June 5, 2013
Last week, I spoke with one of Maura's UMASS teammates. I am keeping her name out of the discussion because she is one of many former teammates and it is not necessary to name her specifically. I will refer to her as MN. Below is a summary of her recollections and insights.
- Maura was not running well during her one year on the team.
- Maura was friendly but private and tended to avoid detailed conversation about Billy. MN saw Maura's reticence as a normal personality trait, not an indication of a problem and still feels that way.
- During winter break 2002-03, the team returned several weeks before spring semester began to practice. They stayed in a local hotel. Billy visited Maura for a few days during which they did not socialize much with the team. MN recalls briefly meeting Billy and that "everyone liked him."
- The team was told about Maura's disappearance on a Saturday, February 14, at a track meet.
- MN surmises that Coach LaFreniere learned of Maura's disappearance via the phone call from Fred (see the topic post on her statement to me) on Friday the 13th. The team probably did not practice that Friday, because they would have done only a short, light jog was the day before a competition. Thus, the coach would have been in her office more that day. Moreover, MN believes the coach would have told the team as soon as possible, in case anyone knew something.
- MN knew Hossein, saying he was "friendly and liked to joke around." If they were dating, MN said, "nobody knew about it" and it must have been a closely held secret as "gossip like that would have spread quickly."
- MN believes Maura quit the team simply due to the rigors of the nursing program.
- MN feels Kate's failure to remember the names of the people at the party on Saturday night is NOT suspicious. "These could have been Maura's friends," MN said, noting that particularly when you are drinking it is hard to keep names straight and to avoid embarrassment, you stop asking.
- During the spring season, on Maura's birthday, Kate organized a moment of silence for Maura during which her teammates released balloons.
- MN struggles with Maura and Kate driving Fred back to his hotel (a 15+ mile round trip) when Maura's dorm was not far from the Amherst Brewing Company and Kate and Maura were going to a party within walking distance of Maura's dorm. MN wonders if this suggests that Maura needed the car for a specific reason but the Hadley accident changed her plans. "Was her room already packed up?" MN asked, again rhetorically.
- MN thought Maura's room may have been packed up because Maura was moving out and she decided to leave town for a week until she could move into her new place.
- MN wondered if Maura perhaps felt scared or threatened by something in her dorm.
- MN thinks "Maura is out there in the woods somewhere and died of exposure." She referenced the possibility of a hit to the head and alcohol consumption disorienting Maura, as well as getting cold if she had started to run and sweat formed in her street clothing.