-your-car-for-winter-storage-a392647
    I live in the South, so I have no idea if this is something people do with any regularity. Maybe Fred did that, but didn't tell Maura because he assumed she wasn't driving it?

    I also don't like the discrepancies in various posts on this site and the Conway 5-part article as to what liquor was purchased, and what liquor was left in the car. Seems to me it would good to get that straightened out.

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    1. I grew up in Maine my whole life. We have had some very harsh winters up here.. never in my life have i stuck a rag in any car's tailpipes. I haven't heard of any of my friends or family doing that either. I had read that Maura wasn't taking her car out much at all.. not even to clinicals.. she relied on other people to take her to clinicals. Usually with nursing schools, clinicals are within the vicinity of where the school is, or atleast not a far commute from where the school is. I would have imagined that if Fred stuck the rag there himself, he would have at the very least told Maura. Unless Maura forgot it was there. I don't know. I still say the family isn't giving out enough information..they want the public's help, in yet they tell us nothing.

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  30. I keep reading everywhere that she left her car with a backpack. How do they know this?

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    1. I would also like to know this! The backpack keeps getting mentioned but how do they know this? if she had a backpack, how do they know it was black? Does LE have her on video at the bank of liquor store carrying a black backpack?

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    2. Agreed. The backpack is pure speculation. Unless BA or the couple across from the accident that called the police as well, saw her wearing this assumed backpack, how is their any evidence that it existed, in her car, on that day?

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  31. I, too, am interested in this case, but am not as deep in the detail as others here. Nevertheless, my feeling is that it is less probable that she became the victim of foul play; the signs, in my view, point either to suicide or to a (self-destructive) succumbing to the elements.

    What I noticed with the interviews with the family was an almost compulsive inability to integrate "the negative" in their descriptions of Maura, which must have put her under a lot of pressure I would imagine. For example, it is established that MM told a lie to her professors about a death in the family, and the family immediately states on camera, "But Maura was not a liar". That felt very defensive and may go some way to explaining why MM seems to have had a split in her personality between the "good" and "bad" sides and why she may have felt intense guilt and shame about actions and feelings (fraud, theft, alcohol consumption, erratic behavior) that could not ultimately be hidden. She must have felt depressed that she could not live up to the high ideals of behavior seemingly expected of her and I wonder if that guilt and shame prevented her from confiding in others.
    ~v

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  32. Could the phone call be from her friend that tipped her off about whoever she stole the credit card info at umass that they were going to the police? I read somewhere that the upsetting call she got was within umass? I don't know if that is true or not but it would explain her upset and her reason for leaving fast. Also I don't believe this was some random attack of an outsider or serial killer. Have the searchers checked the woods in the Area where she just came from? Or did they just hone in on the area the dog sniffing hit? Maybe she walked off the opposite way? I am baffeled by this case.

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  33. Scarinza seems very collected and level headed. He seems to conclude by process of elimination and when he doesn't know the facts he states reasonable assumptions.

    I tend to agree with his conclusion, it's very unlikely she ventured into the woods, if not impossible as he describes it. She was picked up by car, without question. What happens next, we don't know.

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  34. Scarinza makes two good points here:

    First, the area was searched extensively. Conditions seemed favorable with prior snowfall, but none after the accident. There was simply no indication Maura even went into the woods. I'm sure they entertained the idea she could have walked on the road and then went into the woods. But they viewed this from a helicopter and seemed to have no indication at all this happened.

    Next, the bloodhounds. Scarinza admits perhaps they didn't have a good item for scent to work with here, but he also understands the scent could have let off as a result of Maura getting into a car.

    So let's put two and two together here. Seemingly we have no indication of going into the woods, which never made sense anyway. And we have a person who vanished within minutes of speaking to a resident.

    With that said, there really is no question in my mind, Maura hopped into a car either at her crash site or just slightly down the street.

    Either way, make what you will of that. She's been missing for over a decade and I don't think that ride ended well.

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  35. Where was her purse? Why wasn't it found in the car? What about her cell phone?

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  36. Has anyone ever thought that maybe she put the rag in the tailpipe in an effort to be clandestine after the wreck? Trying to mask exhaust to make her car on the side of the road less noticeable?

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