Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why I Knocked on Doors

Over the last few days, I paid visits to several friends and family members of Maura Murray: Julie Murray, Sara Alfieri, Liz Drewniak, Katie Jones, and Tim Carpenter.

I have tried to contact each of these individuals over the last few years for comment. None of them replied. Not even with a "no thanks" email. As a responsible journalist, I had to assume that it was possible they had never received my requests (and, at least in Tim's case, this was true--and he had a lot he wanted to say). Most people don't realize Facebook filters messages from non-friends. Emails can end up in Spam filters. Phone messages can be erased by husbands/wives.

I could have written my book without comment from them, but given the nature of the story I felt it was the responsible thing to really be sure they had the opportunity to speak their mind. Now that they've had that opportunity, I have no further need to contact them. If they wish to say anything further, they know how to reach me.

Never in a million years did I imagine this missing-person's case I started investigating in 2009 would end up being so strange. Or that I would pick the one missing-person's case where the family actively lobbies to keep the book from publication. I have never heard of a missing-person's case where the father of a missing girl would not want to open his doors to any reporter trying to find his daughter, even those who ask the hard questions.

It's sad, all the way around. Hopefully the book can lead to some closure.

23 comments:

  1. If the book doesn't give us the closure we're looking for, then it should give the family a new perspective on their missing loved one.
    I find Fred's 'reasons' for not wanting a book published sound bizaar as hell. I buy true crime books all the time, and there are thousands of them published, i've never heard a family so upset about a book before in my life.

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  2. They can never say that you didn't try! Good job, I am looking forward to your book and hope you can help find out what happened to her. This mystery is too sad.

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  3. Even the objective reporter acknowledged the poison on this blog as opposed to the people reaching out to her family on the facebook group. The bottom line is, to a majority of people this blog looks like a bully machine. When talking amongst the general public about this case that I've been following closely for 9 years - even with those that KNEW Maura was facing turmoil but that neither it (nor her father) had anything to do with her disappearance except that it was why she wanted to get away for a few days - they have seen the authorship of this book as having sinister intentions for at least the past two years. Whether Renner is afraid of (some have even said hired by) LE, or afraid of even questioning their tactics, or just has blind faith in this demonstrably unethical police force, he has constantly pointed fingers in the wrong direction. The only other option is that the author of the Concord article is ALSO a troll!!!

    This probably won't get posted - all I can do is take a screenshot of it and post it elsewhere if it doesn't, at least that way there can be a valid discussion about it.

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    1. It is true that truth is poison to some. And good threat by the way.

      John Avellar

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    2. "Even the objective reporter acknowledged the poison on this blog"--

      Which seems more likely for a story for which this blog got about three short sentences worth of mention: the reporter, in preparing this story, sat and read every post and comment on this blog... or is that reporter merely reflecting Mr Murray's opinion that "it’s as if two camps have formed: the former for sympathy and the latter for pointing fingers"?

      Yeah, I think the latter's probably more likely.

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    3. I couldn't follow the logic of the above post in any way shape or form...Renner is afraid of LE, or maybe even hired by them? Huh? The Concord reporter who spent X hours with a grieving father and X minutes on this blog writes a one line opinion, which then is further exaggerated as "poison", and if that opinion seems inaccurate, then she's a troll? These are just flights of reasoning I cannot begin to fathom. But the bottom line seems to be that everyone should just trust the family's version of events and look elsewhere.

      That's not how an investigation works. It may be unfair to the family, yes. But an investigation is about uncovering the truth, and that can be a bruising and sometimes unfair business. But that is far better than hurting and slandering people in pursuit of perpetuating a lie or a cover-up. Bottom line is the family may or may not have valid reasons for acting as they have...but they are not the most objective people to decide whether they are acting appropriately, either.

      And that's um, my contribution to a valid discussion.

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    4. Objective reporter...now that is amusing.

      The truth hurts sometimes. I know it is distasteful to think that someone in the family is responsible for her disappearance or knows more about why she left and is keeping quiet but unfortunately it happens. Most people would let LE know everything and let them figure it out. This family spoon feeds information that they deem is applicable, then complains bitterly that LE cannot figure it out. Insane.


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    5. These "theories" are ridiculous, the details of this story have been consistent from the beginning, maura left, for whatever reason (and suicide stories are equally ridiculous) she was involved in a one car accident and seen by WITNESSES that lived on the corner where she crashed, walking away from the accident. so how in hell, can anyone speculate fred murray is involved in his daughter's disappearance, there were witness to her accident and to her walking away, and fred murray was more then 100 miles away in MA. so often reporters twist and turn a story into what they want it to be and try to sway anyone who will listen in their direction. I live here in Northern NH and drove the very same road maura disappeared on, daily. Fred Murray has beaten down doors up here questioning anyone who's name has been presented to him as a possible source of information, and as anyone from a small town knows, local people talk. unfortunately in this case, not enough yet, but things have flown around that have been presented to the family and having personally spoken to Fred about some of these stories, i KNOW he's up here often trying to find answers. I am disgusted with these implications and if for whatever reason Fred isn't opening his door to you, I'M NOT SURPRISED! obviously things have been said here and by the author to offend the family.

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    6. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. There is no documented evidence that she "walked away" from the accident. The witnesses stated that she was there one minute and gone the next. Fred Murray, by his own account, was in CT at work (never publicly verified), not in MA. If the events surrounding this case were clear, there would not be a book about it nor would there be thousands of people speculating about what really happened, 9 years later. Unfortunately when someone disappears, it is those closest to them that are the first suspects. Do you know why? In the majority of cases it IS someone close to the victim that is responsible. The silence of the family has made it impossible to rule anyone out.

      B

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  4. I think you are doing a great job James.im sure other families of missing girls for example the Bobos or Drexels would love to have this publicity.you have even paid for private investigator for mauras case...if it was me I would be very grateful to you not secretive.keep up the good work I feel you're getting close to the truth

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  5. Bravo James, for doing an excellent job! With all due respect, even if the family does not approve your work, they should consider that each and any kind of publicity is wellcome in case of missing persons, of course, if there is a serious intention to find that person ... . Pardon my English, I'm not a native speaker.

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  6. To 3/31 at 10:06, the McStay case has garnered a book and the author has caught h@#$ for it too. At least some members of the family in that case clearly know something too. Keep up the good work James.

    John

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  7. James, you're a hero in my book. You have gone above and beyond and deserve so much applause for your hard work. No one can say you weren't passionate about trying to find the truth to Maura's disappearance. Thank you !!

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  8. Frankly, I don't know whether or not Fred is hiding something or not. Only he knows. However, if I look at the information that you've presented, without bias, something definitely does seem strange about his behavior. His and also that of Maura's friends. There's that feeling that more isn't being shared. I have seen plenty of crime solving shows where the families were more than willing, (if even guilty), to share information freely. The only times I have seen said persons become defensive is because they most likely have something to hide. Something about this investigation has seemed strange from the beginning. Usually missing persons end with a definite conclusion--either they were killed or they are still searching for a body. In this case, nobody is even sure what really happened. And to the people who think that the author is somehow targeting the family, please stop being overdramatic. He is not blaming anyone, he has simply presented facts, and allowed the persons on this blog to conclude whatever they will from them. I have not seen one post of his that has blamed Maura's father, her boyfriend, etc. I, for one, believe that there is a reason behind people's actions, and I don't see anything wrong in someone pointing out a different reaction, one that might mean something, especially in a murder case. I think people have to realize that it has been nine years since Maura's disappearance, and I haven't seen anyone come as close to James when it comes to figuring out events. I am sorry if many of you feel offended by his posts, but I think he is doing an excellent job, and I truly believe that because of his efforts that there is a renewed interest in the case. I personally believe that he's getting closer to the truth every day, whether or not people choose to see it that way.

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  9. only by vetting all comments/theory,s are we going to get to the bottom of this missing person. and it should be pointed out that Fred asked for all to assist 9 years ago.......this is what help looks like......good work james.....

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  10. So interesting this case. I can not wait to read the book. The irony of friends and family to be some what elusive after 9 years is now working against them and intriquing many like myself in giving this investgation legs again. And the author / investigator fighting an internal struggle with himself to honor the famies wishes or give into his relentless search for the truth. As time goes by the brutal face of reality is going to be found. You can smell an ending in the air. Very compelling.

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  11. Growing up on the south shore of Boston, not far from Hanson MA, I remember another crazy story that was a but in the end was quite simple. The charles ,carol stuart murder/suicide was similar in that the family blamed the cops ,the cops beat up most everbody on mission hill,the city was divided and in the end they went back and listened to the 911 tape......nobody says "I'm blacking out" before you black out, and so the cops slowly started to figure it out but they did figure it out, and Chuck jumped off the bridge...remember....the truth was pretty ugly...............

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  12. It's odd that Maura's family and friends still don't seem to grasp that the more they hide and evade and defend--and bluster about the book--the MORE attention is drawn to them and to the story. Secretiveness always arouses more curiousity than openness does. It also has the effect of encouraging ever-nuttier theories to emerge from frustrated imaginations and of making the Murray family look more and more peculiar and less and less credible. Do they really want all of us to shut up and go away? I wonder. If they do, they're going about it the wrong way. The whole thing seems to be entering the realm of soap-opera-drama-queendom.

    I've stopped wondering why Maura wanted to get away--the real question is why she waited so long . . .

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  13. I disagree. Families of missing family members often don't welcome a book written about their nightmare, especially when the case is not solved.

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  14. I used to post on Maura Murray Missing Group. Two days ago I got into an interesting discussion with two people(both women) and at one point it was obvious that they thought they could speak cryptically back and forth and that I was dumb enough not to catch on. When I kind of blew their cover it became hostile. Needless to say someone deleted the thread. I have never experienced a group more contradictory and outright paranoid than that group. It is really deplorable. James Renner is doing a great job investigating this case.

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  15. When will the book be available?

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  16. JR: In what way do you think your book will provide closure?

    Since you started working on this four years ago, I don't see how anyone is closer to knowing what happened to Maura.

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