Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bizarre Theory of the Day: Maura Manages Curves in Toronto **UPDATED**

Admittedly, I don't know if there's much to this but I'm going to talk about it because it illustrates the strangeness of investigating a cold case. This is a little convoluted, so bear with me.

Years ago, a source close to the Murray family posted on another forum. This person said they were a registered nurse living in Nova Scotia and was some kind of distant relative of Maura. An astute reader pointed out to me a LinkedIn profile for a "Kate Dwyer" living in Nova Scotia. Helena Dwyer-Murray is the administrator of the Maura Murray Facebook page and website. The Kate Dwyer in Nova Scotia was an RN and listed Maura Murray's webpage under her "interests" on her LinkedIn profile.

And here's where it gets weird.

In Kate Dwyer's connections is a Maura Murray who lives in Toronto and manages a Curves. That piqued my interest for a couple reasons. 1. Maura allegedly had some connection to the Curves at Amherst. 2. Toronto is a place many runaways end up. It's been a well-known hiding place since Vietnam.

So, I called the Curves in Toronto. There are several. I asked for Maura. I was told to call a specific number. When I called that number, I again asked to speak to Maura. The woman on the other line asked what this was about. I said I'd like to talk to her about UMass. The phone was given to another woman. "Hello?" she said. "Maura?" I asked. "This is James Renner." The phone then went quiet. A moment later, the owner of Curves came on. She was curt, but polite. When I asked for Maura again, she said there was no Maura there. She said there was only a Maureen and I had the wrong number.

Not sure what to make of it. But it's the sort of thing that happens all the time.

**UPDATE**
Just heard from Kate Dwyer (who, it turns out, is no relation to Helena Dwyer). LinkedIn makes those connections itself, based on common interests (her listing the Maura Murray page likely did this). She was quite nice and had this to say:

No worry if I thought it was one and the same Maura, I'd have driven to Toronto to check it out...sorry, Kate

33 comments:

  1. Very interesting. Yes, it's far-fetched, but go look up the Brandi Spahr case. She walked away from her old life in Texas and was found working in a Sam's Club, under her real name and SSN, in Kentucky.

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    1. That's true, I just read about that case. And apparently, the cops didn't even know it themselves.. b/c they don't have access to taxes? only the IRS does?

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  2. Sorry, it's Stahr. Here's a link to an article:

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/brandi_stahr_missing_texas_student_found_after_7_years/

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  4. James, I am curious, how did the call end after she said there was no Maura only a Maureen? Did she hang up? Hastily end the call? Did you try to say anything else?

    Tangentially: I wonder what the odds that Fred or someone among the Murray family is monitoring this blog?

    ~ John Green

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  5. Someone pointed out a case a few times on another arm of this blog. I think someone has taken the time to reference it more than one and discuss it intelligently here. But it may bear mentioning here as well, given where interesting if improbable connection James has discovered, and in particular the kind of establishment where the Maura or Maureen Murray was working. Here is the link: http://blogs.discovery.com/criminal_report/2011/02/investigation-discoverys-disappeared-helps-find-missing-fugitive.html

    I find it interesting that Michelle McMullen was under a financial burden, had some legal problems (she'd swiped $2000 from the church where she worked), was juggling school responsibilities with being a single mom and struggling with that and disappeared dropped of her son with friends and disappeared. Her car was found a couple hundred miles away in Hagerstown, Maryland, with its cell phone inside and other stuff. She later turned up in Oakland, working as a hairdresser. (Although this link says beauty supply store, I believe the tv show said she was working as hairdresser).

    "The irony here is," said the chief of police from her home town, is that "if she just would have answered for this in October 2008, the punishment would've been long over." Meanwhile, Maura now would be coming on 30, smart, talented and maybe having come through her troubles having found in herself on her own terms and found some peace in her life. If she is alive still anywhere and that has happened for her in some sense, I wonder how that would influence you and your project? Nothing rhetorical there in that question and no suggestion in any direction ... literal curiosity.

    ~ John Green

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    1. Why do we think that Maura's family doesn't know where she is? Not Billy's family but Maura's...who among them...sister, father, has said recently, "we still don't know." I wonder sometimes in missing persons cases if it is just "us" wondering....and not the immediate family or at least a family member because they/he/she does know.

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    2. You may have inadvertantly posted this as a reply to my post, but if something in my post led you to believe that I think Maura's family necessarily does not know where she is, I did not mean to convey that. I have no idea whether she is dead or alive at this point AND the more I learn the more I doubt all theories that once seemed attractive to me. If she is alive, I also don't know whether any, all or one of the Murrays might know where she is. But certainly it is a very considerable possibility that one or more of them do and possibly helped her jump the ship of her former life. The confounding knowns in this case can be construed to point in a lot of directions, each poignantly and seductively suggested, but none conclusively without ambiguities and contradictions.

      As to the matter of whether one, some or all of the Murrays know where she is, I offer a guess.. If so, I think it would be one or several of the aunt she was close to, the relative in Nova Scotia or the sister Kathleen or some combination thereof. I say this not to suggest something bad about Fred or that she was running from him per se. Who knows? Instead, I feel there is something in his demeanor and actions (though clearly problematic in their own right in combination with his evasiveness or reticence to talk about the obviously relevant matters of Maura's pre-disappearance troubles) which something suggests to me that he is very heartbroken and does not know where she is. He might be hiding plenty, but I would guess he is not pulling of a master behavior disguise over multiple years when really he knows she just took flight from trouble and is living elsewhere. While he has painted her in a flattering light on the theory that her personal troubles are nobody's business, I have a hard time squaring the man's actions and statements with such a deception.

      Then again, anything is possible. For instance, on that one day in August 2007 when I was road-tripping across northern New York and North New England, just wandering around in my car and seeing what I came across, and I happened upon Fred's very touching sign-on-the-tree on 112, I never would have guessed that Maura was struggling so much with her affairs. I would not have guessed that even after I read some about the case that night in my hotel up there in Pittsburg, NH. And I was not really convinced for sure that any bumps in the road she hit were relevant until maybe 18 months ago when I kind of learned more and got a better feel for Fred's evasiveness. Mr. Renner's AMAZING and amazingly interesting work, at this point, for me, suggests very strongly that the answers lie in Amherst and specifically in who she was aiming to meet or who she was with when the accident happened.

      What an amazing, sad case. Would it not be a touching end to it all if Maura was living in shame somewhere having run away from her troubles and maybe somehow indirectly due to Mr. Renner's work was able to work through her problems and get on with her life as she is, as opposed to who she apparently was spiritually killing herself in trying so hard to me. That almost brings a tear to my eye to think it, with a resonance in my own path.

      ~ The now getting too personal John Green

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    3. James - PERSONAL NOTE

      Feel free to edit out that last part where I was poetic a bit. In fact, feel free to delete any small portions of a post of mine if such deletion removes a problem you have with posting it, at your discretion, without qualification. I have no idea what your process is and I am not asking you to do that, but if you see something to post that you think has value but something in it bothers you and it strikes you, go ahead and post the part you want to post.

      ~ John

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    4. I have also wondered this.

      When was the last time Fred was knocking on doors in NH? Meaning, a search performed or organized by Fred, not volunteers or hangers-on.

      I find it difficult to think he knew from the beginning where she was--why go through the efforts of looking and banging on doors and filing lawsuits--but I think there is a chance that he knew that she had run off, just not to where. Maybe he knows now.

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  7. Weird. Why would they act like someone named Maura worked there and then pretend her name is actually Maureen? Unless it was Maura who got on the phone at the end. Also, if Maura did in fact run away, would she still be using the same name? Not very smart if you ask me. And if so, could she really go undiscovered for so long, even as far away as Novia Scotia, with popular TV networks like ID have put an even brighter spotlight on her disappearance? Does ID and the show "Disappeared" even air in Nova Scotia? Just curious. Like I said before, she would have to have an incredible amount of luck to have pulled this off without detection, especially if she was still going by Maura Murray. I hope that's the case and she is still living, but it does strain credulity.

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  8. Strange, indeed. I have to believe the Murrays have Googled Maura's name many times before and would have tracked down this one had they believed it was/could have been her. Which I think means two things: a.) this woman isn't *our* Maura Murray (but still, what an odd reaction to James' call!), or b.) the Murrays have found Maura already and are leaving it at that. As Anonymous 10:36 says, when's the last time her immediate family publicly insisted she's still missing?

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  9. Several weeks ago while reading a blog somewhere--it was stated that a Maura Murray Managed a gym or some kind. I did the websearch and indeed, a Maura Murray did manage the location. There was a picture of a woman on the website but it was somewhat hazed over...it certainly looked like Maura

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  10. Back in 2005 someone calling themselves "CyberLaw" started posting anti-Maura rants on Websleuths. This person appeared crazy (even by Websleuths standards, where someone is always shouting about something) and was eventually banned from the site.

    CyberLaw claimed to be a lawyer in Canada. S/he was firmly certain that Maura left voluntarily and no foul play was possible.
    Coincidence?

    Here is the first thread
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19255

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    1. Thank you Karen for that information. Anyone can call themselves a lawyer and claim to be from Canada on a public forum. It sounds bogus to me. Quite possibly that is why NHLE was interested in the Websleuth posts; perhaps they were trying to locate the IP address of "CyberLaw"?

      Someone is trying desperately (IMO) to paint Maura as a deliberate runaway and is maliciously attempting to cast suspicion on her family as well. It seems that person or persons are also at work over on the Topix Franconia forum spewing nastiness under another moniker or monikers. And now, quite possibly, they are sending twisted information to Mr. Renner. Why would someone waste their time on this unless they were crazy or complicit in some way with respect to Maura's disappearance?

      Wendie

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    2. Wendie,
      I concur with your observations there.
      All this new "information" is doing a good job of deflecting much of the interest in a possible foul play angle.
      The e-mail quoted by Mr Renner is quite well-written by an apparently well-educated person and seemingly manages to connect quite a few of the dots into a coherent and reasonably believable story.
      Still, we must pause and ask ourselves:
      Are we being manipulated by some very clever person with some knowledge of psychology?
      Quite possibly, yes.

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    3. @ the Feb 8, 2012 08:46 AM poster:
      I think the goal here is to go down any possible path. No one is losing sight of the foul play angle, only feeling out other possibilities. Most of us are keeping them in relaistic perspectives.

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  11. There are some posts about it here:

    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/franconia-nh/T0DQUJ4P593IE7SE6/p408

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  12. Perhaps a Maura Murray did work at Curves and quit. That might be why they were so rude to you. Maybe it was the "missing" Maura and she bolted? Someone needs to check this out more imo.

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  13. I know for a fact that maura is dead and not far from where she crashed that evening. She is no more than a mile from the crash site. A tragedy. This conjectue that she ran away or was murdered is simply not true. Fact not opinion.

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    1. Enlighten us on how you KNOW exactly please. If you know details why not report them to LE

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    2. For my money, Anonymous Feb 22 7:07am is that sickly, grizzled and wrinkled old dirt bag that has been posting those childish videos on YouTube. He doesn't know anything for a fact, least of which - how to play a keyboard. You see, people like him are powerless in their actual life - so much so, that they need to exert whatever control they can via the internet, in whatever twisted and perverted way they could muster, by claiming to have information that only a person involved would have. Such an individual is a pitiful example of a man; furthermore, such an individual is a perfect example of what happens when such a .. 'man' is left to it's own impotent devices. Fact, not opinion.

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  14. Probably completely coincidence - but while on the Canada topic thought this was a little odd. Based on Maura's printed email to Billy (can be found on the Maura missing site) - her umass student email was mmurr0@student.umass.edu - A pipl.com search of that address brings up an EBay user named Mmurr0 who's account opened in 2005 and is listed as living in Canada. Again, Most likely complete coincidence - but an odd one! A google search of mmurr0 didn't bring up any other sites w such a user.

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    1. Anonymous Apr 23, 2012 05:11 PM, Good find! This is probably one of the more significant finds I’ve seen on here in a while. Thanks for sharing. Anything could be a coincidence in this case, but I also think any possible lead is worth looking into since nothing really can be ruled out (including the Canada theory). Out of curiosity, I looked up the Mmurr0 user account on Ebay.co.uk and as you, discovered that the account was opened on Oct. 27, 2005. It appears that the Mmurr0 user account has been active at least until around July 31, 2009 when the last feedback was left from a seller Mmurr0 purchased something from. Ironically, whoever Mmurr0 is, happened to purchase a “Vintage 1920's NURSE Photograph” and a “Vintage Nurses All In A Row Michigan Real Photo” around July 31, 2009. Now that is a strange coincidence! Another interesting coincidence is found in the feedback Mmurr0 left for others. I realize I’m not a writing expert, but a simple comparison between the style of writing on Mmurr0’s “feedback left for others” and the style of writing on the last e-mail correspondence Maura had with Bill is uncannily similar. Maura seems to have a very simplistic (short and to the point) way of writing, at least online and through text messaging, with minimal use of proper capitalizations and minimal use of proper punctuations (e.g., periods). This can be seen on both the Mmurr0’s “feedback left for others” on Ebay and on Maura’s last e-mail correspondence with Bill. Although I cannot be sure if Mmurr0 is actually Maura or not, it is enough to make me wonder if it truly is her and that she may be still alive, living a new life.

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  15. If she was in Canada, the odds of her being identified and located would be just as high as those in the US. We consume just as much American television content up here. And if she were working up here for a legitimate business that did not pay in cash,she would need a Social Insurance Number. Not so easy to get. Although it would be lovely for her to be in one of our cities safe and sound, I don't think this is the case sadly :(

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  16. If she got married in Canada and changed her name and obtained a Social Insurance Number under her married name, then maybe she could get away with it. I personally had never heard of Maura Murray until this week and I live in Canada, so the vast majority of people would not recognize her. Also, she looks like other people I know, so she has a kind of not so unusual look about her. Her appearance could have changed. I'm not voting in favour of her hiding out from her family, just brainstorming.

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  17. This is a tragic story, it is possible this young lady may have suffered some type of brain injury she did have two accidents within two days. Sadly I do not believe she is hiding from her family or boyfriend.
    After seeing the story on I D it is more likely she was either a victim of foul play or of the cold harsh weather. My prayers are with her family and friends that they will eventually know the truth.

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  18. Too bad you couldn't drive to the Curves location instead of calling. You may have come face to face with Maura. I suspect that was Maura with whom you spoke at the very end of the phone conversation.

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  19. Looks like there is a MAURA Murray who works (worked?) at Curves in Oakville, Ontario based off this guest book for someone from Curves who had died. http://www.wardfuneralhome.com/book-of-memories/1646306/Horner-Marjorie/view-condolences.php?Printable=true

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  20. Kristine: Quite right! Here it is:

    "Condolence From: Maura Murray

    "Condolence: Marjorie, you will be sorely missed your beautiful smile and personality R.I.P

    "Monday August 12, 2013"


    It's in observation of the death of Marjorie Horner, I'm assuming a worker at that Curves location. Maura tending not to capitalize but it's possible she changed that style for something formal online, such as that is.

    Now, perhaps the manager was covering for this particular Maura by calling her "Maureen" to deflect such a random call. Now, Maura Murray is not an uncommon name. But I'd think that "Maureen" would at least talk to Renner to confirm that he had the wrong person. Whenever I get a call as this, I correct the caller as a courtesy. Still, it's a dodge, as that Maura Murray seemed turned off enough. Why? THE Maura Murray? Who knows ...

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