Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kevin Race Disappearance Mimics Maura Murray's Case


In 2007, Kevin Race told his girlfriend that he was going hiking and then drove away from her place in Portsmouth, NH. When he didn't return, they found a note he left behind, in which he talked about going to Mount Washington to find his final resting place. On the surface, it looked like a suicide.

But detectives quickly learned that Race was in trouble for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars and may have faced 10 years in prison if convicted.

Volunteers combed the woods. No body was ever found.

The first thing Fred suggested to the police when they called him was that Maura may have gone to the mountains to commit suicide. Only later did we learn she was in trouble for credit card fraud.

Many still believe Race is out there, laying low. Is it possible Maura did the same? Or have two bodies disappeared in the gulleys around Mount Washington? What's the most probable answer?

71 comments:

  1. My first thought: Kevin might have been familiar with Maura's case and modeled his own disappearance to resemble hers. In contrast to Maura's case, it sounds like Kevin was charged with a crime and had the incentive to vanish.

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  2. "[Maura] was in trouble for credit card fraud."

    Here's the thing: Maura had not been charged with fraud. Instead, the magistrate agreed to refrain from issuing the charging document, so long as Maura stayed out of trouble, compensated the victim and wrote a letter of apology. I understand that a DUI might have led the magistrate to issue the criminal complaint and charge Maura. Having said that, Maura was not cited for a DUI. And the application for complaint, in her fraud case, has since been destroyed pursuant to court rules.

    Therefore, under the theory implicit in this post, what is Maura's incentive to vanish?

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    1. her incentive most likely was the Vasi hit, her boyfriend whom cheated with her sisters friend and possibly an abusive father.

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  3. Embezzling over $100k is not comparable to what Maura was facing, IMO.

    I think suicide is the least likely possibility in Maura's case. Why would she bring her textbooks if she was gonna be dead? Sure, they may have been in the car before she left because that's where she kept them, but I think we can all agree that they were much more likely to be there because a) she was taking a hiatus and would do some studying while she was away or b) she would sell them to add to her coffers for the new life she was going to establish.

    I don't think it's impossible for a body to go unfound in the White Mountains for 7 or 10 years. There are many areas that are lightly trafficked, including where Maura was. However, unless Maura fleed into the woods right where she crashed, I think more than the one person "might" have seen her running along 112. It's a rural road, sure, but it's also a major thoroughfare in that area and it was 8 pm, not 3 am.

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    1. Personally, I think that the most likely scenario is that she died close to the scene due to an accident (e.g., slipping, falling, sustaining an injury and becoming immobilized). Incidentally, this scenario could be ruled out by thoroughly searching the area (consequently, suicide would also be ruled out in this manner).

      I think that the second most likely scenario is human intervention -- whether a "local dirt-bag" or a transitory one; like Keyes. This scenario is the most difficult to rule out; it requires discovery of the crime.

      Third, there is the scenario that Maura is still alive and chose to disappear. On the face of it, the third scenario is the most appealing -- who wouldn't want Maura to be alive and happy? But, then, we all witnessed the anger directed at Abigail Hernandez when, for a few days, people considered the possibility that she had not been a victim. The same feelings of anger would be cast at Maura on discovery that her departure was voluntary. In any event, nothing suggests that Maura is alive.

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  4. It has been over 10 years since Maura's disappearance. Nobody has heard from her, at least nobody who is willing to come forward. Likewise, there is no evidence that she was sighted by anybody in the days after the accident. We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to hide. I believe she is dead.

    However, since no body or other conclusive evidence has ever been located, I think various theories which assume she is alive somewhere deserve consideration.

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    1. Absolutely. That is why I like this blog. I strongly disagree with the theory that Maura, with the help of an omniscient tandem driver, fled the country. But what if I'm wrong? Each theory deserves consideration until ruled out by evidence.

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    2. I have to say its slighty disingenuous of you to compare embezzlement with the trouble Maura was in (which was ordering Pizza on a C.C after finding a receipt for the card in the trash). Maura was not facing jail time or even any further action in record to the C.C fraud. The only further action she might have faced is if she was caught for drink driving at the scene of the final accident.

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    3. There are a few things about the tandem driver/trip to Canada theories which has caused me to be skeptical of them.

      First, Maura was headed in totally the wrong direction if her plan was to get to Canada. If you are going to go to Canada from the Boston region, the most direct route is up 93 North (through Franconia Notch and Littleton) and then on Route 91 North in VT. Even if she wanted to cross into Canada in Pittsburg, NH--a much more demanding drive--Maura still should have been heading North (through Lancaster, Colebrook, etc.), not East. Maura was headed away from both of these roads at the time of her accident. Of course, one could argue that she got lost or was too stressed/intoxicated to be thinking clearly.

      Regarding the tandem driver theory, why didn't the second driver appear behind Atwood's bus during their conversation? If Maura and Atwood talked for more than half a minute (which seems likely), then that is more than enough time for someone following Maura on a narrow, twisty road like Rt. 112 to catch up.

      I've never seen any evidence indicating Atwood saw someone pull over behind him during their conversation. Likewise, he never mentioned anything about Maura making a signal to another driver who went around them or vice versa. Maybe Maura and another driver had some sort of plan that they would avoid the appearance of acting in concert to third parties in the even one of them had an accident. But why? From my point of view, accepting that argument tends to indicate that Maura was part of some sort of secretive plan with another person or persons, an idea I do not favor. Further, even assuming she was acting in concert with another person, the idea of developing a "crash plan" seems highly unusual, even for a person who is in distressed state of mind.

      Lastly, the arguments that accident was staged have always struck me as extremely far-fetched. Even if she was looking to stage an accident--and I cannot really figure out why--there are plenty of rural places much further to the south where the same could be done.

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    4. I view the "tandem driver" explanation as a Deus ex machina. Basically, Maura makes plans to meet someone in New Hampshire; for some inexplicable reason, she tells no one of this plan. As you suggest, the tandem driver is not seen by Atwood (almost like he/she planned it that way). The Marrottes don't see the driver, either. (Perhaps the Westmans caught a glimpse of the tandem driver; recall the cigarette-smoking-man that they reported). Then, when no one is looking, the tandem driver drops Maura in Canada (thereby explaining her disappearance) and then, his work is done.

      "Maybe Maura and another driver had some sort of plan that they would avoid the appearance of acting in concert to third parties in the even[t that] one of them had an accident. But why? From my point of view, accepting that argument tends to indicate that Maura was part of some sort of secretive plan with another person or persons, an idea I do not favor. Further, even assuming she was acting in concert with another person, the idea of developing a 'crash plan' seems highly unusual, even for a person who is in distressed state of mind."

      Yes. And more to the point: who plans for an accident?

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    5. I don't believe the accident was planned. I believe the tandem driver was ahead of her, saw the accident, but had made it beyond Bradley Hill Rd. At that time of year, the next place to turn around is Rt. 116, which explains the 5 - 7 mins. The other people didn't see because she was in the car/truck and off again within 10 seconds. If she was abducted, the exchange of introductions and getting into the vehicle would have taken a couple minutes and others would have surely seen the other vehicle then.

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    6. Why would there be a tandem driver? Why not ride together?

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    7. "The other people didn't see because she was in the car/truck and off again within 10 seconds. If she was abducted, the exchange of introductions and getting into the vehicle would have taken a couple minutes and others would have surely seen the other vehicle then."

      Your point, that an unwitnessed abduction is implausible, is a good one.

      I look forward to your book, and I know that you don't want to reveal too much of your theory prior to publication. But would you be willing to shed some light on the tandem driver's identity or relationship to Maura? Why does no one know of his or her existence? Why did he or she never come forward?

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    8. I believe there had to be two vehicles because the other person came up Rt. 93 from Hanson area. It's possible they were bringing her passport and items from home. Close friend or family. They either aided her flight or killed her.

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    9. James, I'll definitely be purchasing the book when it comes out. It sounds like you have a fairly well-developed theory about what happened and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for providing a bit of insight concerning your thoughts.

      Do you know whether she had a passport at the time of her disappearance? Apologies if I overlooked an earlier post on this subject.

      On another subject, my gut feeling is that an encounter with an opportunistic passer-by--e.g., dirtbag--would not necessarily take more than a minute. That said, I'll concede that the longer 1-2 minutes sure seems a lot more typical (for lack of a better term).

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    10. In terms of Maura having never been spotted if she were alive, I think there could be a simple explanation for that. I have a theory. As far as I can tell, people cannot "spot" someone they did not know previously. I wonder if all of us blog visitors, who see Maura's photo at least once a week, could actually spot Maura walking down the street. I honestly do not think we could. I think we'd like to believe we could, but I do not think that the human brain works that way.

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    11. After what James just wrote here, I was wondering if there were cameras taking licence plate numbers at the Canadian border in 2004. Did LE check them? If it was Fred, he would be driving a rental car. Did LE ever check the mileage on Fred's rental? His is the only car that is among Maura's friends and family that would have had the mileage recorded when he rented the car.

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  5. To me the only situation in which a tandem driver is plausible is one where the second driver was in front of Maura. And I agree that it's unlikely, but I keep it as a legit possibility just due to the fact that (at least as far as we know) no shattered liquor bottles were found in Maura's car. It seems unlikely to me that a crash capable of damaging a box of wine would spare a couple of glass bottles, which raises the possibility that they were never in Maura's car in the first place.

    But again, there are other possibilities as far as the booze is concerned, its far from being "strong" evidence of a second driver.

    And I agree that the crash being staged is a near-zero probability. The crash site does struggle to explain how the car ended up the way it did, assuming that Maura crashed due to trouble navigating the curve. But from my recollection of the site it looks pretty straightforward under the premise that Maura lost control in swerving to avoid hitting a deer.

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    1. I asked this question on Topix and Websleuths; I received no satisfactory responses. What evidence is there that Maura was driving east when she crashed? (I do not consider Smith's conclusory statement that such "evidence" existed to constitute evidence by proxy).

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    2. I don't know of any direct evidence of that. I definitely consider the possibility that she was driving west.

      If she was in fact heading west, my guess would be that she realized that she was on 112 mistakenly and had turned around to go back to 302 (as if she was close-ish to her destination but had gotten off 302 too early).

      The weird thing is, in either of the above scenarios, it makes absolutely no sense to me why, following the crash, she would run east (which, obviously, we don't know for sure she did, but that too seems to be an overwhelming sentiment that I don't quite understand).

      The only scenario in which running east makes sense to me is if she was driving west and didn't realize how close she was to Woodsville/I-91. Why run east all the way to Lincoln or wherever when you knew you could get back to the interstate WAY faster?

      (Although admittedly if she was drunk and disoriented after the crash, and the car had maybe spun 180 degrees, it's entirely possible that she took off in the opposite direction that she intended to...)

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    3. Sorry, by "either of the above scenarios" I meant a.) that she was heading east when she crashed, or b.) that she was initially heading east but turned around and was heading back west at the time of the crash.

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    4. I, too, fail to understand the "overwhelming sentiment" that, following the crash, she fled east. In both of your scenarios, she passed the Stage Shop a mile before the crash. Why would she go anywhere other than the Stage Shop?

      I have theorized that, if she went east, she may have gone straight from Peters Rd to the Marrottes' backyard and onto Bradley Hill Rd. In other words, if she went down Old Peters Rd, she never had to set foot on Wild Ammonoosuc Rd again. That would explain the absence of footprints on the road. Perhaps she had to make this exit because Smith had arrived and she did not want to go west because, if she did so, then Smith might see her.

      As to the direction of her driving, west would make far greater sense, considering the damage to the vehicle and the fact that the vehicle was facing west.

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    5. Could Maura have already gone to Bartlett, picked something up/met someone, and then be driving on her way back? I think it would actually fit the timeline.

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    6. Or could she have gone over to Lincoln or to the 93 and met up with someone and then have been heading back to Amherst or towards Vermont when the crash happened?

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    7. Or (one last rambling), maybe Maura was headed towards Bartlett and took the 118 cut-off to the 93, and before she got to Lincoln she changed her mind and decided to go to Vermont after all. Or maybe she met up with "Londonderry" in Lincoln (or on the 93 somewhere) and the two of them went to Vermont together.

      Obviously at one point earlier in the day she was "planning" on going to Vermont. Maybe that was still her destination at the time of the crash.

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    9. @ Rose White (4:02 PM)

      James had a similar theory:

      "[A]ccording to the accepted time frame (Maura leaving UMass at 4:30, getting into an accident in Haverhill at about 7:29), Maura had about 45 minutes unaccounted for. If she had driven straight from UMass to [Haverhill], she should have arrived sometime around 6:45. Of course, we know she stopped for gas somewhere along the way. And perhaps she stopped for food."

      [...]

      Maura might have already arrived at her destination before driving out to Route 112. It would explain some of the lost time. Perhaps she stopped, dropped off her stuff, then drove away, looking for a place to eat.

      If that's the case, the prime suspect in her disappearance becomes whoever checked her into a her hotel (there are few in the area) or whoever she had driven up to meet (if that is what she did). Perhaps it was that person who picked her up at the scene."

      Now, James did not mention two additional stops that Maura made -- the ATM and the liquor store. She very likely drove to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to get Crash Forms, as well. I know that they may have been online in 2004; however, Fred reportedly instructed Maura to go to the Registry to get them. She would have no reason to search for them online. Of course, Maura might have gone to the registry prior to 4:30 PM.

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    10. A couple months ago I did the math on that. If Maura would have gone to her local DMV to get the crash forms and been inside for a few minutes on the way to NH, then I think that could account for the missing time.

      I know James had the theory that Maura had already reached her destination. I was wondering actually if she went to a meet-up place with Londonderry and then headed off towards Vermont. She heads to Lincoln, meets up with Londonderry who is coming up on 93, and they drive in tandem together to Vermont.

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    11. James, under your theory -- If Maura had stopped at a hotel, "then drove away, looking for a place to eat," then the "tandem driver," in a second vehicle ahead of Maura, must have met Maura at the hotel. If that person had brought Maura's "passport and items from home," then wouldn't those items have been at the hotel? Also, why drive in separate cars?

      Also, you (perhaps inadvertently) suggest that you are leaning towards a family member (as opposed to a friend) as the tandem driver: "It's possible they were bringing her passport and items from home." Notice that you did not state HER home.

      You also state that,under your theory, the tandem driver is "from [the] Hanson area." Do you consider Weymouth to be in the "Hanson area"?

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    12. I think the meetup place was somewhere around Haverhill/Woodsville. Maybe a restaurant. And they were then traveling together to the hotel/condo/motel together. I don't know if it was family, friends, or a combination of the two. The passports were not found because they continued on. There are two people close to Maura who are unaccounted for around the time of her disappearance. A friend and a family member.

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    13. What do you think the connection to Weymouth is?

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    14. Thanks, James.

      @ Rose -- Fred lived in Weymouth at that time.

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    15. Ah right. I always forget that since he was working in CT.

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    16. If the person meeting her was coming up 93, and they were headed east, then why would they meet up in Haverhill or Woodsville? That does not make any sense.

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  6. One final thought: if Maura had intended to dump the alcohol and then go to the Stage Shop, Old Peters RD would be a good place to dump the alcohol. If she then went east to avoid Smith, she would attempt to make her way back to the Stage Shop on a different road. Keep in mind that Maura went to West Point and would know how to determine the direction in which she was travelling.

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  7. Good call on the west point training, I didn't account for that.

    I think a lot of the reason I favor the idea that Maura was heading east is due to my own lack of familiarity with the area. The hypothetical "route" from Amherst up 91, then breaking off east to 302 and 112 seems to fit at least fairly well from both a timing and practicality standpoint.

    Is there a comparable route that would put Maura at the same spot but coming from the west that you have in mind? I know literally nothing about the area besides what I can see on maps.

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    1. Not "coming from the west"--I meant coming from the east/heading west.

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  8. As a former UMass track and field athlete, I'd be happy to answer any and all questions.

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    1. Can you email me? jameswrenner@gmail.com

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  9. Sam and Jhonez, I think you make some really good points. I always thought that there was some sort of significant evidence that she was headed East at the time of the crash. Actually, as Sam points out, there is not.

    Maura made a telephone call to someone in Bartlett about renting a condo prior to leaving campus. She did not, however, make a reservation (source: Wikipedia article). Still, it sounds like she might've been interested in lodgings in that part of NH. One would take Rt. 112 East to get to the Bartlett/Conway area.

    I cannot find any "hard" evidence anywhere that Maura took Hwy. 91 North and then went through Wells River/Woodsville before heading East on Rt. 112 (the route that makes the most sense if she was headed from Wells River/Woodsvile to Bartlett/Conway).

    Maybe she was in Conway/Bartlett earlier in the day, didn't find what she was looking for, and headed West on Rt. 112. Prior to her disappearance, she did some internet searching on the Stowe, VT area. Directions to Stowe and Burlington were in her car at the time of the accident. Maybe she was on Rt. 112 because she was ultimately headed to Hwy. 91 North in Wells River, VT. From there, she could stay on Hwy. 91 North until taking Exit 21 near St. J., VT to eventually get to Stowe. If she was headed West at the time of the accident, that would toss my point about heading away from roads to Canada right out the window.

    The big problem with that scenario is that the drive from Amherst to Conway and then to the accident scene on Rt.112 West would seem to be pretty time consuming (probably about 5.5 hours at least and assuming no long stops). My understanding is that Maura did not leave campus until fairly late in the afternoon (the Wikipedia entry says 3:30). The numbers just don't add up. Her accident occurred at around 7:00 PM; if she went to Conway first, it would have been very difficult for her to be near Swiftwater any earlier than 9:00 PM.

    Another possibility is that, after leaving campus, she somehow wound up on Hwy. 93 North, not 91 North. From there, she could've gotten on Rt. 112 in Lincoln, NH and drove West to the scene of the accident. If this is what happened, it must have been quite an unusual trip. Maura would basically have headed North (Rt. 91), East to Lincoln (Rt. 118 & Rt. 25), and then back West again on Rt. 112 to the accident scene. If she was headed west, she was headed back towards Rt. 91. Overall, her direction would've been North. Why not just stay on Rt. 91 North in the first place?

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    1. "[I]t sounds like [Maura] might've been interested in lodgings in ... the Bartlett/Conway area.

      [...]

      Maybe she was in Conway/Bartlett earlier in the day, didn't find what she was looking for, and headed West on Rt. 112. Prior to her disappearance, she did some internet searching on the Stowe, VT area. Directions to Stowe and Burlington were in her car at the time of the accident."

      First, Maribeth Conway erroneously reported that two sets of directions were found in the car. I noticed that the Globe mentioned only directions to Burlington, prompting me to contact Helena Dwyer-Murray, who confirmed my suspicions (that there was one set of directions -- to Burlington).

      Now, if Maura had intended to go to Burlington, why look for hotels in New Hampshire? What would make her change her mind?

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    2. Thanks for the information concerning how she only had one set of directions, Sam. If I had to rank possible routes to the accident scene in terms of likelihood:

      1) North on Hwy. 91 until Wells River Exit, North through Wells River and Woodsville on Rt. 302, East on Rt. 112 -- This would seem to be the simplest, most direct route from Amherst to the accident scene. If Maura took this route, she would've been traveling East at the time of the accident.

      True, as you mention above, this route leaves about 45 minutes unaccounted for. She certainly could've met-up with someone during those 45 minutes. Her encounter with that person could be highly material to her disappearance. On the other hand, it's also possible she stopped somewhere to rest where she was not noticed by passers-by. Say, for example, the parking lot of the Woodsville Shaw's supermarket.

      Most of us would not look closely at the face of someone just sitting in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant or grocery store. Maura's Saturn was not a particularly recognizable or memorable car.

      2) North on Hwy. 91, East to Hwy. 93 North through some combination of roads in Southern NH, North on Hwy. 93 to Lincoln, NH, West on Rt. 112 to the scene of the accident--- If Maura took this route, she would've been traveling West at the time of the accident. The timing would seem to be about right. However, for all the reasons discussed above, the route would seem to be highly unusual unless she was meeting someone or had something to do in the vicinity of Hwy. 93 North.

      3) Amherst to Conway/Bartlett, Conway/Bartlett West to the accident scene on Rt. 112.-- Unless Maura left campus substantially earlier in the afternoon than the commonly-accepted 3:00-3:30 PM range, I just don't think the timing works.

      Things would be much easier to figure out if she had stopped somewhere in NH/VT during her drive North where there was a security camera (gas station, etc.).

      As far as why Maura would change her mind concerning where she was headed to, it's just too tough for me to speculate one way or another. Who knows. Maybe she was distressed to the point where she was not able to make a decision and stick with it. I'm no psychologist, but people who are upset, especially young people, can be pretty erratic.

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    3. I am wondering if she went east towards 93 to go to Bartlett, and then when she got to Lincoln, changed her mind and headed towards Vermont. It does not seem that she had a very clear plan when she left Amherst.

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    4. Rosewhite, that seems like as good a guess as any. She very well could've changed her mind about her destination on the way North. Another thought which occurs to me is that some people take longer or more complex routes to a certain destination because that is the way they've always made the drive.

      The only thing I feel relatively confident about is the obvious: that she passed through Lincoln, Woodsville, or North Haverhill at some point during her trip. Beyond that, it's pretty tough to say.

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    5. Joe you bring up a good point. I bet that Maura had never gone to NH any other route except the one her father always took from Hanson. I wonder if she would have swung over to 93 at the first realistic (i.e. not too time-consuming) chance she got, which would have been the cut-off to Lincoln. Maybe she just felt more comfortable taking the route she was most familiar with.

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    6. the tandem driver theory is ridiculous---simply because in order for her to have coordinated this, there would be some sort of cyber trial-----her computer was checked, her phone was checked-----i rest my case

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    7. David - People had drunk phones and burners even back in 2004. Why would you use a computer to invite a close friend/confidant/potential baby daddy/family member? You would just call them.
      Billy's mom got detailed calling logs on her phone, don't think she didn't know that. Since she had a duplicitous nature it stands to reason she had another phone for her peeps at school and/or certain friends.
      ---------I rest my case on top of your case---------

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    8. Joe M - perhaps the unaccounted for time was spent with the TD at their hotel room/cabin, which is where she left all of that booze.
      Perhaps the wreck was an intentional red herring.

      Do you know if the damage to her father's car matched the damage to her car in approximation? Perhaps wreck #1 gave her an idea on how to stage wreck #2? After all she survived the first one with no scratches.

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    9. @rcooper

      your watching too many episodes of NYPD blue----there's zero proof of your tandem theory---i rest my case on top of your case on top of my case

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    10. @rcoopr-- No, I do not know how the damage compared to the first accident. My opinion is that the accident was not staged, but to each their own.

      Even if Maura had some strange compulsion to stage an accident in a rural area, why did she travel so far? There is plenty of rural country in Southern N.H.and V.T. where one could ditch a car and be long gone before the authorities showed up.

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  10. First off I don't see how Renner can draw parallels between Maura and this guy. Maura used a stolen credit card number to order pizza and other take out food totaling less than 100 dollars. This guy embezzled over 100k. Maura at most if she was convicted would have had to pay restitution, a fine plus court costs, possibly gotten community service and probation. This guy would have gone to federal prison.

    Second I still have not seen any rock solid proof of a tandem driver. People who are saying she inquired about a 2 bedroom condo so there's the proof are crazy. First off the condo was unavailable so it is a moot point. Second according to Sharon Rausch on the disappeared episode this was the cheapest condo that was listed so it would make perfect sense for a college student on a strict and tight budget to go for the cheapest condo available no matter how big or small it was.

    Lastly how do some of you figure Maura was traveling west as opposed to east as reported? I think police who are trained in crash scene investigation would know more than arm chair detectives.

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    1. "Lastly how do some of you figure Maura was traveling west as opposed to east as reported? I think police who are trained in crash scene investigation would know more than arm chair detectives."

      Why do you say that Cecil Smith was trained in crash scene investigation? Is that true?

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  11. I say it because I know several people who have gone through the police academy where I live. It is pretty standard that police in the academy would go through crash scene investigation classes. Hell I was a law enforcement explorer in high school and we had a class on crash scene investigation. So it is logical that Sgt. Smith did go through a class on crash scene investigation at his respective police academy.

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    1. His police report does not discuss any investigation. He simply states "evidence" at the scene indicates that she was traveling east. Where would he have recorded his findings?

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    2. Usually the police will not use the term "investigated" in a report. Using the word "evidence" is more credible. By using the term evidence at the scene indicated that she was traveling east. Indicates to anyone familiar with police procedure that Sgt. Smith did a preliminary investigation of the crash scene.

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    3. Fine; substitute the word "evidence" for "an investigation." If Smith said "an investigation" of the scene indicates that she was traveling east, my question would be the same: where are his findings? In other words, what did he discover and examine, during this investigation, that led him to conclude that she was traveling east?

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    4. As long as we're talking semantics I'll also throw this out there: "indicates" is not a particularly strong word. I'd argue that an "indication" and a "conclusion" are not the same; if an eastward direction is "indicated", I take that as being roughly equivalent to "most likely".

      And back to Rob's original question, I personally do in fact think it's most likely that Maura was heading east, but it's far from clear enough to discount other possibilities (which, at least on my end, was the point of the whole conversation on that point in the first place). I know you're fully aware of this Sam, but Rob seems to have blown right past that part.

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  12. Regarding the pre-accident meeting/tandem driver, where are the witnesses who saw Maura talking to someone? Security camera footage? A clerk who noticed a single person with a Massachusetts accent (presumably, the tandem driver) booked for only one night? Surely the authorities made inquiries concerning happenings at local gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and motels at the time of Maura's disappearance.

    In sum, my opinion is that she was driving alone. I do not, however, have a problem with listening to various tandem driver theories. Given the bizarre circumstances of Maura's disappearance and the long-term unsolved nature of the case, I'm willing to listen to any theory short of aliens, ghosts, abduction by North Korean agents, etc.

    I will concede that there are plenty of rural spots in the North Country where two drivers could meet and not be seen by anyone else. I also think Rosewhite's point about people not closely scrutinizing other people or remembering them unless there is some reason to do so is valid. And, as I mentioned above, Maura was driving the quintessential "blend-in" car.

    If she did meet-up with someone, it must've been somewhere pretty inconspicuous. Say, for example, a parking lot or lightly traveled road. The hotel or restaurant angle doesn't work for me.

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    1. Maura had one set of directions: from Amherst, MA to Burlington, VT. Presumably, at the time that she had printed those directions out, she had intended to follow those directions from Amherst to Burlington.

      If a meeting was planned, then the meeting place would have been Burlington. If Maura had changed her mind and decided not to go to Burlington, but, instead, to go to a town in New Hampshire -- (1) How would Maura have communicated this change in plans to the tandem driver? (2) How would the tandem driver have conformed his or her plans with enough time to find Maura and drive away with her?

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    3. Sam, those are both good points. The lack of any documented evidence of communications between Maura and the tandem driver--which I did not mention because it has been discussed quite a bit before--is another reason for my opinion. True, there is always the Londonderry cell "ping," but I'm hesitant to infer from that alone that someone was traveling with Maura or planning to meet her.

      I think a tandem driver plan would've inherently required enough communication that some sort of pattern would be apparent from the evidence gathered by law enforcement. I'm thinking multiple calls to a certain number in the days leading up to the accident, an email, etc.

      It's possible all the communication took place by face-to-face conversations, but why all the secrecy?

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  13. David - How dare you sir - NYPDBLUE OUTRAGE!!! what is this show you speak of? Is it like Cop Rock?

    Joe M - I totally agree, it was North Korean Alien Ghosts.

    Interesting that we all look at the same things and have different reactions.

    Let me just throw this idea in bed with Madonna and see if she sleeps with it -
    MM called an info line for rentals, looked them up online, and sought out one she had previous familiarity with that happened to be a 2bdrm. This could have been due to pricing she was ok with or familiarity for the TD and herself.
    She was very intelligent and resourceful so, to me, this says that you only go for the lodging you need and/or can afford. If it was for herself she could have looked for a studio or 1bdrm. Yes Virginia, studios and 1bdrms exist and college students are notorious for being broke so it makes sense to go for the cheapest option or invite someone to split the costs.
    She did not have enough $ to last a week in the mountains on her own, especially after blowing coin on a copious amount of hooch. Please correct me if you can, but she withdrew about $280 from her account and bought Vodka, boxed wine, Kahlua, and Bailey's, supposedly this amounted to $40, That seems very cheap for all that alcohol. http://findmauramurray.fr.yuku.com/reply/1868/General-Discussion#reply-1868 http://findmauramurray.fr.yuku.com/reply/1864/General-Discussion#reply-1864
    MM presumably has $240 left for lodging, food, gas, and anything else. Don't think that is enough for her to make it on her own. If she was suicidal would she drive off to an area she had just researched for rentals, wreck, and walk into the freezing night mixing drinks with the booze she took? She had enough alcohol for a few good days with a friend. She didn't have enough $ to fly solo unless 2004 dollars went hella farther than 2014. She researched 2bdrms and struck out with the rental company we know of. Only the boxed wine box was in her car. There is a missing 45min-1hr. on her trip up. Her route seems specific and indicative of the rental area she had already researched. MM told BA a story to get rid of him, which seems to say she had other plans and was not in need of help.
    If she was wrecked and stranded wouldn't she just get help from BA? It was night time in the middle of nowhere and freezing. I think she just would have taken the help if she needed it.
    I think TD is very plausible. it explains a purpose for taking the booze, and the wine she drank in the car was pre-drinking, we've all done that. You pre-drink before arriving at a destination so you can set the night off on a good note.

    If I am wrong about the booze someone please tell me.
    RENNER - older posts by you indicate that the police inventoried alcohol, but most other posts seem to say that it was not in her car, including news stories. Where are you on the bottles of alcohol?

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  14. Can someone Zillow rentals for the approximate area she wrecked in? I don't Zillow so not sure how that works.

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  15. I have never put too much credence into the size of the condo Maura was trying to rent. She was young and had likely never planned a trip on her own in her entire life. She simply called places she had been before because her experience was limited and she had nowhere else to start.

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    1. Rose - In one sense I agree and another I don't.

      If this was MM checking on a particular cabin that her family had used multiple times and was familiar with, then yes I see your point.

      However, we all seem to have views of her being very smart, accomplished, military school trained, duplicitous, crafty, living the college experience, but yet so naive she can only look for the one cabin she has known in the past that just happens to be a 2bdrm. Has she never been on spring break and gotten hotel rooms with friends or a room with billy or another friend-with-benefits?
      She's a broke college student, she is not unaware of how to shop for cheap lodging........I did it when I was 16 and went on an overnight trip to an amusement park with friends. You call around to see what the best rates are.
      The more I think about it, read what Renner has posted, and look at other sources around the web, it seems like she might have tried to get that cabin because the TD had familiarity with how to get there, because they had been there before.
      That route was much too specific not to have a rental or rendezvous in place. Just looking on the map you wouldn't turn down that road unless you had directions to a destination or were following someone.

      Come on - Computer searches, calls to rental line, not enough $ for a week, a decent amount of alcohol for mixed drinks, Londonderry ping, extra 45min-1hr in her timetable, after wrecking gets rid of BA, disappears in just a few short minutes presumably taking most of the alcohol with her.

      To me it screams a real possibility of the Tandem Driver. Hopefully it was to help her and not harm her.

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    2. Is there reason to believe that she had requested a place with two bedrooms?

      Why did the tandem driver have to meet with Maura in New Hampshire? If Fred, he had just spent two days with Maura. Why would he leave, only to plan to meet up with her in New Hampshire? If a friend from the Hanson area (e.g., Liz or Whalen), why not meet up with Maura somewhere in Massachusetts?

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    3. I know Maura was intelligent and resourceful, but I always just thought she started with places she was familiar with. Recall that she never actually did book a room. My thinking was that she called around to a few places, realized they were too expensive or that it would be impracticable to rent them on short notice, and so she just sort of threw her hands into the air and headed up there.

      One more thing about the two bedroom condo that has always troubled me, is that I think that would be too big a place even for two people. A two bedroom condo is for a family or a group of people. TWO people get a one bedroom or share one hotel room.

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    4. I agree . . . Maura making a decision to just head North and find someplace to stay when she got there seems like a plausible explanation to me.

      When I was in college, I had an acquaintance who drove from New England thousands of miles to the West without telling anyone. She didn't book any hotel rooms or research possible routes because she did not have any particular destination in mind. She just wanted to get away from her life after a tough few weeks. She figured the easiest way to do so was to point her car West and keep driving.

      Thus, I am not particularly shocked by the thought of Maura heading North without a particular destination in mind or diverging from her originally planned trip to Burlington on a whim.

      It's obvious I am relying on anecdotal evidence in support of this opinion. I doubt, however, that I am going to find any polls or academic studies on the frequency with which young people in general or young women in particular take spur-of-the-moment road trips for no other reason than to escape from things for a bit.

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  16. No evidence has ever been made public which indicates that Maura actually made a reservation anywhere. Even if the police were withholding information on this point, it's juicy enough that I suspect it would've come out by now.

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    1. Joe M - I agree, but her movements, contents of her car (running clothes, books if I remember right), email to professors, alcohol purchases, specific route all say that she did in fact have a destination with multiple day stay planned and she was probably close when she wrecked. Just because they haven't found it or released it just means we don't know. Perhaps she struck out and so TD make the reservations for cash, so no trail. TD does all of the check-in process so no one ever knows MM is there.

      You could say that there is no proof that people who park their cars in the Disney World parking lot plan on going in, but you know they are.

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    2. hello

      just watched disappeared they indicated she had more than one bank account and only emptied one of 280

      jo

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