Thursday, February 2, 2012

Code of Silence at West Point.

A few weeks ago, a reader passed along to me a list of cadets who went to West Point with Maura and her sister, Julie. For the last few days, I've sent emails to these people, some who knew Maura well. Dozens of emails. Not a single person has responded. Apparently, protection of an institution trumps sharing information that could be helpful to understanding what led Maura Murray to that road in New Hampshire, in 2004.

The United States Military Academy is no stranger to obfuscation and secrecy, though. They've often protected their own. And even today, female cadets often find themselves in perilous situations. Read more here.

16 comments:

  1. A code of silence everywhere it seems, not just at West Point. If Maura was forced out of WP for credit card misappropriation and again at UMass, her boyfriend was cheating on her and yet her father visited her every month or so and "thought everything was okay" that's nonsense, nobody can successfully hide all of that without being deeply affected. I can understand that Maura's family didn't want her past to adversely affect the investigation into her disappearance but it has been eight years. Why try to save face now?

    It's okay for Maura's family, friends and acquaintances to come forward and say that not everything was rosy. If the truth was brought forward then perhaps that might spark more memories and this mystery might get solved.

    Wendie

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    1. Not gonna' happen soon, Wendie. Something about her personal life and/or family dynamics has been worth hiding for 8 years, and it's probably important enough to fit into solving the puzzle. JR's work brings everyone closer to what LE probably knows already. Could come a breakthrough moment, however. Or not. Still, he will have organized what is known and unknown into book form. Bravo!

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    2. I fully agree with the above. I remember hearing a statement said bye her father, in reference to her drinking and driving, and totaled his brand new car, '21 years and if this is the only thing this kid has done..then that's pretty good for a parent' ... yeah, but what about probably having been kicked out of college, multiple times of credit card fraud.. those aren't problems as well? I think something deep must be going on, that the family is well aware of. There's no reason why they should be this defensive, with so many new people being kidnapped/missing...you would think after all these years.. they would just be more forward and truthful.


      I think James has done an excellent job, and continues to do so... when I initially watched her episode on ID Discovery, how her family was talking about her.. they made her come off as a very innocent, straight arrow.

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    3. Anyone could be forgiven for not wanting to portray his or her child as being of dubious moral worth as such information could easily result in a less than monumental effort by the public to help in finding said child.

      In fact for nearly eight full years this saccharine portrayal of Maura has been very effectively propagated such that many of us are here because Maura appeared to be nearly above reproach, not counting a nascent drinking problem. Now I do wonder if many are thinking twice about sticking around to aid in keeping alive efforts to find this young woman. Nonetheless it is vital that all facts be disseminated: The absolute fullest possible picture of Maura must be projected so that any element that can possibly explain her disappearance should be evaluated thoroughly. Mature adults must understand that any dark corner may contain the kernel of a fact that may lead to Maura being found, irrespective of any disgust certain elements may feel towards info that does not represent Maura at her best.

      One again it must be stated that a family's concern that the public-and the police for that matter-are not going to fall all over themselves to find a person of less than stellar character is quite understandable. Still the rest of us cannot maintain a miss polly purebread fantasy when such is not the case: The real Maura Murray, warts and all, must be looked for and found if such can conceivably happen.

      John Avellar

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    4. John Avellar,

      I wholeheartedly concur with your expressed views there!
      You pretty much summed up my feelings about this heartbreaking case, which needs to be closed if at all humanly and practically possible.

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  2. If James Renner helps to find Maura or discover a criminal who hurt her, then his efforts will be worthwhile. If instead all he accomplishes is tarnishing the memory of this young woman and undermining the good reputations of the people and institutions that were part of her life, then his efforts will make things worse and not better. I feel very badly for her loved ones who, eight years later, must desperately need some closure.

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    1. I do agree with you (11:08) on this. I furthermore feel that James Renner might be oversensationalizing the "family secrets" that are no more than a speculation. I have not seen or heard of conclusive proof that there is anything to hide. Nor do I believe West Point cadets can help shed some light on Maura's train of thought from that night. By all accounts, the trip down Route 112 was almost a momentary decision, and if Maura hasn't confided in her close friends and/or family that day, what are the chances she would have confided in any of the West Point cadets?

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    2. I too am concerned about Renner's propensity for sensationalizing with speculation based on no facts, something which he said would bar a a contributor's comments from getting posted. I also observe that this seems to represent a shift in his behavior. It is almost as if he is angrily sticking up for Maura against the hypocrisy of those he feels ought help more. I wonder if his research is dead ending and frustrating him? In any case, I see a man and his ego elevating above his reverence for the story at this point.

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    3. @Anon @5:01PM That is utterly ridiculous! Don't you think people should help more. There are people who are lying and keeping things to themselves. If everyone just told what they knew then maybe we could draw a correlation or connection between some small detail. I REALLY want to know what the Grand Jury was about and who was wire tapped? :-)

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    4. If there is "speculation based on no facts" please explain yourself, or do you perhaps consider this question an ad hominem attack because you feel you are supposed to simply say what you will unopposed?


      This man is doing all he can to find a young woman who vanished within sight of homes occupied by good New Hampshire people. All these new facts make it more likely that new information can come to light that might lead to Maura being found.

      What exactly are you doing to help find Maura that could possibly trump his efforts?


      John Avellar

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    5. Okay, for one thing, this post ends with the statement: "And even today, female cadets often find themselves in perilous situations." That is a non-sequiter. The code of silence matter is broader than the mistreatment of females in the Academy and way way bigger than Maura's case. It does not bear on her case except that it led to disappointing investigative results. If there were some fact at all suggesting that it bore somehow on Maura disappearing, then the reference and link would have relevance. Otherwise, it was a non-sequtur and somewhat sensational.

      Second, the previous post (with the pictures of Maura in 2000 and 2004), ends with the statement that "This is the face of a woman who has gone through some kind of hell." That is a sensational statement. The pictures do not constitute evidence of that ... at all (see the professional photographer's post, which could have included a lot more than than the reasons stated why comparison of these pictures is irrelevant). instead, the comparison of the pictures is nominally and on the surface consistent with an idea that comes from other evidence: that she was troubled in the time period before her disappearance. The pictures merely amplify that. There is a picture I believe of Maura running a race in the fall of 2003 in her UMASS uniform that would yield no such conclusion by comparison. The quasi mug shot does not flatter her much though. Most people don't frame theirs.

      This is an important matter. Once you start to add evidence to your pile of evidence based on it reflecting something that you have already concluded, you are adding disproportionate strength to your own theories and ideas. This is blinding to an investigation (see Ted Bundy and the Atlanta Bombing case). I can tell from his stated methodology and posts in general that James recognizes this. That is awesome, particularly given that, as a writer, he does not have to qualify evidence before a court and sensationalism can be very lucrative. A good example, as another poster pointed out, is the concept of the family hiding relevant information. There is a good amount to support it. But it is counterproductive and dangerous narrowing of your thoughts and direction if you start reading additional evidence from Fred's demeanor on tv and/pr whether he was acting right given the circumstances based on what you already have gleaned from other evidence. I think James has avoided that problem in that case. But, as I and another pointed out, some departures from his methodology were cropping up. The fact that I and another pointed that out is valid and productive within the purpose of this blog. If I were James, I would appreciate it.

      But all of ll that said, I should say this also: my statement was too strong and I should not have said it like I did. I apologize for that; my tone added nothing and clearly offended you John A. I apologize for that mistake of mine. But shorn of its tone, the point is valid as discussed above. For the record: I think what James is doing is great.

      As for your rhetorical statement at the end, John A., I'm not sure that merits a response, but I will try this: you would not know one way or the other and your comment matters no more than my tone in my post.

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  3. If they're still in, they're not going to say anything because there is just too much competition with all of the looming cuts. Just because you're a "ring knocker" it doesn't make you safe! Plus, her sister is still in right?

    Have you checked with the guys at militarycorruption.com to see if they ever got any leads? It's a far shot... But....

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  4. No offense, but...you expected anything different from USMA West Point? That's not a conspiracy, it's the military.

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  5. It's not too late (never too late) for Maura's family, friends and acquaintances to issue their own press release. It doesn't have to be via Mr. Renner's blog. It could be sent to any number of press/media outlets or through their own anonymous website(s).

    Facing the truth straight-on can be extremely liberating; face the fear, and the fear disappears. As an example... look at David Letterman -- faced with an indiscretion he came forth with an admission and the outcome was that people admired him for his honesty.

    Namaste, Wendie

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  6. If Maura died of exposure or was murdered by someone she encountered after the accident, nothing her family has said or will ever say would help investigators close this case.

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  7. To the West Point grad from 2004: please contact me at becarriedaway@hotmail.com and I'll explain.

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