Thanks for your patience. I've now heard back from Sharon and I've spoken to her son, Bill.
Neither one objects to me speaking with you. That said, Bill sent me the URL of your blog. Besides thinking that you're mischaracterizing Maura's relationship with her father (a decent, honorable man and a great dad), I'm worried that your investigation has the wrong focus.
It's true that no one knows what Maura planned to do the weekend that she disappeared. But it's also true that, as soon as she had her accident, her plans changed. What happened next is what we really need to know. Given the evidence that she'd been drinking and driving, it's understandable that she didn't want Butch to call the police or Triple-A. What happened next is what is unknown and unexplained. The mystery may never be solved, but since you're trying, I want to help you as best as I can.
My wife and I knew Maura through Bill. I had him in two classes. We got to know him well. Given all the restrictions on cadets, West Point encourages faculty and staff to give them a social outlet by including them in their family activities. Bill was an usher in our wedding and regularly came over for Sunday dinner. When he graduated, his family stayed at our house.
We thought that Maura and Bill were a great match. Like Bill, she impressed us. Her personality sparkled. She was smart. Best of all, she was really nice.
We were distraught when we heard from Bill that she was missing. He had already flown out from Oklahoma. We drove up to the Vermont/New Hampshire border to help in the search. Once up there, we helped Fred, Maura's brother, and Bill and his parents look for Maura. We searched the woods near the crash site, posted signs locally and, as the days passed, in an ever-increasing radius around Haverhill. My wife went to the houses near the crash site, asking residents if they'd seen anything.
She got weird vibes from the guy who lived in the trailer (or maybe it was just a small house) close to the intersection of side road and the main road where Maura crashed her car. I don't have a name and address, but he was an albino--or at least appeared to be--and my wife thought that he was creepy and seemed evasive. Years later, my wife learned from a private investigator hired by the Murrays that this man's ex-wife had accused him of spotting Maura at the gas station down the road, stuffing the rag in her tailpipe (believing that it would cause her car to break down?), picking her up at the intersection (this is where the dogs lost the scent), driving her the short distance to his house, and taking her inside to rape her and eventually kill her. His ex-wife supposedly claimed that he dumped her body in a lake.
I'm guessing that this has already been looked into--but how well, we're not sure. If our understanding is correct, the police doubted the veracity of the ex-wife, who they thought was merely trying to smear her ex-husband.
I hope this helps.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
West Point Prof Joined the Search
Robert McDonald is an associate professor of History at West Point. I reached out to him last week, after I found his name in an obscure article about the case. He decided to give a heads-up to Billy Rausch before responding. To my surprise, I heard back from him early this morning. Here's what he had to say:
I'm very happy that Billy gave McDonald permission to share what he knew about Maura and the search. I hope to hear from Billy himself one day. I'm always willing to share his side of this story. Of course, he knew Maura better than just about anybody.