Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What was in Maura's Car?


I've been a little side-tracked with the release of The Man from Primrose Lane, but I'm trying to get back up to speed.

For today, a short post for those who haven't yet seen this.

Photographer Amelia Kunhardt has posted some wonderful pictures she took for an article that ran in The Patriot Ledger of Quincy. The photos were taken shortly after the family was given most of what Maura left behind in her car. Looks to me like Maura had prepared for a short trip. There doesn't seem to be enough clothes and stuff here if she had planned to leave UMass forever.

32 comments:

  1. Welcome back, James.
    Your return was well timed-out for me - it was only earlier today that I re-read nearly everything about Maura's case that I had gathered so far - and it's quite a lot of material. It took most of the morning.
    I seem to have read (I believe this was the article published by the woman who runs Project Jason) that the LE stated that Maura had "about a week's worth of clothing" with her in the car - certainly not enough to leave for good. She also had that new pair of gloves that the Rausches got her for Christmas (along with the AAA membership), some jewelry (which I never really gave much thought before today, but I do now think it somewhat significant), as well as a stuffed animal Bill had gotten her some time ago and the schoolbooks, notebooks and the infamous "Not Without Peril" novel. This is aside from the already heavily-discussed alcohol, of course.
    I do believe you're right, though - this seemed to me to be a plan for a very short trip. Perhaps Maura did just want to "clear her head", after all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haunting photos to say the least. The look on Maura's sisters face is chilling. Glad your back James, and your new book is incredible. Got it on my kindle and read it in one night (all-nighter). It would make an interesting movie....can't wait for this one to come out...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the kind words about the book, Herm! It's weirdly autobiographical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are welcome. I have an open question that I haven't seen much discussion on...Maura's atm photo that police have in their evidence has never been released to the public. How strange is that? It would clearly show what she was wearing the night she went missing. This could have helped in the early days in the investigation. Wonder why no one but LE has seen it?

      Delete
    2. You know, I could swear that I have seen that photo, though I can't recall whether it was the one from the ATM or the one from the security camera at the liquor store. Can't recall where I saw it, though, assuming I did and am not confusing it with some other photo.

      Delete
    3. Yes, I was wondering if LE have commented on why the photo wasn't released to the public? I know that LE seems to feel that at least *some* of the information they have is sensitive enough to need to keep it from the public (the lawsuit of Mr Murray's showed this). I would assume that in there, they'd either be stuff that "only a killer would know", or information which would let a killer know they knew something... or is it just common practice in The States for this information NOT to be released (I'm Australian and our police tend to appeal to the public through the media reasonably frequently in this sort of case - even if they don't give *all* the information).

      Also, James - I was wondering if you could explain why the Murray family have a problem with you? Has there been an altercation, or was it limited to you posting on their FB wall (and if so, what did you post?). Is it because of the nature of information you're giving about the family (their weaknesses as well as their strengths?); or do they believe that you're sensationalising; or do they feel you're profiting from their tragedy (which you addressed in a previous post).

      Delete
  4. The first thing that struck me about this picture is her nursing textbooks. I remember when Morgan Harrington went missing back in October 2009 and she hadn't yet been found people speculated that because she was studying in the car on the way to the concert she probably didn't run away or kill herself. Indeed, her murdered body was found on a farm some months later. I think this line of thinking could be applied to Maura as well - just planning to get away, but come back as she brought materials to study with. If you want to run away and/or kill yourself, why bring school stuff?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those were HUGE books. I know that Maura was athletic, but most college parking lots are not close to the dorms (I don't know about hers). The books could have been left in the car for many days or weeks for all we know. To me, it does not show any intention of her wanting to study for the weekend. It's just my opinion, but someone who brings that much alcohol in their car is NOT intending to study anything for the weekend.

      Delete
    2. Possibly, but when I was in undergrad and grad school I didn't know anyone who left textbooks in their car for days or weeks on end. You have to take them home in order to study, or at least pretend to study lol ;)

      You have a fair point with the alcohol, but again my peers in school were both studious and heavy drinkers so studying and then drinking is not all that unusual to me. so it's still not enough in my opinion to say that the books don't really mean anything as far as her intentions go.

      Delete
  5. is it true Maura was heading east, but he maps she printed was for driving westbound?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting article. I don't know where you find some of the stuff you do online, as I have dug deep in the Maura Murray case on the internet, and this is new to me.

    Sad photo of her older sister; I can only imagine the amount of suffering and the living hell her poor family and loved ones have endured all these years.

    I never thought Maura had a secret boyfriend. I still want to say that Maura either ran off, with the aid of a trusted acquaintance/friend, or she was murdered.

    There's a skull that was found in Vermont a few months back. It is thought to have belonged to a young woman. I wonder what the status on that is... I can't find anything further about that online.

    Looking forward to reading your new book!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is one of the most interesting and thought provoking true crime blogs I have read. I might not agree with it being a murder, but I can understand the reasoing. Everything does point to a murder. I will be interested to read the book when it comes out.

    I still think she disappeared on her own. Did they ever find her cell phone charger and where was it?

    I just cannot get over why a girl who wants to talk to her boyfriend turns her cell phone off before she ever reaches the mountain area. If the cell phone had either stayed off or was left on the whole time I would believe this case is a murder. Why turn it on in the middle of the trip? It is just strange to me that a person would check their messages at 4:37 pm on that day if the phone had been on. It has already been established she was in her car.

    She certainly is different. It seems like if a female takes a long trip these days and she wants to talk to her boyfriend she would either leave her phone on to answer if he calls or call him to talk at least once while she is driving(especially since she tried to talk to him earlier).

    She never did that. It is like in her mind the moment she left the dorm she knew she was already gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What if "she" didn't turn it off? Your not a thinker are you?

      Delete
  8. I am convinced she either strayed onto someones property or was picked up.

    ReplyDelete
  9. In the case she was travelling with someone else in a second car they may have used walkie-talkies. We used to do that before cell phones were around. It would fit a lot of facts and assumtions around the case. ~a small thought by Kolina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a good thought. Or else someone might ask themselves how is it that two people traveling in tandem travel 140 miles together and not speak on the phone once, not about letting the other know they are stopping to go to the bathroom or get gas?

      Delete
  10. question ... it's been hypothesized that maura had every intention of keeping up with her school work while taking a some time away from umass. her computer appears not to be among the possessions photographed here; it also seems that police had access to her computer after she disappeared. i have no idea what a nursing program entails. but i wonder: could she have really intended to study and do school work without her computer? is there any chance that her not having it could be a clue or an indicator to her intended destination, perhaps some place that lacked power? just grist, james, keep up the great work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think she had a laptop, only a desktop? I'm not sure on this.

      Delete
  11. The discussions about Maura's disappearance are stale and redundant. Unless you are able to uncover some new, factual information, James, the same piddling arguments will continue year after year without end.

    The task to find factual information is challenged most by her family's lack of cooperation. You are accused of lacking journalistic integrity, but I suppose you find yourself in a position of having to force open avenues of closely held dynamics of her activities and relationships in order to reveal relevant portions of her life prior to her disappearance.

    Continued good luck in this endeavor.

    ReplyDelete
  12. There are only two nursing textbooks shown in the photo. The one on top is "Health Professional's Drug Guide 2004" and the one on the bottom is "Mosby's Pharmacology in Nursing 21st Edition".

    Both these books only reference medications/drugs. Were there any other nursing textbooks in the car or just these two? If just these two, and if Maura thought she might be pregnant or have some medical condition, she may have brought them for her own purpose rather than for school studying. In which case, these two books as well as any of her notebooks pertaining to this subject matter, are not necessarily any indication that she planned to return to school.

    Just some food for thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are two texts would have been required for someone taking Pharmacology that semester in nursing school. I remember them well. I can't imagine lugging those things around for personal use.

      Delete
  13. personally, I leave school books in my car all the time, and well as clothing, food and other personal items. So besides the Weeks worth of packed clothes, having those books in her car to me does not prove she was planning a short trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! Those books were heavy and looked to be a "reference" type book that you would only need sometimes.

      Delete
    2. Weeks worth of clothing? I think we are not looking at the same picture.

      Delete
  14. Honestly It seems like she must have had another cell phone, which would make sense. Whether she had another bf or not I can see any college girl in the world uncomfortable with her cell phone bill going to her bf's familys house every month. That would mean that her bf and her family would know every single call she makes and the phone # of every person she knows. I can't see any 21yr old girl that I've ever known that would be comfortable with that set up. That certainly doesn't prove anything but it appears that she did have another cell phone and used it to call AAA when she crashed the car in Hadley.

    She must have used her other cell. We know she forgot her primary phone in the dorm room where there was a party. She had to use her dad's phone to call Billy at 5am bc she forgot her phone. She had to go back to the dorm to retrieve her phone the following day, so we know she forgot it.

    Well she called AAA somehow from the side of the road. As far as I know she had already called AAA by the time the cop arrived. It was 3 am, there's very little traffic that time of night, it is possible that someone stopped and let her use the phone but it appears that she used her second cell phone. Which would most likely be a prepaid which were really cheap back then.
    Great blog you got here, you've done a great job uncovering things and answering questions that people have had for 8 years.
    -Jenkins
    James have you taken a real look into whether or not she had a second cell phone? If she had a bf we don't know about, which I believe she did, she must've had another cell there's no way she would want Billy to have that # even If he doesn't know exactly who it is. This could explain a few things, like the questions raised by the poster above. Could also explain the lack of any sort of communication with anyone the family doesn't know. Could be that as far as she knew someone she knew did know where she was going.
    What's up with the charger? Did she have her cell phone charger with her? Was it left in her car?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So if she has a second cell phone and that is the one that matters to her because the first one is being tracked by the boyfriend and his family, why did she check her messages on the first phone?

      Then there is the first cell phone itself. Since it is now useless, the police of course found it in her car right?

      Delete
  15. Yeah, to me the books mean nothing about her intentions. When I was in law school I had huge books like that too. I always had them in my car unless I was using them. It made more sense to just "store" them in my car. That way I always had all of them when I was on campus, and when I was at my house I only had to briefly run outside to get them. Those look like reference books too, which means they may not have been used very often.

    Honestly, if I were to have gone missing during law school, no one would have been able to tell what my intentions were based up what was found in my car. Busy students often keep a lot of things in their car because their lives tend to be very spread out and they have odd schedules.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I wonder if She was a heavy drinker. If not, buying that amount of liquor would indicate that something was wrong emotionally. Enough to where she had to take off work and school. Also buying that much liquor Im sure it was for her and someone else and that someone else needs to come forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not think she really bought all that much alcohol. She got wine and some liquor that is mixed to make a cocktail. I have personally bought a box of wine and few other things when I was going camping for a few days....it does not mean you intend to drink it all in one night or anything. Now if she had bought several bottles of cheap bourbon, I would think differently, but assuming she wanted to just get away for a few days, I do not think she got all the much booze.

      Delete
  17. Those books in fact look like reference books. Can anyone from a nursing school confirm you can study them? To be more clear, i believe there should be other books, text books, you can and should actually study. I am architect, we had may ref books over 1000 pages for different standards, for materials etc, but the those 1000 page ref books didnt mean anything if you havent study the main text books.
    The reason i am asking this is to understand if Maura herself did pack them for studying when she was away or someone else stuffed them in her car (without even knowing what they are) to create an impression.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey James Renner, I was just wondering, on the disappeared episode of Mauras case investigators say Maura was looking for condos in the Burlington Vermont area, yet the crash is closer to Bartlett like you say you think she was headed, so why if she planned on going to Bartlett all along would she look up rentals in Burlington, Vermont? According to mapquest.com from 181 Presidents Drive Amherst, MA 01003, United States (Umass Amherst address) to Bartlett is 3h 58 min. But to Burlington Vermont it is only 3h 12min. Also what time to liquor stores close in those areas ? Also according to mapquest, Wild Ammonoosuc is on the way and doesn't affect the time it would take her to get there at all. So she definiltey was going to Bartlett, but why look for a condo in Burlington ?

    ReplyDelete
  19. If Maura had another cell phone wouldn't police be able to tell by what charger she brought? If the charger was for a phone different than the one Billy had bought for her, then they would know she was using a different phone to be in contact with someone she didn't want Billy to find out about. Also, the only you can charge a phone with a charger is with an outlet, so Maura must have been confident she could charge her phone and know she had a place to stay. But where? She didn't pack a blanket in the car did she? So she wasn't planning on sleeping in the car. No pillows either?

    ReplyDelete