Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fred Murray was losing his home the week Maura vanished.


Just when you think you know everything about this case...

An astute reader found this filing in Norfolk County, Mass. It's a notice from the tax man, dated three days before Maura disappeared. Seems the county was about to seize the property in Weymouth where Fred was living when he wasn't staying in motels.

Does this change anything or is it just another red herring?

33 comments:

  1. So he was going to lose his land for less than 4K?? But he gave Maura money to buy a car?? Doesn't make sense.

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    1. That is a good point. I think it is also odd how he talked as if it was easy for him to be buying her a car. Clearly, there are some indications that he was not a man of large enough means for this to have been so easy a thing to do. Very odd. The only way I can think to explain this is that he lost a tax appeal and refused to pay or something like that. But that seems remote.

      ~ John Green

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  2. I agree, wag more. I've never understood the $4000 statement.

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  3. It is a very small amount to lose property over. For someone owing this amount of money, the tax man would definitely make a payment arrangement.

    Curiouser and curiouser.......

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    1. Hey Wag More.

      When I was in Haverhill, I was looking at another house that is strange and may be connected to the case. It too has been abandoned and the town has taken deed by collector's lien. I can't say for sure that things work the same way in MA, but it might be good to know this.

      So, it takes some years of notice in NH before they will take the deed. Then after they take it, the owner actually can still possess the property, including living on it for a certain period of time. It is only after some statutory period (in NH, it is three years) that the town can evict the owner-come-possessor and put the property to sheriff's sale.

      I think the process itself is lenient and can be delayed. From what I got out of the tax collector I talked to in NH, it is not that they will work out a payment plan per se, but they will not physically throw you out of the house for a long time, by statute. So it is possible that he had a lot of time, by statute to clear this up before they barred him from reclaiming the property. I will try to find out what the MA rules are.

      ~ John Green

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  4. I think it confirms what is already suspected by many. Fred did not have $4,000 cash in his pocket to buy a car for Maura. If Fred had that kind of cash his property wouldn't have been in the process of being seized. Why, then, was Fred visiting Maura?

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  5. This would only matter if you are implying, directly or indirectly, that Fred Murray had something to do with Maura's disappearance. If not this is as releveant to the disappearance of Maura Murray as my high school GPA does (zero). I first found this blog after, like many, watching the Maura Murray Episode on the ID network. It proofed in the beginning to be a very fruitful place for information and intelligent thought on what happened to that poor girl. Unfortunately, as we get closer to the release of your book Mr. Renner and you distain for Fred Murray has become more than clear (obvious) this blog has turned into a bi weekly over sensationalilzed tabloid style peice of garbage and attempt to sell a book. Mr. Renner it is clear to to me and any other intelligent person that it is hard to sell a story that has no end. So you are going to create one that I would bet would include Fred Murray being involved in his own daughter's disappearance. Why dont you go ahead and say it; you have implied for months. Why else would all this stuff you post on your blog be relevant to the purpose of your blog, to solve the mystery which is the disappearance of Maura Murray. What are you going to go with: Human trafficing/Sex Slavery. I mean he would had to have sold her right? For this post to be at all relevant? Before you attack me, which I feel you will, answer that question. What are you trying to indicate by posting something about his current financial situation or was that he lied to the police about the car. Again, all would only be important to the point if you are saying that he did something with Maura for financial gain. There is no other logical conclusion and it doesnt take John Green to see that. Well go ahead and call me out but while you do consider yourself to be called out. No wonder Maura's family wont speak to you. You are who they claim you are and I have nothing to do with them. Lets hear from you why you felt this important to tell your blog readers and what implications should or could be taken from it.

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    1. Mr. Murray has lied.

      In SUPPLEMENTAL NARRATIVE FRED MURRAY 02/22/2004, he stated “Maura was in bed when I woke up around 10:00 am. Maura woke around 10:30. She told me about the accident.” Later, in the television show “Disappeared,” he stated “Maura woke me up (she had come back, you know, during the night) and told me that she had had an accident in my car.”

      To the extent that you are interested in the truth, it is important to consider the strong possibility that he has lied about other things, as well.

      The only person who has suggested that Mr. Murray would have "sold her" is you -- this is a product of your mind, not of Mr. Renner's.

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    2. I you are indeed interested in the truth, would you not be interested in the background - the entire background - of this case? It seems many, many things were going on in her life and in the lives of those closest to her, and very few of those things were positive. Fred's insistence that "it doesn't matter" how or why she got there have always irked me. You're damned rights it matters. It matters because it might hold the key to solving her disappearance. Also, his inconsistencies have become to glaring to ignore. I do not believe he harmed her. I do not believe his grief is anything other than genuine. But so much of what he said, in light of what has been revealed, just doesn't make any sense.

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  6. This is really great stuff James. And kudos to the person who dug it up.

    When I was visiting New England last week, I went to the house in Weymouth. I talked to two of the neighbors (one on Walker Street and one on Richmond Street). It seems that for several years the police were battling homeless squatters in the house, before finally sealing it off, fairly recently. This could explain some of what you observed there, such as the piles of garbage. The fact that you found a pornographic magazine addressed to him is not in and of itself an indication of anything. Some men read those. Now, however, there is at least the possibility that someone squatting there found the yearbook pictures of the relatives lying around and put the pictures inside the magazine.

    Given the time frames involved between the repossession of the house and your discoveries in the trash outside, it is hard to put as much emphasis on this as a collateral indication of him being a bad guy.

    Something to keep in mind: in NH and some other states (I don't know about MA), the taking by a government of a deed to a property is called a collector's deed. In many states, there are very specific rules and time frames. First, it takes some time after notice that a collectors lien is pending before the house can be taken. Then, the municipality has to hold it for some period (in NH it is three years) before it can be put to sheriff sale. During that time, the owner can still possess the property. I can't say I know how this works exactly in MA, but there was a specific house I looked into in NH and the tax collector explained the process to me. So, in other words, Fred could have been using the house for some time after the collector's lien was issued.

    Something else important arises from this, I think. Fred talked casually about producing the money ("$4,000 on my person") to buy Maura a new car. For most people, that is a good amount of money. But there are indications that he was not as affluent as he suggests: he lived in a modest neighborhood in a modest town, he did not pay his taxes, he himself drove a modest car. All of these things are perfectly respectable. In fact, I bet that house was pretty nice in its day. But I offer this to say that Fred did not seem to be a man of terrific means. As such, I've sometimes thought it was curious that he talked about buying a new car for Maura as if it was an easy thing for him to do. Particularly when you consider that she could have lived just fine at UMASS without a car (many students do), this contrast in apparent financial status and suggestion around buying a new car for Maura as if it was not a challenge for him (as it would be most people) is curious.

    ~ John Green

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  7. I screwed up some of the nouns above. To clafify: the taking deed to a property by a municipality due to unpaid taxes is called a collector's lien.

    ~ John

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  8. The judgement is against a Daniel P. Murray and for back taxes in 2001. Is that Fred's legal name, and if not, how is it his house?

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  10. I don’t think this tells us a lot about Maura’s disappearance. On this document FM’s name is actually not mentioned. His brother is mentioned, Daniel Murray, with others (et al). James has posted before that FM lived on this address while Maura lived with her mother in Hanson and that his brother Danny and his brother’s wife lived at this address on occasion and apparently they did at that time in 2004.

    Does the document explain or indicate that FM did not have $4000 to pay for the car? I don’t know. Let’s not forget it’s not a fact that he didn’t have the money. Maybe he didn’t, but we don’t know that. Perhaps he paid the taxes together with his brother, that would halve the debt and I also don’t know if it would have been a lot of money for him, if he had to pay the whole amount by himself. JG reckons he wasn’t rich, but he did have a new car at the time and a job and I’ve not read anything that tells me he was poor. In James’ earlier post he mentions the family still owns taxes on the 22 Walker-property, so maybe the family at some point decided they didn’t need the house anymore and stopped paying taxes. (Does FM still legally own the property? I’m just curious about that, but I think I understand the situation after reading JG’s post).

    The following is not important at all, but I read that recent article again (A decade lost and the spotlight gone) because I thought that interview was held at the address in Weymouth, but FM was actually interviewed at the house in Hanson where Maura and her sisters grew up.

    At this moment I don’t think this information has much relevance to Maura’s disappearance. And to the poster interested in the truth I say that I don’t think JR is suggesting the things you accuse him of suggesting. The information as such is factual and in the post he asks us if this is perhaps a “red herring”.


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  11. Could this be the news maura received in the phone call that left her distressed?

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    1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from JR's earlier posts about the call, I believe the best theory about that phone call is that it was her boyfriend (at 12.07 AM on February, 6th). I don't think they had a conversation about taxes.

      To be honest, I'm a bit surprised there has not been much discussion about that conclusion on this blog. So perhaps I've missed something and I'm completely wrong about this.




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    2. I thought the phone call was from her sister?

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    3. That was the first call that evening, but the upsetting call was later that night. If you search the blog using "Mayotte" and "New City" you can find the information.

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  12. I am a tax collector, though not for Massachusetts. That said, whether or not they could actually SEIZE the property would depend on the tax type based on some IRS regulations. This notice is specifically for property tax, so there really are no IRS rules that apply here. The sections of the law listed on this notice do not mention provisions for eviction, leading me to believe this is more of lien than an eviction notice, but from experience, the wording of a law might not actually relate to how it is enforced, until someone questions it in court. However if I am correct, Fred could have been carrying money around to avoid keeping it in a bank, where it would be very easily taken from him to satisfy this debt. Could be significant if he was trying to avoid paying a bill another party was supposed to be paying, maybe maura took the cash, and instead of making a deposit to hide her dads money, ran off with it. Could also just be a coincidence. Tough to say without knowing more about Mass Tax laws/collection techniques

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  13. Something else to recall:

    In Landri's affidavit for the search warrant re the Londonderry tower, he states, "Subsequent investigation determined that the driver of the vehicle was MAURA MURRAY (d.o.b. 05/04/82), 22 Walker Street, Weymouth, MA."

    So Maura was listing that as her home address somewhere at that time, whether it be her license or somewhere else. I had thought she spent high school at the home in Hanson caring for her mom and little brother.

    ~ John Green

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  14. John, on the Haverhill accident report both Fred's and Maura's address is 22 Walker Street. FM was the official owner of the Saturn. Maybe for insurance reasons Maura listed the same address as her father and there's nothing more to it? And maybe Landri used that address because that's all he had? Just some thoughts of course, not facts.

    Melios, your suggestion that perhaps FM took his money from the bank and gave it to Maura for safekeeping (or just to buy the car) is interesting. $4000 would get her a lot further away than $280. We know Maura used a stolen credit card, so it’s a possibility she also took FM’s $4000 when she felt she needed it.

    If only FM would talk.

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    1. "And maybe Landri used that address because that's all he had?"

      The address is in the accident report as well. The reason for the address is likely the registration. My parents divorced when I was young, too. When I went out of state to college, my dad had me change my address because he was helping put me through school and needed me to be under his roof to get the write-off. Maybe the same happened here?

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  15. I don't understand- who is Daniel P Murray? If Fred was not the legal owner of the home, it wouldn't matter if he had $4k or not. It would be up to the owner to pay the back taxes.

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  16. It's Daniel P Murray Et. al. which means there are other parties, Daniel murray is just listed first in the partnership. The deed likely states the other parties names, and I assume Renner and his source did some research to determine that FM is an owner.

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  17. I happen to think this is pretty significant. Fred Murray has repeatedly stated that he had the $$ on him to buy Maura a car (despite the fact there is really no evidence that this car-hunting took place) but they're taking his property for nearly the SAME amount of money? But the house thing puzzles me. It's quite possible Fred was in a position where the house was no longer worth keeping and didn't mind losing it--but again this would have hurt his credit rating (assuming Fred cared about that, which it seems he would) & almost certainly they would have been willing to work with him on a payment plan. Even if he decided he just didn't want the land anymore, that it was too big a hassle, etc.--well, why didn't he & his brother try to sell it rather than let it be repo'd for back taxes? The only reason I can think of is if the brother was the driving force behind it and refused to either give up the land or pay the taxes, but unless the brother was a complete crank,he must've known that wouldn't work for long. Better to pay the taxes & sell the house than ruin his credit rating by letting it go into foreclosure. Also, the way the figure of "$4000" keeps popping up seems a little too coincidental. This may all mean nothing,if Maura was killed by some passing crazed killer (though I think this unlikely; the window of time is just too short). What follows is pure speculation,and I'd like to make clear that I do not believe Fred Murray in any way harmed his daughter. Not at all, in fact it seems they were quite close. But it seems to me that if she & Fred were as close as he claims, he might have had an inkling of her plans,or she may have told him outright--something like "Look,I'm under way too much stress right now, I'm cracking & I need to get away,I'll come back when I can deal." And Fred may well have helped finance the trip--after all, what money was Maura supposed to use to rent a hotel room or condo with only $280, a good bit of which she'd already spent on liquor? And then Maura really disappeared--as in, she doesn't check in w/ Fred, & here's the abandoned car, & Fred's likely overcome with guilt. Perhaps there were aspects of her plans (like a traveling companion) that she didn't let Fred in on. And from there--Jim, finish your book and find out the real ending! Sorry for this long & quite possibly completely irrelevant post, but these are just my thoughts.

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  18. @ 88Keys: Fred in fact is an owner and it would've mattered to him. I work in real estate and when I entered the address the market value was over 100K .. why didn't he pay the taxes if he had the $?

    @ Melissa Foye: I completely agree with you about the 4K being too big a coincidence. Also, my boss has sold houses that were tax foreclosures and I know that because Fred Murray was an owner, he could've paid the taxes whether his brother liked it or not. Unless Fred was stubborn and wanted his bro to help put up $$, then he could've done it himself.

    Personally, I don't get the sense that Fred knows what happened to Maura. But he is very obviously hiding something, and I think it has to do with the 4K/ money troubles in general. Think about it; Maura has multiple jobs and has to use somebody else's credit card to buy food? Then she takes all her $ out of the bank?? What if Fred is re-writing history? What if he told her that he wouldn't buy her a new car after she crashed his car? What if he cut her off completely? If she needed him to pay for school, that could explain packing things up. If he wouldn't buy her a new car, it could explain why she drove the Saturn.

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  19. Want to add one thing to my last post...

    In the episode of Disappeared, Fred says that his last encounter with Maura will haunt him forever. What ever he said must have made him feel responsible. If he really did cut her off, that would explain it.

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  21. This is kinda playing devil's advocate, but it could also be the case that Fred had no idea how close he was to losing the house (or, as others have said, maybe it truly wasn't that close to being completely lost).

    If he was not the "primary" owner of the house AND was rarely there in the first place (due to traveling for work), he could have been clueless about the whole thing.

    JW touched on this angle above. Fred may well have had enough money to both pay the taxes and hand over $4k to Maura for whatever reason. I know the linked document seems ominous, but do we have any indication that they actually LOST the house at any point in the time frame of the disappearance? Until we have such information, it seems most logical to assume that those back taxes did in fact get paid, whether by Fred or someone else.

    I don't have a clue what the whole house thing means. My gut tells me it's a red herring, but you never know.

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    1. You are correct that he did not lose it in that timeframe. However, the town of Weymouth has since foreclosed (this year, in fact) and, therefore, the taxes were never paid.

      If Ms. Divonna is correct, and the home was worth $100,000.00, then it simply would not make sense to let it be taken for less than $4,000.00. Assuming that Fred was living in the home at the time, he could not have been "clueless about the whole thing." There would have been a notice posted on the front door. And even if Fred had "rarely [been] there ... due to traveling for work," I would think that he would still be at least a little upset about losing his home. I know I would.

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  22. The $4000 amount reminds me of the Ramsay "Ransom Note" and the $118K that was demanded and was also John Ramsay's bonus for that year.

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  23. I wonder if, assuming that Fred did give MM $4,000,if perhaps not all of that money was his? Did his brother give him some of that money, or all of that money, and now Fred finally had enough money to give to Maura so that she could skip town?

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  24. It's usually someone close to the victim or someone that has a reason to be very angry at then.

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