A new look at one of the North Country's Coldest Cases
Thank you for always being so true to your word! I have not bought your book yet but will do so this week. I, and I am sure many other people, look forward to more of your books.thnaks for all you have done in Maura's case.
Awesome- Glad to hear that you are back Mr Renner. Some of us were concerned that you have given up. I look forward to your future posts as well as your book.
Thanks for your calm and steady presence. Otherwise, the subject of Maura Murray has been made so distasteful by years of fighting through the lies told about her life prior to her disappearance. Should be interesting to hear some truths. Looking forward to reading the book.
I'm sort of hoping that there won't be the 10th anniversary. :(The most important thing, after all, is finding Maura, and not the book about her.
If Maura Murray were found to be alive and living a new life, the story needs to be told. It's a baffling mystery that needs to be told correctly with facts.
I agree. I applaud James Renner for sifting through this very complex and 'secretive' case. I believe the more exposure anything gets, the more people will most likely talk, or share their opinion. Even if it were to be more 'negative' than 'good' it's still attention being drawn on the subject.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/insidelenz/2011/07/27/crime-wire-investigates-tuesdays-900-pm-eastern-time Here's Healy on the blogradio.
For me there are two questions that to answer: why did she go to New Hampshire and what happened to her after the accident. The answers do not have to be related. If you believe she was murdered after the crash by someone else who happened to be in the area, then what led her to leave UMass doesn't have any connection to her fate other than where she ended up geographically. If you believe she went to NH to commit suicide and did, then the accident merely changes the location of the suicide. In this scenario, the answers are related.I will only address the second question because the answer to number one is not related to what I believe was her ultimate fate. This post is quite long, so bear with me or feel free to skip it. My first thought when I discovered the case was that she fled the crash site on foot and died of exposure. This explanation is the simplest, adhering to Occam's Razor, and I still believe it.We know that Maura did not possess a great sense of directions because of all the Mapquest routes she printed out. Despite all her hiking trips to the White Mountains, she did not know how to get to Bartlett by memory. If she refused help after the crash because of drinking while driving, it seems logical that she would have taken off on foot to the east, not knowing that it was about 18 miles to the nearest town, North Woodstock, gaining 1000' over Kinsman Notch along the way.Why run east? Having passed by the accident site, I was surprised at the number of houses in the area. However, east of where route 112 enters Haverhill, a point very close to the crash site, there is hardly any development all the way to North Woodstock. So, immediately after the accident, having passed the numerous houses, it seems unlikely that she would run past all of them if trying to evade attention.It wasn’t particularly cold that night for midwinter in New Hampshire, about 32 degrees, but after prolonged exposure, it would still be sufficient to cause hypothermia. Consider also that it was only about 7:30 PM at the time of the crash, meaning that the night would grow colder. And she had 18 miles to cover before being assured of a warm place. She was a runner, but that is almost 3 quarters of a marathon. Assuming she could run 7 minute miles, which is probably generous given the terrain, that is over two hours to reach town. I doubt she was dressed for outdoor activity (was she going to go hiking when she arrived at her destination at 9 PM?), likely wearing cotton, which will cause a much faster loss in body temperature in cold conditions because it traps sweat.Both hypothermia and alcohol impair judgment and these factors are what really cements the exposure theory for me in light of the fact that a body was never found. Because it was cold, but not terribly so, it would have taken longer for hypothermia to set in. While this factor does make it less likely that this really is what happened, it also means that if it did, the body would have ended up farther from the crash site. IMO, a five-mile-radius search, which is what was performed IIRC, could easily not have been sufficient. In the 17 minutes between the crash and when LE arrived, she could have easily been 2 miles away from the scene. In 45 minutes or so, she likely would have been more than 5 miles away. I think that Maura's final minutes were likely spent in a confused state in light of the alcohol and hypothermia. She may have ran into the woods to avoid a perceived police car. She may have simply stopped due to exhaustion, moved off the road-to avoid detection or some distortedly thought reason-curled up and succumbed. Hypothermia deaths commonly happen in this fashion. The trail and road network is very sparse five miles east of the crash site on 112, especially north of the river, which the highway crosses about 3.5 miles east of the site. Considering these facts, I don't think that it is a stretch for no hunter, hiker, etc. to have found remains in 8 years.
I considered that theory, as many have. I lean more towards that's not what happened, solely on the purpose that there have been numerous, upon numerous searches in the area. There was reported to be about 2 or 2.5 feet on the ground and there was no foot prints in the snow, leading off the road. I have not been to the area myself, but I have watched Fred Murray's video he made on youtube, about 'Murray's last known drive', I too, was surprised at the amount of houses in the area, and there was a gas station a mile from where the crash site was, which Maura would have known about, since she would have had to pass it..traveling that way. From what I read, that gas station closed around 8pm that night, and the worker(s) did not see Maura come in the store.It seems a little bit odd, that if she was not hiding from traffic (dodging into the woods or trees), that no one seems to have seen her, except, maybe the contractor, but even that is not a 100% known fact.
I'm leaning toward her being picked up by whomever she was meeting up there . I still suspect Fred. Too much evidence points towards he being up there. I can't understand why if she was supposed to call him at 8pm the night she vanished, he made no known effort to locate her. He should have called her phone? Umass? I would be terrified if I hadn't heard from a loved one on time. He wasn't avaible until much later. Also, the first known response he made, per LE, is the squaw walk statement. Odd. Almost like he's floating the idea out there to test an alibi.
I know when I first watched the Disappeared episode, I thought that she must have died of exposure. After reading this site and following the conversation on Topix, I have concluded that there must be foul play involved. Why else would the State of New Hampshire not have released all records related to the case when requested by Fred Murray. What testimony was given on camera? There has to be additional information that we are not privy to. Why else would this be on the New Hampshire Cold Case site?
Hi,I just saw a special on the Maura Murray case on the Discovery channel, and it was quite fascinating. If the facts detailed in that segment are accurate, than I have several questions. A school bus driver said that he saw Maura after her car accident and asked her if she needed help. Nothing afterwards in that segment indicated whether the school bus driver was pressed by the police. If not, why not? I thought the last person to see someone alive almost always is a suspect.Anyway, if what I saw was correct, why did she withdraw over $200 from the ATM machine on the night of her disappearance? Why did she quite a large quantity of alcoholic beverages before she went out? Did she have a closet drinking problem? (no offense, but I thought it unusual that she bought so much liquor, especially given that she is a serious runner who, most likely, would not drink very much anyway)? This also brings up the point that typically, unless a person is an alcoholic, one would normally not purchase that amount of liquor unless they were going to a party or some other occasion that involves heavy drinking.Also, the fact that she was looking at renting homes in Vermont and New Hampshire would indicate that she was, unbeknownst o her family and friends, thinking about moving well before she disappeared. That fact, coupled with the fact that she lied to the bus driver when she told him that she already called for help (he said that there was no wireless signal in that remote area) and simply was waiting by her car when the bus driver left would indicate to me that the accident was faked, and that she was planning to go somewhere, and was waiting for someone to come pick her up. While she culd have been abducted and killed (I certainly pray that isn't the case), I don't see it as likely. As a former detective, it must seem to everyone (given all the crime shows out there) that a deranged killer can be found on every block. They are not. In fact, they are extremely rare. The odds that a serial killer (and yes, that is the act of a serial killer) would happen to be passing by the exact spot where Maura disappeared are unlikely, given that the area she crashed in was in such a remote and sparsely populated area. Also, the facts somewhat indicate that Maura's drive that night was spontaneous and unplanned. Serial killers typically choose their subjects carefully beforehand, and come up with intricate plots to abduct them. Anyway, maybe she usedthe money she withdrew because she wanted to disappear for whatever reason? Boston and NY are major metropolitan areas in which someone could easily disappear if they wanted to.Anyway, I pray for Maura and her family that everything turns out for the best.
John, I share the same opinion of you. I think it is a very rare and slim chance that in those very, very few minutes she was left alone, she was picked up by a killer. If i remember right, the first couple who called the police when they saw the accident said it was nothing unusual, that they have to call nearly ever season.. it's a popular place for car accidents, or so they seemed to make it sound like such. It seems too much of a coincidence to myself included that the one time this girl takes a long trip by herself, she gets abducted, not saying it can't happen, but i find it very rare especially in the area she was last seen.I looked up missing persons in NH and VT, also ME. I also looked up homicides in VT, NH, ME..and with all 3 states- each is a low, single digit number. Very far and few between does there seem to be much crime and murdered victims in all 3 states. If she were murdered what happened to her body? Anyone living in those states in the winter all know we do not bury anything in the frozen ground until spring time, anyone up there also knows we do not dump anything in frozen lakes either.I almost want to say, that if she ran away ..if she has a history of credit card fraud (which she does), it makes me think she continues to do it wherever she is (if she is alive).
Did Fred ever do a polygraph test?
I lean more towards Maura ran away on her own. Despite what her father has said, 'she had a bright future, soon to be engaged, & a promising nursing career.' Anyone can voice their opinions but no one can argue w/facts.It's true Maura didn't have a scotch free record. I'm in the nursing field myself & I would only assume that w/as many people graduating from nursing schools, employers can be as picky as they want. I don't think many employers would want to hire a nurse to take care of people when she has a background of stealing peoples' credit card numbers.It's also true that Billy cheated on Maura. It's true that Maura's personal belongings in her room were packed up. Some people think it could possibly be that she just hadn't UNpacked from winter break, but the truth is, whether she didn't have the opportunity to unpack or did pack back up- her belongings *were* packed. I don't know when Maura returned back to campus from break but I want to speculate that if she had the time to attend parties on campus, shop, & dine out in town, then she had some time to unpack her belongings.The fact is that she was *not* engaged to Billy Rausch. 'They were engaged to be engaged' & actually 'being engaged' are two totally different things.If Maura spent 1.5 years at WP & had been at Amherst for a year or more & if she met Billy her freshman year of college, at the most that would have meant they were dating for 2 or 3 years. Most of which seemed to have been long distance. I doubt she spent much time w/his family. Seeing people a few weeks a year isn't much time to actually getting to know them. Most young girls want to look good in front of their boyfriend's mother. Sharon stated, 'Maura lied about the death in the family but Maura was not a liar' Well, if someone lies about something then what does that make them? It's also true that there were no foot prints found in the snow leading off the roads when searches were done. The dogs picked up a trail- 100 yards from her crash site. Which seems to take you in front of Butch's house & Rick's house. Rick's trailer was searched by law enforcement & nothing seems to have been found.I know nothing about Butch or if he let them search his house, bus, or property. The only thing i *do* know about Butch is that his mother & wife(?)were living w/him.If Maura was murdered then what happened to her body? No one gets buried in February in NH. I'm going to also take a jab that the lakes too were frozen over just like the ground & soil is.I also wanted to point something out. In a previous post about a track coach, Hoss, said how chauvinistic Billy was. Always 'checking up on her'. Could it be possible that Billy was insecure? Sure. Could it also be possible that Billy didn't trust Maura? Yes. It's sweet to buy someone a AAA membership card, but it seems kind of 'controlling' to me to buy someone a phone & want to pay their bill, obviously knowing exactly who you are calling & who is calling you.A fact is there was a gas station about a mile from the crash site. Another fact is that she would've driven past this gas station- she knew it was there & available. Another fact is that the worker(s) that night didn't see Maura come in at all. If she had no other plans, one would surely think she would have just went to a safe, public, heated, place like a gas station, where a possible phone would be. But she didn't. $200 isn't enough money to hold you over at ANY place for 6 nights. I don't know what kind of paycheck she would've been receiving that week but she didn't seem to want to use her credit card to pay for a place, she wanted to pay with cash. Why? Because the credit card would have her name on it? It leaves a trail? It's easier to disguise yourself & pay with cash & use a different name?
I agree that the evidence you have mentioned suggests that she intended to run away and meet another person, either at her final destination or on the road. I don't believe for a second that she "just hadn't unpacked" from winter break. Anyone who remembers being a college student knows that you don't bring boxes and boxes of stuff to go on a break trip. You bring one or two bags at most, and you leave the art on your walls in your room. I feel very strongly that Maura knew she was not coming back.
@SAH UMASS requires all boarders to vacate rooms completely for the winter break. Move-in at the beginning, move-out completely at the end of the semester. I did it for six semesters and it got very tiresome after a while. The question of whether she had packed up her things or whether she had never bothered to fully unpack is a legitimate one.