Thursday, February 2, 2012

Records Show Scope of Police Investigation

Two bundles of public records arrived today, documents related to Fred Murray's civil court case against the New Hampshire State Police.

Murray petitioned the court to gain access to the complete police files of his daughter's disappearance. His argument was that the police were not working on locating Maura. In the end, he was only granted 50 pages worth of material (more on that soon). But, in denying his request, the NH State Police had to explain a bit about their investigation to date for the first time.

According to Lt. Landry, at the time of the court proceedings in early 2006, the file on Maura Murray consisted of 2,938 pages of info as well as evidence, tapes, and newspaper clippings. Also included in the files:

- Fred Murray's cell phone records
- phone records of family members and friends
- personnel records
- military records
- Grand Jury subpoenas
- search warrants
- credit card info
- criminal record checks
- witness interviews (including 19 written statements and 3 transcribed interviews)
- 2-page statement of Fred Murray
- lab reports
- unknown photographs
- copies of Websleuths forum conversations
- one-party intercept memoranda (possible wire taps)

And, most interestingly, 4 polygraph examinations.

Also in the report is an affidavit from assistant AG Jeff Strelzin, who tells the court that he believes there is a 75% chance that criminal charges will be filed in this case.

26 comments:

  1. Question for anyone with legal expertise...
    Now that it's been another almost six years is it more likely that the files that Renner detailed would be released?

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    1. I am an attorney, although this is not exactly my area. I believe that as long as the investigation is deemed open, the balancing act would be like this: (1) is there a right to know for the public? (2) are someone's rights abridged if the information is released?, (3) is the release of the information more likely to hurt or help the investigation? In other words, the focuses while the investigation is open is on protecting victim's rights and the way in which release information would affect the probability of successfully closing the case. After the investigation is closed the balance is between public's right to know and individual interests in privacy, along with the relevance of the requested information, as sometimes extraneous evidence is compiled.

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  2. 1. I'm skeptical about that 75% thing. If they had that kind of evidence, this case wouldn't be so cold 8 years later, with no body, no suspects, and no leads. And if they did have something that strong, why would nothing STILL not be done all these years later?

    2. Why would they be looking for on websleuths? They speculate alot but that's about it. And I doubt Maura or her possible killer is just lurking around an online forum.

    3. I hope you can find out who was polygrahped, (and who wasn't), who was wire tapped and why, and best of all, transcripts from those witness interviews. I bet some clues are in there somewhere.

    4. Even more clues from Billy and Fred are sure to be found. I suggest you dig even deeper into their past and profile them as best you can. What else are they hiding? (Does Fred have a police record I wonder?) I'd track down HIS siblings and family.

    And I find that whole Maura/Fred/Billy/Sharon dynamic very interesting. I remember Sharon saying about Maura: "She did lie, but Maura was NOT a liar." Uh-huh. And why did Fred and Maura's mother get divorced?

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    1. On your number one point, they may have a very good idea who is responsible, but have no physical or convincing circumstantial evidence (for trial) to arrest the person. On your second point, sometimes, people who know what happened post online anonymously, or a local may post about a rumor going around town about the case. The rumor may be more than a rumor. On your other points, I don't see the family being involved.

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    2. I agree what you said in your fourth bulletin. A lie is a lie, period. I also have always found it interesting how it seems Sharon Rausch has always had the most to say.. even more so than Maura's own mother, and even Billy. That seems interesting to me. Maybe it's just Sharon's personality. I recall reading that Maura was closer to her father than her own mother. I wonder if Sharon knew that about Maura and was sort of filling a 'maternal role' to her. As much searching as I have done online, I don't think I ever found anything about what her mother had to say, plenty of what Sharon has to say though.

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  3. Would love to know what he is basing that "75%" on! Could he mean charges against Maura for pulling this and to recoup all the search costs? Or against a kidnapper/killer? Becky

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  4. Oh Dear God Websleuths. I am embarassed to have even posted there back in the day!!! I guess I'm in there. From what I could remember, a family member posted there... Her aunt?

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    1. Expect your subpoena anytime now! :)

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    2. No thank you LOL!!!!!

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  5. "I'm skeptical about that 75% thing. If they had that kind of evidence, this case wouldn't be so cold 8 years later, with no body, no suspects, and no leads. And if they did have something that strong, why would nothing STILL not be done all these years later?"

    Kind of apples and oranges, but:

    Despite the suspect's advantage of family connections, there ended up being charges in the Martha Moxley case, which was unsolved for years longer than the Amy Mihaljevic case has been to date (22 and 25 years respectively.)

    On that note, I'd also put the odds of a person being charged in the murder of Amy Mihaljevic at well above 75%.

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    1. True, they were able to prosecute Michael Skakel for the murder of Martha Moxley, (a weak case if you want my opinion, and one that was exclusively built on the fact that he changed his story 20 years later), but in that case, they had actually had a body and a murder victim. There is no such thing in this case, and I certainly hope that if they do prosecute a suspect, that they have a much stronger case than the Moxley one. The only way they could do so is if they had a body or some of Maura's blood DNA linked to a certain suspect. If they had either they would've moved forward by now. My guess is they're trying to get someone to come forward by making it seem like they're going to catch the alleged killer. Or maybe even make Maura come forward herself, though I don't see that happening if she did just run away. Most people who voluntarily disappear, (most not all), show up much sooner. Not 8 years later.

      However, the one factor that could make Maura a living breathing runaway is the trouble she was in. Look at Michelle McMullen, Scoop Daniels, and that Brayden kid, each featured on Disappeared. All 3 were thieves and they took off to avoid charges. The first 2 have been captured, and I think Brayden will be in due time. Not knowing about Maura's trouble, it's possible to view her as another Brooke Willburger. But with Renner's research coming to light, who knows what that 75% even means. Something isn't adding up.

      And in Fred's defense, I do understand his frustration with their method of suppressing info. Saying they're zeroing in on the truth about what happened to his daughter, (obviously implying that she was murdered), while also refusing to tell even him is cruel. You think my daughter is murdered, TELL ME. Don't wrap it up in limbo so that my only choice is left to wonder in desperation. If not, then tell me why you think she's alive.

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    2. Unsettling is the notion that they did not want to tell Fred anything because they may very well see him as "a" or even "the" prime suspect.

      John Avellar

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  6. I wonder about the 75% statement. Depending on the exact wording, it doesn't necessarily mean the charges are directly related to whatever happened to Maura. Could be, for example, witness tampering or obstruction of justice.

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    1. Yes, I agree. Strelzin left that statement wide open for interpretation. Maybe Mr. Renner could ask him to be concise.

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  7. Here is something I would be interested in since I ask questions that others say they did not think about. If she has all these directions in her car to all the different places she is thinking about going, surely she has directions to some area along the route where she disappeared? Obviously Rt. 112 does not take you to Burlington or Stowe the direction she was headed so if she needs directions to get to major cities off the expressway she would certainly have directions to the byways and other roads she needs to get to Bartlett, NH?
    If she is not going to Stowe or Burlington why would those directions be found in her car?

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    1. I think she changed her mind at the last minute. She did call on a condo rental in NH before she left Amherst.

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    2. Interesting that there were Grand Jury subpoenas.

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  8. I think that the police have a suspect or person of interest in mind, but dont have the evidence to make an arrest.Because, keep in mind...no body, no murder. I know there are cases in which the killer has been tried and charged for a murder in which a body was never found, but this case is such a mystery. I think it would be hard to convince a jury that there is no reasonable doubt she did not just run away, or kill herself.

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  9. In my opinion, none of the places she is known to have contacted would logically put her on 112 anywhere, least of all headed east out of Woodsville. US302 maybe, but not 112. Stowe is in a different direction, for instance, and she missed the easy to spot turn off onto I-89 to get there. Bartlett is MUCH easier/faster/safer to get to from I-91 north by taking US302. As such, in my mind, there are only four, more than "random surprise" explanations for how she got on 112 if indeed she was headed to an overnight accommodation similar to the ones that she is known to have called. These would be: [1] the unlikely event that the police report reached an erroneous conclusion and she was headed west on 112 when the accident occurred, as in toward US302, I-91 and Woodsville, which then would put her on a line toward some places such as the ones she called (and - in turn - suggest that somebody was with her in her car or a nearby car, but if you want to hear the logic for that, let me know and I can email it to you as it is a long explanation ... : ) ... [2] she was headed toward accommodations in Littleton, North Woodstock or Conway that she is not known to have called (I believe there are really only campgrounds on 112 before you roll into Littleton, where I-93 intersects 112; [3] she had some interim destination local to the accident site before heading off to her overnight accommodation; and [4] she made a wrong turn at the 302/112 turn off and/or got lost somewhere along the way, as - after all - she was apparently drinking.

    Whatever the case, I think this again shows how the "who" question (i.e., who was she meeting) is atop the pyramid and if known would go along way to resolving the "where", "what" and "why" and "what happened" questions.

    ~ The unable to stay away John Green

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    1. Good to have you back Mr.Green I believe your opinions and questions are valuable to this blog.

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    2. Thank you, I am glad to be participating again and learning so much. This is VERY fascinating and I hope helpful to James. I think my interest in the case and James' work very far exceeds my pisseyness over time wasted on that post not published .. and idealism can be a dangerous seduction.

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  10. There has been a lot of recent speculation on this blog concerning Maura's personal troubles and family dynamics. While all of that is obviously important to consider, I'd like to suggest that we bear in mind that a lot of young adults goes through similar struggles. When I think back to acquaintances and dorm-mates from college, I can remember plenty of similar circumstances (DUI, expelled from school, alcohol problems, etc.).

    I think that it would be VERY, VERY difficult for Maura to disappear of her own free will for all these years without leaving some sort of trace -- without police dogs being able to track her scent beyond the immediate vicinity of the accident scene, without being noticed at some point by someone, without having any money or an automobile, in the dead of winter in rural New England, without a body ever being found despite extensive search efforts.

    It's easy for us to speculate about what we DON'T know... But for the time being, I'm still stuck on two key things: (1) the A-frame house in which cadaver dogs went "bonkers" inside one of the closets, but for which DNA evidence on carpet samples was inconclusive; and (2) the behavior of Rick Forcier, which still strikes me as being extremely unusual.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but at least for now, I tend to agree with Fred Murray: I think that a crazy man picked her up and had his way with her.

    -TJ

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    1. The blog (and Google too!) has a search function. :)

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  11. In New Hampshire a Grand Jury hears evidence presented by a County Attorney in criminal cases in order to decide whether or not there is enough evidence to formally charge a person with a crime. A Grand Jury does not decide guilt or innocence; that is left up to a regular jury down the road. The subpoenas from the Grand Jury listed in the documents regarding the Maura Murray case (noted above) are most likely to ascertain information regarding a possible POI who might have been under investigation by such a Grand Jury.

    Alan

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