Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Update

We're gathering about 1% toward our goal per day, which isn't bad, but I'd like to do a little better after the holiday. Please share the donation link with your friends/family.

In other news, I have been banned from the Maura Murray Facebook page. If you're just tuning in, this is the first time in history, the family of a missing woman has turned down the offer for a fundraising campaign to help find them, as well as further publicity for the case.

25 comments:

  1. Wow can't believe ur banned! How ungrateful of them.dont they realise how this makes them look even more guilty of hiding the truth!

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  2. At some point, we have to say what needs to be said: the family is either insanely ignorant or they know where she is. There's no logical reason to reject help. None.

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  3. I firmly believe they know what happened to MM and where she is. There's absolutely NO sane reason people wouldn't be thankful someone is keeping the name of a loved on alive and trying to find answers, unless they're waiting for her name to drop off the map so she can come home. What a weird family they are. I was curious to know if you have requested any updated legal/police records on MM to see if anything has been added?

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  4. I'm sorry you are being treated like this. Wish the family would make some kind of statement as to why they are acting like this.

    We all want the case to be solved, and this taking sides thing with Renner and the Murray family needs to stop. It gets us nowhere.

    Happy holidays, everybody.

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  6. I must confess that I am also at a loss as to why the family would respond to Mr. Renner in such a way. Many people have sacrificed so much to try to solve this mystery and the family's reaction is quite baffling.

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  7. To be fair, James has made accusatory statements about some of Maura's family members, so I can understand how there could be bad blood there. It's not unlike, for instance, JonBenet Ramsay's parents, who developed a chilly relationship with the Boulder police and were often accused of not cooperating with the investigation. (Opinions vary as to the nature and extent of their involvement in their daughter's death, of course, but I've read several reasoned arguments from prominent authors that lead me to believe they were not responsible).

    Essentially, countless people were involved (tangentially or otherwise) in Maura's life, or crossed paths with her at some point, or have some connection to the areas where she lived, worked, or is thought to have disappeared from. Any number of those people no doubt have skeletons in their closet. Her dad had some iffy photos tucked away in a skin mag in his garage, the sheriff of a town 80 miles away was eventually revealed to be a sex offender, a guy she's seen in a photograph with has a history of illegal gambling, etc. None of this necessarily sheds any light on what happened to her. If you look at a large enough pool of people closely enough, some oddballs are going to emerge.

    Another point to consider - this is not intended to be combative, but James, you've stated on multiple occasions that you believe Maura is alive, and that she disappeared of her own volition. If that's the case, then aren't you hurting, rather than helping, her cause by continuing to pursue her, putting up billboards everywhere, etc.? If we further presume both that she disappeared of her own free will, and that her family (or some of her family) has knowledge of this and knows of her whereabouts, then it's not hard to imagine why they would grow less cooperative with your investigation over time.

    Ultimately, if this girl was murdered, or forced to disappear under some form of duress, then clearly that's a grave injustice that needs to some day be rectified. But if she's alive (as you claim to believe), and she's chosen not to come forward and make herself known to you, then surely there has to be a reason for that. These are all things that I think we all should keep in mind going forward...

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    1. My own inclinations differ with yours Anthony, but I must say, I appreciated you reasoning in your third paragraph. That sentiment has been reflected elsewhere but sometimes in ways that were not as persuasive, at least not of me.

      ~ John Green

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    2. As to the 3rd paragraph, I don't disagree with your reasoning. However, if her goal was truly to disappear, then it could have been done in a way that did not draw in a small community, her father could have avoided his harsh criticisms of the community, the state, LE, etc. They may not have intended for it to happen as it did, but even if the accident in Haverhill changed the plan, they could have minimized their impact on others. By leaving their mark so to speak, they made Maura and her story a very public spectacle and they must deal with the ramifications of that. I can add that NH has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to find her. That alone makes her whereabouts a public issue.

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    3. Although I agree that James has, at times, been critical of Fred, I don't believe that he was banned for that reason.

      Alden Olson has posted to the Facebook page, even after it was revealed that he made the videos.

      Without question, the videos disturbed the family. Ultimately, authorities were able to obtain the poster's IP address.

      Even assuming, for the sake of the argument, that James' criticism was unwarranted, it certainly isn't as offensive as the videos. And it's not something that the police would investigate.

      Further, James has been critical of Fred, literally, for years. Why wait until now to ban him?

      No, I think that the family must have a different reason for the ban.

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    4. Bill H raises an interesting point - if Maura were to be found, and discovered to have disappeared of her own volition, could the state possibly pursue her (or her family) for some kind of damages? That could be another reason for choosing not to eventually come clean about the whole thing,

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    5. I imagine a couple of other reasons he was banned are his recent activities and upcoming book, all of which assume Maura disappeared of her own free will. If her family honestly believes that she met with foul play or died due to exposure, these two things might have been the last straws for the family. The flip side, of course, as others have pointed out, is that at least some friends and family know she is alive and don't want the attention. I hope that this latter argument is true, but I don't entirely discount the former.

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    6. I was going to make the same point that I noticed Sam already has. To ban James and not other people who have probably been more deserving at least at some point is puzzling.

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  9. There definitely is something amiss with the whole ban thing. You'd think all the help in the world would be welcome, all the publicity would be appreciated no matter what the differences between people...in the end isn't the goal the same? Let me put my tin foil hat on, and dial up a crazy scenario for a second.

    Over the years most of us have heard of book writers who publish books about children who are ill and are faced with terminal sicknesses. All of whom cannot be contacted other than phone or by email, never in person. Years go by and they have their staunch supporters who believe in them, but then you have those who see through it all and eventually find out it was not a sick child's story but someone just making it up to be in the limelight and to make some money...Take all these Facebooks, Webslueths, and Topixs and do a reverse scenario, how twisted would it be if the most, or one of the most prolific posters in these blogs/groups was actually MM posing as a relative or an "expert" on the disappearance?

    If the Murray family seems to be stagnant in their search efforts, or resigned in anyway to finding a resolve, then why the upkeep in the Facebook pages? why still have pages dedicated to her? I could see it just slipping away if they potentially are just moving on, but if you were seeking attention for personal gain and drama then I could see why you would keep pages going...But then you have determined people, like James, the ones who are on to something, who see through the "ruse" and are trying to find the truth...what happens? Block him, stop him, bad mouth him, have others do the same. Fear of being found out and discovered would ruin everything you've been trying to hide for 10 years. Facebook is relatively new and I don't know when the MM page was created, but that may have been an after thought once she knew she achieved safe passage and a new life was at hand...Could even be some sort of an outlet for her to reach out to loved ones after making the mistake of running away.

    How twisted would that be? how far fetched and twisted does that sound?

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  10. Hi James,

    I have been following this case since early 2006, and reading this blog for over a year now. Not sure where to post this, but here goes. One thing that has bothered me since I first heard about this case so many years ago was the accident scene. I have always read that Maura was involved in a one car accident. The Saturn was found, according to reports, in the eastbound lane facing west). From here on, I will assume these reports about the vehicle's position are accurate. The damage to the Saturn is clearly on the driver's side of the vehicle. Obviously, she did not hit the snow on the passenger side and spin her car around. I have seen the page where you describe how her car could have hit the snowbank in the turn, and spun the car around. However, I highly doubt this. The accident scene is simply too far away for the scenario you described. Not only have I driven by the scene myself when I was in the area, but you can take a look at the photos on google earth, along with the video someone posted on Youtube titled "Maura's last drive"; the turn is very sharp. Someone has to slow down to very slow speeds to take the turn, otherwise they would hit the snowbank directly in front of the turn. Even if they didn't slow down, and hit the snowbank the way you described, they would still likely end up directly in front of the turn. This leaves two possibilities:

    1) After she took the turn, she lost control and hit the snow on the other side of the road, and came to a rest in her own lane facing the wrong direction.

    or

    2) After she negotiated the turn, she struck another vehicle. She was, judging by the coke bottle found with wine in it in her car, at least somewhat inebriated after all. The reports always say it was a "one car accident", but I wonder if this has been looked into. After all, if the other driver fled, and Maura also fled, there could easily have been another vehicle nobody knows about. Right? (Unless if there is clear evidence that it WAS a one car accident) Look at the damage on the Saturn. It is above the driver's side headlight, like she may have hit a higher vehicle, like a pickup truck or an SUV. This would also explain why her vehicle spun around and came to rest the way it did. It may be significant, not so significant, or completely false, and it is purely speculation, but something worth looking into. If she hit another vehicle, they might provide some new insight. They might be linked. Or might totally be innocent. If I were investigating this case, I would be searching for a vehicle owner who ended up with "unexplained" driver's side damage in February of 2004 as a witness.

    Why would the other driver not come forward? Well, they may have been intoxicated as well when hit (or when THEY hit HER), and fled for the same reason Maura may have: to avoid a DUI. Add to this fact that this girl DISAPPEARED without a trace, and this person may be scared beyond belief, worried they might be accused of doing something they didn't commit.

    Again, just throwing some ideas out there.

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    1. Since I'd been so into this case lately, my husband took a look at some of this stuff for the first time himself and pointed this out to me. We have drove there as well, and it would seem that if she were really heading east, the only way this damage would have occured would be if another vehicle hit her head on and she spun out, OR she was coming from the OTHER direction and drifted over and hit the snowbank. The only thing is, the timeline doesn't really support her taking 93, then heading back towards 91. I would make the driver of the mystery car a suspect if that were real. For me, it still doesn't answer why she was up there in the first place.

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    2. Hi Melios.

      Interesting contribution, thanks for making it. I'd like to add something for you to consider.

      You may recall that I once looked very precisely at the time line of events, laying out a bunch of milestones over the five mysterious days and working out time ranges for each of them, based on the evidence available. I concluded that there was somewhere between 17 and 33 minutes of slack time in Maura's trip, depending on her traveling speed and precisely when she departed. (I was able to limit her departure time to a 17 minute range, so the other 16 minutes reflects variations in her assumed speed).

      Thus, I feel that if you look closely at the known events and make reasonable assumptions about her traveling speed, it is reasonable to speculate that she had reached and departed or was en route to a final or interim destination in the area (maybe an acquaintance's residence? maybe a rendezvous point with someone else?) when she crashed. In that case, it is not at all inconceivable that she was heading west when she crashed. I may be forgetting something, but I don't recall ever seeing or coming up with definitive evidence that she was heading east. That conclusion - at least as far as I can recall - was an interpolation based on three other conclusions: (1) the Saturn had travelled up I-91, which it must have if the sighting of her leaving the campus in her car is accurate, and (2) she had printed out directions to a place further north, and (3) she was familiar with areas east of Haverhill, straight down 112, and had called a lodging there prior to departing.

      Given the slack time from point A (Amherst) to point B (the Weathered Barn), my point is that WHEREVER she may have eventually been headed, the question of whether she was going east or west is much closer to a a 50-50 call than the above interpolation suggests. I don't dispute that there are legitimate indications she was going east, but not definitive ones.

      Am I mistaken? Does anyone have recall of firmer evidence that she was heading east? I have been largely disengaged from all this for 5 months now, so I may be forgetting some things.

      In terms of an interim or final destination in the vicinity of the crash site, consider the options. Lets say she knew someone in the area. If that person lived on the knot of roads around Mountain Lakes, she easily could have gotten disoriented, made a wrong turn and ended up on Benton Road and possibly Bradley Hill Road, then turning left onto 112. Particularly if she was departing an interim destination and got lost, upon encountering 112, she most likely would have turned left, realizing that the Woodsville next to the left arrow on the signage was where she'd gotten off I-91.

      One can think of other feasible examples of how the 17 to 33 minutes in slack time could easily have resulted in Maura traveling east on 112 at the time of the accident. The point is this: with that slack time, the question of east v. west is an open one, absent other definitive indications that she was going east.

      Again, much obliged to anyone who can make out a definitive argument as to why she was going east. I either have not heard it or forgot it, if it exists.

      ~ John Green

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    4. Sorry, my above should have been addressed to both Syzygy and Melios, with thanks to them both for the interesting contribution. (I was reading up from the bottom.)

      Syzygy - I very much agree with your analysis. Not only are the energies involved to crash through two snowbanks and spin across the road improbable (although we would have to ask an engineer about that), but there is also the issue of the slight ditch along the border between the Westman's property and 112. The car would have had to leave the road surface into a damp snow layer and possible plowed snow bank over that ditch, then start upward onto the Westman's lawn, go some distance across it AND THEN - in order for the theory to work and bring her to rest facing west in the eastbound lane, it had to crash through another plowed snow bank. At THIS POINT, it had to spin across a road that was almost certainly not icy (it had been treated and plowed, no snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours and the temperature at the nearest weather station at the time of the accident was 37 degrees.) That is a lot of energy.

      The version of James' scenario that I personally find more plausible differs from the map the EMT drew. If the car struck the "block of solid ice" that James described on the left side of the road approaching the Weathered Barn (but did not, as James believes and the EMT described, go up on the Westman's lawn), it seems at least possible to me that that impact could have spun the back end around about 270 degrees, initially toward the east. If the engine stalled and the steering went out at the right time, that could explain the car rolling to rest where it did.

      It still seems unlikely, but it is more plausible than the map drawn by the EMT. And we have to remember that with all the zillions of little factors that were at play that day in that area, it is really hard to be definitive.

      It is speculation around the minute details that could have influenced crash dynamics. But I am with you in being skeptical, though open to, the possibility that James subscribes to.

      James did not give me too much information back when I told him about my doubts, as described avove. But he did say this: he believes the EMT's depiction in the hand drawn map posted here a long time ago. This because a picture in a newspaper soon after the accident showed where the car had gone through the snow bank. I have never been able to find that picture and never talked with anyone other than James who has seen it.

      James, could you post that picture? Does anyone have it?

      ~ John Green

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  11. I think most believe the accident at the WB curve was enough to cause the airbags to deploy, an impact with a sudden deceleration would be sufficient to do that. Clipping the inside corner snow bank could be enough to cause the car to spin out and come to rest where it did.
    We do not know that the damage to the Saturn was done at the WB curve though. There are some that believe the Vasi hit and run on Thursday night was the cause of the damage. There are many more that discount Maura's involvement in the Vasi incident and thus discount prior damage to the Saturn. I propose that Maura was not the greatest driver and the damage to the Saturn predates even the Vasi incident. A small fender bender with an older car, no point in fixing it. I had heard that the headlight was in its proper place before the Saturn was moved several times so driving with the damage would not have been an issue. I would be curious to know if the picture that someone took of Maura's car in Boston prior to her disappearance included any front end damage to the Saturn. Not sure James ever saw the alleged picture.

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    1. I'm inclined to agree about the car being damaged in an unrelated incident. I see no other reason why a random loose airbag module would be in the car.

      And I don't think she hit Vasi, although its definitely a possibility; i doubt that hitting a person would be sufficient to cause the airbags to deploy. I'm hardly an expert on cars, but I've crashed enough of them and never once had an airbag pop on me.

      For the same reason, I question whether even the Haverhill crash would have been enough to deploy the airbag. Its more likely that it would have in that scenario than if she hit Vasi (or whoever), but its not a sure thing. This is why I've recently been considering the possibility that the airbags deployed spontaneously and were the direct cause of the Haverhill crash, due to someone replacing her airbag module and doing a shitty job of it.

      But again, I don't know enough about cars to say that's even possible, just something I've been curious about.

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    2. Yes, the damage to the Saturn would have been enough to set the airbags off. All it takes is setting off an airbag sensor in the front end. The sensors detect a sudden change in speed, send signals to the control module, which is a small computer, and the control module deploys the airbag module when appropriate. While not common, unwanted deployment can and does happen occasionally. Maura seemed to have a very old, crappy car. Could the air bag have deployed on its own? Possibly. If an air bag deployed at an inappropriate time, it could certainly cause an accident, and such incidents have occurred before. The worst part is, things happen so fast that these accidents are often misidentified as "driver error". Furthermore, air bags deploying unexpectedly can cause serious injury, or even death from the air bag itself. Remember, it inflates faster than the blink of an eye.

      As for the circumstances of the accident, it just doesn't seem right to me. Again, I wasn't at the actual accident scene, nor do any photos of it exist that I'm aware of. I have only read the newspaper accounts, and accounts of witnesses, which is just he-said she-said. All I know is, judging by the location where that blue ribbon is around the tree, I think she crashed after the turn, not in the turn, which is why I bought up the possibility of a head on collision with another vehicle.

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    3. The facebook ban was actually are really smart stradegy on behalf of facebook friends and family. It really kicks up the controversary now keeping mauras name in the lime light. Not to mention promote your book in a huge way. The 10 th year aniversay is right around the corner. The local papers will run a story and this blog will go VIRAL! It was actually a GENIUS move. Kudos

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