Thursday, November 7, 2013

Open Question

What are the biggest unanswered questions that remain in this case? I mean, outside of the big ones (the rag in the tail pipe/Petrit Vasi/etc.) Who else (like the Salamones and Atwoods) would you like to hear from?

50 comments:

  1. I'm sure it will be in the book, but Whelan.

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    1. Yeah, Whelan won't return calls for some reason.

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  2. Are their plans to declare her legally dead?

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  3. I heard that new detectives were going to take over the case this fall. Was that the case? If so I would like to know how they will proceed with the case.

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  4. I would like to see more interviews with the first responders of the NH accident including Cecil Smith and EMS. Specifically I would like to know why they reportedly searched west that night and not east.

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  5. I think you should try to talk to private investigator Tom Shamshak. He investigated Maura's case, (and the Molly Bish case), and on 20/20, he said he thinks it's a criminal case, not a missing persons case. I think u should track him down and find out why he thinks that. Is it instinct or actual evidence I wonder?

    And I'm still a little fuzzy on whether his team just decided to take on the case or if the family actually hired him.

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    1. My interview with Tom is in the book.

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    2. Did u get a lot out of him? Just wondering how much he would actually divulge.

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  6. I'd want to talk to the policeman who let her walk away on the night she had her accident or, barring that, with the tow truck driver who took her to the hotel her dad was staying at. Heck, just the student who saw her leave that Monday evening just to see if she seemed all right to the casual observer.

    John Avellar

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    1. Agreed. How was she acting the night she wrecked her dads car. Did she seem upset? Was she crying? Did she act like it was no big deal, and just an accident? I can tell you from a daughters stand point, if I wrecked my dads car, even by accident, I certainly would not be looking forward to telling him.

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  7. Whalen, for sure.

    I have no clue why, but the situation with that dude has always struck me as kind of weird.

    When he was "identified" on this blog it was mentioned that he was a classmate of Maura's. It didn't specify whether that meant high school or college, but I took it as meaning high school. I haven't looked it up in a while, but he was winning money in poker tournaments in like the mid 90s. Assuming he was at least 21 at the time (which he'd presumably have to be to play live tournaments) he pretty much had to be at least 6-7 years older than Maura.

    Maybe he was a college classmate (although I don't know anyone who went to a gigantic state school who refers to people from there as "classmates"); if that's the case then the age thing is meaningless, but if not, its really confusing and I don't know what to make of it.

    Even if he can't be tracked down I'd be curious to hear what his family had to say about the situation.

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  8. Kate M., or others at the party.

    Nurse "BZ" at Beth Israel Deaconess, where Vasi was hospitalized.

    The people with whom Maura spent New Years'.

    Statement analyst Peter Hyatt. I would like to hear his interpretations of Fred's statements throughout the case.

    Kathleen.

    Any of Maura's other relatives.

    B. Rausch and/or his mother.

    A big question that stands out in my mind that no one is asking...
    Why didn't Maura's mother do (practically) ANYTHING in response to Maura's disappearance?
    She couldn't search because she had a broken foot or whatever...
    Then she couldn't search because she had cancer...
    Yeah...whatever.
    It's her DAUGHTER.
    Did police ever even speak to her?
    To me, the fact that she was so un-involved after Maura's disappearance suggests that the family knew exactly what had happened to Maura and where she was, right from the beginning.
    Would love it if James could talk to someone who was in contact with Maura's mother after Maura went missing.

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    1. I have always wondered about Maura's mom. I think she is a big piece to this puzzle. Yes, she did have cancer, but she did not die for another 5 years or so. That means that she was likely not that sick when Maura disappeared. Yet she never did any interviews or any kind of outreach for Maura. I find it so damn odd. To me a total lack of anything from Maura's mom is one of the strangest things about this case. If my daughter went missing, and I had a broken foot, you bet your ass I would spend every day in the search area and be in the media pleading for information. What was the deal with Maura's mom? Does anyone know anything about her? Her boyfriend's mom had more to do with this that Maura's own mother.

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    2. James,
      Only because of the calls BZ supposedly received from an anonymous woman who asked many times about Vasi's condition.

      I think the fact that the Vasi angle has hung around as part of active discussion for almost 10 years does suggest that at least it is worth investigating as thoroughly as possible.

      -SAH

      PS-Hope you will look more into the Maura's Mom angle.

      I've been reading about some other missing persons cases recently, and have noticed that the cases where the parents do not (both) search, do not search certain areas, and/or do not talk freely to media outlets and police, tend to be the cases where there is a lot of rightful suspicion surrounding the parents/family. Examples: Jonbenet Ramsey, Madeline McCann, Baby Lisa, and many more (see statement-analysis.blogspot.com, Peter Hyatt's amazing Statement Analysis blog, for numerous examples). Such parents also tend to, ahem, sue the courts for information.
      In contrast, parents of missing children who are known to have NO possible involvement in their children's disappearance tend to go to extraordinary lengths to and keep the case alive in the media--all media--as well as tirelessly search THEMSELVES, even years later, (Examples: parents of Natalee Holloway, Elizabeth Smart, Jennifer Kesse.) I've never heard of one parent being totally uninvolved.

      Remember, Maura's mom--not Fred--was Maura's *custodial* parent. Maura lived with her mom full-time before leaving for college. And yet this mom was barely seen or heard from upon learning her daughter had vanished.

      Makes you go "hmmm," doesn't it??

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    3. Just to clarify: I am not suggesting that either parent "disappeared" Maura. Just that her parents have always known much more than they wanted to tell.

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    4. I would agree. If it were my daughter I'd have had someone pushing me to the scene in a wheelchair. Her absence in the media is very odd - especially since Sharon seemed to put herself front and center alongside Fred. Why would any mother allow that to happen? What was her interaction with Fred like during this time? Did she have any type of issue that would keep her out-of the public eye?

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  9. Interviewing Maura's professors may be a good idea.. I have heard conflicting stories on what she emailed them.. At times I hear death in the family and at times I hear family emergency.. I think that's super important.. Family emergency might not be a lie.. Furthermore, her professors may know more about how she was faring academically.. Which is another story I have heard told different ways.. Other people at the college may be helpful as well.. If she was in charge for credit card fraud she could be seeking disciplinary action from the dorms.. A friend of mine got caught drinking in the dorms and was kicked out.. This may be why her stuff was packed? Did you ever find out about the returning of the scrubs story? Did her friends ever respond to your desire for an interview? And lastly, there must be some record of who was working at the convienant store in which she bought the alcohol.. It has been so long I doubt they would remember anything just being interviewed now, but I would have hoped the police would have sought them out originally.. Just a thought-- or just a lot of thoughts.. Thanks

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  10. Not sure if it has been answered with any verity, if Maura had stopped for gas or breaks anywhere from school to the crash site.
    I think interview-wise, maybe the victim of the credit card fraud? I'm assuming that was listed on the police report, but not sure how MA works. To see how the fraud was discovered, reported to police, and if the police or prosecutor's office updated the victim, and if it was known in her dorm that Maura was the perpetrator?

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  11. Did Maura have a bike that went missing? Or could she have obtained a bike in the area around the crash site? It occurred to me recently that a bike is a potential means by which she could have left the crash scene and travelled to the next town. Perhaps not likely, but worth considering.

    Chris

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  12. -I'd like to hear more from Julie Murray. I know her family has been hard to talk to, but you even mention on your site that she just wants to find Maura, even if it implicates family members.
    -Additionally, I think Julie might be able to paint a better picture of what life was like at home for the family. Or she would at least paint it truthfully.
    -What does Julie have to say about Billy Rausch? Especially since it has come out that Billy cheated on Maura with one of Julie's friends.
    -One thing I've also wondered was if Maura has a high school sweetheart. We hear a lot about Billy, but that was college. Many girls have a high school sweetheart or a first love from high school. It might be worth talking with that individual if they exist.
    -I agree with the poster "sah". Why didn't Maura's mother Laurie help with the search? She seemed so unattached to the whole situation. Were they not close? Why?
    -After seeing Maura's car in the police evidence lot, it doesn't look that bad. I was curious if the police (or anyone) had actually tried to start it that night to see if it would still run. I think this could be really important in determining if the crash was planned or not.
    -When was the last time Maura actually saw Billy in person? If Maura was pregnant, this could help the timeline of events to see whose baby it was (if true).
    -Were any places like gas stations, restaurants, etc on the way to Haverhill checked soon after she disappeared? It could be considered that she stopped somewhere along the way since the timeline from when she left UMass and crashed doesn't match up.

    I know some of these questions might not be relevant or are kind of "out there", but I would rather leave no stone unturned in this case.

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  13. Was Maura pregnant at or before the time she went missing?

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  14. Did she have the $4,000 on her when she disappeared or did Fred have it? Did she get any student loan disbursement checks at the start of the semester, right before she disappeared, so that she could theoretically have had more cash on her than we suppose? Why did LE never release any images of her from the ATM?

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    1. Great idea about the student loan disbursement check, Sharon. The timing would be perfect.

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  15. -- I'd like to see Dick Guy map his theory.
    -- I'd like to hear Susan Champy's thoughts on Rick Forcier's account.
    -- The call described by Landry; who was the caller?

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  16. 1. Details of Maura's New Year's trip to NH, who she spent time with and who she met. (Hugely important)

    2. The "Londonderry Ping" (Hugely important)

    3. Maura has cousins in Plymouth, NH - was she friendly with any of them? (Longshot but bears inquiry)

    4. Hossein Baghdadi said Maura had been sleeping with other members of the track team and was "quite promiscuous" - any other men at UMASS she had at least a quasi-relationship with? If so, what do they have to say? (Missing pieces).

    5. Did Maura ever know Petrit Vasi in any capacity before his accident? (Worth at least a shallow exploration).

    Keep up the great work, James!

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  17. First, I'd like to say that I love the work you are doing. I have binge-read this entire blog over the past few days. This case is as intriguing as it is tragic. For me, the biggest unanswered question is the phone call that she received while at work. That seems to be the lynchpin for everything that follows.

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  18. One last (?) idea James...
    Maybe you could try Sara Alfieri again.
    She was at the dinner the night before Maura disappeared.
    I really think all signs point to Maura running away from trouble--big trouble--of her own making. Because I don't think her friends would be keeping so quiet except to protect her. They really wouldn't. Think about it.

    In my view, this mystery is solved once we know what the trouble was. We don't even have to know where Maura is. If the trouble is big enough, it will be safe to assume that she ran away and is alive somewhere.

    Her friends know what the trouble was.

    If I were you, James, I would prepare a list of the unsolved missing and murdered girls/women in New Hampshire over the last 30 years (and there are a LOT of them...so many that I haven't found one single site that includes them all. Not even the list on nhunsolved.blogspot.com comes close), including photos of the girls and names of their parents, and bring it to Sara Alfieri, Kate M., and any other of Maura's friends who have refused to talk to you. Tell them very clearly that THESE are the girls who are not being found because Maura's case, the most expensive in NH history, is consuming the state's resources. They, too, are real girls with real families and real friends. They may have died unspeakably cruel deaths with no justice, or they may be alive somewhere going through God knows what. In any case, their families are suffering horribly every day. Those who are maintaining silence on Maura's behalf are facilitating that continued suffering, plain and simple. That's evil.

    It's worth a try.

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  19. I looked into Whalen a little further (via poker websites) and what I've found is kind of weird. Check out his profile on this site:

    http://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=82095

    His profile picture is of someone who is either not David Whalen, or Whalen making a MAJOR effort to change his appearance. There are profiles for three other David Whalens on there; none of them have pictures, but all four profiles appear to be the same guy--the same Whalen from Whitman whose profile from a different poker site you posted a while back. The tournaments in all profiles cross-reference with the ones in the summary you posted.

    Out of the four profiles on that site I linked, one is based in Whitman (seemingly the "primary" one, the one with the picture of Not-Whalen. One does not have a location. One is based in Olive Branch, Mississippi; several of the tournaments in the profiles were played very close to there. The fourth one is based in Dillon, Montana; based on the winnings it contains, this is what I'd call the "secondary" profile. Wasn't there some story (one among many, I know, but if I recall it was a fairly plausible one) that had Maura selling real estate in Montana these days?

    I don't understand the point of all these profiles, but it does somewhat seem like he is making an effort to conceal himself. Do you know where he is presently located? Also I am still confused as to how exactly he knew Maura.

    I also want to point out that, within the profiles, there is a gap of time between 2003 and 2006 (the general time frame surrounding Maura's disappearance) where he had zero winnings. Of course, it's possible that he played and simply didn't win anything, but I think it's unlikely. Much more likely is that he was playing online that whole time. The $200K he's made is all from live tournaments--I'd guess he's made at least 4-5x more than that over time playing online. And I think it goes without saying, playing online poker is a pretty big time way to support yourself off the grid if you're any good at it (and even more so back in the early-mid 2000s when it was less regulated).

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  20. I always wondered why the neighbors didn't go out to help Maura they just look from thw window? Also outside any alternative motives that has been discussed for Maura leaving; how or whom would she have called to get back? Along the stretch of road she where she seen running, were phone records of anykind checked. Gas stations, convient stores payphones etc? She might have had another phone. Where does cell phone coverage resume?

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  21. Why did Fred lend Maura his car on the 7th? The Saturn wasn't terribly damaged at that point, and Maura was only heading to a dorm party where she lived, so it wasn't as though she needed something better than the Saturn that night...

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    1. This is a great question and in my mind it gives support to the Petrit Vasi theory. Why all this fooling around with the different cars - why all these subsequent accidents. One explanation is that in some way (not sure how) it was an attempt to cover up the Vasi hit and run.

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    2. If she hit Vasi her windshield would have been way worse than that spiderweb pattern that was broken from the inside. Also her hood wouldn't be bulged upwards. And there was not enough time to have the bodywork done before she disappeared on her road trip.

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  22. I'd like to know if there were police reports made from any UMASS students with credit card charges that they didn't make coming from areas where Maura drove through/or possibly headed to? I am not sure how that could be found out, but was there a slight increase in fraud numbers maybe 6-9 months after she disappeared?

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  23. I'd like to know what Fred did with the $4,000 he supposedly withdrew for the car he never bought. I'd like to know where Fred was the day that Maura disappeared. I'd like to know what the statute of limitations is on the prosecution of a hit & run. I'd like to see Fred's passport stamps for the last several years.

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  24. I would like to hear from forensic astrologers. I'm a student of forensic astrology at this point, but what I see on the chart on the night she disappeared is that at exactly 7:29 p.m., the time that the accident was first reported to authorities, is that Maura was stationery (neither moving on car or on foot), she was thinking about how to avoid detection that she'd been drinking, she was not concerned about her belongings, an unexpected event (the accident) had ruined her immediate plans, and someone, a good person, had just left the scene moments before, there was no villain or co-conspirator with her, she was about to embark outdoors, and there was no mystery/unknown person in her life at that point in time. It also indicates she was worried about her family "back home" with regards to the accident, and that her family would bear a heavy burden publicly with regard to her disappearance.

    So now I'm thinking that sometimes the simplest explanation is the truth of the matter. Maybe Maura just wanted to get away from her troubles and think, she was drinking and driving, she had an accident, the bus driver drove by and offered to help, and with no regard for her belongings, she took off on foot to avoid a DUI.

    After all the conjecture, it's quite possible the family doesn't know if she is alive or dead, and that she succumbed to the elements or a fall after fleeing the scene of an accident.

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  25. I should clarify "and that her family would bear a heavy burden publicly with regard to her disappearance." What I meant was that the chart shows that the publicity surrounding the case would be a heavy burden for her family. That point, however, was not in Maura's thoughts at the time of the accident. It's just an aside indicated by the chart.

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  26. I'd like to have information on how Maura was perceived by others after high school, but before the accident. Even if it's only casual friends or people who really weren't friends but lived on the same floor she did at UMass. Did she seem like the kind of person to commit cc fraud? was it surprising? was she well liked? etc. It has no bearing really on the accident, but I would like to know what her "real" character was like. Maura, is portrayed as the all american girl, and I'm not convinced that's an accurate picture of her. I think people make that assumption because she's attractive.

    I did find the comment above interesting how parents who are innocent will do anything to keep their missing loved ones in the news and those who aren't are more secretive. Even though there is validity in that it didn't change my opinion. I think Fred is very protective of image and how maura is perceived and it's his way or no way. I look forward to the book and please have it available in electronic form.

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  27. Remaining questions in my mind...
    -What the hell is Fred's alibi for the night of Maura's disappearance and the following day? From what I've heard, no one could confirm he was at work on the relevant days. If this is true, it's significant indeed.

    -Is it possible to speak with anyone else who worked with Maura at the art gallery? Supposedly, Maura's family refused to reveal the name of the art gallery. This suggests that it--or the people there--may be sensitive for some reason. Otherwise, why on earth wouldn't they reveal this basic fact?

    -Did Maura receive a second phone call that night at work? I am reading some sources which suggest there may have been another phone call in addition to Kathleen's. Supposedly, the second call was at 12:40 or 1 AM, and it was this call, not Kathleen's earlier (10 p.m.) call about her own relationship troubles, that precipitated Maura's becoming extremely upset and leaving work. The discussion I am reading suggests that the later call was traced to an on-campus location, but that they could not trace it to a specific person, and no one has come forward.

    The discussion is here: http://findmauramurray.fr.yuku.com/topic/58#.Uov-sCcgLs0 . In my opinion, the interview with Detective Davies is the source that best corroborates the theory of a second call from campus. Davies said, "We know the location [from which the call was made]... We have not been able to identify to whom [Maura] was speaking. Her friends have no idea who called her." This does not sound like it was referring to the call from Kathleen, since if they knew the location of that call, they would also, presumably, know it was Kathleen without having to ask Maura's friends about it.
    And there's this, from the Mass. Daily Collegian, in 2005:
    "Rausch came across the last two numbers Maura called three hours before she disappeared.

    The first number was to a UMass Amherst dormitory. The number appeared to be a dead end for investigators because the person who lived there likely moved on.

    Rausch decided to call the second number, which was to Dominic and Linda Salamone of Wakefield, Mass."

    ...Would love to see the possibility of an on-campus caller and/or callee investigated further.

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    1. OK, I'm reading the discussion further, and one poster is claiming that Helena was the source for the info about the 12:40 a.m. call to Maura at work from a campus phone.

      James, any way to contact her about this? She seems to know quite a lot about the case indeed.

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  28. I really think you should talk to the first policeman on the scene. If i remember correctly no contact with him was made until like 30 min after he arrived. What he saw/didnt see or do is really interesting.

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  29. Do we know when Maura's mom was diagnosed with cancer? Could the phone call/ family emergency been related to that? Even if the cancer has been diagnoses months before it could have just started to hit Maura on top of the stress at school. I know when we first found that my father needed a heart transplant it was months later when I finally allowed myself to break down.

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  30. How much gas was left in the Saturn when it was picked up by police. Is it still at the state police lot? This lets you know if she last stopped for fuel in NH or Amherst. If in NH that is vitally important. One could then calculate knowing the AVG MPG of that model of Saturn the distance from last refuel and know where she stopped. You could then come up with a list of potential rest stops / stations she used.

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  31. The phone call Maura received that had her so upset but she lied about its origins . She clearly was on the phone to somebody . Did law enforcement trace the call to see who she was really speaking to .
    And I can't get over the obvious , sorry, cloth clogging tailpipe screams of suicide .

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  32. I would like to know where David Whalen was the day after Maura disappeared, was it in fact Canada. Also Muras distressing call at the dorm, she said "my sister" did her sister hit Petrit Vasi ? If Maura Murray was pregnant, would there be a record of a birth in October 2005 ?

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  33. What were Sara and Kates whereabouts on or around the time of Mauras dissapearance? Do either of them match the description from the grocery store employee?

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  34. From what I read they did indeed as well as being ID'd for cigarettes.

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