Saturday, June 15, 2013

"No, He Was Nice"


Topic Post
Saturday, June 15, 2003

On may home now.  I was in Haverhill/Woodsville/Bath, as well as Amherst and Northampton.  I have had some powerful emotional reactions and learned some new things.  Posts and updates to come.  For now, an anecdote.

I rolled in Woodsville around 1:00 am earlier this week.  I explored, walking along 112 and BHR, then probing cautiously up a few trails trails or rutted paths off 112, just to see how things looked and felt at night.  Upon starting my car to leave, about 3 miles east of the accident scene, I was heart-in-throat surprised as my headlights dawned on a moose trotting off the trail I had just been on, right in front of my car.  I followed the slouchy-trotting creature at about 5-10 miles per hour for a minute or soas he moved along the road.  He disappeared up a steep gravel driveway behind a house.  I headed for the only middle-of-the-night food option; a Cumberland Farms (CF) mini mart and gas station in Woodsville. Then I slept in my car on the periphery of the new Walmart's parking lot.

At CF, I got to chatting with the friendly and articulate woman working overnight.  She has worked for more than 10 years.  I didn't say why I'd come to NH. But starting with the prompting comment, "what a beautiful place, it must be crime free up here huh?" we first talked about the Walmart shooting and then she said "and then there is Laura Murray (sic)."

(If you are reading this, friendly lady from CF, I am sorry that I deceived you and I really enjoyed talking with you.  I wanted to hear what you had to say without being direct and possibly annoying you.  Also, please forgive me for having forgotten your name.)

She knew the story well, although she thought that Fred had died a couple years ago, possibly having conflated him with Laurie upon passed around news of her passing.  Here is what she told me.

  • Fred used to into come into Woodsville businesses and restaurants and - without introducing himself - throw down Maura posters, brusquely demanding, "you need to hang these in your windows and ask your customers if they have seen her!"  The way she mimicked his manner called to mind the way Kurt described Maura coaching him, applying the same discipline that her father had applied to her.  It also reminded of the call Coach Lafreniere got, where the voice on the other and responded to her hello without introduction by blurting "do you know where Maura is?"  
  • The CF manager manager once had to forcefully ask Fred to leave because he was bothering their customers.  "Did you meet him," I asked.  "Yes," she replied. "The guy's a jerk."
  • "For a while," she told me, "they thought he [Fred] had something to do with it, but after he died that went away."
  • "Her tracks disappeared 100 yards away, so she got in a car," she shared.  "The accident was staged."
  • "So she could be dead out there somewhere?" I asked at one point. "Mmm-hmm, she replied with a kind of winking look, "or maybe living it up as we speak ... in Canada ... Tor-ONTO."
  • "There was a writer who came up here too," she told me.  "What was his name?" I asked but she didn't remember.  "Was he a jerk too?"  I asked. "No, he was very nice," she replied, continuing on to offer that "people liked him.  But most of the people who come up here asking about Maura are impolite.  After a while you don't want to talk about it ... it is just like ...."  Her voice trailed off and she looked skyward, her hands making a gesture like the French make when they say 'comme ci comme ca.' I took her meaning: it doesn't matter to the locals anymore and the topic annoys them.  But I thought: the real issue is that you don't want to be interrogated by vain people. She was happy to talk about it to someone who engaged her sincerely first, just to make conversation and be friendly.  I enjoyed chatting with her and would have even if I had not furtively stoked conversation of Maura.
  • I was about to leave when she said, "and then there is Tom Conrad."  So I let the door shut and stayed a while and found about him too.
As our conversation wound down, a large red pick up truck pulled, with three people seated across the front seat.  The driver - a petite, college aged girl as small as the truck was big - jumped out.  She was  dressed like she'd been to a party or bar.  She ran inside, a little flustered but composed herself enough to be polite in the way she urgently asked "can I have a plastic bag!?"  

Running back out with the bag, she handed it off the girl in the middle seat, who - her hand guiding his hand - helped the young man leaning on the passenger side door to throw up out the window and into the bag as the truck roared away.  The store attendant laughed.

I remembered my days in college and those situations and it made me remember how and why Maura is so sad for so many: she at once looked like what we want kids to be and we wanted to be when we were kids, but she was also just a kid in a world that offers so many blind alleys lies and adults willing to compromise a beautiful child with their own ugly needs and wants rather than dealing with their own shit.  And I thought in a kind of stunned way, "my oh my, but for the grace of god ..."  

Maura deserves better than to be left as a New Hampshire folk tale, which - if her truth is never known - is what she will fade to.  Her life is even more beautiful as the flawed and struggling kid she was.  Her truth if known, I bet, would help and inspire many, including perhaps Julie and Kathleen to transcend in transcending their issues, like a gift back to them from their little sister. 

Good thing for that Renner, who I agree is a nice guy and who I admire more and more as the days go by.

23 comments:

  1. I really think that Mr. Renner's book will end up being the thing that breaks the case. Mr. Renner should promote the book in the North East, specifically in MA book stores. I think Renner's book is the only hope for this case to be solved.

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    1. Well said. Glad you are here; thanks for registering. Learned some new stuff on my trip. Stay tuned.

      John

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  2. Good stuff.

    I have a question, thought experiment really.

    Let us say for the sake of argument that Maura did get away, somehow, and is still alive somewhere. What would be the consequences of her stepping forward at this late date and admitting it?

    adam

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    1. Good question. I'm not sure. I suppose it depends to some degree exactly on the reason she fled. If, for instance, she fled abuse, then none legally, I would think. What might happen to her personal life vis a vis the media is another story, although I think that most people who feel victimized by the media also court their attention. If, however, she fled because she was avoiding prosecution or somehow did so related to a crime, I suppose obstruction charges might await and it is not impossible that lawsuits could spring from non-public stakeholders whose budgets were drained trying to find her. This particularly if she was aware of their efforts. It is ringing a bell that there have been cases where recipients of emergency services in small rural townships have sued because they got the bill, but lost. I think I remember a case in Virginia where somebody's car caught on fire on I-81 or I-66. The fire and EMS bills were sent to him and he sued because residents of the municipality don't get such bills. He lost. As such, if Maura and others who helped her flee knew she was sough in part for criminal issues, maybe it is possible that investigative agencies could send her a bill. Not sure. I can ask around to some colleagues and see what they say.

      John

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  3. She's an adult and entitled to just walkaway. If she walked away from debt that could be considered fraud and she could be potentially imprisoned for that. She could also potentially be billed for the expense in searching for her. She didn't fake her death which is good. She would certainly run into trouble if she used someone else's social security number to create a new identity or stole someone's identity or fraudulently creating fake documents like passports.

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    1. That seems right. Basically what I was saying except that you added the important possible ramifications of identify theft etc.

      John

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  4. I'm just trying to think this through from Maura's perspective IF the disappeared on purpose scenario is true. With all the new information that's come out I am starting to lean this way a little (though not in any way conclusively)... the realization of the possibility a waiting hotel room on I-91 has shook up my thinking a good deal.

    Not the first time I've posted this but: it's a natural assumption that Maura wants to be returned to her home and family and the biggest argument against the disappeared on purpose theory is the torture she would put them through.

    If you consider, though, that perhaps getting away from the family was the whole point in the first place, the entire picture changes radically.

    adam

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    1. Thanks for the post Adam. Can you talk more about the waiting hotel room up I-91. I might have missed something, although the concept is plausible. Why did she go 10.2 miles off I-91 if she had a hotel up there? Lots of reasonable answers, just want to hear more of your thinking.

      John

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  5. being up there really clears things up while opening up a whole new world of questions. strange that this lady also brings up toronto. Back in 04 all she'd have needed was a DL to get in there, if she married a canadian and changed her name, would any alerts that are out in the US be triggered?

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    1. I am not sure alerts in 2004 Melios. Probably, at least if she wanted to work or become a citizen (required probably to work) or got to school. Even if she got married. Because that makes you a citizen, you would think they did a background search. I would guess that even in 2004 her probation or whatever status for CC fraud would have shown up, suggesting that she had cleared that. Recall that according to Renner it was going to be expunged.

      John

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    2. I am an American/Canadian dual citizen. Marrying a Canadian alone does not make you a citizen...they have to go through the same citizenship process as every other immigrant to Canada. At one time I know that the process was fast-tracked for spouses, but I've lived in the states for nearly 20 years and don't know if it's true anymore.

      Canada does do background checks on potential citizens and I know one thing they are VERY strict on is people who have DUIs--unless you can present "proof of rehabilition" (whatever that means--you can probably find out more on the embassy website) it will pretty much disqualify you. I don't think there's any record that Maura ever got a DUI, although it sounds like she sure came close. If she was planning on running to Canada, she may have done enough research to know this--and that might account for her avoiding the police. Granted, this theory is far-fetched but anything could make sense at this point.

      BTW, marrying an American citizen doesn't automatically make you an American citizen either--I know because I did that! I had to take the exam and pledge the flag just like everyone else.

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  6. One thing I picked up is that if Fred was a well known character in town but they think he is now dead he must not be going up there much anymore. Still suprised that a clerk know as much as she did about this case, even if she had a few facts/names mixed up

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    1. Good point. I think Fred is not going up there much any more. Would be interesting to know when he stopped, now that I think about it.

      John

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    2. My brother has a vacation home on 112, right at the intersection of Bradley Hill Road, about 100 yards from where Maura's car was found. I was just up there last weekend after not visiting for a few years (which is what prompted me to find this blog and read up on her disappearance), and we noticed that there was no trace of a memorial whatsoever. Last time I visited there was a large picture, ribbons, flowers, etc all around the tree where her car was found, but this time there was absolutely nothing marking it. We both just thought it was strange.

      Obviously this is nothing major, just something that makes me wonder why her dad/family stopped going up there.

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  7. Being a clerk in a small rural town is a little different than the suburbs etc. There aren't that many jobs so you hold on to the ones you get. Not as much bouncing from job to job as other more urban places.

    I was also looking at a map of Hanson where the Murray's lived and realized they were close to some relatives of mine. I'm going to ask if they knew them next time I see them.

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  8. BTW... Jeterluver22, your name is just too close to Clemens21r for comfort.

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    1. Hey SG, this is not a harmful comment and no big deal. But lets leave aside everything other than discussion of the case. Like I said, no big deal here, but some of the people who don't belong in this conversation due to their axes to grind or general love of counter producitivity could start to run with this kind of banter. So, lets just keep it to the case in our discussion. Thanks in advance for understanding and keep posting.

      John

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  9. That's not cool at all SG. I am a huge Yankees fan and in love with Derek Jeter. I have no connection to that clemens21r. I used to post here under the name Jenniferever.

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    1. Hey Jennifer. Glad to see you here. Just a friendly reminder to keep the posts about the case, for healthy reasons. See my comment to SG above.

      Thanks in advance for understanding, there is no offense taken or meant by me.

      John

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  10. Lets not be picking on each others screen names or this will seem like Topix!

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    1. Well, well, well, I work my way down and I see our community don't need me to be the traffic cop. GOOD CALL. Thanks BoSox fan.

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  11. Replies
    1. And once again JL22, I say see above. Good call. Lets keep it to the case. We have trees to shake and some fruit is dropping lately.

      John

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