Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Place to Look for Maura Murray

If Maura Murray is still alive, the one habit she probably could never change is distance running.

If you're looking for a way to contribute, and have some free time, take a look through publicly posted pictures of marathons taken after 2004. I would concentrate on the Northeast United States, Canada, and Ireland.

Drop me a line if you find something interesting.

115 comments:

  1. Oddly enough, I have actually done this already. I found something interesting but not meaningful. To wit, if you look up road races run by Kate Markopoulus in Albany and eastern New York State over the last few years, you will discover a "Maura Murray" also participating in some of those races.

    This appears to be a coincidence. The woman in question is several years younger than the missing Maura and also appears on honor roll lists from an Albany high school from around 2006 and 2007. I mean it could be some kind of ruse, but the easier ruse would be signing up for the race using a different name.

    By the way, I think I disagree with James that she would not have been able to give up on running. In fact, I think she already had and there are many indications that it was not her love but her father's. I have looked at her publicly available times. She was downright awesome as a freshman and sophomore in HS, but in my view (as a former distance runner at Boston University) she went backwards thereafter and by the time she got to UMASS in the spring of 2003 was really not that good. I even checked this with my college coach at BU for a second opinion. He has coached 1000s of male and female runners in his 30 year career, including national champions and olympians. He felt that she was not very good during her sophomore year at UMASS and had really fallen off where she should have or could have been based on a particular time in cross country race as a 14 year old at Van Courtlandt Park in NYC (in which race, by the way, Kate M. finished 30 places behind Maura). I posted on this under something that James posted about her running a few weeks, if you want more details.

    In any case, lots of kids who enjoy running competitively in HS lose that interest in the "bigger pond" of college and sometimes find that they liked the attention and acceptance (perhaps from a father pushing her) more than they actually liked running. So I don't think it is a given that Maura would necessarily be unable to stop running competitively. In fact, it seems to me (although it is uncertain) that she had already moved away from the sport by the time she disappeared.

    ~ John Green

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    1. Agreeing with you.

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    2. I agree that, while she may still be running, she probably isn't competing. My husband was also a distance runner in college, and he still runs the occasional 5k, but he isn't nearly as competitive as he used to be. It takes a LOT of time to train, and money to pay for new shoes, entry fees, travel, etc. It can't hurt to look in the photos, but I really doubt she is seriously competing now.

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    3. To John Green: I think you have some good ideas and it sounds like you have a good knowledge of running. My ideas about Franzia wine are just ideas. I think sometimes we all are putting too much thought into this case.

      The fact of the matter is that most criminals, no matter who they are, really are not as smart as we all think. I like to think Maura is a very intelligent woman, and that because of that, she is smart enough to pull it off.

      She gives into the idea that she is running, walking away from her life by packing her dorm room, calling different places for a room, and buying a large quantity of alcohol. Then there is an accident and it all changes. The plan is all messed up by the accident.

      I just have a problem with the wine bag and box. Other than that it was almost a perfect plan. The whole point behind the wine bag is not whether or not she drank the wine or if it spilled. The point is that if she did drink any wine how did she drink it? She obviously used the Coke bottle, but then why did she dump both items but only hide one of them?

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    4. P.S. To John Green: I cannot remember where I read that she hid the Coke bottle under her seat so I could be wrong about that. It just goes to show that when you are using internet information, Disappeared information(which Mr. Renner has already disputed), and other websites, coming to any solid conclusions based on those items is rather difficult.

      There is one question that I cannot figure out: Why would a person go to such lengths IF they were planning on running away? She could easily have left her car somewhere and walked away from her life. I do not even understand why she packed up her dorm room. Most people who leave and walk away just leave.

      We could debate these questions for years because after all is said and done no one really knows what happened to Maura Murray. But I stand by what I wrote about Franzia wine as a fact. The other day I was at the grocery store and I was walking down the wine aisle and saw the different types of Franzia wine. Naturally I was curious so I picked up a Red Blush I think it was so I could feel how heavy it was and find out the alcohol content. The alcohol content was 9%. It is still a lot of wine for one person to drink in one sitting(or drive). From a wine drinker's perspective, it is way too big a box of wine to finish in 3-4 hours, especially using a Coke bottle that needs to be refilled all the time.

      I got a fortune cookie the other day that said, "Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time." It made me think about the wine because if she had more time drinking an entire box would seem more truthful. This is all speculation anyhow. For anyone knows, when police removed the wine bag and box, there was a very large puddle on the upholstery from where the wine leaked out of the box or maybe she sat there opening the nozzle to let it all drain into the snow. I imagine the spot in the snow was rather large because of that. I think police would have noticed that. There is no proof Maura Murray walked away from her life. Like I already wrote, this is all based on IF she ran away.

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    5. Hi anon at 1202. I appreciate your speculation. It is interesting.

      I am not sure I follow what of my logic that you are replying to that you disagree with. Could you clarify? It sounds like you disagree with something or have reservations about some point I have made.

      Many thanks.

      ~ John Green

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    6. To John Green: I do not disagree with any of your logic. I agree with the idea that Maura was largely done with running at a competitive level by the time she was a junior in college. I thought I read somewhere she had already quit the track team by the time she disappeared. 2 part time jobs and a full load of classes would be more than enough stress for me.

      I think the only thing we disagree on is how we look at the case. You believe there is a lot of information that can be attained from her father and friends and family. In my opinion, everyone is a suspect and until one person can be narrowed down to have anything to do with Maura's case, I think the only information they might provide would be to help others try to understand why Maura left. I think many people have already formulated their own opinion about that and the only person that really knows is Maura Murray.

      I first got interested in this blog because of the interview with Lt. Scarinza of the New Hampshire State police because a person like that would have factual information about the evidence associated with Maura Murray's case. I have always liked this blog more when it focused on getting to the facts of the case.

      A book is a good idea, but I think it is a better idea if you believe Maura Murray was kidnapped and murdered. IF Maura ran way and took so much trouble to do so, there has to be another point that is considered: She does not want to ever be found. If you or me or Mr. Renner or anyone else ever found Maura Murray, would you really say anything to Maura or anyone else? I think I would just walk away.

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    7. I can't speak for James, but I certainly would take a much different approach if I discovered that she was alive and off on her own somewhere, wanting to be left alone. I believe James posted something toward this issue at some point, indicating sympathies not unlike yours, under those circumstances. But again, I can't speak for him.

      In any case, the people closest to the person under scrutiny (be it a victim or missing person of unknown status) are always subjected to investigation. A high percentage of the time, this leads to resolution of the case, according to oft made statements by authorities. In that context, I don't completely find myself persuaded by your second paragraph. But I appreciate your thoughtful contribution.

      ~ John Green

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    8. Yes, I think I would just walk away too, assuming it was clear that she was not living under duress, that she had made her own decision to walk away and was happy in her new life. In those circumstances, it seems to me it "ain't nobody's business but her own." Imagine, Maura Murray actually making a decision about her own life, all by herself, just as if she were a grownup! I don't think she'd had the chance to do much of that in her old life, which seems to have been rather tightly controlled by others.

      I know that it can be argued that her family should be told, to relieve their pain and suffering, and that LE should be told so they can stop pouring out money investigating the case, but the right of an adult American citizen to move freely, providing he or she is not a fugitive from justice, is a very precious and fundamental right and, in my view, should not be treated lightly or taken away. Sometimes certain situations or people are so toxic that the only thing to do is get away fast and cut the cord completely--and we can't judge how toxic Maura's life may have seemed to her.

      Whether she made it is another matter; I certainly hope that she did.

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    9. Further to what I just said about leaving Maura alone if she's found in happy circumstances--perhaps, out from under the stressors that were making her life miserable before she left, she got herself together very well and matured into a healthy woman with a very good and productive life.

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    10. To Anonymous May 6 2013 @ 9:49 pm: I do not know what to think about what happened to Maura Murray. Another person made a great point about Maura's gas tank. She had close to a full tank of gas so why would she fill up her gas tank then crash her car? That certainly puts doubt into my Franzia wine theory of running away.

      I do not know what happened to Maura Murray, and I do not know her father or family or friends. The reason I would walk away is because I like to think IF she did that is the only part I understand.

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  2. I'm not 100% clear on your theory about what happened to Maura after she wrecked. Are you theorizing that Fred and/or perhaps friends or other family members helped her to disappear?

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  3. Were marathons her main event?

    I'm guessing she would avoid anything highly publicized. Can't exactly see her running in the Boston Marathon (or equivalent)...

    Anyone who undertakes this project should of course keep in mind she's probably changed her appearance significantly. I would guess her hair is blonde at the very least. And her body may be different; she may have had a child.

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  4. Wow; I thought I was a bit out there thinking she could be in Ireland. Obviously not...

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  5. It's funny, I would have said the one habit she could probably never change would be DUI.

    LE, if you're reading this, could you maybe have the FBI run a facial-recognition search for Maura in their mugshot database? Specifically for DUI arrests since 2/2004? If there were some way to include Canadian arrestees, that would be *really* great.

    I know the FBI has the technology to do such a search (within the US), and I read an article that said local law enforcement got access to the technology in 2013, but it might not be universal yet. Still, I hope they have the FBI do this if they haven't already.

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    1. I think that if Maura has been arrested, even if she is using another name - or even if she legally changed her name - she would be printed and I am sure NH authorities have a flag on her prints as a missing person. There is a FBI lab that processes prints for police forces, I believe, who also maintain a national set of records. Not 100% sure of how this works, but I have a feeling that if she were arrested at some point the case would then be solved via a match on her prints.

      ~ John Green

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    2. I agree with you on the possibility of multiple DUI's. We can only hope that in the future LE will use the facial recognition software routinely.

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    3. Good call, John Green! Stupid me for overlooking the obvious.

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    4. Yes, but would they be able to check her prints if she were arrested in Canada for just a DUI?

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    5. Your prints are checked for a DUI, for sure. Any time you are apprehended (as opposed to being issued a citation) your prints are taken.

      If she was in Canada, I would imagine she would have been printed. I will have to check this, but I believe there is electronic merging of prints taken in Canada and the U.S. This was an artifact of the formerly totally open border, where a U.S or Canadian citizen did not need a passport to cross into the other country. That changed in 2009, but I am pretty sure that the fingerprints are still shared. In fact, the U.S. FBI might be the lab Canadian authorities use to run prints and store them in a database. I am not certain of this, but I have former colleagues who had the FBI center in WV where prints are handled as a client, so I should be able to find out. I will get back to you.

      ~ John Green

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  6. She wasn't a marathon runner. High school and college coaches discourage that. I doubt she just took up marathons while in hiding, though she may still run.

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    1. I believe the 3,000 meters was her specialty in high school. In college, she did not run that many races. Most people move upward as they get older. I'd bet if she was running, she'd be on the 10K circuit. But (see my post above) I feel strongly that she is not running.

      ~ John Green

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    2. I agree with you on that. And yes, many runners begin marathons in their twenties (I did), but I just can't imagine taking up that level of training without a level of support that I'm sure she wouldn't maintain if she is "on the run" (not literally, but you know what I mean). I bet she'd be an amazing 10K runner. But almost so good that she'd attract too much attention - if she runs at all now (assuming she's alive), I imagine it is just on her own, not racing.

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    3. Well, anonymous at 1226 ...

      She was actually not a very good runner by the time she got to UMASS. Her best time in 2003 was kind of slow, particularly compared to where she was at ages 14, 15 and 16. I even asked my college coach for an opinion and he agreed. Many kids lose interest in the bigger pond of college, women's bodies change, kids rebel against parents who guided/pushed them. It is really clear that Maura moved on. She just was no longer that good in college.

      I have posted more exact information about this under Renner's recent post about the coach, if you are interested.

      ~ John Green

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  7. It's an interesting avenue to explore, but to be honest, if she actually did plan to voluntarily disappear, going to marathons and other highly visible places people would expect her to be likely would not be in her best interests. "Hiding in plain sight" aside, it just doesn't seem like it would be worth the risk.

    Maura was sloppy and could be considered reckless even, but in a situation where the stakes are so very high, I don't see her being dumb.

    Also, in the scenario that Maura is alive and living elsewhere, if she enjoyed running but perhaps her competitive spirit waned in recent years as Anon 12:58 PM suggested, she could easily just find a park, a high school track field or even navigate a running route herself over following any organized races.

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    1. I think James has a point. Although, maybe she didn't participate in a race, but attended one as a spectator? Of course finding a picture of her in a crowd would also be like finding a needle in a haystack, or finding a person with the last name "Murray" in Ireland. It's a very popular last name over there.

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    2. Is there a specfic blog I could be referred to as to why she would be in Ireland? I am new here and have seen it mentioned a few times.

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  8. While this is an interesting and worthwhile avenue to explore, I think it's incredibly difficult to track race runners by photos. I run in big events such as marathons, and there are usually SO many people there that it would be next to impossible to go through all of the race photos and spot a familiar face. However, names and times are much easier to find; if only we had some idea of an alias she may use...

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  9. By the way, speaking of race results, here is a link to a race that Maura ran when she was 14 years old, at van courtlandt park in NYC. She finished 51st.

    http://www.cs.uml.edu/~phoffman/massxc/footne97g.htm

    Her time on that course (which I raced on in my day) is OUTSTANDING. She was 14 years old running in a championship invitational meet against juniors and seniors from Maryland to Ohio to Maine who were among the best in their stats. The next year as a sophomore, she was then 5th in the MA state meet in cross country. She was really good. In fact, if you take her time as a fourteen year old on this cross country course and translate it to the 2012 collegiate IC4A champsionships (a very prestigious college meet which was held that year on the same course) she would have been quite competitive. It is pretty amazing. In the words of my college track coach, who reviewed her times for me, "that time for a fourteen year old is VERY good."

    But by the time she was a sophomore at UMASS, she was not very good. I shared some of her times with my college coach at BU - who has coached 1000s of male and female runners - and he agrees that either she lost interest or was having physical problems. In fact, taking what the UMASS athletic site implies is her best time on the track for 3,000 meters in 2003, she would have been lapped by the entire IC4A field of 27 runners that year and not been close to competitive. And she would not have been close to qualifying for the meet, for that matter. So, I assert again that Maura had already kind of moved away from running by the time she was at UMASS. Many runners in college do that, once they get to that bigger pond that includes runners from Europe and all over the world and the best of the best from everywhere. In any case, she was verifiably OUTSTANDING as a 14-16 year old, but really not very good by the time she got to college.

    In any case, in this race she ran as a 14 year old, check out the startling coincidence of who came in 25 places behind her at #86.

    ~ John Green

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  10. Out of curiosity, why is that you think she may be in Ireland? Because she has Irish ancestors? Because she drinks beer?

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  11. Maura is alive. Everyone is her family knows it and knows why she left. This is the reason no one will talk to you and no one wants this book written. Please give this up. If you truly want to "help" Maura then stop.

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    1. Hi.

      Maybe James Renner, unlike you and the rest of Maura's associates, is not only interested in helping Maura--which he certainly is--but also interested in ending this colossally expensive, labor-intensive case so that LE can move on.

      You Friends of Maura seem to have forgotten two things. 1) No one is going to give up on this case until she is found. Asking us to "give this up" is not gonna work. No way, no how. Nice try.

      2) There are other missing persons and unsolved homicides in NH. Lots of 'em.
      With families that *don't* know their missing loved one is alive. Families that have told law enforcement *everything* and learned nothing, or been given only their loved one's mangled corpse. No suspects, no prosecution, no conviction. No answer. *These* families are truly suffering.
      Suffice it to say, tax dollars are going to keep being spent on Maura until the case is closed, and those tax dollars will be TAKEN from these families.
      How do you feel about that??

      If you know what you claim to know about Maura, don't tell James for all I care, but you'd better damn well go tell Law Enforcement. Today. Not doing so is obscenely selfish. It is actually downright sinful.

      Today. Because there are other families.

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    2. If Maura is alive and the family knows it then they need to stop wasting the taxpayers money. It is a crime if indeed they are purposely deceiving police.

      Go James Go!! You are obviously hitting a nerve.

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    3. how do you know this? is this commen knowledge among people who know her. i don't buy it. why would her father still keep looking or making it look like he is looking after all this time? i read he is up in nh every weekend.

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    4. Sounds like you know something interesting...

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    5. I liked your response SAH. If you know what happened to Maura, why are you using exclusively to beat up on JR and not reporting it to the police.

      If I were a terrorist, I might at some point get it that the one thing that makes the people of the U.S. pull together and act like a true nation for once is a terrorist attack. As such, their attacks kind of back fire from a cultural perspective, bringing out the best in our people.

      Likewise, if I were a freak who like to throw s____ at some true author on his blog, I might eventually figure out that it is freaks like that - the disseminators of misinformation for not only selfish but very bizarre personal reasons - who DEMAND that the book be written for Maura's sake and for sake of everybody who cared about her.

      ~ John Green

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    6. People have spent a lot of time and money looking for Maura, under what could potentially be a false pretense that she was in danger or harm came to her. Those folks deserve an explanation. Period.

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    7. If you are so sure she is alive and the family is hiding that fact, where is she then?

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  12. I agree with your point about running. I have a good friend who was good enough in HS cross country that she won a full scholarship to university to run. The last time she ran was the last race as a senior in college. That was 20 years ago.

    She may have progressively gotten worse as her drinking increased. There has been indication that she did drink, which seems unusual to me. I would think it would be difficult to be an athlete and to drink alcohol.

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    1. Student athletes in College have absolutely no problem with using alcohol and other recreational drugs. During the week they are pretty much prohibited from drinking and even have a curfew. But during brakes, and long in between games, these kids more likely engage in whatever else every one else is doing and that includes drinking.

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    2. Members of track teams do not have curfews. The only teams that have curfews are high profile "semi-professional" national football and basketball teams. I ran track and cross-country in college. There was no curfew and I have never known a collegiate runner who had one.

      Runners tend to care for their bodies, however. Often the ones who start drinking a little more in college do so in parallel with losing interest in running and getting slower, both of which were happening to Maura at the college level.

      ~ John Green

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    3. When my student- athlete daughter began College she HAD a curfew. In by 10 pm and NO drinking. She got in big trouble once for braking that curfew, too. And she was just on a regular team at a private Liberal Arts College. So maybe things are different now then when you went to college? The point is that we would like to think student-athletes do not abuse alcohol but the fact is some of them do when and if the opportunity arises.

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    4. Could be that things are different now, but I doubt things across the country are less liberal minded about student autonomy than they were in the late 1980s. For one thing, coed dorms are a given now and were still under discussion then.

      I also know a lot of current student athletes.

      I think the situation is more likely that there may some schools or coaches that have curfews, but - again - aside from football and basketball it is the exception not the rule. I am quite sure of that.

      ~ John Green

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  13. Also if you find the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, Harvey the Rabbit, the dragon from the Hobbit or the Tooth Fairy would you also let JR know. JR stop with this, I know you are trying to sell books but there is about a 1% chance that MM is alive. There is a 99% chance that she was murdered, mutilated, and her remains were disposed of. I wish you would quit trying to sell this narrative. Have you ever thought that maybe the MM's family does not want to speak to you because you keep aggressively pursuing the idea that she is still and alive when maybe they have info we dont that she was murdered? Just a thought.

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    1. yea, shame on JR for suggesting to the family that she might still be alive. They would rather MM be dead, otherwise no dirtbag ever existed. Your post by the way is hysterical
      or should I say delusional.

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    2. I know you wont respond to this because you leave your little semantic shots at Renner about once a week then run away.

      But if you are feeling brave, how about answering a few questions:

      (1) Why was there no evidence of a struggle? It is almost impossible to adbuct someone without leaving some evidence, particularly when two neighbors within earshot were aware of her presence?
      (2) Why have the police said that variously that they are treating the case as a runaway and/or a missing person case, but never said it was a murder investigation?
      (3) Did Maura know she was going to get murdered and so politely packed up her room?
      (4) Why did Maura's killer take the time to put a rag in her tailpipe?

      Now, you said, "99%" chance. For there to be a that degree of virtual certainty, these questions need to be answered ... otherwise, you are, as usual, blowing smoke. Why? There is something almost disturbing about your need to oppose James. It is as if you are obsessed with him. Very strange.

      ~ John Green

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    3. If they have info that it was murdered, why would they not share it?

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    4. What's wrong with being optimistic? One should always give the bright side some investigation.

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    5. @Anonymous 7:12 a.m. --

      You assert that there is a "99%" chance Maura was murdered and the family knows that she's dead so they don't want to talk to Renner. And yet anonymous 4:31 asserts the family won't talk to Renner because they know she's alive. Huh.

      Obviously, you can't both be right. Yet you both come on here and confidently assert that Renner's a bad dude because, um, he doesn't take either of your expert word for what happened to Maura. You offer no objective reasons why he should. And since you make diametrically opposing assertions about what happened to Maura and why the family won't talk to him, at least one of you doesn't have the first clue what you're talking about. That's plain old logic. So I'd say it's a good job he didn't.

      How do we resolve this dichotomy? Well, by basing conclusions on things called facts. Those other things you guys expressed are called opinions. You have every right in a free country to express them. But in a proper investigation, without facts to back them up, it amounts to bla bla bla and waaaaah.

      You want Renner to back off? Give us something besides "waaaah." Put up or shut up. If she was murdered, the more publicity means the more likelihood her killer gets caught. If she is alive, the family has perpetrated a fraud on taxpayers and wasted a lot of peoples' time. The only thing I can see that Renner going away accomplishes is that everything gets to stay right as it has been. And if you think that is satisfactory, then I have to seriously question what your own motivations are.

      Like I said, it's just plain logic. Beats unsubstantiated opinion. Every time.

      adam

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    6. Do you have a job from which you make money? Does anyone else you know work? Is making money somehow abhorrent to you? Do you honestly believe that because James will make money from a book which sells well that he will do anything underhanded to get the book in print while all virtue resides in those who, like you, surely, do not work and have never made money? I would love to hear the answers as, frankly, I also find having to work a drudge and would love to know how to stay at home and stay on top of things, all while being infinitely more virtuous than the general run of society while I am at it.

      John Avellar

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    7. Well said. Doctors get paid too. That does not mean they are in favor of sick people (certain policies of the AMA aside).

      ~ John Green

      P.S. James, I think you should stop posting this particular person's posts. It is a waste of time. Their messages are so synthetic in their writing it is easy to spot the same character when he/she returns.

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    8. John, no offense. I am not Adam, but i think it's rather immature to act like a big, immature bully to people online. Really...

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    9. IMO, If they have info that Maura was murdered, it's that someone in the family did it.

      I wrote a comment on another post here a few days ago. I'm extremely proud of it. It basically explains why, logically, there is VERY STRONG reason to believe that this was not a stranger murder. It was either a murder committed by a family member, or--most likely--Maura is still alive and they know it.

      I am almost 100% sure of this just as you are almost 100% sure of the opposite.

      My reasoning--which, if you think about it, makes a great deal of sense, and in any case is more reasoning than you have given--is that Fred WOULD BE TELLING EVERYTHING to law enforcement if he didn't know for a fact that Maura was either dead or alive.

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    10. I say this with complete respect for everyone above who posts thoughtful comments, such as SAH - and to some degree tongue and cheek - but I do have to say it ...

      Given the contradictory evidence, the impossibility of isolating a scenario with contradictions and flaws, the thinness of the evidence, etc., how can anyone in this case be more than 2% sure of any ultimate answer (i.e., murder, suicide, flight and new life, amnesia, sinking into an anonymous life among transients, abduction by aliens, etc.)

      To me, if the mass of knowledge and inquiry about this case were analogized to the offense of a football team, it is like 2nd and 22 on our own 8 yard line. We've called a time out and we are over on the sideline arguing about what TD play to run (halfback dive, corner post route, etc) as if we are ANYWHERE close to scoring. I think we just need to get a first down. For me, that means things like the way this blog straightened out some cloudiness around the red truck and brought to deserved prominence the admirable Ms. Robinson-Ordway's statement. Cause I don't think we have anyone who can throw the ball far enough for us to score (i.e., solve the case) with conjecture now. We should aim our smarts at some interim resolutions that will help us along the way.

      Again, no offense and mostly tongue and cheek. But I think that being 100% or 99% sure of anything is as absurd as asserting 2% sure that aliens abducted her and she lives a happy life as a chimney sweep and lounge singer on Venus now. SAH, in particular I mean no offense to you. You make great and thoughtful contributions and I see the perspective from which you made that comment.

      ~ John Green

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    11. Hey there anonymous at 157 pm.

      Not sure if the "John" to whom you were directing your comment is me or Avellar.

      If it was directed at me, I agree wholeheartedly. No offense taken. I can't think of why that statement would offend me. In fact, I thought perhaps you were making amends for prior comments that - while I can't be 100% sure you made - are similar to your post above in their personally critical flavor and their lack of substantive information related to the topic of the blog.

      If it is aimed at John Avellar, I apologize for and rescind the above comment. My mistake. I am not sure I agree it should be thrown at him either, but I'll let him respond for himself.

      Best regards,

      ~ John Green

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    12. @John Green,
      Whoever called you or the other John a bully is surely mistaking this for the Topix forum. You and John are far from being bullies.

      I completely agree that it's a stretch to say one has "99% confidence" in any theory. I kind of made my comment in response to the poster who was "99% sure" Maura had been murdered by a stranger.

      Obviously, this case is really complicated, and no one answer seems possible to strictly eliminate.

      That said, the more I read and learn about this case, the more coherently certain salient details seem to line up, and they all seem to point to one thing: that Fred knows why Maura left, and that he knows whether Maura is dead or alive right now.

      This is from someone who came into this thinking that Maura was probably a victim of one of the local serial killers (!), and that Fred was no more than a tragically afflicted man behaving as such a man might.

      Leatherman/Mason, one of the other "smartest laymen" on this case (I'm counting you in that group, JG, although your layman status just became fuzzier!), made some very compelling, pointed arguments on the Yuku forum in favor of what I now believe.

      What really clinched this belief for me was reading about Jonbenet Ramsey over Christmas. As far as I'm concerned, the Jonbenet case has, in fact, been solved. It was solved by one James Kolar. He stops short of naming the perp, but it becomes clear enough in his book who it was. To that effect, I'll just say that the Ramsey family was a mess and had a lot of secrets.

      Before I read the book and learned the ostensible solution to that case, my thoughts about Jonbenet's fate were very similar to those I once had about MM. That is, they went back and forth from "bad guys did it" to "the family did it" or at least "the family knows," to "it can't be known."

      In that case, as in Maura's, there were many promising clues and leads suggesting the presence and activities of "bad guys." I found some of them very compelling. However, when the solution was revealed, I saw how all the details truly clustered in a certain direction, and how, if I was really honest with myself instead of yielding to titillation, I might have seen it all along.

      Indeed, there were so many similarities between Jonbenet's case and Maura's--particularly in terms of the family's behavior--that learning about Jonbenet truly revolutionized my thinking about Maura. At this point, I could never go back, unless some very new and striking evidence suddenly emerged.

      I agree with you that "99% chance" is a crude and un-discerning way to talk about outcomes in this case, and of course I'm not truly 99% sure of anything, as none of us are.

      But I think that if one stands *way* back, a certain picture emerges. And as in an optical illusion, once you see that picture, you can't un-see it.

      Maybe it's myopic...but maybe it just means you're seeing what is there. You know?

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    13. The comparison to Jonbenet's case is an interesting one, in that they are cases that share the highly unusual aspect of the victim/subject's family's lack of cooperation in a situation where transparency would seem to be a benefit to solving the case.

      I'm not real well versed in the Jonbenet case (even less so than in Maura Murray's case, in which I hardly claim to be an expert), but I have to say, I disagree with you on what you seem to be suggesting about Jonbenet--I don't believe her family had anything to do with her murder. (FYI my opinion on that was primarily shaped by Bill James' analysis of the case in "Popular Crime").

      Based on that opinion, it might logically follow that I feel that Fred has no knowledge of what happened to Maura, but re-reading the chapter from popular crime actually strengthened my belief that Fred does have information that he is not sharing; this is based on differences in John Ramsey's vs. Fred's behavior underlying their respective efforts to "control" the investigations.

      After Jonbenet's murder, John Ramsey was (to quote from Bill James) "reduced for several weeks to something near the level of a babbling idiot", and was essentially controlling the investigation by proxy--his friends were in control of the situation, acting with basically no direct involvement from John except for obtaining his permission prior to making any decisions, because he was simply too distraught to contribute any more than that.

      Fred Murray on the other hand... I don't need to get too deep into it, but his hands-on, beat the street by day/party by night approach is about as polar opposite an attitude to a comparable situation as humanly possible.

      I guess the point is, while Fred's lack of cooperation in itself seems very unusual, the fact that his behavior even a layer beneath that manifests itself so differently even from the prime example of a man in a comparable highly unusual situation is extremely compelling.

      Then again, maybe the Ramseys did kill Jonbenet, which would kind of turn everything I'm saying on its head. I doubt it, but you never know.

      -Jhonez

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    14. Hey thanks for this thoughtful reply and the kind words.

      It is hard not to see the logic of your comments about what Fred knows. For myself, I think he at least knows something that matters a lot, and quite possibly knows why she was up there.

      The comparison to JonBent is indeed interesting. The family equivocating and distancing themselves from the investigation about the welfare of their own child in both cases seems so highly suggestive.

      As for the myopia, I totally agree. My take on that is that Venus goes into retrograde. You follow some clues, you run with it, you start thinking things are making sense, but things always run into a contradiction. Venus just backs up and starts going the other way in the sky. Of course, the problem with Venus's confounding behavior before Galileo is that people assumed one dynamic was controlling the heavens. But there were two: the motions of both earth and venus around the sun. I wonder if two dynamics are not likewise at hand in Maura's case, such that there is not one answer about what was going, but two. And that makes it a lot harder to figure out.

      ~ John Green

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    15. Jhonez,

      Slightly off-topic, but: I am moderately well-versed in the JonBenét Ramsey case. I participated in some online forums and have done quite a lot of reading, and have never believed that an intruder was responsible, mostly from the words of Det Linda Arndt (who was on the scene that morning), John Ramsey's friend (former friend at this point) Fleet White, and the forensic analysis of the 'War and Peace" of ransom notes (which seemed designed to stall for time and put the focus outside of the house).

      I believe SAH has mentioned Foreign Faction by James Kolar. It is an absolute must-read, and absolutely convincing, from a man involved with the investigation since the very beginning. Before I read this book, I never gave much credence to the theory he subtly puts forth, but it is a compelling one that I feel he more than amply backs up. You may change your tune if you read the Kolar book, regarding your stance on that case. (Interestingly, I have never heard it reported anywhere else that John Ramsey was an incoherent, babbling idiot in the days that followed JonBenét's death.)

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  14. Its crazy how controversial this case is.. people are so adamant bout there beliefs, but what they don't realize is they are drawing more attention to it just because of the way they act...

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  15. Can't seem to get an answer to this question. How is this book gonna help find Maura?

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    1. You have not asked this question on this blog.

      I have an answer.

      For every person who reads the book, there is - to start with - one more person who knows about Maura. But to the extent that those people then talk about the book with their friends, get their friends to read it, become more interested in the case themselves. This will increase the number of people who know about her case by a lot.

      But there's more. A book will often lead to tv show appearances or additional media coverage.

      And there's more. Book distributors geographically target books. So Barnes & Nobles for instance could wind up promoting the book with store placement and in their club in New England. Multiply that by all the distributors who move the books.

      But wait, there's more. THe book, if successful will play a role in solidifying Maura's story in regional lore, which is basically when so many people become familiar with the case that there is cultural awareness of the story.

      All this enhanced awareness through multiple dynamics will have two effects:

      (1) A reluctant witness who knows something may become more likely to step forward. This could include somebody who she went to school with who does not recognize how deep this case runs and did not therefore want to come forward (say after Fred told her to keep quiet) but upon reading the story realized that she knew things that really mattered.

      (2) A witness who does not realize that they know something may be exposed to the story. This could include the spouse of someone involved, an old track buddy of Maura's from another school who she would see at meets who knew something, maybe somebody who was at that New Year's Eve party.

      Bottom line: I know A LOT about A LOT of missing persons cases, having read extensively about many, many cases. I challenge you to find one example where a parent of a missing person was diametrically opposed to ANYTHING (book, news coverage ... anything) that would bring attention to the case. Because these people all know by instinct that it will help. That in fact provides the greatest reason why Fred's opposition to the book demands that it be written.

      Finally, consider this. There is a documented and studied effect called "the missing white girl" syndrome. It basically says that certain demographic characteristics of missing people are more likely to lead to resolution of the case than others (i.e., young white girls versus old men). Many experts have written extensively about this and there is data to support the idea. Startling data. The reason for the phenomenon is that certain cases culturally attract more attention, making them more likely to be solved thanks to interest, books being written and increased media coverage. In other words, if the public cares more and knows more, a missing person case is more likely to be solved. This is why every parent in the history of missing young people (EXCEPT Fred) has thanked god for a book.

      I hope that helps you to set about making meaningful contributions to the forum rather than rather than asking questions apparently meant to imply a critical answer.

      ~ John Green

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    2. I have asked the question,"How will this book help find Maura?" on a few posts ago and it is a legitimate question that I was posing to Mr. Renner. This case has already garnered national attention through tons of different media. Do I think that a book can spark renewed interest? Of course. But what kind of book will it be? Based on conjecture, his opinions or theories? We all have them. The facts we already know. It seems to me that he's bouncing all over the place.

      Why isn't Fred's statement in regards to this book being written good enough?
      "A few years ago an Ohio-based journalist and crime writer named James Renner started a blog and began collecting information about Maura’s disappearance for a book he is now writing. His blog has become a hot spot for alternative theories about what happened. Was Maura driving in tandem with another car at the time of the crash? Was she running away for good? Did Fred have something to do with the case?

      Nothing appears off limits on the site, including details about Maura’s past – and that doesn’t sit well with the family.

      “People say mean things about my family, my dad,” Julie said. “I take it that they have no idea what they’re talking about.”

      Renner writes on the blog that he’s made many attempts to interview Fred for the book but has been stonewalled, and he questions Fred’s motivations for not talking to him.

      Fred said he doesn’t like to discuss the book but has refused to participate in the project because he doesn’t trust the angles Renner might take, and because he doesn’t think Renner will “dig up anything I haven’t.”

      Albeit a non-meaningful contribution to you Mr. Green, or this forum, it is a meaningful question to me.

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    3. There's another reason to write the book - someone who might read it may be living right next door to Maura, and not know she's missing until they see the book!

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    4. Hello anonymous at 534.

      Would much appreciate if you posted a name, even a first name, or even a fake name, to make an exchange with you easier to find and follow up on.

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. As to your broadest point, which seems to be that James should not be writing the book, I disagree. You seem to be positing that it is an immoral contribution given Fred's preferences. For me, this raises the question of who decides who writes about what in society? Does Ann Rule have to get approval from someone before she writes a true crime book? How? Who decides? On that basis, even if you have a suspicion that James will write seedy, sensational account, what in our economy, culture or legal system tells you that someone can say he cannot?

      More importantly, in my own opinion, you are miscontruing his purposes. First of all, via this blog, he already has uncovered TONS of facts - simple factual issues - that are entirely relevant to the story of Maura's disappearance. In that context, how do you know what the character of his book will be?

      As to why the Murray's statements are not enough, I will not recount the evidence specifically, but you can look at my many posts to find it. Fred has repeatedly lied and deceived about his knowledge and actions around the time of Maura's disappearance. I have not concluded that because I don't like Fred. I don't know him. In fact, I have often - very often - expressed sadness about his situation and great sympathy for him. But that does not change that police and investigatory actions, as well as criminal justice systems, operate on behalf of the public as a whole, not the victims per se. The Murrays can't tell the police how to investigate the case, the reporters what to write or authors how to tell the story. This is a PUBLIC story. That is how law and culture in our society works and that is how it has to be, or you would have an unmanageable revenge based system. Moreover, with significant evidence - which even the investigator's actions show that they perceive - that the Murrays are being deceptive - it would be a travesty for the Murrays to be in charge as they seem to want to be. No domestic abuse case would ever be resolved were our legal system so designed.

      I am not going to respond to the stuff that you cut and pasted from a thin article in a newspaper a few years back. The author of that article talked extensively with Fred and never called Renner and his statements indicate a bias. For, as surely you know (or should), rejection without consideration is ignorance.

      I stand by my comment that your contirbutions in going at Renner are non-meaningful. Ad hominym attacks (going at the motives or qualities of the message bearer as opposed to taking on the substance of the message) are a sure sign of lacking substance. You come off, in that context, as someone with a pro-Murray axe to grind and no way to grind it. So you try to curry personal disfavor toward Renner. This is a shame, because if you actually think that Renner is mistaken on a substantive issue and alert him to the error of his thinking with reason, he has demonstrated that he will adapt his views, a sure sign that he merely wants to get his book factually correct. For instance, I and others contacted James with reasoning that he was too hastily dismissing the relevance of the red truck based on Graves' info and not weighting heavily enough Ro's statement. He saw the logic and changed his view. Thus, I invite you to convince him of your point with substance rather than personal attacks. That would be a meaningful contribution.

      ~ John Green

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    5. First of all John Green, that article was published on March 31, 2013. If my addition is correct I would say that is a little over a month ago.
      Fred gave an answer as to why he didn't want this book written, so to say that he has not is false. He has his reasons, which I understand and accept. I certainly don't impose my opinions or beliefs on anyone else. You can believe what you want to believe period.
      Secondy, I could care less whether you respond to what I have to say or not. I really don't want to read a dissertation( written essay, treatise, or thesis,)every time I make a comment.
      And last but not least, damn right I'm pro-Murray. I hope and pray that he finds his daughter, whatever her fate may be. God bless him.

      Jane

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    6. Excellent responses, John Green!

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    7. Hi Jane.

      I too hope that Maura is safe and she is found.

      ~ John Green

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  16. Well, this story sure is timely: Pa. woman who disappeared in 2002 found in Fla.

    Spoiler: she's alive. Certainly does not sound like her life has been easy since she left, but the devastation wreaked on her husband after she vanished makes you feel more for him than for her.

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    1. The interesting thing about this story relates back to a point adam made somewhere.

      She simply ran into a few bad breaks stacked in a row, when the opportunity to flee presented itself and she just bolted. Thereafter she kind of vanished into an indigent vortex. Adam has made the good point that running away may have been lurking in the back of Maura's mind, but when a few things went wrong and some kind of opportunity opened up, she bolted in a moment of impulsiveness, possibly leading to a cascade of events that prevented her return.

      ~ John Green

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    2. and her two kids.

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  17. There was a woman in the news today, Brenda Heist, missing since 2002 and declared dead two years ago. She was found in FL this week, left dinner thawing out and laundry halfway done and took off and hitchhiked.

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  18. To say that there is a 99% chance that someone is dead is one thing. But to add gruesome details as to how she was killed is another. Do you have proof that that is in fact the manner she was killed? or is your assertion just another completely wild opinion?
    Furthermore,if her family knows that she was murdered then they have the obligation to speak up.

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  19. Just wanted to share this - I know it's not related to Maura's case - but it just goes to show that people do walk away from their lives. And people can find a way to live off the grid and go undetected. In this woman's case - she walked away from her life and it had been 11 years before she decided to resurface. You recently asked how we would disappear - this is just one example of how a woman did just that. I also found it interesting that they cited that only 5% of missing person cases end up being because of a person who chose to leave. But it does give me a little hope for Maura. Maybe Maura did leave on her own will. Most of the evidence points to that it seems. Also I think if she was alive it would give good reason to why the Murray's don't want to talk or have a book written. If she's in hiding, they surely wouldn't want attention drawn to her. Or maybe it's like this woman's case where no one in her family actually knows.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/01/us/pennsylvania-woman-reappears/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

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    1. Anon 6:20 I read that same article the other day. It made me think, if Maura did choose to leave how would she be getting by? Esp in this job market? She had really no money. She had no job lined up, was not through with her education, didn't have a great past/background check. So how could we say that she would be living well, eating well, working a decent enough job to supply herself..and be able to afford running in marathons? lol. The woman in the above article was homeless for quite some time. Who did Maura know on campus that thought so highly of her that they would want to do anything possible to make sure her runaway plan went as smooth as possible, and helped her leave? I just don't think a 21 year old without any real resources or support system could do it on her own.

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    2. Also interesting is that the missing woman was turning herself in on warrants in FL-- meaning she had run-ins with the law, and the fact that she was a missing person never was in law enforcement's radar.

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    3. *shrug* I realize it's not in the same market, but I moved to L.A. when I was 21, found a pad, my roommate happened to have the same job skills I did, recommended me at his old firm, and I had a job within three weeks.

      I recognize Maura's situation was different and she would have extra difficulties. But I'm just addressing your point -- I came to L.A. at 21 not knowing a soul here and I was supporting myself within a month. It's not all that impossible to do it on your own. Motivation, a small grubstake, and a little luck.

      adam

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  20. Go James go!

    I appreciate what you are doing in this case. I am always confounded by the Murray's behavior. They have, in many ways, created the suspicion, confusion, and distrust around Maura's disappearance.
    This may be the wrong forum for this, but I'll submit it anyway.
    I have long wondered if there are other cases/examples of people that have done what MM presumably did, in disappearing and starting over as a new person. I have found a couple of recent examples and will post their names and a link to articles below.
    Perhaps if people know, that it is a reality, that people successfully drop off the map, then they can give pause to consider it.

    Tim Carney disappeared 2004, found 2011.
    http://triboro.patch.com/articles/missing-butler-man-timothy-carney-found-safely

    Brenda Heist disappeared 2002, found 2013.
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/02/3376125/woman-missing-since-2002-and-presumed.html

    If anyone knows of other cases I would love to know.

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    1. Brandi Stahr, college student missing from texas for 7 years, found alive and well and working under her own name and ssn in Kentucky:

      http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/brandi_stahr_missing_texas_student_found_after_7_years/

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    2. Here are a few that I know of: Michele Whitaker; Michelle McMullen; Patrick Welsh/"Tim Kingsbury"; Royal "Scoop" Daniel III; John List. None told anyone s/he was leaving. None, while absent, got in touch with family or old friends from previous life. None had much money when s/he walked away. None had a well-thought out plan for his or her new life. All were featured on various TV reality shows. One had no LE issues, before, during or after. Four had LE issues, ranging from minor to major, but three of them stayed out of trouble while absent. The three men got away by Greyhound.

      Surely there are many others. Point is, an adult walkaway is only provable if s/he returns and tells the tale.

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  21. Has anyone ever considered the possibility that Maura hitch-hiked from the accident scene, and if she met with foul play, it WASN'T the first person that picked her up?

    Everyone is always going on about how she couldn't have been abducted in the few minutes between the bus driver seeing her and the police arriving. However, if she risked hitch-hiking once, it's not far-fetched to believe she'd do it again once she reached the "end of the line" in terms of how far the first driving was willing to drive. If that is the case, and if it ends up that she met with foul play, she could have come across the "dirtbag" much farther away from the accident scene, possibly even in another state.

    Heck, if we want to really consider all the options, she may have ran away and met up with a dirtbag 6 years into her "new life."

    There just seems to be a lot of small thinking with this case and I doubt anyone is going to crack the case if they can't even seem to see past the tip of their noses.

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    1. I have always believed that Maura was abducted. And possibly that this happened very soon after the accident. Not long ago, a woman from the area wrote to report that while out for a walk on a rainy day she encountered two suspicious men but I can't remember the details she gave although it was very interesting...and this goes out to prove that the idea that she was abducted soon after is one to be seriously considered..because these things happen all the time. Unfortunately

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    2. Hey there.

      That is an interesting thing. There is no reason to think that it had to be the next person. She could have been trying to relay hitchhikes say to the airport 20 miles north and somebody took her to 116, whereupon she then met her fate at the hands of another driver. I don't think it is likely, but no surmised fate in her case is likely and without contradictions in the evidence.

      I think that I debunked in a post a few months ago the alleged unlikelihood of her being abducted, based on the time frames, as often suggested. It is a long explanation so I wont repost it here. I also sent it to James in an email and he indicated that it persuaded him. In essence, it is a reverse conditional causation problem. If you are interested to more, you can email me at John88Green@yahoo.com.

      That said, you make interesting points well worth considering.

      ~ John Green

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    3. If I could chime in here, one theory I had posted earlier that I do think makes the chain of events more plausible is this:

      1. Maura flees on foot, probably down Bradley Hill Road, to avoid a DUI. It is a split-second decision fueled by fear, adrenaline, and alcohol impairment, plus a knowledge of her own physical ability as a runner.

      2. After a period of time (an hour? Three hours?), the rush wears off and Maura starts to tire, and the reality of the situation sets in: she is cold, beginning to tire, and she is in a very remote area without much idea where to go next, what to do when she got there, and a long way from getting there regardless.

      3. In that frame of mind, one is much more likely to accept a ride from someone who comes along -- because you're already in a very risky, life-threatening situation at that point. You almost have to take the chance.

      I don't represent that that's what happens, but it tracks logically to me, and as I had posted a long time ago, I have had two experiences in my life that were somewhat similar to Maura's quandary, one of them when I was roughly her age, and I'm basing it partly on what my own reactions were.

      adam

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    4. John Green, I absolutely agree with you that the supposed unlikelihood of Maura's being abducted in that time frame is a logical fallacy. I pointed out here long ago that it was a case of the Gambler's Fallacy. It seems we think alike on this point.

      That said, I don't think she was abducted. I think that it's a very easy and tempting thing to imagine, especially for those with some familiarity with the area and its history. And yes, there are a lot of weirdos up there--but the fact that someone's friend saw two of them does not mean that Maura was abducted. It seems that this is a popular view among those new to the case (including me, when I was new) but that when people learn more about Maura and her circumstances they move away from it.

      I also think that the idea that Maura was abducted at a later stage of her journey is, while not impossible, a probabilistic stretch. But maybe there I'm falling for the Gambler's Fallacy myself.

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  22. I really don't think her family helped her disappear, there's no logic behind it, it wouldn't make sense; why report her missing? why got through all this hassle? she's not hiding from anyone. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned before, but I remember Brooke Wilberger going missing within a few months of Maura Murray's disappearance.. I believe the Willberger and Murray families become very close since then. I know it sounds kind of insensitive and rude, but couldn't Mr Renner ask the Willberger some questions regarding the Murray's behavior? could be a possible route to take and get their perspective on how genuine and upset the Murray's actually were at the time of Maura's 'disappearance'. I really don't think the Willberger's would have became close with the Murray's had they questioned for a moment of the Murray family authenticity, I'm sure they would have cut all ties. I really do believe just being in Fred's or any of the Murray's presence and discuss Maura, you'd be able to tell if they were lying. Anyway, just a thought.

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    1. I agree with the idea that there is no reason to believe that Maura's family had anything directly to do with her disappearance.

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    2. Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your thoughtful post.

      It is an interesting contrast, the Murrays and Wilbergers. The Wilbergers are a movingly humble people, who actually thanked Joel Courtney for revealing the location of their daughter's body, which he did when confronted with a deal that allowed him to avoid the death penalty. They also stood completely aside and deferred to the investigators. The Murray's attitudes and approaches hav been very different. But I don't criticize for I don't know how I would react in their situation. (That said, it remains inarguably clear to me that something relevant is being hidden from view by the Murrays ... mountains of evidence indicate that ... and it is perfectly reasonable to try to figure out or get evidence based on that belief.)

      I think you are incorrect, however, that the Wilbergers and Murrays have become close. It may have been pitched that way during a tv special that was done a few years ago on a tv newstainment program, and they probably met at that time. But based on my reading about both cases, I do not believe they have become friends or stayed in contact since then.

      I also think the Wilberger case is informative here regarding one of the possibilities behind Maura's mystery. If she was abducted and murdered, it is not hard at all to hide a body so it cannot be found. Many killers don't take the time, but a serial killer who plots is more likely to. Courtney put poor Brooke's body in a fallen tree trunk, then buried her under the debris of the three itself. Absent someone digging into that rotting tree for some reason, her body might never have surfaced, being buried under a century cycle of compost, and even if it did surface, the area was so remotely situated on a piece of undeveloped private property that the changes are good nobody would have found her. (For those leaping to dispute things, yes there was an abandoned logging road and yes he drove his truck a couple hundred feet up it, but it quickly withers and becomes barely passable even on foot and he buried Brook quite aways past the end of the trail. The trail head is also off an area marked private property and is practically invisible from the remote stretch of Route 20 it lies off.)

      Finally, Michael, I think I disgree that there is "no logic" behind her family helping her to disappear. There is as much logic behind it as any other surmised solution to the case, which is to say not much. One can think of scenarios that are at least reasonably suggested by the evidence, even i not ultimately true. This just as one can conceive of a serial killer scenario based on the evidence, even though ultimately it is not likely for several reasons. That is what baffles about this case: there are many theories, but all of them with many drawbacks and contradictions.

      Regards,

      ~ John Green

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    3. I don't know if yo spoke regarding this on a previous post in which case I missed it, but I am wondering if you would mind, briefly explaining, why you think there are problems with the theory that she was the victim of an opportunistic killer.I like your sense of logic and I am interested in knowing what you have to say regarding this scenario. thanks.

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    4. John Green, lovely post.

      Let me preface this by saying you know how much respect I have for you and your thoughts about this case. Overwhelmingly, I agree with them. But I would quickly become a broken record--if I haven't already--by saying "I agree with John Green" to everything I agree with. When I point out my quibbles, they represent a tiny minority of my thoughts about what you say.

      That said...

      In response to your last paragraph above...

      I think it is easy to conflate our lack of thorough understanding of certain scenarios with a purported lack of likelihood. For example, the fact that we don't know the specific details of how/why Maura might have run away does not mean that a runaway scenario is just as unlikely as anything else.

      The fact that we don't have all the details fleshed out makes the scenario difficult to imagine, which leads to a cognitive distortion. Because we can't imagine it, we assume it is unlikely--or, at any rate, no more likely than the many other difficult-to-imagine possibilities.

      But the truth is that a runaway scenario is actually much more likely than several other scenarios, if you look at all the facts soberly. It is certainly more likely than a suicide in Maura's case. Arguably, it is also more likely than a stranger abduction or a death by the elements. In any case, it is absolutely reasonable to identify the runaway scenario as one of the very most promising possibilities here.

      Just because we can't say exactly how the most likely scenario would have played out doesn't mean we should assume that all theories of the case are equally unknown.

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    5. Here goes the broken record once again. Minors who voluntarily leave their families are "runaways." Adults who voluntarily leave one life for another are "walkaways."

      Words are powerful. Language matters.

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    6. SAH, you are correct. And I may have come across as if I don't believe that. It is true that some outcomes - if we found a way to quantity it all - are more likely that others. What I was really trying to focus on was the concept that some are substantially more or less likely than others to the degree that some should not be considered. I think one problem with this case is that there are many theories that all can find some support and all run into logical problems. But you certainly are correct that some surely are more likely than others and I don't disagree at all with the example you offer.

      ~ John Green

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    7. Hey there anonymous at 7:28, my apologies for not responding sooner.

      As to the probability of abduction, let me say first that I have posted before that statistically it cannot be ruled out on the "too narrow a window of time argument." This because we are dealing with a conditional probability in Maura's case: she has disappeared, which itself is a rare outcome. I will be posting on the probability angles at some point. For now, I just want to make clear that the reason I think it is less likely than some other broad scenarios is not the "too narrow a window of time" argument, which I believe is - statistically speaking - a fallacy.

      Moreover, I am NOT saying that abduction is not a as generally a considerable avenue for inquiry as any other, but instead - building on SAH's comment above - merely that in my opinion, given the following factors - I would guess that other broad outcomes are more likely than abduction.

      Those factors are:

      (1) There was no evidence of a crime. Even something as subtle as the skewed angles of Brook Wilberger's slippers in the parking lot allowed small town investigators to realize that she may have been abducted. Investigators in this case, however, found no evidence of abduction. (That said, I do agree with the Murrays that perhaps NHLE could have jumped on the investigation a little quicker under the circumstances.)
      (2) At least 2 people were aware of Maura's presence in the road near their homes and would have been more likely to hear a scream or anything to indicate that Maura was having a problem.
      (3) As a collegiate athlete, Maura would be a more difficult than average young woman to abduct. For one thing, even though evidence exists that her running career had been in retrograde, she most likely could easily have outrun most men over any distance.
      (4) There are indications that Maura had quite a bit of confidence verve about her personality. That is atypical for the kinds of victims serial killers will choose. They specifically look for vulnerable people. Of course, by that particular point in her life, Maura may have been quite vulnerable for other reasons, so this particular point is not clear cut.
      (4) Given the lack of footprints into the woods (and the possible depth of snow that had fallen in recent weeks, if she was abducted, she was not dragged into the woods. That surely would have left some evidence. So, if she was abducted, she almost certainly had to have been pulled into a vehicle. In my judgment - just a guess - it is more likely that if Maura left in a vehicle it was with someone she knew.

      Again, I don't know and I am not at all excluding abduction as a possibility. But based on these factors, I would think flight to a new life, an accident (like a hit, bury and run) or getting lost and dying of exposure are more likely.

      Hope this helps.

      ~ John

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    8. I think when we hear "abducted" we think of an image of a man jumping out and grabbing someone, then overtaking them, which is the sense of what I get from your points listed above. I just want to point out that Maura could easily have willingly gotten into a passing vehicle, a red truck perhaps, wanting to high tail it out of the area. I absolutely believe that Maura would have done anything to avoid another charge on her record, even getting into a stranger's vehicle. I also believe, based on evidence, that she was intoxicated. It doesn't take much to impair your judgment, especially with wine. You think you are making great decisions, but you most certainly aren't.

      My husband and I quarrel back and forth over these issues. He believes she ran away as well. Who knows if we will ever know the truth.

      Anyway, I enjoy tossing ideas around with everyone here. Thanks for all your work Renner/Green.

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  23. I found a Maureen Murray from Toronto who raced in the fem age 30-34 group. Roadraceresults.com

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    1. I can't find it. Could you give a more specific link, or at least the name of the race?

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  24. I find it interesting that the only person that Maura seems to have talked about running away to was Hossein Baghdadi. Does no one else find that odd or interesting? She never talked about it to anyone else? Either, many others are hiding information, or perhaps she had a much deeper connection to this guy than anyone else 1if she was willing to bare her soul to him in that way. Wonder where he was during the disappearance period?

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    1. Hey there.

      I don't recall the source of this info that she spoke to HB. Can you refer me to it?

      Thanks,

      ~ John Green

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    2. Great question. My take on it is that he was a person apart from her normal circle of friends and family, and it's not uncommon for people to hide things that are bothering them from their core support group out of fear of their reaction or hurting their feelings.

      adam

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    3. I don't know what specific nationality he is or how close he is to overseas relatives, but if Maura really wanted to sneak off there, Iran refuses to extradite to the United States.

      It might be a bit hard to get around official flight records, though (but Sons of Anarchy showed a rather scary example of how it can be done.)

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    4. I don't find it odd, but interesting, yes. Maura seems to have compartmentalized her life very neatly. Even more interesting is that Hossein Baghdadi is alleged to have said that he didn't even know Maura's father was living, because she never mentioned him. In contrast, this was around the same time that Kate M. was saying that it was obvious how much Maura loved and admired her father because she talked about him all the time. Huh?

      According to HB, he and Maura kept their relationship very private and quiet, because, as a faculty member, he could get in trouble for being involved with a student, even though Maura was a adult. I doubt her family or the Rausches knew anything about him. Whether her UMass friends, Kate and Sara, did is an open question as far as I know.

      By keeping HB carefully separate from other parts of her life, she could reveal herself to him and in ways she couldn't to others. If anyone helped Maura get away, HB would be my first candidate for the job. Not that he went with her, but that he helped her. He cared about her, I think, but was not deeply, intimately involved with her anymore by the time she left, and he says she had talked with him, at least in a hypothetical way, about this very thing.

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    5. I think there's a selection bias involved here. Just because Hoss is the only person we know she mentioned it to (and I'm not even sure that's true...I seem to remember someone else reporting that too) doesn't mean he's the only one she told.

      For example, think about how many of her close friends won't say a word about this case.

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  25. Here's an interesting thought experiment. What IF Maura wasn't kidnapped and did either wilfully leave for, or blunder into by mistake (e.g. seeing no way to come back after the accident), a whole new life. And let's also stipulate that the family honestly did not know what happened to her in those first few days.

    Now let's say I'm Maura and I start feeling bad about the whole situation, and I surreptitiously let someone in the family know, say, six months or even six years later, that I'm still alive and OK.

    What happens then? Does the family go public with that information? Is there any blowback or downside if that takes place, now that everything has blown up? Would there be a reason to not go public to shield Maura from some kind of legal reprisal, or would any exist? It's not rhetorical; I'm actually mulling it over and wondering. Because here we have a lot of evidence that the family has been hinding something or at the very least, wants some rocks turned over but not others. And yet, their behavior at the outset strongly suggests a genuine desire to find Maura and confusion as to what happened to her.

    Is there a chain of events that would bridge this dichotomy? I admit I'm just thinking aloud.

    adam

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    1. Adam — You raise yet another compelling and maddening scenario. If, in fact, the Murrays have been obfuscating, the reasons for that obfuscation may have changed between the time she first went missing and today. —KS

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    2. Everything Maura's family seems to want to do, is to direct people to concentrate their efforts on making sure the NH Cold Case Unit continues to investigate this case. To them nothing else matters. If they suspected that she was alive I don't think they would be so adamant concerning this issue...

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    3. They would tell police and then the police would go about confirming the info. Why woul they continue on with a charade. It makes no sense.

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    4. Adam, very good questions. I do think the family knows more about Maura's situation now than they did at the very beginning. But there is some evidence that Fred knew even then. For example, he started by suggesting to LE that it might have been a "squaw walk" or suicide, but quickly changed his tune to "dirtbag" when it seemed like this was more plausible. (I believe the Forcier sighting reports lined up with his shift to "dirtbag.") Another example is the fact that he did not stop in Amherst on his way to Haverhill when he learned Maura was missing. It seems that even then he had substantially more knowledge than the rest of us.

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  26. Thoughts with Maura on her birthday today.

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  27. I have a random thought and nowhere to put it, so I'm just going to add it here.

    One objection to the "riding in tandem" theory is the lack of any kind of a cell phone or computer record to support that idea. After all, if you are taking a long trip with someone, you need to keep in constant contact with them. And even if you had a throwaway cell phone, once you got into the mountains you'd have a lot of breaks in communication.

    However, it occurred to me that when I was touring with my own band in the mid '90s, we traveled in tandem vehicles more often than not. And we did not use cell phones, except occasionally. We used walkie-talkies. Which would, I believe, function in the mountains short-range.

    There's no evidence to suggest Maura owned one, or that this level of planning occurred. But I just wanted to point out that it was possible for there to be tandem communication, once the trip was underway, without a cell record or a break in contact while out of cell range.

    adam

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    1. Adam, if they had burner phones, I don't see how anyone would have access to those phone records, at least not in connection with their names. That's why people use burner phones, after all.

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  28. A lot of people have expressed on this blog, in various ways, the belief that the Murrays have been deceptive and are continuing to conceal relevant information about Maura and her disappearance. Something that has struck me from the beginning is that the Murrays have always seemed terribly shaken by the idea that Maura might have wanted to get away from the family, and that they remain heavily invested in denying any possibility that any part of the story suggests any volition on her part to cut her ties with them. God forbid that anyone should think that Maura was unhappy with any aspect of her life--her school, her major, her boyfriend, her parents, possible food and alcohol issues, etc.

    Over the course of a long life I've noticed that, sometimes, the more dysfunctional the family the more its members cling to--and insist on projecting--a fantasy image of wonderfulness and togetherness that is so intense that they seem to come to believe it themselves, even though others, looking from the outside in, know--or suspect--that it is false.

    Viewed from this perspective, the "grabbed by a dirtbag" theory fits perfectly, because it "proves" that Maura could not possibly have entertained the idea of walking away from the allegedly great life she had.

    Confusing high grades with happiness is a huge mistake. Maura ALWAYS got high grades; no matter what else was going on in her life, that was a constant.

    Surely no one, not her family, friends or the people on this blog, believes that Maura was bubbling over with joy, emanating mirth and merriment when she disappeared, or for quite some time before that. She may have done a fairly good job of concealing her feelings, but after all, like all children of alcoholics, she'd had a lifetime of keeping secrets.

    The family's attitudes speak to me of fear and guilt, of desperately trying not to deal with truth and reality and of not having known Maura very well at all.

    I don't know whether Maura tried to walk away and succeeded, tried but fell afoul of a predator, committed suicide or whatever else, but it certainly doesn't seem like a stretch that she wanted very much to change her life significantly.

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  29. I think Maura would seek an area around a mountainous region. I believe she enjoyed hiking.

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  30. Like I always thought, I think those maps she left for Stowe or all points Northeast were a ruse. I believe she is somewhere where no one would think she would be. Somewhere warm and sunny. If it were me, I would not disappear to an obvious or familiar area. Just my opinion.

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  31. A few things that could impact where she went--

    Does anyone know where the story got started that MM was wearing low-top running shoes when she left the Saturn crash site? I've seen this asserted several times, but can't remember where. Butch Atwood only saw her for about 2 minutes, it was full dark, and he was on the other side of the car from her, if I remember correctly. How would anyone know what she had on her feet? After MMs stuff (from dorm and car) was returned to her family, did they not find any running shoes, and thus infer that she must have been wearing them? Surely she owned lightweight winter boots--couldn't she have been wearing them instead?

    Second, it's hard for me to believe that she had no portable light with her--flashlight or headlamp. If she ran a lot around the Amherst area after dark she might not have needed a light, but few of us Yankees don't keep one in the car. I believe John Green said he remembered reading that a flashlight was found in the Saturn's trunk, inside the emergency kit--anyone else remember this? But that's not a sensible place to keep a light, because you'd have to get out of the car to access it, and I can think of a lot of scenarios where that would be very unsafe. I'd have expected her to have a light (perhaps in addition to one in the trunk) right beside her, easily accessible.

    Third, if there was wine splashed all around the front seat interior of the Saturn, there must have been plenty on Maura as well. If she was wearing dark clothing, wine stains might not have been visible in the dark, but the smell would have been apparent to the driver of any vehicle she entered, and a Bad Guy might have used this suggestion of vulnerability to his advantage.

    Warm boots and a light source would have increased the possibilities for where she could travel on foot, and for how long. And if she ran for quite a while, the wine--and the odor of alcohol--could have evaporated, I suppose.

    Just wondering whether anyone else knows anything about these three matters.

    SpruceGoose

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