A new look at one of the North Country's Coldest Cases
James, You made the following comment: "I feel like I'm getting close to an answer that will lead to resolution in a matter of weeks.I believe you are alive. And I believe I know where you went. Who you traveled with. And how you got there."Do you still believe this and can you expand on this? ThanksThank you for checking out Canada but I must be honest and say that I expected more info based on your post above.
Wow was sure u were gonna say u had found her!! Still convinced u will.i wonder what her family makes of all this.surely it should be them handing out fliers etc giving up their time chasing up every possibility
James, One other question regarding the possible sightings in Sherbrooke.What will you be doing with the leads? I hope that not only passed on to CCU but passed on to a PI that is working the case.
Agree with jwb that the most promising leads are best followed-up upon by a PI. NH police unlikely to follow up on a Canadian lead where no real crime is at issue and nobody seems to be in imminent danger. Renner -- maybe you can fold the cost of a PI into the Kickstarter plan?
James, I appreciate you keeping this story alive and seeking to find Maura. All we request is that you are open and honest with your motives and not lead us down a wild goose chase when the odds are she met her demise on February 9th, 2004. Witness sightings are very unreliable, do you have more leads than this? Excluding gossip on online blog sites?
Would coffee shops or gyms have cameras to review video? If she has a membership to a health club couldn't she be traced? Or at least narrowed down the potential matches?
Mr. Renner I appreciate that you don't delete comments that disagree with you. Says a lot.That said, it doesn't sound anything like an Ariel Castro situation, so I think that is disingenuous. She was seen regularly at a coffee shop and also at a gym, according to your witnesses.You also wrote in a previous post that you think she is alive, know where she went and with whom, and you think it was with good reason. That to me says you believe she ran to start a new life. I think it's important for everyone to stop bringing up her being chained in a basement when that is clearly not the case if these sightings are truly credible. It also makes everyone who says it sound like they're looking for a reason to mess with this poor girl who was forced into such drastic action almost 10 years ago.I remain hopeful for Maura's best interests to prevail here, and for this girl not to be re-victimized. Whatever the reasons for her leaving are probably the reasons that she hasn't come forward in a decade. If she is in any of these places, she now has to worry that someone will spot her. There goes the life she built.If I'm wrong and she needs help, I wish you all the success in the world.If she has passed from this world, I wish the case resolution and for her friends and family to find peace.
There is no contradiction in having credible witness sightings and being motivated in part to keep looking to prove that she is alive because of the possibility that she may be being held captive somewhere. As you said, witness sightings are not proof. Hard to understand the basis of your comment.~ John Green
Yes there is John, and a great many people believe that. You're not understanding it doesn't make it so.I just pray that if she is alive and becomes exposed it doesn't lead to something bad happening to her.
Could you explain the contradiction to me, as opposed to adopting a condescending tone meant to imply that you have some insight that is beyond me, which is not helpful? It seems pretty obvious that discovering indications that one scenario COULD be correct does not exclude other scenarios. Where do you see the contradiction? Again, please clarify, that is all I am asking, instead of quoting a "great many" people who agree with your assertion that this is a contradiction of some kind.
Thanks for the update James!
Good Update, I have some doubts about the sightings in ireland because she actually would have needed a passport to get there, also Irish people look alike! I've had several friends nd family members tell me they saw "my twin" in ireland. I find the Sherbrooke thing somewhat credible, I only wish that if she knows she's been sought out, she would say something and let people have closure. I made me sad that Helena had to remind family members that she's not giving out their info, even if maura was running from family, there is no way she is running from all the people that have been scrutinized in her disappearance.
Great update, James. Thanks very much for the work you're doing and for keeping everybody in the loop. Billboards are a phenomenal idea. Putting a billboard along Rte 93 in NH (around the Plymouth-Lincoln-Littleton area) and/or along Rte 91 in VT (around where she turned off toward Woodsville) might give you more bang for the buck than putting one in Hanson/Weymouth.
I disagree i think a billboard on route 18 in south weymouth that says REWARD , will get family and friends talking. If she disapeared on her own free will there are family members who know.
Good point. I'm not sure if there is any reward being offered currently, but such a billboard could be quite effective in South Weymouth, Amherst, Rte 91 VT, Rte 93 NH, as well as the Canadian and Irish locales. I would also strongly recommend the billboard feature both an old photo and a realistic age progression or two.
If she is or was living in Sherbrooke, and regularly going to coffee shops or using gyms, then you would expect some other sightings to come in from the coffee shop or gym. On the other hand, if these are mistaken IDs, you would expect them to isolated. Thus, I'll be interested to hear whether other people come forward to say that they saw her in one of those two locations, which both are the kind of place where people tend to notice other people because they both have a singles-y kind of atmosphere.~ John Green
The response of the Murrays to this would interest me. You would think that - regardless of how they feel about Renner, unless they feel he is actively out to deceive them - they would be keenly interested in this. Moreover, I wonder if they might even appreciate that someone has so doggedly not given up hope that she is alive and spent a good deal of time and money looking for her. I suppose it is possible that they know something that Renner and the general public does not know, but whatever the case, I am very curious about what they think of this.~ John Green
I would think that the Murray family would be jumping on this right now. I assume they monitor this blog. If I were them, I would be high-tailing it to Canada ASAP. Sure the chances are slim, but two people think they saw her. If my daughter/sister/friend had been missing for 10 years, it would be good enough for me!
i don't think this is fair to the murray family, rose. in the last 10 years, the murrays have problem been told that there were sightings all over the world. if they went to canada tomorrow and didn't find her, should they then fly to ireland? what if next week someone thinks they see her in hawaii, then the week after that in brazil, then in tokyo? should they fly to each location, get off the plane and start looking for her in the streets? we have to remember that people who have loved ones who are missing still have families and jobs and bills, etc. they can't just pick up and chase down each sighting.i am not trying to attack you at all, rose. just trying to see things from their point of view.
In response to what you have said njf520 I posted on another blog and the person who's in charge of the mauramurrayismissing.com website answered my post and said that they do believe she tried to fake her own death. That being said if it were my kid regardless of if it were a hunch, or a sighting, or someone said they seen my kids ghost. You bet yours went ass I would fundraisers like an sob to get the money to investigate every area I could. The fact they believe she faked her own death- you damn right I'd come up with the money to at least go and see she were alive even if she wanted nothing else to do with me.
Mrs Forman, can you please contact me at email@example.com I would very much like to hear more about this or see the actual emails between you and the admin there. That would be most helpful.
MrsForman, thanks for the response. I think that is a different situation. If the family believes she faked her own death then, yes, I'd want to treat leads differently. Most families of people missing 10 years do not believe that the missing person had a hand in their own disappearance. Can you share the response you got from mauramurraymissing.com? That seems like a huge piece of info.
A general comment: Sherbrooke is a fairly large town, with a large population of university students. Like much of Quebec, Sherbrooke is also predominantly French-speaking. This can pose a challenge when seeking conventional employment — so immersion in the language and/or a Quebec-native partner could ease the transition into that society. I'd be interested to learn the neighborhoods in Montreal in which Renner and his crew concentrated their time on the ground. Montreal is a very large metro area of 3 million+ people. The island of Mtl. (where English is at least a second language for a majority of people) has around 1 million residents, with many diverse neighborhoods. English speaking becomes most prominent as one progresses west across the island, but Quebec French is still prevalent across Mtl.
Thanks for this comment G. Ellis. Are there geographically identifiable enclaves of English speakers in Montreal or Sherbrooke? In some major American cities, you can go to neighborhoods where linguistic minorities group and you are much more likely to hear non-English conversation.Relatedly, does anyone know if Maura studied a foreign language in college or high school, perhaps French?~ John Green
JG — I'm a frequent visitor to Mtl, but perhaps someone from Quebec is better qualified to comment on language distribution. For what it's worth, It's not so much that there are linguistic enclaves. In general, the further east one travels from the center of Montreal (i.e., from downtown and Mount Royal) the more likely one will find districts (called "ridings") that are almost strictly Francophone. West of downtown, one finds a preponderance of Anglophones. In the center of the island (downtown and north) one finds highly diverse and multilingual neighborhoods. Most people in the heart of Mtl. seem to speak at least French and English (and often at least one more language), though businesses are still required to conduct themselves primarily in French. It's complicated, and probably not necessarily useful for our concerns. But, Montreal is a wonderful place to be young.
Thanks for the additional information.
It does not take that long to learn a language if you are immersed. I would say that anyone of reasonable intelligence would be pretty much fluent within a year or two.
John Green- I can't comment much on Montreal, but Sherbrooke does have an english speaking borough called Lennoxville. There is also a university in Lennoxville called Bishop's that is english speaking.
@Rose - Good point and I agree, particularly for someone with a studious background, even if her studies had (as some have stated) fallen off.@Catherine - I appreciate the information. It seems like Lennoxville would be a good place to concentrate efforts (posters, people reaching out to friends of friends on social networks) because English speaking Americans in Sherbrooke might tend to know one another. A tip from someone who claimed to know her or have interacted with her regularly would be much more substantial than stranger ID of a 31 year old based on a picture from when she was 21 or younger.
You know, IF Maura is alive and - as it would seem likely in that case - aware of all the efforts swirling around her case, including what at least a couple commentators have termed the most expensive police investigation in the history of New Hampshire, THEN either:(1) Miss Maura has some VERY grave reason for not wanting to be found, beyond even what has been speculated upon (which corresponds to a notion that my own thinking an analysis more than a few times brought me to - that there is a much larger crime lurking in the background that set all this into motion) -;OR (2) Miss Maura is bafflingly indifferent toward the large scale and ongoing efforts, concern and money her flight consumed and continues to consume.~ John Green
Related to my earlier comment about whether or not these credible sightings remain isolated, there is something important to keep in mind here. Pretty, 21 year old girl with good orthodonty or very good teeth genes and her hair pulled back ... that is a pretty stereotypical look. The thing with stereotypes is that perceptions of those who fulfill them often overlook specific facial characteristics. Going forward ten years, Maura could look VERY different and may have put on weight, as her sister Kathleen did and as almost everyone does between 21 and 31 years old. She may not so much fulfill that stereotype anymore. So it is worth considering the issue of whether these credible witnesses, in just trying to be helpful, saw a stereotype fulfilling pretty 21 year old or a 31 year old who looked like an older version of the picture they saw. I raise no doubts about the integrity of the people who said they saw here, but it is a deceptive environment for identifying people.~ John
I lived in Canada for many years. Montreal is francophone. You can't live there for very long let alone get a job there if you don't speak french. And not just any French. It is a job requirement that you are fluent in French. Ottawa is actually bilingual, but you can not even hope to get a job if you are not fluent in both. Toronto on the other hand is anglophone. Not too many francophone live there.
I thought the blog was a good update. The coffee shop sounded promising, because she had been seen there frequently. I'm not as hopeful about the gym. When people who come from an athletic background, like Maura, workout they workout frequently. A few times a week. The time frame in which a person workouts isn't going to change drastically from day to day. Even when you don't know someone, you know them just from seeing them at the gym so much. I workout, I don't know anyone at the gym, I don't go out of my way to talk to anyone at the gym, but if I were to see a photo I'd be able to recognize them, give you an idea of how often and when they workout. Certainly, the staff would be familiar with regulars. There would most likely be a photo of them on file as well. I think Maura would be more of a regular than casual user of the gym. Just my opinion.
If she is a road runner she won't be going to the gym. I have been a road runner for almost ten years. Can't stand tread mills or dealing with other peeps at a gym. I'm not anti-social, but I know other road runners and we are all pretty much the same.
Here is the interesting part, how many people do you think would say they saw a person 3 weeks ago if they haven't, especially knowing that they are a person being sought out by law enforcement? Most people would lie and say never seen her, unless they wanted attention for some reason. The gym makes sense to me, I could see her possibly trying out the gym to see if she liked the atmosphere possibly with a close friend. Or maybe to try the sauna? Gyms have all sorts of different features that would attract a runner, not only the treadmills. As for the coffee shop that is very believable, I wonder if you interview people from the coffee shop how many regulars have seen her or know her and just don't want to come forward. It seems that Mr. Renner is onto something and I hope he finds her safe.
If people recognized Maura from a photo, which photo was it? If it was one of the early photos with which we are all familiar, then Maura must still look relatively close to the same and the woman in the photo with Lori G. is not her.
In my opinion, that is a very credible age progression.
Hey Jack - Actually it's not age progressed at all. I've re-sized it to make it bigger, but if reduced it should overlay perfectly on the original. All I did was colorize it. She seems to have a completely different demeanor when not smiling.. I was happy with how this picture turned out though.
How's that a great update? I don't see any real progress and I don't know think one can call those sightings credible! Do you know more than you're telling us? Because the things I know so far didn't convince me at all! Let's face it - Maura is most likely dead!
Notice how he said be nice to each other "including me" give him a break.. Why are people even reading this blog if they want to argue with everything?
I think many people felt that James must have had enough evidence prior to the trip in order for the statement to be made about a resolution to the case in a couple of weeks. It was built up as something more than just checking out old Rumors and was sort of a let down to me. I do still hold out hope that the flyers might do something but I think a newspaper spot might be helpful as well with the way that posters are taken down.I appreciate the efforts (above and beyond) and I honestly believe that it has become more than just a book for James so I hope he doesn't stop after the book is written.With that said, I feel like I just went to a great movie with a lousy ending. Sorry, but I guess I just got my hopes up to high. I am not giving up however.
Well stated, that's how I feel too. Don't want to be strung along with false hope for the sake of a book he is publishing and will financially benefit from. If his intentions are true, I appreciate that he is keeping this case alive by following up on leads and spending his own time and money.
Intriguing stuff, as usual. My concern about Renner’s trip, however, is that three or four days is simply woefully inadequate to conduct a real search, especially when it includes a huge city like Montreal — unless Renner arrived with very specific information about which neighborhoods or addresses he should focus on.
Agree. Hopefully he had a specific tip and location to find her. If not it sounds like a quick attempt to keep the last chapter of his book intriguing and lay the foundation for follow up works. I have no problem with him writing a book and benefiting financially, just hope we aren't being played and that he is really on to something. I'm starting to repeat myself, would like to here more from James and his thoughts and where the investigation goes from hear and what other credible tips he has.
Probably because most road runners enjoy the quiet and can be left in their own little world to just run and be free. I was going to make the same suggestion about her being a runner, maybe she only goes to the gym 1 a week for a yoga class or something? One thing James didn't really speculate was whether anyone has said if she's going by her real name or an assumed name? I honestly think her intentions were to fake her death and flee to Canada, where by the way, a lot of Maura's are, and go on with her life. I do t think she expected people to read so much into it and keep it goin after 10 years. I also believe she had all intentions if using her real name because she didn't feel that people would still be making such a big deal after so long, she probably though that we'd all assume she were dead and that was that. After going this long without being caught she is going to become careless and get cocky and get caught if she is still alive (huge probability). Also, her case is a cold case it has never been considered a homicide and I believe even te legal files James has uploaded state that when found she will face criminal charges, unlike what timelineiskey claimed. Also, in 2009 border crossing rules were a lot different but the one consistency I did see was that if your knowingly wanted for any crime or on probation it is illegal to cross I I canada, this being said even though America LE may not have jurisdiction, Canadian officials can charge her for crossing the border as a criminal and have her sent back into America where she can also be charged. If I'm not mistaken the statue of limitations does not apply to those who are actively running from LE (not sure on this). Also, did anyone stop to think that maybe her dad paid a friend the 4k to keep quiet about where Maura was going? Maybe that's why her friend keeps saying she doesn't want to get her in trouble? I do however believe that she will be found out soon enough and if she intends to keep her charges to the very minimal she will give herself up before someone else tracks her down.
S Forman - I must agree with you about road runners. It is the solitude and the ability to reflect on life, also the challenge of long distances. I knew a guy whom in college seemed to develop an alternate identity. He went form being a member of our peer group(fun loving and happy go lucky), to being a secretive thief, excessive drinking, some drugs, compulsive lying, ended up fathering a kid out of wedlock. It is as if a new unknown person grew out of the old one. everyone in our group of friends noticed it, but there is nothing anyone could do about it. I think pressure and stress can cause people to cut ties with their own identities and develop one based on survival.
If you believe the theory she could be travelling with an online poker player; it makes sense he also would want to live off the grid and out of the country to avoid US tax entanglements on gambling winnings. I would fax a copy of both their photos to the Nevada Gaming Association which now has and shares facial recognition software with casinos all over the country and the carribean in effort to catch cheaters coming into the casino. Casino security has better than average technology. But it would seem that if the possibility exist that she did this on purpose at 31 years of age time and technolgy are no longer on her side.
Note, too, for what it's worth, there's a casino in Montreal.
On the south shore of Montreal (half way between Sherbrooke and Beauharious) is a native reserve where there are numerous casinos, many of which are poker focused and where several online poker nitrites are run from. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kahnawake#Gambling.2Fgaming
Also if she is in Canada. (I have not seen a flyer ) but STRONG BOSTON ACCENT , should be a key descrpition. Growing up on the South Shore and now living abroad myself , it is very , very ,very difficult to shake your not only boston accent but one from the south shore. No matter how Bi lingual you get this would be very difficult to fake.
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http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vmtg8xAYQcRunner # 6020 looks right at camera and waves right after interview with Max Munger, not saying that this is her , but it caught my eye. If you have time to watch sherbrooke canada amatuer running videos , it could pan out.
Until there is real proof, I would still consider all other scenarios (Suicide/Kidnapping/Murder) as possibilities. James still has to verify or falsify that Maura is alive. Remember the Amy Billig Case? Amy was supposedly seen in many cities, but people just saw lookalikes, who turned out not to be her. Amy's Mother Susan searched for her Daughter until she died. She wrote a book about this awful journey: Amy was 'probably' abducted by a biker gang. Susan followed every lead and tip she was given and went nearly bankrupt for traveling so much. I think that Amy was killed...But I hope, that Maura is alive and safe...If she is following the Blog she must be damn scared: torn between running again or coming clean and out of hiding: exposing herself to her family, to criminal charges, to her old self she left behind, when she went into hiding. In some families unspeakable things happen and you can't breeze or live with that knowledge and be quiet about it. Some Mothers and Fathers use their children to make them look better. Their children have to be perfect and fulfill their ambition and life goals. Your constantly judged and cannot be yourself...I do not know what Maura had to endure in her family..., but If she is alive and aware of the investigation I urge her to reach out to someone she trusts...James said he will not further invade your privacy, if you come forward now, you can stay where you are. You don't have to run anymore. No one wants to reveal where you life. And I sincerely hope that this community will just be happy that you are sound and safe...We all know that life is difficult, sometimes impossible and we all did things we regret and are ashamed of...Maybe the main reason Maura is not coming forward is that proof of life automatically implicates that her family will know for certain that she just ran away...Maura might be guilt stricken that she left her siblings behind and thinks it is better, that everyone thinks she is dead...At least as a dead person she is remembered in a good way...As a person and not a troublemaker...And there is the media, all the attention of this community...Maura would be revealing herself to the "world" and probably she is also afraid that we would judge her harshly and see her in a different light...Speaking for myself: I just would be happy that you are alive and well...I just hope that you are not hurt, in pain, killed, kept against your will or in a "golden hiding cage." We all wear masks sometimes, but we should not become a mask of our former self...We can be who we are with all what we did and regret...
Great Post BlogwesonI for one would be happy to find out that she is alive and I would move along. We all make mistakes in our life and we all continue to make mistakes cause we are not perfect. If Maura is reading this blog. Just think how lucky you are that so many people do care, Contact someone please,See I made a Typo and had to delete my post :)
Glad to see someone portray Maura's possible perspective in this and think of *her.* If she ran, she is in survival mode. Hiding for this long, with good reason (as the blog author mentioned), means she will continue to hide, to be in survival mode, and being exposed is the last thing she wants. Her emotional state could cause any number of negative things to occur, especially if she wants - needs - her family to think of her as missing or dead, but she is proven alive. If this is the case, my fingers are crossed for you Maura.
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