A new look at one of the North Country's Coldest Cases
Had to look up what AMA meant. "Ask Me Anything", acronym used on internet forums, primarily Reddit
Hello Mr Renner; I missed the AMA sadly. I do have a question/comment though. I was wondering if you managed to speak to or have heard anything about the server who sold Maura the large amount of alcohol she purchased that night? I suppose I am hoping that Maura might have had an exchange with the person who served her which might tell us something. Or perhaps the server might be able to extrapolate on her demeanor that night?
I also wonder if there are ATM videos of the $4000 being withdrawn. It's really weird to me someone would withdraw $4000 over the course of several ATMs - why not go to a bank,why pay cash rather than check/credit card, and why take the cash out before you even make a purchase? Even if the bank was closed that day - certainly buying a new car isn't normally a last minute decision. My thoight is that maura took her fathers credit card and used it to take out the $4000 (though not sure how she'd have the pin) and that the father is saying he took out the cash for car shopping to cover up her behavior. Maybe she wanted to get the credit card back to him before he woke up (why she went back to the room)
Great thinking Sammy. I seriously started to question Fred's veracity when he told how he withdrew the money. It made very little sense to take out such a large amount of cash that way. Also, a person from his generation would be totally accustomed to going to the bank for that.
Too many assumptions. Its pretty ridiculous to claim Fred wouldn't act this way or that due to the generation he comes from, massive assumptions which have no basis other than vague opinion. I do think there are a number of inconsistencies in Fred's accounts and I think Renner's theory that Maura was running away from Fred that night is interesting as it does explain why Fred would offer differing explanations. Fred himself initially thought the vanishing might well have been suicidal in nature. I think the inconsistencies might well disguise a serious disagreement the two had - perhaps out of guilt this is the part of the story that Fred is trying to rewrite. But many of the odd clues such as the rag in the exhaust, the amount of alcohol, the book 'not without peril', the leaving of everything other than the alcohol, all would appear to fit in with a suicidal motive and so for me it makes suicide the most likely explanation and no more than that . The general problem with focusing on Fred is that is offers no explanation of what happened to Maura really; Maura's motivations that night are one thing but what happened straight after the accident is the real question which when answered would clearly lead to her.
First of all, I am not assuming anything. I am simply laying out a discussion/argument of how something is more likely than not to have happened or not have happened. It is the only thing we have to go on in this case. As to focusing on Fred, we do not know what happened to Maura, he was the last person close to Maura to see her alive, and he has lied and obfuscated the truth about this case. I am personally convinced that this is because he knows something MATERIAL to Maura's case that he has seen fit not to share. I am sure that either Fred or someone from the Murray family reads this blog. That means that he could, at any time, come forward with evidence that he took the $4,000 when he left Amherst. It would settle a big issue and get people back to focusing on his "dirtbag" theory. I know that Fred has the "right" to not engage with us here; I am merely pointing out that if he so chose, he could settle a controversial issue regarding his daughter's case and get people to focus more on his own theory about what happened to Maura. I guess that is what I would do if I were a parent in a situation like this.
Has the $4000 ever been accounted for? Does Fred claim he has it? Did Maura have it when she went missing? Is there bank records of the withdrawals and redeposit? If the money is unaccounted for, and Maura had it, that would eliminate suicide theory? Why would you take $4k with you to go commit suicide?
If Maura just went off into the woods with some booze in order to kill herself, then she picked a very odd method of suicide. People here act as though walking off into the White Mountains to die makes sense, but it really doesn't in light of what we know about suicidal behavior. It is HIGHLY unusual for suicidal people to pick a "slow" method of suicide. Also, suicide by drug/alcohol overdose has a very low success rate - most people survive it. Similarly, a lot of people survive a night outside in 30 degree weather. It may not be pleasant, but it is far from a certain death.
This totally obfuscates the issue. The thing to bear in mind is that Maura clearly did have a plan initially but the accident totally derailed that plan and for me at that point all bets are off. If she was depressed or suicidal (and I believe on balance that she was) then the accident in removing her vehicle made her change that plan. Matter of fact any plan for me changes at that point unless she is travelling in tandem (which seems unlikely to me). Moreover applying logic to try and understand what Maura did after the accident is unsound in my view. Maura was not only likely shaken up from the accident (Atwood actually mentioned she was physically shaking), she was also partially intoxicated after drinking red wine while behind the wheel (a reckless activity which could easily be interpreted as a sign of extreme stress and depression). Consequently you have put the cart in front of the horse; Its not about claiming that Maura wondering off into the White Mountains makes sense, its the very fact that the action makes little logical sense that makes it compelling. Logical thinking was likely the furthest thing from Murray's mind immediately preceding the accident. The rag (which by its cleanliness would seem to indicate recent placement) defies any logical explanation for one. I would further argue that trumping all logic at that time was Maura's desire to avoid LE at all costs. It might even be the case that while Maura initially might have been leaving with a plan (what sort is irrelevant) the accident was the 'last straw' for someone already depressed and fleeing. After Maura left the scene of the accident how long would it have taken for Maura to realize how much trouble she was in? It would be reasonable perhaps to guess that Maura might have felt she was in a great deal more trouble than she actually was due to her recent brushes with the law (she is on probation remember) plus her imbibed state. Its not even necessary for us to conclude that Maura meant to kill herself that night, she might have wondered off (in avoiding LE) and got lost in the dark while drinking while eventually succumbing to exposure. Part of the problem is that as Maura becomes more and more intoxicated then her actions might well become less and less logical and we know how much alcohol she took with her. I still feel that its very possible that Maura would likely avoid everybody that night due to her fear of LE becoming involved (we know she had this fear due to Atwood's statement). The eternal question for me then is; did Maura retreat into the woods and then maybe the mountains or did she flag down an ill fated ride down to leave the scene? I'm now more minded to believe she set off on her own just as she set out on this plan on her own. Intent is a secondary concern and almost impossible when you consider Maura's possible state of mind in the time straight after the accident. At the best of times 'logical thinking' is a subjective interpretation, in this case I believe it is little more than useless.
Sorry my point was perhaps not very clear. I agree that Maura was not in logical state of mind; no suicidal person is. The point I was trying to make was one purely of logistics. Let's say that Maura intended, after the accident, to walk off into the cold, dark woods with some booze with the intention of committing suicide. Well, would that have worked? That is the question I am asking. One thing we know is that hypothermia is not a preferred suicide method. It leaves too much time for the victim to "back out," which is not something a truly suicidal person wants. Also, drinking oneself to death or taking pills or both has low probability of success. Yes, it CAN work and it does, but most people who go that route end up surviving. My main point is that Maura could easily have been suicidal, but just being in that state of mind does not mean that you will complete suicide. Killing yourself takes some work. Just going the hypothermia/booze/pills route may have worked, but it may not have worked. I am only asking that when people here write, "she went off into the woods to die," that they really break down exactly HOW they think Maura died. I could walk out into the woods on a 30 degree night with a bottle and I could definitely survive that. Yes, I MIGHT die, but that is most certainly a survivable situation. If that was Maura's method, then, statistically speaking, it was HIGHLY unusual. We do not have a lot of facts about Maura, but we do have a lot of fact about suicide. I am merely using those facts to point out that if Maura committed suicide in that fashion, that it would be a very rare thing. It still could have happened, of course.
If you are leaving on foot with the sole intent of fleeing, grabbing nonessentials is nonsensical. Even more so if she was as drunk as people are assuming she was. In that case, you would just distance yourself physically from the wreck and not focus on details. How many people have left their credit cards at the bar because they are too drunk to remember to close their tab? you tend not to think about those "small details" when intoxicated. I believe the fact that the alcohol is missing is a good indication that she knew she had a ride waiting for her. She grabbed what she wanted because she knew she would not need to carry it far. The fact that no neighbors remember other cars stopping by tells me that it was not a random passerby that picked her up. Consider this too: alcohol was obviously important to Maura's daily activities for whatever the reason...her youthfulness, an addiction, whatever....that's not the important part. The important fact to me is that she bought enough of the one provision she felt she needed that required an ID to buy. Perhaps this is because she knew it would be a while before she would have some form of ID available that wasn't her own. In the theory where she was planning to run away, it fits perfectly. I would like to add though that while I am suspicious of Fred's behavior , I am also suspicious of the fact that Maura travelled to his hotel room late at night. If Fred had a history of physical violence, I dont know of one woman who would travel back to the location of their abuser when they were away and safe, unless there was some kind of dependency...i.e. perhaps Fred was compensating her financially to be quiet, which would also account for the $4000. I dont want to go crazy speculating but I would just like to point that out, that a history of abuse would be a reason to run away, but if there was a history of abuse, her going to his hotel room in the middle of the night when she was "off the hook" from his behavior makes no sense. Trust me. And if he was only violent one time and it was that night in the hotel room then it would explain why she would think nothing of going to his room alone late at night, but it doesnt explain her motive for running away. I think that is why Fred needs to be honest. The only people that aren't honest are the people that are hiding something or pathological liars. There are no other caveats to it. Those are the only two reasons for not being honest ever. So the question is, which one is it with Fred? I believe he is hiding something and it has to do with a pattern of behavior on his part. People would forgive a contrite father who says "I yelled too much or got too physical once, I feel awful, I just want my daughter safe and happy and back home." But a father who was consistently abusive enough to make a daughter run away would not be forgiven as easily which would prompt that father to remain silent and divert attention away from his behavior. And I know, I know, this post will be called speculation :) But speculating how known facts are cohesive and thereby attempting to explain them is different from introducing theories based on unkown elements like : Maura was abducted by aliens after she wondered off due to a depression that was brought on by her buying a losing mega millions power ball ticket. Just sayin :)
I'd say its speculation. Then again, speculation is pretty much all we have to work with, despite the best efforts of Mr.Renner, law enforcement, etc. Speculation isn't a bad thing. I also want to point out that we know *some* of the items she brought with her, not all. We dont know for 100% certain that she wasn't in possession of a two way radio, which could be used to keep in contact with a second car. Just way too many unknowns.
I like the idea of MM using FM's car as a "crash test" for the night of her disappearance. Perhaps she was so checked out of her current life that she decided to do a dry run with her dad's car. Who cares if he gets mad because she wouldn't be around to deal with it. an interesting thought from one of the above postings.
Perhaps the wreck of her dad's car gave her the idea for her own wreck.
In my opinion there have been some good observations by recent posters. I agree that taking the large amount of alcohol only makes sense if she was being picked up by someone. It seems unlikely that if she declined help from Butch Atwood she would take a ride from a different stranger. In my opinion there are two reasons that the police will not give information on case. 1) they are covering their asses on a bungled investigation or 2) they have a person of interest and not enough evidence to press charges. They have alluded to the latter, whether or not that is accurate obviously we don't know. The trip to purchase the car is an odd one. Typically people don't withdraw 4,000 from an ATM over multiple visits, nor do they find a car and not get it if her car was dangerous as reported. I do get the feeling that Fred is hiding something. I also think he looks like a devoted father crushed by the disappearance of his daughter. Maura had some issues at the time and was very careless. I SPECULATE that they went to get a car and perhaps she wasn't interested in the car her father would get her. Perhaps she alluded to insurance fraud. I'll come up with some money/I'll take care of the car. Planned a trip with another person to crash and/or otherwise abandon her car. The crash that occurred could have been the plan or unintentional from being careless and drinking. People use alcohol frequently to get up the nerve to do something out of character. I'm speculating but to me this answers a lot of questions as to why Fred is evasive, what she would be doing out there, why she took a barely drivable car on a road trip, why they didn't buy a car when they were prepared to do so etc. she also could be ditching her car if she or the car was involved in vasi accident.
I said I wasn't going to comment anymore, but I like straight foreword opinions! Maybe you have read my "scenario", it's posted w/ my name, pleases give it a look. Hey James! I had to comment just because little by little different stuff comes up like this "ATM" thing. I still believe the rag was to keep the car from moving. The kit the rag came out of was locked in the car. 1 of 2 people could have done this. If MM had 4k in her pocket, it would be hard to vanish. But, use your head, 4k won't get you a boat ride to Belize! I like my scenario, but Jim is tight lipped, as he should be. Sorry I missed the 7th. L, read carefully on the Vasi thing, it is a lot of " what if's" and more Q's than A's . JS
Jeffrey Smith,Could Fred have placed the rag himself, to keep Maura from driving it? The car was in pretty bad shape to begin with, so maybe he put it there as a way to keep Maura from driving it and getting into another wreck. You mentioned that 1 of 2 people could have done this (place the rag in the tailpipe).
Having a family member that took his life I can tell you that the things Maura did in the last several days that she was around are very telling. She packed away her belongings, she returned things that didn't belong to her, she called her boyfriend and told him she didn't feel like talking (shutting down). These are all "text book" things that people do prior to committing suicide and she also had belonging in her car with her like the book "Not Without Peril." She was also drinking alcohol which in itself is a depressant. If she was taking any narcotics unknown to us those are also depressants. Her Farther said in the "Disappeared" story she had "everything" to live for. Will I can also tell you that becoming an RN, passing State Boards, getting married? those are also stressful esp if Maura was having trouble with the law due to using stolen credit cards, eating disorders, alcohol problems, problems with relationships ? And the night prior to going missing she damages her Fathers new car, has an upsetting phone car at work, then the next day writes an e-mail to her profs saying that there was a death in the family (not true). And heads out of state? Has another accident with her own car? And has been drink and driving and then never to be seen again? Maura had problems.