Friday, March 7, 2014

What's on that ATM video?

Last month, when the 10th anniversary of Maura's disappearance came around, I asked the authorities to release the ATM footage of Maura taken from the bank in Amherst when she withdrew money right before driving into the North Country. It went up the chain of command. Strelzin declined.

Over the years, there have been rumors about what that footage may show. Some have suggested Maura had a black eye.

It's possible they are keeping it secret because it shows exactly what she was wearing at the time of her disappearance and may be used to identify a body or even a suspect.

But... 10 years, man. After a decade, I'm not sure what it would hurt.

20 comments:

  1. I agree, it is odd. Has LE given any indication for their reasoning?

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  2. James, thank you for taking up this topic as we have just discussed it on the earlier post. It would be really good to know for sure that it was her at the atm, the liquor store and finally the crash site. Another point that keeps coming up in the posts is the crack in the windshield of her car. I guess LE experts will have determined if that was caused by force from inside out or from outside of the car? But we don't know, right? Did Maura usually buckle up, even if DUI'ing? If that crack was caused by her head, she would most likely have been seriously hurt. Any theories how that crack happened?

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    1. The crack in the windshield in consistent with contact of the airbag during deployment.

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  3. I just finished your book on Amy Mihaljevik and so I have been thinking a lot about this issue. In that case, the cops are still holding on to information they might need when the killer is caught. I just have to ask the wisdom of doing that when no one has been arrested in connection with that case in TWENTY FIVE years.

    Same with Maura's case. At what point does LE realize that the only way they will solve this thing now is with pure dumb luck? When do the people working this case admit to their incompetence and just release all the info and hope that someone else out there knows something more than they do? I do not understand the thinking here.

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    1. It's not uncommon for LE to solve cases after even more than 25 years. While releasing evidence to the public might sometimes help reach potential witnesses, there are probably twice as many ways it can be misused and generally harmful to the investigation. I just think LE know what they're doing and they must have reasons not to disclose some evidence. IMO, the fact that they still haven't solved this case doesn't necessarily point to lack of competence. We all agree it's a difficult case and I'm sure there have been numerous LE people really dedicated to solving this mystery. Honestly I see no way releasing ATM footage would help at this point apart from new wave of speculation. If it could truly generate new leads, they would have released it by now IMO.

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    2. But would they have solved it sooner than 25 years if they had released the information? Personally, I see not solving a murder case in 25 years as incompetence.

      I also consider LE in the Maura Murray case to be incompetent. At least LE in Amy's case had some suspects and generated a few leads. MM cops have gotten nowhere in 10 years. I could understand if they were on the verge of a breakthrough not releasing the ATM footage, but obviously they are not. They are not even actively investigating it anymore!

      The ATM footage may help, but we will never know if they do not release it. I can think of an example: say someone bought Maura's exact jacket at a thrift store a year after she went missing. Would that not be a little interesting?

      As far as I can tell, this case is now a cold case to LE. That means all they have left to help solve it is the SPECULATION of the public. Why not just throw it all out there?

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    3. I see your point, and I must agree that comparing to other high-profile missing person cases LE released little evidence here. It would seem reasonable to show the last known images of Maura to the public- I still believe they have some reason not to, though. And it's hard to expect them to actively investigate a case with no real developments, no signs of foul play and no real persons of interest (not to mention suspects) from day one, ten years ago. I would agree with your previous statement, Rose, that it is the "dumb luck" that is most likely to bring closure.

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  4. James, in a prior response to a post on this blog you suggested a 20 year hold on investigative documents. Why a difference for the CCTV footage? Do you not consider this footage as investigative documentation?

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Mr. Green, James Renner has been more than patient with you and your constant pecking. I don't understand, while some of your posts are very informative, the constant hen piecing that you do, would have it been me, I would have blocked you already by now. You obviously have a lot of knowledge ( from what I have read over, and over, and over, in your mind, start and finish your own blog and book!)

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  6. My above comment notwithstanding, James, it is interesting that they choose not to release it. Do you have any indication at all from them why?

    ~ John Green

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  7. I always assumed they weren't releasing it to weed out credible sightings to not credible sightings. For example if she had a logo on her jacket but they didn't release any photos - any witness who claimed they saw her and described that logo would credible. Sort of like when you find someone's lost pet or other valuable - you make sure not all the info is in the "found" posting so that you make sure the real owner is the one who gets their belonging back - since they'd be the only one to describe the missing item in entirety.

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  8. Well, I tried googling different variations of LE not releasing video footage. The only results I can find is when the PD is covering up for a Police Officer. It seems as if whatever happened to MM either involved LE or someone somehow affiliated in a higher position that could help her vanish. What other logical reasons would support keeping the footage under wraps if they weren't hiding something? If the footage showed a suspect then it should have been made publicly immediately so that we could watch for them. Also, after 10 years if the video showed a suspect then I cannot imagine them not getting caught by now.

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    1. As this is an active case, LE will not divulge information that may hinder the investigation. There must be a good reason for the police department to decline requests for surveillance video in a missing persons case. I can only speculate as to what that reason is, but I would imagine LE being involved in Maura's disappearance is as likely as the "UMASS researchers".

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  9. I would like to say that I had not heard of this case (I'm in Baltimore) but just happened to be watching Disappeared on Netflix tonight and saw Maura's story. Of course I was hoping for the show to end on an "update" note, but obviously that did not happen. I hoped to find more information on google and looked up Maura's name, which is how I came across this site. I want to express my deepest sympathy to Maura's father and mother as well as friends. I cannot fathom what those close to Maura have experienced. I hope you all have closure very soon.

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  10. Did you just ask the Bank security for their copy? I also would love to see the accident report and hit and run on Petri Vassi , specifically any photos of tire skid marks. I have often questioned LE competence especially around college campuses. So many things get passed the buck from Amherst police to Umass police. And i often wonder due to the enormous amounts of revenue and jobs Umass brings to Amherst , that the need to keep up appearances in safety a lot of things are kept quiet. In 2004 the collge was very much trying to change the reputation of " ZOO" mass. And a decade later exposing some incompetance your probablly dealing wih individuals who are now promoted to higher positions with political influence. Tread cautiously but be persistent. LE not releasing ATM footage a decade later is utterly ridiculous, I have a feeling its not being reeased to you at request of the family.

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    1. For privacy reasons, most businesses have policies in place that restrict the divulgence of surveillance footage to LE only. A bank would definitely have this policy in place.

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  11. In 1999 I was involved in a fatality auto accident. The criminal case went to court sometime in 2000 if memory serves. I believe the civil end of it was settled in 2001. There were documents and photos and information that I had never been able to have that I wanted to see. I was informed at the time that after 10 years from the day of the court decision, I could have access and copies of the entire case file. So 10 years later I contacted the attorney who handled the case and he simply filed a request with the court for the records. They seemed hassled about it, but I got copies of everything; photos and all. My point being, perhaps this is possible in Maura's case.

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  12. I don't understand why they wouldn't want to put the footage out - the authorities don't seem too interested in any renewed appeals about Maura.

    Even if, as I presume, they are convinced she's no longer with us, why wouldn't they want to release it?

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  13. Why would she drink while driving?? That is a very odd for someone who is intelligent and trains for track & field, I am an athlete myself and I find this theory very strange. Maybe it wasn't her who bought the alcohol, maybe there was a passenger in the car.

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