Monday, May 13, 2013

Did Maura Run East?


UPDATE
May 14, 2013


I have been watching Topix for substantive nuggets amid the vitriol regarding my posts.  Someone on Topix pointed out a foolish mistake I made in "Did Maura Run East" analysis.  Franconia Airport has no commercial service.  Unless Maura knew somebody in the glider association that it is home to, who then ... glided her to Toronto, this airport is irrelevant.

My apologies to you all for not having researched this better in advance.  The central point of the analysis stands but that extension falls.

Incidentally, citigirl also pointed out that Bradley Hill Road to 116 to 112 is hillier than 112 to the same point.  I checked this out.  Indeed the alternate route rises at 5.6% for 2.3 miles, dips suddenly then rises suddenly as it crosses a creek, then goes down hill about 5.6% back to 112.  This is a great observation by citigirl who clearly has one of the best commands of this case factually of anyone out there, but in the end it does not change the analysis.

This for three reasons.  [1] I used a really slow running rate in the first place, one benchmarked (with the help of an expert on running) on road running, thus including hills.  [2] A fit runner (unlike most of us) gains as much or more speed on a downhill as she loses on an uphill.  [3] Even if overall it affected her speed to some degree, four of the six scenarios involve the direct route on 112 and even if you add 30 seconds a mile to an unthinkably slow 9:30 per mile that only adds 2:30 to her total time.  

Thus the larger point of the table stands even if the assumption fails on hills.  But the assumption, being slow in the first place and with Maura being a runner, does not fail.

I really hope citigirl might become willing to lend her expertise to my methods.  She knows a lot more about this case than I do.

TOPIC POST
May 13, 2013


Rick Forcier reported an evasive-seeming person in a hoodie running on Route 112, four to five miles east of the Saturn accident scene, between 8:00 and 8:30 pm on February 9. Rick likely is not a suspect. Police searched the trailer he was living in after he sold it and nothing happened thereafter.

The relevance of Rick's report is often dismissed. For one thing, he did not offer it right away. Moreover, he has a morbid sense of humor, it has been alleged by some that his story changed across multiple interviews, and many have reasoned that the time frame was too tight for the person he saw to have been Maura.

Looking closely, however, the time frame was not too tight. In fact, the timeline of events is precisely consistent with Rick's statement.

To see this, first consider the following premises:
  • Corroborating it with my former cross-country coach (the legendary Bruce Lehane at Boston University, who has coached 100s and 100s of male and female runners in his distinguished career) I came up with an assumption about how fast Maura might have been able to run that night. As a benchmark, on a slower, aerobic training off-day, without especial strain, an average to good female collegiate distance runner covers 6-9 miles at a pace around 7:40 per mile, at what's known as a "conversational pace." Exerting a little more effort, they'd move at seven minutes per mile, but without much strain. Eight minutes a mile would be slow and nine minutes a mile would be very slow, to the point where a female collegiate runner in a training scenario likely would not bother to run at that point. So lets assume Maura moved at nine minutes per mile that night, given that she was in blue jeans and less than ideal conditions. With the urgency that almost certainly accompanied her departure, this is reasonable. I can corroborate this with my personal experience.  When I was a competitive runner, I once found myself running along a road at night in the dead of winter in hiking boots and jeans.  I was able to maintain a pace about half a minute slower than a "conversational" normal training pace. Thus, there is a good chance Maura was moving faster than nine minutes per mile that night, but she probably was not moving slower than that.
  • As a New England runner, Maura would have been familiar with running on snow covered roadways at night in the winter. This is the plight of student distance runners. The team typically gathers after 3:30 pm, after classes. After a meeting, stretching and a few warm up strides, the distance runners embark for a 45 to 90 minute jog when already it is almost dark, with it often being dark and a busy traffic hour by the time they return.
  • Maura could have taken two routes away from the accident scene to get to the stretch of road where Rick saw the evasive-seeming runner in the hoodie. In addition to Route 112, she also could have taken Bradley Hill Road to Route 116, back to Route 112. This alternate route would have put her first on 112 near the middle of Rick's "four to five mile range," 4.6 miles east on Route 112 from the scene. Nonetheless, it involves only 1/2 mile more distance (i.e., via it, she would have had to jog 5.1 miles). This because Bradley Hill Road and a portion of Route 116 are much straighter than Route 112. Please refer to the first two images with this post, a map and a legend.
  • The earliest Maura could have departed the scene was about 8:34 pm. This was five minutes after Faith Westman's call, thus giving her enough time to have talked with Bruce Atwood (which could have occurred as early as 7:25 pm), get out of the car, gather her thoughts and self, walk a short distance, then begin running. See the timeline posted to Renner's blog on Saturday the 11th.
  •  The latest Maura could have departed the scene was 8:46 pm, or seconds before Officer Smith arrived. See the timeline posted to Renner's blog on Saturday the 11th.
Now, please refer to third image, provided with this post, Table A. It shows that under each of the eight possible scenarios stemming from the above reasoning, Maura had enough time to jog to any point of Rick's "four to five miles east" range estimated by Rick, by as early as 8:10 pm and no later than 8:32 pm.

But what about the scent dogs tracking her 100 yards east then losing the trail? That fact certainly tends to suggest Maura did not run east and was not the person Rick saw.

I am no expert on this topic. But I know that if you watch a slow motion film of a good runner, their feet are touching the ground a surprisingly low percentage of the time. Thus, I wonder: if she bolted at that point - perhaps seeing a police car approaching - was her scent dispersed more so than it had been in the first 100 yards, possibly increasing its further dispersal over the next two days, before the dogs were brought to the scene? Moreover, perhaps she was carrying something bearing a scent specifically similar to those new gloves (like a new hat), which she stuffed into her back pack at that point, or cast aside, which was then later carried by some wind into a creek or somehow otherwise lost onto the record of evidence. 

Ultimately - as more than one person asserting knowledge of scent tracking dogs has said - it is difficult to conclude anything given that two days had passed. The possibilities here require some further research, if anyone is an expert or knows one.

For now, we can say there are at least two bodies of evidence that indicate that Rick indeed could have seen Maura running on 112. Think of that possibility! She might already have been five miles away (a) before the Saturn was towed, (b) when Officer Smith had been looking around nearby the scene for the driver for at most 36 minutes, and (c) 57 minutes before he left the scene.

This possibility brings another into plainer view: that Maura found prior unreserved lodging that night. To wit, by the time Rick saw her - if that was her - she was fewer than seven miles away from the Pinestead Farm Lodge on Route 116 (to the north) and within ten miles of the Wilderness Inn Bed & Breakfast in Woodstock (and many other lodgings near it), down Route 112. Please refer to the 2nd map picture provided and the picture of the legend.  She easily could have gotten to these places in the next two hours - by 10:30 pm - alternately running and walking. And she had somewhere between $240 and (maybe) $4,240 on her person.

Just on the other side of I-93 from Woodstock is Lincoln, NH and a Greyhound Bus Station, with service to - among other cities - Montreal and Toronto. Just 3 miles north of the Pinestead Farm Lodge on Route 116 is the Franconia Airport. If Maura reached the nearest accommodations east, in Franconia or Woodstock, one has to wonder what she did the next morning.

I don't argue that it actually went down this way. Who can know at this point what happened? My purpose is to flesh out the facts and analyze what is possible or prohibited. Thus yet again, we have yet another possibility among the wide vector of them, each with their own supporting facts and contra-indications. 





137 comments:

  1. I think Maura first took a ride with a passerby where the dogs lost her scent. Then she was later seen running east. I believe she must have taken another ride with someone with bad intentions or was abducted by someone.

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    1. Not impossible. I was sort of wondering about the Forcier sighting under a staging scenario. In that case, perhaps she hopped out of a tandem car specifically in order to be seen running? Speculation. But thanks for your comment.

      John

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    2. Yeah because drunk 20 somethings think that rationally. That would be smeart for someone who knew what they were doing. Can we at least agree that MM was not at her best. This whole scenerio that everything was staged is ridiculous. I really respect John Green but keep it simple. MM getting out of a tandum car to stage a running that might or might of not been seen is stretching it to say the least. She could of also been attacked by Big Foot. You guys go a long ways to try and expalin why this was not a simple murder of oppurtinty. Some sicko got her and I think the NHLE has a better idea who it is than they are letting on. But who am I, I only did felony defense trials for 12 years.

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    3. Listen anonymous, I appreciate the gist of your opinion, but could I ask you to offer it without setting Topix-like mood. There is no reason to go at someone else's ideas and speculations as being silly. Given your degree of education and brains, I think it is incumbent on you to step back and realize this: every single specific outcome that you can theorize in this case has to its support intriguing clues and avenues of reasoning, but then - all of a sudden - Venus goes into retrograde and some kind of contradiction or absurdity shuts that reasoning down. But in the big picture, people taking the time to contribute to the discourse - whether speculating about the outcome, or like me trying to sew rivets around specific events - are the fuel for the engine for a facility like this blog to help James in his tremendously effective effforts. I can see that you are very smart and you know your stuff. Please share it in the positive. Were I or others for instance to go as hard at your reasonings you have other folks, we could temporarily make you seem foolish. And then after we are all doing that, we are the same as those meatballs on Topix. So cmon man, step up. We have work to do!

      I hope I said this in a respectful, given that by its nature I was chastising you. As far as I am concerned though, the FAR BIGGER POINT is that you clearly have a lot to offer. But lets it keep it positive. Think of some things that James has tuned up that have made previously absurd speculations all of the sudden have merit. So you never whose silly insight will tip the first domino.

      Thanks in advance for understanding and thanks in advance for returning and sharing your capabilities with us.

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    4. I agree." Getting out of a tandum car to stage a running" sounds to me too much a strech of imagination.

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    5. John, your words are heard and appreciated. I agree that I get a frustrated a little to quickly with some of the ideas that are running are around here. Here is what I have to offer to this case. I am a lawyer, I represented some pretty sick individuals in my life and am aware the ability of humans to preform evil on others. Second, I went to law school in Vermont not very far from where MM went missing. I dealt in the marijuana game while in law school and got to know a lot of locals in that area that not many of my fellow students ever got to know. I know that these people who choose to live in such remote areas and basically off the grid are doing so for a reason. I am not saying that they are all bad people, far from it; however, there are some really shady characters capable of some really shady things living in that area. I have traveled that area extensively. I have been on every road mentioned many times and know what is like to have your car break down in the middle of NH/VT in the winter. I know who she could possibly encountered and I know that if these people knew that she was from out of state that they could have their way with her and do what they do and keep anyone from finding out. That is why I am so set on the idea that MM is not alive and not hiding out in some foriegn country. Being a person who makes choices based on odds of sucess and failure know that the odds of that happening are more remote than the odds of her coming across a random person wanting to harm MM. I also dont think the wreck was an accident. I think someone purposely placed that rag in the tail pipe and knew her car would falter. I think the reason she was on 112 is that her car was dying. I also dont think it is a coincidence that there are at least one really weird person coming forward and making videos about this case. There are people out there that know more, I know it (just a feeling). I think she was murdered and her remains ended up in the Connecticut River. I hope I am wrong. Thanks for setting me straight.

      Just another lawyer who wants to know what happened to MM.

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    6. Thanks for your contribution anonymous at 902. I don't know the area as well as you, but I have travelled around a good deal up there and I have had some experiences that match up with your description of the over-representation of shady characters.

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  2. You commented in the last post about having a widget for the map. Well, with all this work you've done in Google Maps, you're 95% the way there. You can create and save maps (just find the [create map] button in Google Maps). And then use the permanent link button to capture the URL (the icon is chain links). James could then post a link on the left as he's done for other resources.

    I hope that helps. Grab me via email if you need anything else.

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    1. Great, thanks for the tip.

      It would be nice to broaden out a map a bit. You know, mark the Melville and Kennedy dorms, Bridgepoart, Hanover, Hanson, New City, etc. Can you change the scope in a widget? If not, maybe just leave it on google and make it a link?

      In any case, I think there will be a useful mapping idea coming together at some point.

      John

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    2. John, Would adding a backpack and several bottles of liquor change her run times significantly?

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  3. I had a thought last night while thinking about poor Maura in the cold ... does anyone know if she had any interest in skiing? If she indeed did searches, and had maps, for both Stowe and Burlington, well, my first thought is skiing. There would be plenty of good snow at that time of year and easy access to it from those locations. Why was she traveling east away from those locations, though? Could she not find lodging because of last minute planning? Was she only overnighting near / in the White Mountains to ski the next day? If skiing was in the plans, are there any historical connections there? Perhaps friends around there area with whom she'd ski? Or, perhaps, someone else made reservations, or inquired about reservations that we might find?

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    1. Thanks for the comments. The possibility that someone else made reservations - in my view - may align with the Londonderry Ping. It could indicate that somebody was driving up from Boston to meet her. I can't think of a reason to rule out a skiing trip, per se. But if a week away to ski and refresh her mind with a friend was all that she was up to, the scenario suggests that she is now dead. It is really hard to imagine the car being left in the road without an intent to come back and get it if she was going skiing.

      ~ John

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    2. I don't think they found any ski gear such as goggles, ski gloves, pants, socks, etc. She could have rented skis and boots, but usually one brings along the ski outfit. I doubt skiing was on her agenda.

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    3. Also ski tickets cost a bundle, and she had very limited funds.

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  4. Thanks, John!!!

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    1. Thanks for the comment! Who are you? : )

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Ahhhh ... I see. My bad. Thanks again Keli.

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  5. Don't see that it is possible she made it to the location RF saw her. No one comes forward to say they see someone jogging along either road which means she has to get out of sight with each car approaching from either direction. That would also leave a trace of some sort in the snow banks as she tries to get off the road. According to LE they checked for any indication of Maura exiting the road. Butch Atwood indicates that a few cars pass as he is on the porch talking with dispatch so there is some traffic on this road.

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    1. Good points all. I believe that Bradley HIll Road and 116 are less traveled, so it could be that she took that alternate route. In the end, I don't know. What I was aiming for was to conclude either that Rick could not have seen her or could have. Physically and logistically it was possible for Maura to get to where Rick saw here and not at all unlikely. Whether she did is another question, affected by other factors, such as the one you mention.

      Thanks for the comment.

      John

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    2. All those roads are less traveled at that time of night during that season of the year. I lived in the area for 3 years very close to the place she was last seen. It is dark, cold and remote. People rarely leave their houses after the sun goes down. Everything closes early so there is no reason to be out.

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    3. Yeah, I agree with this and I also have spent a good amount of time up there at night. But I wonder if you agree that 112 is more travelled than 116 in the vicinity of 112? Also, Atwood - according to some (although no sources were offered) - said he saw a few cars go by.

      Bigger picture: I am with you that certainly were not enough cars to prevent Maura from furtively moving down the road.

      Good discussion of this between Adam and Chris below on this thread.

      John

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    4. I have always thought it strange that Forcier said to LE that "he did not see any activity" when he came home when in fact for what I remember he said he got home precisely around the time when he should have seen police activity around the crash. I wonder if the time when he said he got home was ever substantiated. It must have been because I have never heard anyone disputing it. But if it was substantiated then why was he a POI for such long time? Can anyone shed some light on this specific issue

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    5. If RF went home by way of RT 116/BHR that night, it is likely he did NOT see the flashing lights. It is nearly the same distance as JG's analysis shows, and I know 116 is a better road to travel on, especially in winter with the frost heaves on 112. I don't recall ever seeing it stated what route he took home that night or regularly.

      RF's house (and the trailer he was living in next to the house) sits quite a ways back from 112 and BHR. The driveway is up BHR closer to the house. We do not know where the emergency vehicles were at the time he reportedly came home. Common sense would dictate that on the WB side emergency vehicles with flashing lights would be a ways from the Saturn, possibly even on the other side of the curve to alert oncoming drivers from that direction and on RF's side an emergency vehicle should have been placed past BHR, down the hill and around that curve to alert drivers before the hill and curve. Both locations would be well out of sight of RF's house and his travel down BHR from 116. Would there be a need for much flashing lights right at the vehicle? More likely a LE vehicle or two with headlights on, spotlights activated, and the rear light bar which is more directional than flooding.

      I just went to the Saturn crash site yesterday and it is definitely possible. A vehicle with flashing lights would have to be to the east of where the Saturn rested, which is basically in front of RF's house although at a distance. A vehicle to the west of the Saturn would be nearly invisible. If he pulled in his driveway and parked next to the house (trailer) like the current owner does then he would not see much at all, trees(evergreens so no, the lack of leaves would not open up the view in February)and the neighbors house block the view.

      BillNH

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    6. This is what I recall as the circumstances surrounding RF's "sighting". I do not find it very credible.

      It was months later that he was talking about the case with some friends and he remembered that on some unknown night he saw someone on the road that loosely fit the description of MM. He was not sure it was that night (Feb. 9) at all, since it was months later that he even thought about the person he saw on the road.

      I believe it was RF's (ex)wife that brought that information forward based on that discussion since they were having problems and she wanted to cause him some trouble. Add his sick sense of humor that impelled him to make jokes publicly about how good a cook MM was, and yeah I am sure he was a POI for a while. It prompted the desire by LE to search his house and property. It was not however enough suspicion to obtain a warrant for the search, which is probably the most telling part of the whole thing.

      The new owner of the house was told by LE that RF did not allow any search so when it sold, they wanted to finally have a look.

      BillNH

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    7. Thank you so much for this vey nice explanation concening why RF might not have seen police activty that night. Not long ago on the MMMG blog the new owner of the house came on and told about one or two searches that were done after she moved to the house. The last one she spoke of the explanaton they gave her for it. "That there was a highly trained dog which happened to be in the area with its handler and they would like to do one more search." I cant remember when that last search was done but it seemed like not that long ago...Thanks....

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  6. Very interesting analysis to think about, John! Do you or James know if there have been any searches done in those areas (or if the helicopter search that James wrote about in a previous post covered this area)? --VA

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    1. I have been wanting to get into tracking down all the sources about where official searches have been done. My recollection is that the official searches were within 5 miles of the scene, which - if Rick indeed saw her - may mean that she was out of the search range within 70 minutes after the crash. But I have to verify this. I'll let you know.

      John

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  7. Comment on the Dog. The dog is trained to follow a given scent until it is no longer. The dog was given a glove with a scent and followed it approx 100 yards. That dog will follow ANY scent on that glove. So lets say that someone at the accident scene like Cecil Smith handled the gloves in the car. Cecil Smith also walks to the point of Butch Atwoods home 100 yards away. The dog would then follow the scent of Cecil Smith to that point. There is also transfer of scent that can happen. Lets say Cecil Smith has his body or part of it in the car checking things out. He now has Maura's scent on him and the dog follows it 100 yards. My point is the dog was called 2 days later and the car and it's contents contaminated at that point. A red herring of sorts. I use Cecil Smith because there is evidence that he was actually in the car while still at the scene which makes the transfer very possible. Look at the timeline and look at the original Grafton dispatch log that references the BOLO at 1954. Cecil Smith has a piece of info that he can only obtain by entering the vehicle. Post for another day.

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    1. This is very helpful information. Your diction strongly indicates that you know your stuff. Would love to hear more and be referred to some sources. The dogs are another of those seemingly indicative clues that can take you a long way, but perhaps a long way down a blind alley.

      Also, if you can sign a first name, even a fake one, it would be much appreciated so we can all keep each other straight.

      John

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  8. Excellent analysis. It had occurred to me that Forcier's account had not been looked at closely enough. There were certain things that drew Forcier's attention as a suspect, and there was some speculation that the story was invented to draw suspicion away form him. If Forcier is cleared, then chances are the story is true...and if so chances are the person he saw was Maura.

    BUT...at some point in the investigation the hotels within running range MUST have been checked. That would be basic missing persons 101. If someone along the line didn't check this, then that's investigative malpractice. Wheter someone of Maura's description checked in on one of those nights should be ascertainable. I would be shocked if this wasn't the case.

    Whether she could have caught a Greyhound out of the area, assuming she was planning an escape all along (or suddenply plumped for this option thinking that she was now out of other ones) strikes me as a long more probable.

    My feeling from quite a while back, and this is based on personal first hand experience with two situations that I went through quite similar to the one Maura was facing after the wreck, and how I myself reacted, was that her first impulse was to fly very far away without much thought beyond the fact that she had the opportunity and the means (her running skill). And following on that, after a few hours of running in the cold, once the alcohol wore off, the sweat started to make her chilly, and she began to be fatigued (keep in mind she had no sleep Thursday night), that at that point she would be far more likely to take a ride with a stranger than immediately after the wreck.

    Once we get a little further into this, there might be a logic problem we could run that would eliminate some possibilities. Something along the lines of: if red truck ahead of Maura, not involved; if Maura runs east then red truck not involved, etc.

    adam

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    1. Great insights Adam, once again.

      I would hope that all the hotels in Franconia and Woodstock were checked. But I pause there a moment. I mean, I myself was competitive and pretty good distance runner. Yet for years I dismissed the possibility - in looking at maps - that she made it down to Woodstock (or even tried to) or up to Franconia. Only when I simply looked at the issue relying on objective assumptions did I see that I had been too hasty. So I wonder if perhaps the intuitive unlikely-seeming-ness of her getting to those places on foot, where even me as a former runner underestimated her capability to do it, might have caused LE to not sufficiently pursue that angle. They seemed to be taking the runaway or suicide line pretty quickly, so who knows. I have to think those lodgings were checked, but it nags at me as a possibility that they were not.

      Your second point is even better. She would have been getting tired and cold after a while. A ride would have become more attractive. The irony here is that if somebody simply killed her and dumped her body, if it was her that Forcier saw, I think the areas that have been searched are not the right places. I have to verify this and read more sources, but it seems like official searches were within 5 miles. If Forcier saw her, that is exactly the wrong place to have looked.

      Thanks again Adam.

      John

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    2. Is there a way we can find out about whether the motel angle was checked? This would be a great thing to rule in or out.

      It is frustrating to have to work at cross purposes to the family, because surely if anyone would know the answer, they would.

      adam

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    3. That's a question for Renner. James ... any insight?

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    4. I clearly understood that days after she disappeared family and friends had gone "knocking on neighborhood doors". Literally. And I wonder if that included some nearby motels..I also noticed that there were "camp grounds"not far from she would have been and I always wondered if police had checked those areas.

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  9. One other thought...B & B probably would not have let Maura in as late as 10:30. Those places close up early in general. A motel probably would.

    adam

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    1. Iknow that Dartmouth College has lodgins available and that those would not be too far from where she was going..?

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  10. The reasoning doesn't make a lot of sense considering the factors she had been driving for X amount of hours, likely had alcohol in her system, not dressed for running, not a lot of working knowledge of the area. Why would she just take off running away from her accident down the stretch of road she'd been driving down. Wouldn't it be more likely to run BACKTRACK the way she came where she would have at least an idea of what is behind her versus tearing off and running into the unknown? A runner doesn't run an unknown path. It makes more sense to imagine she ran back the way she came then ran into the night the opposite way,

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    1. As a first matter, the reasoning makes sense. Somebody saw someone in the exactly the right time frame wearing clothes similar to hers. So, as for your first sentence, not sure where you are coming from.

      As for the rest of analysis, great ideas. I don't have an answer for why she would take off running, but there are lots and lots of conceivable scenarios. To name just one, she had an important reason to be somewhere at a particular time and calculated that she could make it on foot. Many other possibilities have been posted elsewhere.

      I think you make a great observation that she might have wanted to backtrack. If for some reason she was 100 yards east, where the dogs lost her scent and then she saw a police car, she might have thought she could back track on Bradley Hill Road. Its angle when you first access it might have suggested this to her. In other words, she may have been disoriented but in fact trying to back track.

      I am not sure what you mean by "a runner doesn't run an unknown path." I was a very competitive runner at a very high level and followed the sport my whole life. I have never heard that cliche. Moreover, empirically, it is not true. In fact, many distance runners (and hikers) relish the challenge of previously unexplored routes. It simply is a false statement that "a runner does not run an unknown path" albeit one phrased in a way that makes it seem like a common cliche o belief.

      Aside from your marginally aggressive diction, I think you have a great core insight. I hope to hear more of our insights in the future.

      John

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    2. do I understand correctly to safely assume that according to what I have previously understood Maura left behind her "running shoes" in the car....? If she intended to run why not grab her shoes...? Her family must know the veracity of her leaving the running shoes behind. That would be an interesting clue. Just like the one that she left her toiletries behind which I understood to be a fact because of who I heard it from.

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    3. Good point. One witness said they saw her at her trunk. Why not grab her shoes then and switch them out?

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  11. Its always good to go back and look at the "knowns" in different ways which, as we are seeing here, usually leads to more avenues to explore. Who among us on this blog EVER thought about lodging options in the immediate (10-15 mile radius) area until now? Its a whole new angle to explore...

    As is seemingly and frustratingly ALWAYS the case with this case, there are multiple possibilities all equally as plausible from the "evidence". I don't know what to think of the "person running". Forcier is kind of a fruit cake to say the least, I don't know if I trust that he even knows his elbow from his ass. I'm probably being too harsh here but its the way I see it. The guy claims to have seen absolutely nothing when he would have been arriving home within eyesight of the scene and while emergency vehicles w/lights on would have been present. When pressed, he suddenly recalls seeing something and now says his memory is jogged and it was indeed on the night in question.

    Forcier could very well have seen Maura Murray that night as Johns analysis well shows, I dont deny that at all. I also cant rely on what Forcier says. I think it strange, though definitely not impossible in that area in the dark, that nobody else saw a person running. Yes the area is rural but Atwood's account of a few vehicles passing in the time he was on the porch is an accurate depiction of traffic on the road at that time of night. It drops off to damn near nothing through the late night/early morning and is a pretty sleepy road to begin with but the odds of NOBODY else passing Maura eastbound or westbound during the 30 or so min it would have taken to run to that area are slim. Of course we could argue she was well off the road but apparantly the HELO searches yielded no evidence of that. How far east along the road did they look for those types of things though? Just around the accident site or further? Its also a good point that Bradley Hill Rd/Rt 116 could have been used for much of the run and those roads are even less, Id argue way less, traveled than 112 such as it is. As a cross country type, Maura would probably not think as much of running on a rural road in winter in the middle of nowhere as a avg person would. Add incentive to get away, I see no reason for her to hesitate in making the trek.

    My sense is she got a ride with somebody, ultimately. If the run never happened, it was at or very close to the scene. If the run did happen, I believe she eventually took a ride with a stranger. If she were to be planning a ride with a *known* person, she would not run for miles, she'd go to the nearest place where she would not be seen and hop in. If we could seal the deal on the run happening, I think we are going towards a stranger harming MM (LE seems to subtly agree). She would be sick of running and out of options headed into the wilderness, vulnerable and desperate for an out. Most people would take a ride at that point. If run is true and she did not take a ride, we basically need to hedge towards the "ran away using her own resources" theory. With that and knowing she had no camping gear or shelter, we must assume she found a way to make it through the next night or few nights while making her plans to move farther away. In that case, other PEOPLE, inn keepers, motel workers, at minimum must have seen something and could be key. Almost 10 years later though nobody is going to recall specifics of the night and records of hotel stays might not even exist. Also hotel stay would mean credit card and we know mauras were not used. Every point has a legit counterpoint, ugggg.

    I'm not denying or taking issue with the running east theory at all. Its just easy to poke holes in most of these things because we never have any more than 1 person telling us the same thing with regards to ANYTHING around the time/area of the accident. If Forcier is out to lunch, we are chasing our tails.

    -Chris A

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    1. These are excellent points Chris. My analysis was geared toward "excluding" Forcier's sighting if possible. My game plan is to work on small issues like this, one by one, exacting significant effort to tie source materials to scenario and see what be excluded. If something can't be excluded, then it has to stay in the "possibility" column. As such, I agree that my analysis hardly settles the issue of whether Maura was spotted by Forcier. Instead, it merely shows that it cannot be excluded and - unexpectedly - that the time frames involved are highly, almost compelling, consistent.

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    2. Hotels/motels also take green cash money, and Maura had enough of that, even without the possibility of the $4,000, to pay for one night's lodging.

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    3. Not long ago I had an interchange of ideas with someone. And one of the things we discussed at lenght was the idea that LE should have very persistent in looking at close by areas to the accident where she could have thought of staying. We agreed that that possibility had to be excluded

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    4. It's also possible that she got a ride from a nice, friendly person who was just passing through and gave her a ride as far as she wanted. At this point, she's probably afraid of what's going to happen to her. Two auto accidents, wrecked Fred's car, leaving the scene, credit card fraud, kicked out of West Point. Would you want to face her family or the Rauches after all of that? Neither Fred nor Billy seem to be the warm, fuzzy type. At her age, I'd probably keep running.

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  12. John, I will be very interested to know what you can confirm as the search radius. I believe I have heard five miles multiple times. If that is true, then she could have certainly frozen to death beyond the search radius if she was seen at the same distance. In that case, the search would of course never have turned up a body. The remaining question would be how hypothermic could she have actually gotten before reaching Lincoln/Woodstock or Franconia.

    I would note that if for some reason she had stayed on 112 at the 116 intersection, there is the possibility she may have turned down 118 (off of your map). The 118/112 intersection is only 3 miles from North Woodstock, but it is another 13 miles to the next town, Warren, down 118.

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    1. I will be looking into this. There are some other issues regarding what might have happened outside a 5 miles radius. For one thing, it is harder to imagine her entering the woods purposefully after already moving at least 5 miles along the roads.

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  13. I'm pretty sure that at some point along the way...I believe it may have been one of the police detectives who talked to Renner...it was established that the dogs used for the scent were a particular kind of tracker dogs that were only good for about 100 yards, so that the dogs losing the scent doesn't necessarily mean anything. Even if I'm misremembering that (though I'm pretty sure it was something along those lines), there's still the question of the gloves and how much Maura wore them. I just don't think the evidence of the tracking dogs should carry too much weight on their own. Evidence in favor of certain scenarios yes, but not so much against.

    adam

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    1. Interesting. I have not heard of those kinds of tracker dogs. Would love to learn more and see a source if you have one and/or locate one.

      John

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    2. Yeah, this is another one of those "don't remember where I read it" deals but in this case I think it was either one of the detectives, or one of the cops, in an interview with Renner somewhere here on the website.

      adam

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    3. And the "Disappeared" episode called the canines "Bloodhounds." Bloodhounds are a distinct breed, and bloodhounds these were NOT. Maybe just a substitution made by the TV people for verisimilitude when filming long after the event. Dunno, but there were no bloodhounds showed in the episode.

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    4. If you scare it that source .. or can find something that edifies us all about how tracking dogs work, please send it along.

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    5. Well if one of the detectives or officers said the dog could only track 100 yards they need to start looking for a new K9. The one they got needs to be sitting on someone's couch and not out tracking.
      For a souce of reference, you can always contact a K9 rescue organization. This area has New England K9 Search and Rescue. Any of the organizations can give you their professional take.
      DM

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  14. Do you not have a life? Realistically, your posts are too long. If you just took the time to go back, read and edit you'd save us a lot of time from reading a lot of rumble jumble that most of us don't care about, or already know. I'm not coming back on here to read anything anymore, silly.

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    1. The point is to trace from source to conclusion, using defensible logic. It is not for those with short attention spans. I would suggest or you Topix.

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    2. Ouch! If you don't have interest, don't read the posts on this site. But there is no need to be rude.

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    3. Thanks anonymous. Appreciate the back up. But you know, I say let vitriol trolls troll and patrol my shortcomings. Keeps me on my toes. And it reminds me that I must be helping James or they would not be so worked up about me! The personal barbs that crop up here from time to time come from the same group of 3 or 4 people who play hard on Topix.

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  15. I make 17 miles from the accident scene to North Woodstock.

    I don't think there is any question at all that someone of Maura's fitness level could have made it, if not running all the way, than walking. I did it many times at that age. Maura wasn't just a runner, she was an avid hiker, and the conditions on a modestly cold night on a ploughed state highway are not such to impede her that much.

    As to the question why did no one see her: piece of cake. If you're a hiker walking in the dark, you see the headlights of oncoming cars long before they see you. It's an easy matter to duck behind a tree or behind an embankment and visibility is such that it's unlikely that someone will pick you out. Forcier's account suggests that's exactly what she was doing. Moreover, at that hour and beyond, traffic on a mountain road is going to be minimal. You can't tell me that the cops are going to be able with absolute certainty to pick out a girl's footprints behind a random tree spaced at intervals of a mile or two apart, or however much ground she covered between sparse traffic. No way. They might be able to, sure. But the fact that they didn't proves nothing to me.

    To me there's no question that she could have made it to I-93. I think a larger question is would she have known enough about the area to make for North Woodstock, because there's a much bigger psychological barrier to the journey; 5-6 hours is a long time to be running around in the dark in the mountains. The fact that she was on 112 in the first place suggests that she would have known. Which leads me to a very interesting thought.

    In the prior post we've been speculating about the Londonderry ping, and the high likelihood of that ping being generated by someone making a call on I-93 on the way north. Where does I-93 cross 112? North Woodstock. Furthermore, if you can't get a room in a tourist town, the next best thing to do is find a room in a nearby town on the nearest interstate.

    So let's add this up:
    1. Maura tries and fails to get a room.
    2. Maura goes anyway
    3. Somebody seemingly is heading north on I-93 the same time Maura is on I-91 (Londonderry ping).
    4. Maura oddly turns onto 112 when 302 makes more sense
    5. Maura has an accident, flees a probable DUI, and never returns, and is possibly sighted running down 112 east far from the scene, with nothing to run for except the towns on I-93.
    6. Maura has no problem turning up at hotel rooms unannounced in the wee hours of the morning after accidents.
    7. Maura starts the trip by buying a lot of alcohol, and different kinds of it, which suggestsw a meeting with another person taking place THAT night.

    I do this particular math, and it takes us somewhere interesting. If Maura HAS a destination already, and she's nearly there, then her flight from the car isn't as impulsive as it might seem. What if there was already a hotel room waiting for her in North Woodstock? She wrecks the car and she figures all she has to do is cover the 17 miles to the hotel and wait out the DUI (or do whatever else she has in mind). A road map will confirm the distance. For someone like Maura, that's a no brainer. She'd go.

    Now let's consider the question again. If Mr. (or Ms.) Londonderry Ping rented the room in North Woodstock, and Maura shows up in the middle of the night, there might be no record of it whatsoever. Room is in his name; she shows up after the owners are asleep. As long as she avoids being seen in the morning, no one at the hotel is any the wiser.

    So one possible line of investigation: who was staying in North Woodstock that night? Is there any way to ascertain this?

    As to what happens after that, I almost hate to bring this up, but exactly where was the Creeper's ski lift ticket for, and wasn't it dated the following day? That's the one part of his whole deal that has never been properly explained.

    adam

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    1. Adam, this is a great bit of reasoning. I want to digest it some before I respond, but stand by.

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    2. How would she know what room he was in? How did they make these plans (email, phone, etc.)? There was supposedly no correspondence found between her and another male.

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    3. Wow! This is very intriguing Adam! It could very well be what happened that night.

      Amanda

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    4. None was found. It doesn't follow none existed. She's not likely to make such an assignation on her own cell phone...which was paid for, and thus records sent to, her boyfriend's family.

      Second cell is the most likely answer. It might be significant she didn't pick up when the Londonderry ping went through to her phone.

      Adam

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    5. Good point. I don't know. But we don't have her cell records, other than that screen capture from the Disappeared episode. She might have stopped calling resorts upon finding from the person she was meeting that he/she had found lodgings. I don't know. I mean, the police would know if she'd been talking to someone and they are not telling us who that would be. The only feint suggestion is that she was meeting Fred, which is speculation only, based on the fact that we know they subpoenaed his phone records with specific reference to the Londonderry Ping. And if he pinged that tower from within 22 miles of Londonderry, you REALLY would have to ask yourself where else could he have been going? (Not to mention, why he would NOT want anyone to know that she was meeting him). Speculation all that, but it comes back to this. The police have her cell records. If she was meeting someone, they must have an idea who. I have not heard of anyone else's cell records but Fred's getting subpoenaed.

      Make sense? You see what I am driving at there?

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    6. According to what I consider very a few well informed persons in the MMMG, I understood that the contents of Maura's cell records were really only known to the police. And perhaps that is one of the biggest if not the biggest problem with this case and that is that so little can be officialy verified....

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    7. So back to Adam's original post ...

      Again, I think it is a good piece of reasoning and it is healthy the way you are able speculate and articulate the basis for your thoughts.

      I'll throw in a few things to consider. If she was headed for Woodstock in the first place, perhaps to meet her pinging friend en route from Boston, she had shorter routes that 112. For instance, she might have taken 25 off of I-91. But suppose she got lost. Then she might have found herself at 112 maybe at Goose, Fresh Pond or Valley Roads (we always assume with no basis that she turned off of 302). At that point, she simply decided, well I can take this through, knowing the area well enough that she knew 112 cross I-93 (that would have been how the family travelled to Bartlett in years past).

      Of course, this idea about being lost and drifting north, then deciding to stay with 112 has a broader implication. She could have taken 25 to either Woodstock of Bartlett. If she was heading for Bartlett, the explanation for why she did not stay on 302 instead of turning on to 112 would be that she was not taking 302, instead intending to follow 25, then getting lost. Under that theory, when she found herself at 112 and decided to simply follow it east, she may not have known how close she was to 302. Moreover, after the accident, she may have thought she was closer to I-93.

      This idea is also the one way I can make sense of her both being on 112 in Haverhill and even driving that far north on I-91 before cutting east, if indeed she was headed toward Bartlett.

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  16. Adam,

    Never thought of the whole not being seen on the road thing that way but it makes perfect sense. I lived in rural NH, still spend alot of time there and have been on all those roads. Its so dark at night, you can maybe see a few feet ahead of you at any given time. You are right, you can see headlights for a very long way, its an easy matter to get a few feet off the road and duck behind a tree or something. You can easily get out of the reach of a cars headlights. Its not hard to "hide in plain sight", our eyes lock on to motion.

    Maura sees car lights, moves off road and possibly crouches behind something and remains perfectly still until the car is out of sight. On those roads at that time of night, not a chance in hell she is seen if she does not want to be. If Forcier saw her, she may have been surprised by him as she may have arrived at the intersection in a blind spot or not known she was coming on another road until it was too late. Its easy to get disoriented at night, she might have thought that in running across 112 she was running off 116 and then realized there was alot more pavement than she expected.

    avk45, you talk about freezing to death which is extremely unlikely. The temp that night was hovering 32, crazy mild for that time of year. Even to a Southern New Englander, 32 feels flat out warm at night in the winter. Add to that she is moving quickly. You can get hot running in 32 degs. Maura most certainly got out of the area and I believe she ran some distance then took a ride either with somebody who harmed her or somebody who was complicit in her starting a new life.

    As for Woodstock lodging, it could have been anywhere, could have also been Lincoln proper or Loon. I believe she was on 112 and not 302 because she planned to be in the Woodstock/Lincoln/Loon area. Fred assumes Bartlett and laments that she was not on 302 but I believe Maura took 112 for a very specific reason. She likely took US 302 off I-91 through VT into NH. If she wanted to stay on 302, she would have. You have to be trying to turn on 112, 302 is the bigger road and easier to follow.

    As for getting names of people staying at hotels that night in the entire area along 112 from Haverhill to east of Lincoln (Loon), no way, not happening based on pure speculation and unlikely even with a more solid lead. You could never get a warrant for that kind of info, its none of anyone's business and should not be. As for individual hotels that might be willing to cooperate, that could be an angle to pursue but I doubt family and friends (who could look at lists) would know the person in question that she might have been meeting up with and you can't question thousands of people and spend LE resources tracking them down based on a minor hunch.

    Its ALOT of work and you would never think of it right away during that kind of investigation but if we had some of the theories we have now within 1 day or 2 max of MM going missing, it would have been a viable option to start pulling surveillance video of hotels (if any), common breakfast spots (Dunkin Donuts) in the area, etc. If you are in an area and alive and well, you need food to live. You cant attribute this to bad police work at the time though, until the case became extremely baffling over the weeks/months and years that have followed, nobody would have immediately entertained the idea that she could have ran any significant distance from the scene.

    -Chris A

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    1. Great insight Chris..thanks

      Adam

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    2. Hey Chris,

      Thanks as always for your thoughtful reasoning.

      I wanted to add that for my money - as you said - that she was on 112 (if you assume she was not lost) implies strongly that - as between Barlett and Woodstock - she was headed for the latter, almost without question. BUT, there are way shorter ways to get to either place from where she came. For instance, she could have gotten off I-91 on 25 to go to either place. in that context, looking at the map, maybe she was lost. We have NOTHING that says that she turned off of 302 to 112. She may well have gotten lost, wound up on Goose Lane or Valley Road, saw the sign for 112, and reasoned, well I can just take that because I was going to get on that road later anyway.

      So, if she was lost, then MAYBE she was heading to Barlett. Because she got lost, drifted north, found 112 and cut bait knowing that 112 goes into Bartlett. And if she did come to 112 from Goose Lane or Valley Road, then she may not have known that 302 was nearby.

      Does that make sense; do you see what I mean?

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    3. I always got the impression that Fred was very adamant that "Maura was going to Bartlett"...Perhaps he knows something not one else does...?

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    4. Chris, you can succumb to hypothermia at temperatures FAR greater than 32. Especially if you're losing body heat to sweat, which you most certainly would be if you were running. I suffered badly from hypothermia when the weather was in the fifties once.

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    5. How much time is missing in her traval from Amherst to The location of her Saturn? Referencing the above another scenerio is that she was doing a loop. For some reason she needed to be in that area and was now headed back to Hanson where her mother lived. 112 would be the way back to Hanson. Her mother did break her ankle and maybe that was Maura's family emergency. That would mean her business was above 25 and a driving distance of no more than 1/2 the the time missing. Lets say 45 minutes is missing then the radius of her business in that area would be no more than 20 minutes off course or out of the way and above 25. Think about it. Possible? If it was Maura that was on 112 then it is as likely that she was headed home to Hanson as anywhere else.
      DM

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  17. John G, you are doing a terrific job with this...very thorough...one thing I wanted to bring something to your attention (assuming you are not aware of it)...I have always liked this theory of Maura running away from the crash eastward. I think Maura was frustrated with another crash, knew where she was going, and decided to just hoof it. (maybe cutting through a yard to avoid SBD). She was familiar with mountain roads (maybe not that stretch of RTE 112)and knew the challenge of running them as you said. However, near where she was supposedly sighted by RF is a road called Hummingbird Lane...on it lives the person who killed Liko Kinney and who is somewhat of a 'screwball'....when you get a chance do a little research on that incident....I would love to know if the searches that have gone on included that area. I bet they have not been allowed....

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    1. Here's another possibility. I'm sure it's been covered before, and I've considered it too, but never seriously for some reason until now.

      As opposed to taking off down the road, she could very easily have bolted down someone's driveway and hid out on the property until the cops left and the car was towed. This was likely close to the crash site, as (as has been repeatedly stated) no other drivers besides Forcier reported seeing anyone along the road. Forcier's property itself was right there, and he was a.) not home and (if I recall) b.) was currently building a house that was in some stage of construction at that point.

      If I were in Maura's shoes and I somehow came across a house under construction (or was able to see it from the road), especially if Forcier's trailer didn't appear to have anyone home, that would be exactly the kind of place I would look to hide out until things cooled down at the crash site.

      I'm obviously not familiar with the specific houses in the area, but I'm sure the driveways and properties would have been fairly clear of snow, hence the tracks left would be minimal.

      Even if it was not feasible for her to go to the house that was under construction, just hiding out for a while in the woods until the cops leave (rather than running for your life into the unknown) is a pretty standard protocol for, say, drunk underage kids running from a party in the woods when cops break it up.

      The police didn't really scour the area until the next day, and to my knowledge they never searched Forcier's house at the very least until after it was completed. And after the crash they were gone within, what, an hour and a half? At that point she would have been free to leave the scene with far less worry than bailing down the road immediately after the accident.

      Whether or not she was meeting somebody, this is not only plausible, but to me is actually more logical than taking off down the road and just hoping that no one would see her.

      Unfortunately, this seemingly increases the timeframe in which she could have been picked up by a "dirtbag", but it is what it is.

      -Jhonez

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    2. Terrific contribution. If you can point me to a source, this is worth a post. Thank you.

      Hey, and listen, could you give us a first name (even a fake one) to work with, just so we can have a sense of who is who as we go forward.

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    3. Great point on Gregory Floyd, he lives in Easton on Hummingbird, which is not far at all from the crash site (east at that). He was cleared of any wrongdoing by the AG's Office in killing Liko Kenny. Floyd witnessed Kenny shoot and kill a Franconia Police Officer, picked up the dead officer's gun, and shot and killed Kenny in May of 2007. He is a local nut to say the least. I can't think of anything that would point me to him... But, he is a nut, really weird and violent, and lives nearby.

      AC

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    4. I had never heard of this Greg Floyd...but he is without doubt and interesting character...I am sure the police looked at him vey closely..? At least that is what one would expect...?

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  18. First, thanks for your insight John. You bring some great logic and order to the case which it needs.

    Adam - Thanks for your insights too! I haven't heard of the Creeper's ski lift ticket. Can you explain this a little more?

    Another thought - It seems that Maura tried to use her cell phone at the scene, but she could not get reception. If Maura ran down 112, I would think that she would periodically check her phone for cell reception, and when she saw it, she would call someone (possibly someone she planned to meet). However, she didn't make any calls. Was reception really that bad for all 17 miles?

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    1. Great to hear from you Hannah!

      See my response to the next comment for explanation of ski lift ticket.

      I don't think there is any reception along 112, probably until you get near Woodstock. Particularly then. Under the Recovery Act, the Department of Commerce gave out $5 billion in grants to build more internet towers in underserved areas (often rural mountainous areas), but that was in 2009 and those grants were made until 2011. So back then, I think she probably just could not make a call from the vicinity of the national forest, unless in a pretty big town. I'd like to check on where the towers are up that way, but that will only tell us data for today, not back in 2004.

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    2. In 2004 there was not even an inkling of cell phone coverage in the area of The Weathered Barn. Even today it remains sporadic---there's some at the high spots of Swiftwater Circle and some spots along Valley Rd but not much on 112 until you get to Lost River area.

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    3. I have always wondered why there was not any cell phone activity form Maura's phone whatsoever. That lack of phone activity is one of the reasons I have always believed that Maura was harmed very soon after she crashed. But the real problem with this assumption is that not one, except the police, know whether there was phone activity or not. What I would like to ask is the following. When she, and if she got to an area where THERE WAS phone reception would not her phone her phone have given a signal (ping) even if the phone was not in use?

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  19. I would rule out any departure at the Franconia Airport. It is a privately owned small strip used mostly for hobbyists & Gliders during the summer. In fact I can’t ever remember seeing it plowed in the winter. More info on the airport can be found here. http://www.airnav.com/airport/1B5.

    Both 112 and 116 are extremely rural and not traveled often past ‘rush hour’. Most traffic on these roads is by folks who live at one end and work at the other. I do believe that you should factor in the type of terrain both 112 and 116 are in your estimation of running time. Both roads include some incredible hills. Also a quick point to note is that there are a few hiking trails off of 112 including ‘rest area’ type trail head parking w/bathrooms. Although I do not know the year they were built.

    Lastly while Greyhound does stop in Lincoln there is not a station. You purchase your tickets at a local gas station. Additionally I believe that at the time of the accident the bus only stopped in Lincoln if a ticket has been purchased in advance or if there was a patron getting off in Lincoln (Londonderry ping?).

    Thank you for this post it is quite intriguing it sure does make me want to drive out that way for a better look. Maybe this weekend.

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    1. You must have missed that I posted and update with a tail between the legs apology for this incorrect speculation. Someone on Topix pointed it out (I check in there to see if occasionally amid all the acting out someone says something worthwhile). While vitriolic and spiteful in presentation, folks caught some good thing, including this embarrassing error of mine.

      You know what's really funny: when I was in college I rode in one of the gliders that is housed there which is the only activity at that airport. Shame on me for f_____ that one up.

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  20. Supposedly, she had her backpack with her. Would that have slowed her down a bit?

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    1. Yes, but that nine minutes a mile is really slow for a collegiate runner. I used to jog to classes at BU with a backpack. It slowed me, but not that much. That said, good point. I tried to use a slow pace to judge the feasibility.

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    2. Also, it was pitch black. That would slow anyone down, unless she had a flashlight. I have never read anywhere that she could have had a flashlight that evening. It wasn't reported that it was missing from the car.

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    3. She had just been in an accident, had been drinking, was probably upset, and it was cold and road conditions were not great. She had left track right and was no longer on the team? Sure, she can most certainly run faster than an average girl...I run a mile in about 12 minutes. I just dont see her running like that under these circumstances and conditions. This just screams crime of opportunity to me.

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  21. Creeper's ski lift ticket? Can you expand on that Adam? Somehow I missed that.

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    1. I think I should have said "the Creep.". Renner's nickname IIRC. At LAX waiting to fly to London so can't write much but Google "Maura Murray 8th anniversary taunts" should tell you what you need to know.

      Adam

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    2. He's referring to Alden Olsen's second mental illness on display video (after the laughing maniacally one). It featured a ski left ticket for Bretton Woods dated February 10.

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    3. It was dated for the 11th. Come on JG, these are elementary details you are screwing up. It makes things more confusing than they already are when you misstate basic facts.

      BillNH

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  22. If we put Rick Forcier's sighting to one side, it's possible that she even walked away to a local town without running. As someone mentioned, you can hide yourself when traffic comes. That gives you until dawn. I once walked about 10 miles in the dead of night and it really wasn't a problem. Further would be possible.

    However, I'm not sure if it fits with being in a desperate state of mind. It seems more cool and collected behaviour to me. What do people think? Would you do it, if your entire world was screwed up, or would you take a ride?

    In favour of this theory, maybe she took very few personal possessions from the car because she knew she'd have to carry them. Perhaps she took the alcohol simply to remove it from the eyes of the police.

    Chris

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    1. You can walk 17 miles in about 4.5-6 hours depending on how fast you move. If she ran the first five, I think she could have made it by 11:00 pm with a mixture of running or walking.

      That she left stuff in the car is a part of the puzzle. Did she intend to come back for the car? Was she desperate to get somewhere by a certain time? Was she desperate to not be confronted at the scene? Was she snatched by nefarious character?

      More questions than answers now. But I have feeling Renner is inching closer to getting that first domino to fall.

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    2. One of the issues that someone who seems close to the family always asked in private conversation was why "Maura had left ALL her toiletries behind" That would include her toothbrush. It made me think that the reason was that she hought she would be coming back soon to re-trieve them because at that age college girls are fastidious about personal hygiene and specially their teeth.

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    3. Good thoughts Chris. As someone who runs and has struggled with depression, I can say that I would probably run about a mile or two before running into the woods and having a breakdown. I would probably get moving again, but it would take some time.

      The only exceptions that I can see are if I was:
      +Running with a purpose (to meet/get support from someone I knew and trusted)
      +Running for my life

      The point is, I agree with you, it's hard to imagine a drunk, desperate person walking or running in a collected manner all the way to the next town.

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    4. As far as MM leaving stuff in the car; I would think most of it could be considered replaceable. The diamond necklace does seem like an odd thing to bring, but with the rumors that her relationship with her BF may have been in decline, she may have brought it along to sell it at some point and then in her rushed departure, neglected to take it from the car.

      Not waiting for paychecks that she was due and emptying her bank account and spending a good portion of it on alcohol, makes me think she was meeting someone or had some idea that she would be in a situation where money would not be a concern. I don't think she had the mindset that this money would need to last her for any real length of time. I would be thinking: Do I have enough for a room, food, gas to my destination or to get home? It seems like money wasn't a huge concern. So maybe she did leave with Dad's money.

      As for the alcohol, if she took it with her, I can only assume at some point she would have realized it was more trouble to carry than it was worth and tossed it. She would have had to wrap the bottles in clothes or something to keep them from breaking as she ran. That's what I would have been looking for on the sides of the road going east.

      As I have posted elsewhere, on a moonless night it would be pitch black without street lights. I live in a rural area of NH (woods on both sides of the road) and I cannot make my way to my mailbox without a flashlight at night. Even with your eyes adjusting to ambient light, I just don't see being able to move very fast.

      Lastly, just a comment about the book, Not Without Peril: Um, not so ominous. I read it and loved it. Very interesting and entertaining - and I am not a hiker. I can imagine that a hiker would be all the more enamored of it. It's not about people going to the mountains to die - it's about accidents and misadventures - none of it glorified.

      All in all I believe she made up her mind to leave and yet, it was an impulsive decision. I think she planned it with another person and that gave her the impetus to move forward without serious planning or thinking very far ahead to be more sensibly prepared. I am a mom and my daughter at 21- although very bright - would not have had the maturity and foresight to think far enough ahead - especially if she was planning it with another person. As everyone who knew MM said, "This is not something she would do." Perhaps she wouldn't have had the guts to act on her own but having a partner to lean on may have made her feel as if she could. Her life seemed very dramatic at the time and 21 year-olds do dramatic things.

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  23. Why would someone who is terrified to drive her car near her school, take off for a place approx. 3 hours away AND after buying alcohol (as well as drinking some of it on the way)? I think about my own situation - my car is in terrible shape and i wont drive it more than a couple miles close to my house AND (though i no longer drink), I do take pain medication. I won't even drive that 2-3 miles if I had a pain pill!

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    1. I think about this too Debbie. Here's a probably partial list of reasons:

      - Desperation
      - She wasn't actually driving the Saturn
      - Anger or severe emotional turmoil distorting her judgment (see your next post)
      - She was not alone

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    2. I think she was angry at herself and with the world that day.

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  24. I forgot to add that when I am depressed (was Maura depressed after the phone call, the auto accident, the party, when her dad was in town), I am INCAPABLE of getting out of bed. However, I was taught that anger turned inward causes depression. When I am angry, I WOULD take that car and drive perhaps even as far a Maura did. Anger promotes ACTION. So, my thinking is that Maura had to be angry to be able to jump in that car on her own and drive it that far. What was she angry about? Who was she angry at? Just something to mull over...

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    1. Debbie, that is a very astute insights I think. When we are troubled and facing our troubles directly, our bodies tend to slow down in every way until (hopefully) we have resolved the conflicts every way. When you start blaming out instead of facing up, that I think is anger in place of experiencing daunting emotions. (Just repeating in my words what you said). I think it is a very considerable possibility that troubles had reached the threshold of anger for Maura.

      John

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  25. John, I appreciate the enthusiasm you bring and how you are open to new ideas.

    I know I will keep reading, hoping someone can solve this case.
    Steve

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  26. This is basically unrelated to the specific topic here, but does anyone know where I can find a link to the full, unadulterated "I don't feel like talking" email that Maura sent Billy?

    I know I've seen it before, but I haven't been able to find it in the last couple days. I want to take a fresh look at it and my inability to find it is bugging me.

    Thanks

    Jhonez

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  27. when will actual reporting resume?

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  28. I always thought it was odd Maura Murray ran east, but for a different reason.

    One of the things I thought was strange about the Disappearance program was that they never mentioned how much money she spent for gas. They never talk about her stopping for gas so did this happen? I could not understand why a person would run east if they just stopped at a gas station. I thought her car was found with a full tank of gas.

    The only reason I thought this was odd was because any trip that I have ever taken, even if it was a known trip like going back and forth to college, I always got gas close to where I was leaving from. Why is it that I, and maybe others, get gas close to where we live before we go on a long trip?

    I think I have come up with two reasons:
    1. We do not want to run out of gas if we are in an unfamiliar area. We do not know where the next gas station is.
    2. We psychologically think it is rather bothersome to have to stop in the middle of trip that we knew was long to begin with to fill up on gas.

    So if others read this, this is my question to you:

    Are you like me? When you print out maps, or have a long trip back home from college in your car, do you stop for gas in the town or area you are from before you head out on the trip? Or do you just wait till the needle gets low and look for the nearest gas station when you notice you need gas?

    I know what people will say: You are asking to explain why a rational person does something that seems like you to be irrational and you are using all this to imply she ran away when there is no proof.

    Getting gas in the middle of the trip. That always bothered me. Maybe it does not bother other people, but it bothered me. Franzia wine bags and gasoline station stops. This is what I think about.

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  29. I also wanted to add that no matter what direction Maura Murray might have ran or whether a serial killer or someone else abducted her, or whether she planned her own disappearance and the little things like Franzia wine and gas stops make sense because of that, there is one solid conclusion you can come to:

    Maura Murray died that night, at least the one that crashed her car at that curve in New Hampshire.

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    1. We are also talking about a young woman who stole a credit card number and used it to have pizza delivered to her own dorm room. Maura did not think things out clearly at times. I don't think we can rely on Maura making wise/well thought out decisions on the night of her disappearance.

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  30. Just one point to make about the on foot vs. in a car argument. The canine track was done a long time after the accident, and the fact that the dog tracked the scent for such a short distance doesn't prove anything. A bloodhound was used, which unlike a police Shepard or similar dog, a bloodhound tracks a particular scent as opposed to a disruption of scents. Even given that, the scent track occurred quite some time after she had been in the area, and scents will dissipate over a day or two, especially where it was on a roadway, with constant traffic adding scents to the area (tires, exhaust, etc.) Where the dog went from the scent items, and walked a short distance, it is possible that it was on to her scent. However the most likely reason is that the dog was looking for the scent, and trying to please the handler by trying. In my experience, when dogs only track a short distance, they are not actually tracking most of the time. They are simply looking for the scent. That's not to say that the dog absolutely wasn't on a scent for a short time, but I think it is less likely. If the dog was on a scent and lost it there, to me it still doesn't make me lean towards a vehicle more than continuing on foot. With the time difference between Maura being there and the canine tracking, the scent could have dissipated significantly enough that the dog just simply couldn't continue. The handler is the one who knows his dog better than anyone, so I would have to guess that if the handler felt that his dog was on a solid track, and that track suddenly ended in the middle of the road, there would not have been nearly so many law enforcement resources looking in the woods, from helicopters, and along the road for miles. They would have done some to be sure, but if the canine handler felt the track was solid, they would have put a larger focus a lot quicker on vehicle travel, and not spent so much time in the immediate vicinity.

    AC

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    1. Good points, AC. To add just a little to this, the place the dog lost the scent was more or less in front of the SBD's house. Both the SBD and his wife drove school buses. School buses are diesel. Thus, there were two large diesel vehicles going back and forth over that stretch of the road, including backing or pulling in and out. It would be interesting to know whether or not diesel fumes might affect a scent dog or affect it more than gasoline fumes.

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    2. There is a topic post coming up with some expert and highly relevant information about the tracking dogs.

      Delete
  31. I posted some ideas in response to some comments which might have appeared simplistic. But the fact is that as simple as they may seem they are still unanswered and puzzling. Until there is no answer for them I can't personally venture too much outside the basic facts of this case because my reasoning is: if these simple questions are not addressed, if even this is not known then one can't possibly speculate too far away from what is known. (by the way, I don't see the particular commentaries I posted)

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    1. Hi.

      Could you send the simple facts and basic approach you are talking about, at John88Greeen@yahoo.com

      John

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  32. I know this is adding on to an already far fetched theory, but the person seen running could have been the person driving Maura's car. I have read that the bus driver's decription of Maura was questionable. The person knew if they were discovered in Maura's car, that she would be linked to Maura. I hate to name anyone specific..but if Maura was in fact raped at the party the night before and someone's family member was being protected....it could have ended badly. Especially if that person was also an avid runner.

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    1. Hey Kelli. Could you expand on this? I think I follow you, but would like to hear more details.

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  33. Hey John. Appreciate the work you are doing. I have been an avid follower in this case for over five years. I'd like to add a few ideas to the table for you that I have thrown around myself. The first point that has stood out to me the most (and surprisingly enough hasn't been talked about a lot) is that she was fatigued from sleep deprivation. Accidents, boyfriend troubles, failing grades, etc. all led to her losing sleep. Even the police admit that they dug up that Maura was doing internet searches 3-4 AM in the morning. Add alcohol and a long trip to the mix and it's not looking good. I work as a pilot and from the training that I have received, I believe 100% that Maura did not make it to Woodstock that night on foot.

    My second point is that she may have never left her car. After BA left the scene, she could have locked herself in the trunk and was in the trunk while the car was towed. Now this would explain the dogs losing the scent quickly, and it would also change the scene to a used car dealership in Woodsville (if I remember correctly) to where it was towed. I remember a few years ago looking the place up and the place where the car was towed to first is still a pretty remote location. The problem I have with this is that the same conditions apply to the new scene as do the old. Question still is where did she go from there??? I have yet to see JR look at this angle yet, and I believe it's worth it to check it out.

    -Florida

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    1. Interesting thought ... huh, never crossed my mind in all these years. Hard to imagine a young woman thinking to do that, but not impossible I suppose.

      You know, I have never been clear on whether the car was searched at the scene. I have read where it was locked.

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    2. Not sure why it's "Hard to imagine a young woman thinking to do that (lock herself in her own car's trunk)." Seems to me it's hard to imagine ANYONE'S doing so; why would it be gender-specific?

      It's always been said that the first cop on the scene found the Saturn locked. The critical question is WHEN and WHERE it was unlocked and under what circumstances. If that car spent even one minute unlocked and unguarded by LE, at the scene, attached to the tow truck or at the garage to which it was towed, the chain of custody was broken and it is contaminated as far as reliable inventory of contents, possible fingerprints and anything else of potential evidentiary value is concerned. If any Tom, Dick or Mary could open the door and help himself or herself to anything inside . . .

      Not suggesting the people of Haverhill, NH, are crooks, just that human nature being what it is, I can easily imagine someone seeing a nice big bottle of, say, vodka, Kahlua or Bailey's in an unattended, unlocked vehicle and thinking how much nicer it would look in his or her house. If LE then found the receipt, and one of the bottles was missing, they'd conclude that MM must have taken it with her.

      Small errors in judgment can expand into mistaken conclusions that are of much greater import.

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  34. Super petty comment here....
    Topix is all up in arms because apparently it was Maruchan, not citigirl, who said the thing about the terrain being hilly. Just wanted to give John a heads up.

    Great post as far as I'm concerned.

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    1. 3 posts is "up in arms"??? I guess the vitriol is not exclusive to Topix.

      Delete
    2. I saw that too, seemed like citigirl (the distant family member) started it, they even took issue with the c being capitalized. True to most of citigirl's posts on topix, she knit picks the small details and ignores any potentially important questions, seemingly to derail or distract from any meaningful discussion.

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    3. I am glad they have found something meaningful to discuss.

      : )

      John

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  35. I just thought about something:

    Maura had an accident that was most likely alcohol-related only a few days before this one, and she didn't flee from the scene. Why did she choose to run this time and not after the previous accident?

    Maybe it was because she spilled wine in the car, so it was obvious that she had been drinking, or maybe she didn't want to leave her father's car, but she felt okay leaving her Saturn, or maybe she was just emotionally unstable after two accidents...

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    1. I have never- ever understood why if Maura had been drinking the night she crashed her father's car, she was not cited for it. My daughter went to a private college and the cops around could not wait to see students doing something illegal so they could stop them. And by "illegal" I mean small traffic infractions. The cops in this town were ALWAYS on the look out for students who drank and were outside the Campus. That is why they mostly stayed inside college grounds on the week ends. I don't believe if Maura had been drinking and driving that night she would not have been cited and maybe even taken into custody for DWI.

      Delete
  36. The points made by Adam, Chris, and Debbie really struck a chord with me today. Sorry for my scattered comments, but the points these three made really got my mind going.

    My mother's treatment of me growing up - stern, harsh, pushing hard all the time, critical, always expecting perfection - aligns with how Fred has been depicted in his relationship with Maura. I remember my early years from middle school through college... no matter how hard I tried to please, no matter how well I did, it was never good enough. By my freshman year in college, it drove me to bulimia, drinking, drug abuse, etc and all kinds of other issues, which thank God I have since overcome.

    Thinking back to how I felt at that time, I was depressed big time. Add in a cheating boyfriend and getting busted for credit card fraud, wrecking cars multiple times, and then more impending trouble... I would have been at a breaking point. At that age, I never would've blamed myself... I would've wanted to place blame on someone else. I would be angry at my mother - Maura at her father - for driving me to that point. Causing me to binge and purge, causing me to drink, etc.

    Who knows what was said to her in the hotel room that night after she crashed Fred's car. If he chastised her for yet another failure, she was probably even more pissed at Fred for not understanding and want to help. Twenty-somethings never want to blame themselves.

    If I were Maura, I would've called my secret boyfriend and said screw this all, I'm done with them, let's teach them a lesson and get out of Dodge. When you look at her trainwreck of a family, you can't blame her for wanting to leave.

    I agree that she had plans to meet someone and when she wrecked, she decided to hoof it. I'm a distance runner also - it clears my mind and was part of what would calm me when everything else was out of control - In that mental state, I would focus on nothing but running - the beat of my feet on the pavement (sometimes even counting my steps to keep focused), my breathing, and getting to my destination just to prove a point. That I could do it. To prove all the neh-sayers wrong. To get even with them, to let them worry about me and feel guilty about how they had treated me before I disappeared for good. I think that's exactly what she did and I doubt she felt much guilt about it, other than when her mom passed away. I don't recall reading if she was close with her mother.

    I think she's living happily right now without all the turmoil and criticism, and good for her if she is. I wasn't close to squeaky clean during my 20s and from the dirt that's been dug up on Maura, she certainly wasn't either. That doesn't mean that she didn't WANT to change. Maybe she had to get herself out of that situation, to a new healthy environment, in order to get back on track with a clean slate. If that's the case, I really hope she gets in touch with James to let him know she's okay. But she may just enjoy reading his blog too much to do that. She may enjoy it... I might if I were her!

    NK

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    1. Hi NK.

      This is such a thoughtful and personally insightful response. As a former competitive runner and someone whose family posed issues not entirely unlike those in the Murray's I appreciate your insight. I also appreciate the idea that as a runner, with the way running can make you feel via endorphins, when things get messed up, we often had an instinct to literally run to clear our minds and relax ourselves.

      John

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    2. John: I like to read your ideas because most of the time you make good use of deduction and logic. Like you, when an opinion is given, I like to see its logical conclusion. That is why I don't venture into wishful thinking that "she run away and is now living happily ever after". I think we all tend to "projec" ourselves into situations when we try to explain a "fact" because it facilitates tentative conclusions but I really don't believe this is a good analytical method. Is hard (although not impossible) to believe that a 21 year old young female would just take off and abandon a brother and siters that she clearly loved.Unless she wanted to leave behind things that are unthinkable....which makes me believe she did not run away to live "happily ever after"...like in some fairy tale....

      South Carolina

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    3. South Carolina,

      I agree with your premise, however I do not believe it applies only to those that think she is living happily ever after. I believe that every theory (even your non-belief in the walkaway theory) is developed based on the individual and their personal feelings and experiences. Those that think she was abducted and/or murdered I would guess, tend to be overly suspicious of strangers, have a generally negative outlook on society, have probably been overheard saying "what is this world coming to?" on several occasions. Those that think she is a walkaway tend to see the good in people in general and believe that society has some bad people but in general is pretty good.

      When looking at available information about MM's disappearance both camps will adjust the information to fit their pet scenario. I can reapply the clues to fit almost any scenario I choose, only because there are so few real facts known to the general public.

      Personally I believe she is a walkaway. I had some pretty crappy elements to my family life during my teen years and I have no problem believing someone could walk away without looking back. I live here in Woodsville and I know there are people here that very strongly feel she was abducted, and there are those like me who feel very strongly that she just walked away. We are living in the same physical environment, we are looking at the same information yet we come to different conclusions. It must be personal feelings and experiences that separates us. In the absence of facts, it's the only variable.

      BillNH

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    4. BillNH: Your braking down of the psychological differences between those who believe she walked away and those who think she was abducted is quite right. We tend to perceive situations based on our experiences and outlook. I have a bit of both outlooks but yes, I tend to be more pessimistic. Nonetheless, I try very hard to be objective and not to allow my own biases to persist. I think both the running away scenario and the abduction theory are very strong even though they are so incredible different..

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  37. I should also add to my prior post that I truly believe that if I had disappeared like Maura did, my mother would act just like Fred.

    She would try to put on a good show for the media - acting like the caring mother, but she would be SO MAD at me for exposing the family to such a spotlight that could drag all of the skeletons out of the closet and show her for what she really is.

    Who knows, maybe Kate made her mad too, maybe Kate was sleeping with Billy, or maybe she did something else awful to Maura. Girls are nasty at that age. They are mean and selfish.

    Maybe none of them want to talk or help find her because they KNOW she's fine and they're mad at her for leaving them to deal with this for the rest of their lives. That would be the ultimate revenge in my mind :)


    NK

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  38. Let's take Rick Forcier's sighting one step backwards so to speak.
    Rick Forcier's sighting on the night of Feb 9th was considered CREDIBLE by LE. So my next question is WHY? Why does LE think this sighting is credible. There is no contact between Forcier and this person only a physical description as he passes by. A description of someone average height and thin won't constitute credible. So the credible part has to be the clothing description. There has to be substance for LE to admit Credible. It would seem that his clothing description to some degree matched their last observation of Maura that they have never released to the public. Maybe it is the hoodie or any other piece of clothing, but he got something correct.
    SO
    1.) Was it just a good guess by Rick Forcier?
    2.) Did he really see Maura near 116 and 112?
    3.) Did he have previous knowledge of her physical attire? Which in this case would take him from witness to POI/SUSPECT?
    LE apparently considered #3.
    DM

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  39. In my opinion, there was no second person, no boyfriend, no other car picking her up from the scene. I disagree 100% with those that believe this to be the case. Maybe the bus driver is involved? He looks down at the ground alot in his statement on the Disappearance program. Maybe Maura took a ride or maybe in the span of those few minutes she was abducted? No one knows, not me, not you, not anybody.

    There are reasons I do not believe the driver or other person theory. If it is a planned getaway, why would she stick around to dump out Franzia wine? Why would she stick around to stick the rag up the tailpipe of her car? If it was her rag from the trunk of HER CAR how would a supposed abductor know that and why would he do it? If Maura put the rag in the tailpipe it seems strange she would be so worried about her car breaking down if the person behind her was there to support her and pick her up. And it certainly seems like it would take a lot more time to dump wine, stick a rag in tailpipe, and gather what she did take in a backpack before her supposed "helper" arrived on the scene to take her away. And it would take even more time if she had to wait to talk to a bus driver.

    If this is a crime of opportunity, the abductor sure does think ahead. I think most abductors who come across a random accident in front of houses would want to get the woman and leave. In my opinion, my questions are common sense.

    Franzia wine guy

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    1. Franzia wine guy. Your questions make sense. The problem is that some of the things you state which give rise to the questioning itself are not known to be facts that can be completely relied on. For example (1) who put the rag there and for what purpose (Fred said he advsed her to do so)(2) in what mechanical condition was that car really in? (3)some people, like me, believe this was a crime of opportunity but not necessarly that she was abducted right there at the scene of the accident. The SBD for what I understand cannot possibly have had anything to do with a crime. He was excluded soon after.

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  40. Lets say I am RF and I see a potential Maura sighting between 8 and 8:30. I am 4 to 5 miles away from home and there is liteally nothing between the sighting and home. Even if RF drives at a turtles pace it should take no more than 8 to 10 minutes to arrive home. If He is on 112 and comes to the intersection of Bradley hill Rd where he lives what does he see? At 8:10 according to the dispatch log he sees a cruiser with lights securing the scene and a fire truck. Ambulance is gone. If he arrives at the latest possible time of 8:40 using 112 what does he see? The same thing plus a tow truck. So for his story to work he has to take 116 to Bradley Hill Rd home. Now for his story to work as far aa mileage he has to be at least 5 miles out to be on 112. He takes a left onto 116 so can't possibly see Maura past that point. At the intersection of 112 and 116 is about 5 miles. It narrows down the time and the distance that Maura had to travel. Either that or he saw Maura on 116 between 4 and 5 miles. Is it reported that he saw her on 112? I also read but not sure if it is fact that he said the person turned down a side road. There are none in that mileage on 116 so he had to of seen this person very close to where 116 takes a left off of 112. 5 miles out.
    DM

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  41. DM: You present a very good analysis. Very interesting...

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  42. Didnt someone report seeing someone that looked like Maura at a local store not too long after that, mouthing "help me"? What ever came of that??? Didnt hear anything more about it =(

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