Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I've Won An Important First Step Towards Getting Records Related to Petrit Vasi's Accident

The wheels of justice turn slowly.

I've been quietly trying for the better part of a year, now, to gain access to the full file on Petrit Vasi's accident, which occurred the night of Maura Murray's breakdown shortly before she disappeared. Some have suggested Maura was responsible for the accident or that she let someone (a pizza delivery driver, perhaps) borrow her car and it was that person who struck Vasi. Personally, I don't think this is the case. I think it's a totally unrelated accident and the timing is coincidental. However, I'm all for due diligence. Let's see the reports.

However, the records secretary at the Amherst Police Department -- Cpt. Jennifer Gunderson -- told me the full file was not available because it was "an open and active investigation." That raised some red flags for me as an old-school journalist. Vasi's case cannot be open and active because there is no chance for prosecution, as the statute of limitations for a hit and run (if that's even what it was) has long since expired.

So in September, I filed for redress. And finally yesterday, I received a notice in the mail that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also believes Amherst PD have been playing fast and loose with open records laws. The police department must respond within 10 days.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The One Theory This Blog Won't Debate

I'm all for earnest discussion when it can lead to some new piece of information or perspective. But this recent debate about police involvement in Maura's disappearance - brought on in no small part by Fred Murray's coy suggestions during the Unsolved piece - is pointless.

I've spoken to John Monaghan and Cecil Smith. Both are intelligent and compassionate men. Capable policemen. And above suspicion.

Maura's disappearance has nothing to do with a shady law enforcement conspiracy theory. It is a distraction and only gets us farther from the truth.

No comment will be approved that suggests otherwise.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Domino's Weirdness

So the more I think about the call to Domino's the night Maura had her breakdown at work, the more I grow concerned. Here's why.

- According to what we know, Domino's probably closed at 3 a.m. that night and yet Maura is calling at 3:40 a.m. She speaks to someone for two minutes.

- A few months prior, Maura got caught using a stolen credit card number to order food from several local pizza joints. This SAME Domino's was one of those restaurants. According to police reports, the managers of this Domino's know about this. At this time she is on thin ice - a judge has told her that her larceny record will be expunged if she stays out of trouble for six months. And yet we're to believe she called Domino's to order food? Why on earth would she go back to a restaurant she stole from?

- We still don't know HOW Maura got that stolen credit card number. She told the police it was on a receipt she found in the trash but the detective were able to quickly prove that was not true. What if she wasn't the person who stole the number in the first place? What if someone at Domino's took a credit card order, kept the number and passed it to Maura? That at least would explain why she would feel comfortable calling Domino's again after all this.

* We still have not located an employee of the Amherst Domino's from 2004.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Fred Murray Points Finger at Local Police in New Video

The new video of Fred Murray is up at Unsolved.com It is not an interview, but a recap of the case by Fred. It's interesting to see how close he comes to naming a policeman as a suspect in his daughter's disappearance -- a recent theory that has taken on some popularity lately, but is completely without merit.

What do you think? He's still lying about Maura's history at West Point and UMass. It would be interesting for a genuine reporter to ask Fred and friends some real questions one day.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Maura Was Not Abducted By A Random Killer. Here's Why.

Eleven years in, and it boggles the mind that there are still people who believe Maura was kidnapped by an opportunistic killer on Route 112.

There are two kinds of abductions: organized and disorganized.

An "organized abduction" is where the killer takes care and precaution related to the site of the crime. They find a way to lure the victim to them (John Wayne Gacy bringing the kids back to his home), they take care in grooming the victim over days to gain their trust so that they can remove them from a public location (as in the Amy Mihaljevic case) or they stake out a specific hunting ground and wait for the victim to come to them (I'd put Ariel Castro in this category, as he trolled the same couple blocks of West Cleveland). These are the type that are hardest to catch because there are usually no witnesses (due to the care they took in setting the whole thing up).

A "disorganized abduction" is where an opportunist killer sees a chance to take a victim on the spur of the moment and then takes it. No planning involved. These are the sort that are most often caught because they are reckless and don't think to mitigate the crime by staying out of sight of witnesses.

Now, there is no way Maura's accident was planned. And if it wasn't planned, there's no way she was abducted by an organized killer. So in order to buy into this theory, you must believe she was abducted by a disorganized killer. It would have been very disorganized, actually. The scene was, after all, in direct view of three homes, in which people were occasionally looking out of their windows to check on Maura. Think of it like three lighthouses whose beams light up the accident scene at least every thirty seconds or so.

But to believe Maura was abducted by a disorganized killer, you must believe he had the best luck in the world - that he happened to be driving along that stretch of road on a Monday night, alone, and just happened upon Maura at the right moment - in a window of 3 - 7 minutes before police arrived. Then you have to believe he somehow got her into the car in one of those 30 second windows when nobody was looking. There would have been a conversation (you need a ride - sure - okay, I'm Dan from down the street, hop in and I'll give you a lift - ok, I'll grab some things). And remember, someone had already offered a ride (the bus driver) and Maura had declined. A private investigator sat at the sight on the anniversary of her disappearance in 2005. You know how many cars drove by from 7 - 8 p.m.? Seven. It is not a busy road that time of year.

But, James, abductions like this happen all the time, even if they are statistically unlikely. No, they don't. Women are abducted all the time, yes. But they are abducted because they were either stalked by an organized killer (not the case here) or happened to wander into a place where a killer was waiting (again, not the case here). I challenge you to find one case that lines up with this one - where a woman gets into an accident, in plain sight of several witnesses, and disappears in a 3 - 7 minute window.

Some have suggested she walked into the woods for a bit or walked down the road and caught a ride, later. But there were no footprints leading into the woods. No footprints along the side, leading down Route 112. A police dog lost her scent a few feet from the accident. She didn't walk away.

So, what then?

I again return to the only explanation that fits the evidence -- Maura got into a car at the scene of the accident in one of those 10 - 30 second windows where nobody was looking. And the only way this could have happened was if Maura knew the driver and there was no time wasted for conversation. (get in - ok). Enter the tandem driver, who would have been driving ahead of Maura. If they were ahead and saw the accident in their rearview, and were past Bradley Hill Road, the next place they could turn around was Route 116. It takes approximately seven minutes to drive to Route 116 and back to the scene of the crash.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Domino's Pizza and What Was Maura Doing on Friday?

I'm reviewing Maura Murray's cell phone records in the days leading up to her disappearance and I've notice a couple interesting details.

1. Maura calls Dominos Pizza a lot. I know, she's a college student. They eat a lot of pizza, right? But on Wednesday night, Feb 4, Maura calls Dominos at midnight and speaks to someone for five minutes. Then, she calls back ten minutes later and speaks to someone there for another three minutes.

The next day is Thursday, that's when she had a nervous breakdown while working the security desk at Melville Hall. She spoke to her sister, Kathleen, at 10:10 p.m. Then she spoke to Billy at seven minutes after midnight. After that is when Maura was escorted back to her dorm. Then, at 3:40 a.m. she calls that Domino's Pizza number again and speaks for 2 minutes. If Domino's has the same schedule it does now, it was supposed to close at 3 a.m. that night. But she called and spoke to someone there for a couple minutes.

After this call, Maura does not use her cell phone again until 6:13 p.m. Is the phone off? Is she away from it?

2. We're at Friday now, February 6. School is canceled due to snow. Where is Maura until 6:13 that night? Why isn't she using the cell phone on her day off? Who is she with?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

**UPDATED** Records Show Maura Murray Quit West Point to Avoid Likely Expulsion

I finally had the chance to lay eyes on Maura Murray's cadet records from West Point. They mostly confirm what was long-rumored, that she left the military academy to avoid disciplinary action and expulsion.

According to the reports, Maura was accused of theft in August, 2001. This was likely the incident at Fort Knox, where she was caught stealing makeup from the commissary. An Honor Investigative Hearing was convened by order of the commandant, an indication that they had enough evidence against her to "take it to trial" before the Cadet Advisory Board. In fact, they found there was a preponderance of evidence showing that she was guilty of theft. Maura pleaded guilty. The Honor Board then recommended Maura be separated from the Corps of Cadets. This recommendation was forwarded to the Superintendent. The Superintendent's decision was to come by the end of January, 2002. But Maura officially withdrew from West Point on January 2, 2002.

Other points of interest:

- Maura signed documents that kept medical information and disciplinary news from her parents
- She went through cadet basic training and was additionally trained in survival swimming, self defense, and combat
- She was pulled out of class 7 times in 2001 to appear before the Honor Board
- She had generally good marks but failed Statistics & Probability at the end of 2001
- She may be semi-fluent in German

So what does this have to do with Maura's disappearance? Is it just airing dirty laundry for no reason?

I think confirming this information does a few things for the case.

1. It shows a pattern of behavior for Maura that begins with the theft at West Point and continues to the stolen credit card and identity fraud at UMass. This is a complicated human being (as we all are) and she is shrewd -- leaving before being expelled to... start over. She's a survivor.

2. It shows how the family and Bill Rausch spun the media. Go back and look at what Fred and Bill said about Maura leaving West Point. Now, if they did it there, what have they spun about the weekend leading up to Maura's disappearance? Did they lie? Did they simply omit? Would you do the same if you really believed your loved one was abducted by a dirtbag?

3. It shows that Maura was no push-over. This was a trained cadet. Trained in survival and defense. She didn't commit suicide after losing West Point. She changed her life and moved on. Do you still believe she went up there to end it? Do you still think she could have been overpowered by a random killer?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Maura Sightings Keep Leading to Sherbrooke Area of Quebec

If you follow the "official" Maura Murray Facebook page, moderated by a distant through-marriage relative (and also a man who may or may not exist), you likely have not heard that there are people who believe they've seen Maura since her disappearance.

The sightings actually begin an hour before her disappearance. That's when a cashier at Butson's Supermarket in Woodsville says Maura and two female friends came in to buy some wine coolers. Fred learned about this sighting early in the investigation and caused a scene in the store when he demanded video footage from a manager (there was likely no video footage that showed the register or entryway). But the family never released this info and did not acknowledge it until after it was published on this blog.

Years later, someone posted an anonymous report on a messagboard that suggested Maura hit Petrit Vasi with her car the night she had a breakdown at Melville hall, four days before her disappearance. That was the final push Maura needed to ditch her identity and start a new life. "Maura is living a content and satisfying life in the Province of Quebec." It appears a nurse, or someone who trained as a nurse, may have written that post, by the way.

Most interesting was this response to the post by someone called "Observer"

This is very interesting, it somehow has the ring of truth to it. This is common knowledge in certain circles of people who are close to the family.

The Observer avatar was traced to an IP address in a small town in Massachusetts where Fred Murray's cousins live.

This was followed by the post by "Tourist in Canada" on a Topix messageboard:

I saw Maura Murray alive and well in Sherbrooke Quebec, I approached her and said "Hi Maura". She turned toward me and said "Hi" then gasped and looked like she was going to pass out from shock. I have no doubt this was Maura Murray. She is apparently alive and well and living in Canada. When I saw her she was with very handsome young man.

In June of this year, we heard from a witness who was just ten years old in 2004 when a distressed woman showed up at his family's house near the Back Lake section of Pittsburg, New Hampshire, just across the border from Sherbrooke, Quebec.

At the same time I heard from a woman vacationing in Florida who was convinced she saw Maura in a vehicle at a gas station. The vehicle's plates were from Quebec.

In 2013, I traveled to Sherbrooke, Montreal, and Quebec City with Lance and Tim (the podcast guys). We showed pictures of Maura to people throughout those cities. A manager at a fitness center was 100% sure she'd seen Maura in there. And a record store employee said we missed Maura by a few days.

Now, with any cold case, there are always sightings of missing people, some whose bodies turn up years later. But, in my experience, these sightings are scattered throughout the country, and can be chalked up to look-a-likes. Maura's sightings are not scattered. They're localized around Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fred's Stories About the $4,000 Do Not Make Sense

This $4,000. I just... I just don't know what to make of this.

Fred shows up in Amherst the weekend before Maura disappears with $4,000 in cash. Allegedly this is going to go toward a new car for Maura. Forget the fact that it makes more sense to write a check. Or the fact that nobody remembers them talking about getting a new car that day. What was he doing dropping that money on a car when his house is about to be foreclosed on for delinquent taxes that very week?

Fred, himself, told Boston magazine that he visited 8 different ATMs to withdrawal the money on his way to UMass, instead of walking in and withdrawing from a teller. This, too, seems to be a lie and I don't know how it benefits him.

Massachusetts banks, like all banks, put a cap on cash withdrawals. There's usually an $800 cap per ATM (this is due to the machine not being able to spit out a stack of 20s any bigger than that). But there's also a daily cap. According to a representative with Citizens Bank, that cap is $1,000. There is no way to withdraw more than that, even using multiple ATMs unless you call customer service and give them a reason to increase the limit for that day. And if you did this, you could just withdraw from the same ATM.

The only easy way to do that is to withdraw the money in chunks over a series of several days.

There's no mention that Fred ever called the bank. He doesn't mention this in his statement to police and he doesn't mention this tidbit to the Boston mag reporter.

It's very interesting, especially in light of the recent statement by a family spokesperson who said that after the disappearance, Fred put the $4,000 into an account that Maura had access to, in case she needed it.

What that really tells us is that Maura had access to Fred's bank accounts even before she disappeared.

C'mon, man. What's going on with the money?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

$1,000 Reward

$1,000 Reward for proof that Maura Murray is alive and well. No questions asked. Anonymity guaranteed.

This would have to be a photograph, video, or legal document of some kind.

If you can provide this information, I will post that the search is over and immediately delete everything else on this blog. Documents, interviews, everything except that post.

I will not reveal her location. You don't even need to reveal it, just that she is alive and well.

* This offer is only good for the first person who contacts me with proof.

* If you are a member of Maura's direct family or inner circle of friends, and you can verify your identity, I will accept a detailed explanation of what happened in Haverhill and why she disappeared, absent of photographic evidence.

You can reach me at jameswrenner@gmail.com

Monday, November 16, 2015

Maura Was Not A Sociopath, She Was a Survivor

A few months ago, on Lance and Tim's podcast, I said that I thought Maura Murray was a sociopath. I based this opinion on the few insights we have into her personality - the secret affair with Hossein, stealing other people's credit cards and identities, stealing from Fort Knox, running away from friends and family, etc. It was one interpretation of the circumstantial evidence in this case.

I was wrong.

I was lacking a very important piece of information - the nature of her relationship with Bill Rausch. And I was forgetting her rough upbringing in Hanson - where she was the one in charge of buying groceries for herself and her little brother, where she had to sell Cutco knives to make ends meet.

Maura Murray is not a sociopath. She is a survivor. She always was.

I now believe she ran away to survive. To protect herself - and, if the police are correct - her baby. And talk about a motive to remain quiet for 11 years - can you get anything better than protecting a kid? What wouldn't you do? That's certainly one way to avoid any custody troubles.

To me, this is now the most likely scenario. And certainly the one I wish is true.

If it is, the very last thing I want to do is to expose someone who is in hiding for these reasons.

So, Maura, if you're out there, just tell the police, tell someone you're okay. You're an adult, and it's not illegal to start over somewhere. You don't have to tell them where you are, just that you're alive and well.

Or have a friend do it.

Until then, it's hard not to look at this case as a possible homicide.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Readers Notice Bill Called Visa Fraud Center the Day After Maura Disappeared

About three hours after Bill Rausch presumably learned that Maura was missing, and immediately after he spoke to someone at the Haverhill Police Department, he dialed: 877-253-6575. : 877-253-6575.

Calls Also Show Scope of Search in the First Days Maura Was Missing

According to the list of roaming calls, Bill Rausch passed through the following location while searching for Maura, beginning February 11: Burlington, Vermont; Streaked Mountain, Maine, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Concord, New Hampshire; Rutland, Vermont.

Also, there are no roaming calls before the 11th, lending further credence to Bill being far away at Fort Sill when Maura disappeared.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Phone Records Raise More Questions

A little over a year ago, I had the first of several conversations with Bill Rausch, who spoke to me on the condition that I only use the info he gave me for my book. He told me a couple stories about Maura and their time together and provided a few new bits of information, such as how he was told the party at Sara Alfieri's place happened off-campus and how Maura told him she was looking for a used car.

I became interested in learning more about Bill recently when I was provided with information that caused me to question his character. When I spoke to him, again, he lied to me, before walking back on some of his statements, which raised some red flags for me.

I asked him, then, if he was at Fort Sill when Maura disappeared. He said at that time he was an officer with Charlie Battery in the field, helping with basic training at Fort Sill. He said he was often out of cell phone range. He provided me with two people who could verify he was there. Neither of those men would talk to me.

Last week I (along with Lance and Tim, who run a podcast about the case) were provided with cell phone records for both Bill and Maura for the month around the time she disappeared. The source of these documents will remain unnamed.

Having reviewed the documents, it is clear to me that Bill was nowhere near the White Mountains on February 9th. What follows is a timeline of interesting calls by Bill and Maura in the days leading up to her accident on Route 112.

Bill Rausch Phone Calls
* please note, Bill Rausch's phone calls are 1 hr behind Maura’s and Eastern Standard Time.

Thursday, February 5
- 11:07 p.m. There is an incoming call for 7 mins - this is Maura calling from her desk at Melville Hall, the night she became inconsolable at work and had to be sent home.

For the next couple days, Maura and Bill trade short calls.

Sunday, February 8
- 4:38 a.m. Bill receives an incoming call for 11 mins (Fred has said before that this was Maura using his cell phone to call Bill after her late-night crash in Hadley, which happened after she left Sara Alfieri's party)
- Bill calls Fred’s cell phone back at 4:49 a.m. They speak for another five minutes. This appears to be the last time Bill speaks directly to Maura before her disappearance, except for a brief text.
- 2:49 p.m. Bill calls Maura's cell
- 2:50 p.m. Bill calls a UMass dorm, probably Maura's
- 2:56 p.m. Bill calls his parents home in Ohio and speaks for 29 mins

Monday, February 9 (the day Maura disappears)
- 1:18 p.m. Bill calls Kate Markopoulos's cell after trying to reach Maura all morning.
- 1:18 p.m. Bill tries Kate’s dorm room.
- 1:19 p.m. Bill calls Maura’s cell 3 times in five minutes
- Bill calls a Durham, NC number
- Bill calls several Fort Sill numbers and checks his voicemail. These calls continue through the time Maura gets into the accident in Haverhill, New Hampshire. The fact that Bill is making calls means he is not near the White Mountains, as there was no cell phone service in that region. Given the number of calls to base numbers at Fort Sill, it is logical to conclude he was, in fact, on or near base.
- at 7 p.m. (probably 8 p.m. EST) Bill speaks West Point professor, Bob McDonald, for 34 mins. - I have spoken to Bob, who says the conversation had nothing to do with Maura Murray. 
- Bill tries to call Maura, again.
- 7:48 Bill calls his father and speaks for 10 mins
- Bill checks voicemail
- 7:59 Bill calls his dad and speaks again for 11 mins
A FLURRY of calls begins at 9:14, as Bill tries again to reach Maura on her cell phone
- 9:16 Bill calls a young woman from Ohio, "N"
- 9:17 Bill calls another young woman from Ohio "C"
- 9:20 Bill makes a call to an unknown Mansfield, OH number.
- 9:22 Bill calls a young woman named Amber
- 9:22 Bill calls another number used by Amber
- 9:23 Bill calls a relative of Amber
I received an email from Amber, today. She says "Maura was like family." But she will say no more.

Tuesday, February 10
- Bill tries Maura’s cell
- 4:48 p.m. Bill calls Kate Markopoulos’s dorm
- 4:49 p.m. Bill calls Kate’s cell (the calls are 1-2 mins, probably just leaving messages)
- 4:51 checks vmail
- 5:25 incoming call for 18 mins (This may be where he learns Maura is missing)
- 6:18 Bill calls to home in Ohio for 10 mins
- 6:28 Bill calls Kate’s dorm for 6 mins
- 6:57 Bill tries Maura cell
- 6:59 Bill calls Holiday Inn's general number
- 7:04 Bill calls the Holiday Inn Express in North Conway and speaks for 2 mins
- 7:12 Bill tries Maura's cell
- 7:21 Bill calls Tim Carpenter and Kathleen Murray
- 7:35 Bill calls AAA and speaks for 9 mins
- 7:45 Bill tries Maura's cell
- 7:47 Bill calls Fred for 8 mins
- 8:02 Bill calls his dad for 12 mins
- 8:32 Bill calls Haverhill Police Department
- 8:34 Bill calls 877-253-6575?
- 9:08 Bill calls Fred
** Bill is up for the rest of the night.
- Bill tries to call Maura at 1:21 a.m
- Bill calls a Columbus number at 2:43 a.m.
- Bill checks vmail at 4:47 am.
- lots of calls to Murray family, beginning again at 5 a.m.

A couple things worth noting about the following days
- Bill continues to check in on Maura’s number till the end of bill

- Bill calls Kate Markopoulos a bunch of times on Feb 19, trying to reach her. These calls stop after he calls Sara Alfieri's phone.

Maura Murray Phone Calls

Wednesday, February 4
- Maura calls many family members around 10:28. Julie, then Kathleen, then home.
- Around midnight, she calls Dominos. 5 min call. Then there's a second call to Dominos, ten minutes later for 3 min.

Thursday, February 5 (the night of Maura's breakdown)
- 9:56 p.m. incoming call from ?
- 10:10 p.m. call to Kathleen for 28 mins
- 12:07 a.m. call to Bill for 7 mins
* she is found by her supervisor in a catatonic state and sent to her dorm room
- 3:40 a.m. call to Dominos

Friday, February 6
* No phone calls until 6:13 p.m.
- 10:02 p.m. Maura makes a 10 min call to the Fort Sill field artillery brigade.
- Maura calls Bill at 2:53 a.m. for 2 mins

Saturday, February 7 (the night of the party at Sara Alfieri's place)
- 3:21 p.m. Maura calls Julie
- 4:13 Maura calls Reliance Auto, a used car store
- 8:54 Maura calls Kate Markopoulos's cell
- 8:55 call to Kate dorm
- 8:56 checking vmail
- 8:59 Maura calls a Springfield MA number (413-627-6927) – which is no longer in service
- 8:59 Maura calls the Umass residential voice messaging system
- 9:01 call to Kate

* Maura makes no further calls for nearly 24 hours. Members of the family have said that she lost or left her phone at Sara's.
* That night she wrecks her father's car in Hadley, on the way to his motel at 3 in the morning. The question becomes, how were the police alerted of the accident if Maura did not make the call?

Sunday, February 8
- 8:26 p.m. Maura checks vmail
- 11:26 p.m. Maura calls Fred

* Monday, February 9
- 12:55 Maura calls Linda Salamone to inquire about a condo that has two bedrooms.
- Maura then makes 2 calls to the UMass student message number, at 1:13 p.m. She left a message with someone before she left!
- 2:05 Maura calls to Stowe, VT visitors info line for 1 minute
- 2:18 Maura calls Bill (1 minute)
- Maura checks her voicemail at 4:37 p.m. * This is the last action on her bill. That means she never made another call and never picked up when people tried to call her.

When police entered her dorm at UMass they found her belongings packed neatly into boxes. On top of the boxes was an email from Bill to her which she printed out and left. The email was about Bill cheating on her.

A few weeks ago, on Lance and Tim's podcast, I said that Maura was at her best when she was with Bill Rausch. I was wrong. I was very wrong about that.

Years ago, Cecil Smith, the former chief of police of Haverhill, said something strange to me. He said that whatever happened to Maura was Bill's fault, even if it was an accident. “It was her scumbag boyfriend that made her want to drive up here,” he said. “He came out in the news and was all, ‘We loved her.’ Well, fuck you. He was cheating on her. If it was a suicide, it was because of what he was doing to her. But if it was a suicide, where’s the body?"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Was This Maura's Destination?

Fred has said that Maura was headed to Bartlett when she disappeared.

Among the items in her car was a pen from the Sky Valley resort in Bartlett. They have winter units open and the rates are very reasonable.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Family Spokesperson Says Fred Left $4,000 in Account That Maura Could Access After Disappearance

Two days before Maura disappeared on a drive in the White Mountains, her father came to visit her at UMass with $4,000 in cash. He has said the money was for a car but they never bought a car and nobody else remembers her talking about looking for a car that morning. Fred withdrew the money in a very odd, rushed way - visiting several ATMs (perhaps as many as eight) instead of getting the cash from a teller or simply writing a check.

Recently, Helena Dwyer-Murray gave a little more info about the missing $4,000 on Facebook. Here's what she had to say:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What They Found in Maura's Car **UPDATED**

As many have suspected, one reason for the silence lately is that the podcast guys and I have received some new info about Maura's disappearance that will take some time to process and to properly vet. I do not know when or if that info will be released. The police are aware of the information.

However, we also received some documents this week from an anonymous source. One of those documents were police reports related to items that police removed from Maura's car after the accident in Haverhill and then returned to Kathleen Murray which they initially handed over to the family but then asked for them to be returned so that the items could be entered as evidence, in June of 2004.

Here is that list. What do you make of it?

- "Tundra" garment bag, color green
- "Tic Tac" container (opened)
- ESPN Zone card
- MCI Prepaid Phone Cards
- TTI National, Inc. Calling Card
- Samsung Travel Adapter
- Paperwork
- pr. Puma sweatpants, color black and white
- Express polo, long sleeve polo shirt, size medium
- sports bra, color black
- Old Navy V-neck sweater, black
- pr Abercrombie & Fitch pants, size 4, white with black belt
- Old Navy sweatshirt, zip up with hood, size medium
- pr. Basics sneakers, color white
- pink sock with cow design on it
- papermate pen
- Perfect Blend make-up pencil
- Big Y tokens
- Bra, color pale blue, size 34A
- $.75 coins
- "Army Track" duffle bag, color black with gold colored straps
- Health professional drug guide
- Mead spiral notebook, green
- UMass Complete Health History questionnaire
- Vermont attracts map
- Mosbys Phramocology in Nursing Book
- can Alumaseal
- can Fix a Flat
- can STP Power steering fluid
- can Carpet and Stain remover
- Big Y plastic shopping bag
- multicolored glove
- black gloves
- jar Vlasic baby kosher dill pickles (opened)
- bottle of Diet Cherry Coke (opened)
- package of Twizzlers (opened)
- Sears plastic bag
- 2057 light bulb
- 2057A Amber light bulbs
- container Turtle Wax rubbing compound
- Craftsman starbit screwdriver
- Eastern Mass Road Map
- Not Without Peril book
- CD case with 34 Cds
- CD holders
- Portable JVC CD player
- AC Cell phone power adapters
- Radiator funnel, yellow
- Shaws plastic bag
- cosmetic pound with make-up
- tube Shear VO5 hairdressing
- bottle Top Care aspirin
- pack of Triphasil Birth Control (4 pills missing)
- toothbrush, white & magenta
- bottle "Got to be Good" shampoo
- bottle of "Bon Bons" fingernail polish
- pks Simply Sleep sleeping pills
- bottle Aveo juice skin quencher
- container of Speed Stick deodorant
- ProActive Solution cleanser
- bottle of Victoria Secret body lotion
- tube Colgate
- bottle Cucumber Melon Fantasy Body Spray
- Gillette razor
- empty box of Simply Sleep
- bottle of Cairol Herbal Essence shampoo
- bottle Head & Shoulder shampoo
- package Crest white strips
- travel toothbruth
- Skyvalley4you.com pen
- make-up mirror
- tampon
- multi-purpose funnel
- Led Zeppelin cassette tape
- photograph of Kurtis Murray
- U2 cassette tape
- USMA patch
- "Fleet" Fast Lane toll pass
- Magnetic can opener
- Vaco flat head screwdriver
- Red handled phillips screwdriver
- tire gauge
- pk. Extra chewing gum
- automobile cigarette lighter
- pens
- pencil
- 3X5 card with directions
- empty cellophane pouch
- UMass Student Telephone Directory
- paperwork

1. Note the cellophane pouch. Cigarettes?
2. That's a lot of shampoo for one person.
3. Head & Shoulders? I know a lot of men who use that. Not many women.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kathleen Murray Gave Reason for Maura's Trip to New Hampshire in Early Interview

Below is an excerpt from New Hampshire Sunday News (Oct, 2007)

The source of her distress, Maura told the supervisor, was a phone conversation with Murray's sister.  
Since married, Kathleen Carpenter remembers finishing a phone call with Maura at about 10:20 the night of Feb. 5, but doesn't recall talking with her sister in the early-morning hours. Kathleen, who said she had talked about troubles with her husband-to-be during the nighttime conversation with Maura, said her sister didn't seem upset.  
But, she added, Maura and Billy were having relationship troubles at the time. Kathleen said she takes sleeping pills at night and didn't remember a later call.  
She believes her sister went to the White Mountains to sort out her troubles with Billy.  
"I think it was stress. I don't know what her and her boyfriend were going through," Carpenter said. "I kind of think that might have triggered it. They weren't getting along at that time. 
Also in the article is this quote from Sharon Rausch:

She said Billy was upset after arriving from Fort Sill, Okla., where he was stationed. 
"Fred arrived in Haverhill early Wednesday. We arrived Wednesday around 7 p.m. They interviewed Billy. He was a prime suspect. He was totally distraught. I'll never forget the look on his face. He said 'I feel as dirty as Scott Peterson. They think I've got something to do with it.'" Rausch said.

And this:

Maura picked up the accident report forms from the Hadley crash and was going to go over them with her father the night she disappeared. Two copies were left behind in the Saturn. 
"She was supposed to call me at 8 that night so I could help her go over them on the phone. She did pick up the accident reports. She had every intention of calling me," Murray said. Murray doesn't believe his daughter could have been pregnant. "No, she was on birth control pills," he said. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Long Lost Articles Provide Fresh Perspective

Kudos to Clint Harting for digging up some old articles from the Patriot-Ledger from the first weeks after Maura Murray disappeared. I don't think I can upload the entire article but here are a few snippets I found most interesting:

About Maura's mother:

Lauri Murray has not left her home since Feb 9. She said her emotions have changed from feeling sad and depressed, to the point she is angry and wants to investigate her daughter’s disappearance on her own. 
“I want to talk to the last one to see her. All the information we got was that she was walking up that road and just disappeared. Nobody just disappears like that and as far as being picked up or that she ran away … I’m getting angry. She would not do this and she would’ve contacted someone. We’re pushing 10 days now and somebody knows something,” Lauri Murray said.

About a possible second vehicle:

New Hampshire State Police Lt. John Scarinza said police now believe Murray got a ride from the accident scene. There was no evidence, however, to suggest there was a struggle.
“From that point on, it’s destination unknown,” Scarinza said.

From childhood friend Katie Jones:

Katie Jones, Murray's childhood friend and a student at Western New England College in Springfield, said although they've lived a few miles apart, they never visited each other at school. 
“She was a very secretive person,'' Jones said. 
“She never even told us about transferring to UMass until after it happened. Sometimes we think there might be more to that story than we know,'' she said

From Sara Alfieri:

At about 1 a.m., Alfieri said she was passed out from drinking. Markopoulos was still up with Murray and they were talking about going home at about 2:30 a.m. But Murray wanted to go to her father's hotel, according to Markopoulos. 
“I told her just to go back to her room and meet him in the morning, but she wouldn't listen,'' she said.

From Kate Markopoulos

Their birthdays are 11 days apart. Their friendship blossomed last year when they turned 21. Then a new Murray came out - someone who could be “somewhat flirtatious'' when she drank. 
All along, however, she was focused on settling down with Rausch and starting a career, said Markopoulos. She held two jobs so she could fly to Oklahoma, where Rausch is stationed at Fort Sill. She planned to move there after graduation.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Rag in the Tailpipe, Revisited

I have a theory about the rag that was found in the tailpipe of Maura's car. But if it's true, it most certainly means that Maura Murray is no longer alive. I don't want to believe that's true. I want to believe she ran away from her life and her family and found a better place and a new name.

Recently, I discovered some new information about the case that calls everything into question. I will share this shortly. But it's causing me to rethink everything I understood about Maura's disappearance.

The one thing I still feel certain about is that there was a tandem driver. It's the only thing that explains how she disappeared so quickly. It also explains why she may have taken so much from her car -- backpack, booze, and who knows what else. Was she going to carry all that down the road with her or was she going to transfer it into a car? Or perhaps she'd already left it somewhere, else...

I think it's possible Maura had already arrived at a rendezvous point, a rental that was under the tandem driver's name. There is an extra 45 minutes that remains unaccounted for during her journey from Amherst to Haverhill, after all. When she got into the accident, maybe she was driving away from this person after an argument. Or a fight.

So, the rag.

There is only one rational explanation. Whoever put the rag there intended the car to stall. And perhaps it did. Maybe that explains the accident. Maybe she stalled near the turn by the weathered barn and clipped the corner. Whoever she was driving away from caught up and, given the choice of going back with them or explaining what happened to a cop, she went back with them.

I hope Maura is alive.

But if she's not, she was most certainly killed by someone she knew.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Maura at West Point

This week's podcast will feature another interview with Clint Harting, who recently found a cache of photographs from Maura's years at West Point.

You can view the photos here. Let me know if you find Maura in any of them. I haven't been able to spot her, yet.

If anything, these photos remind me that Maura was trained in survival skills by the US military.

The True Face of Maura Murray

One of our readers, a talented artist named Suzanne, took it upon herself to interpret Maura Murray's mugshot and make it less "creepy."

Her original watercolor painting is a reflection of the "true" Maura we've seldom seen, a woman capable of things we can only imagine.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Police Do Not Know Where Maura Is

There's been a lot of speculation in comments and other messageboards lately about whether the police might know Maura's whereabouts but are keeping it quite because she's an adult and has asked them to give her anonymity.

Once more, for the record, the police do not know where Maura is, or even if she is still alive.

I have spoken to the people who currently work the case and they have made it clear that if she comes forward, they would let the public know she is safe without revealing her location.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why Has Maura Murray Never Been Declared Dead?

After a person has been missing for seven years, they can be declared legally dead most states. Sometimes this can happen a lot sooner, if it's reasonable to assume they were involved in a violent crime. Maura Murray has been missing for eleven years, now. Her father, Fred, has said several times he believes she was taken by a "dirtbag."

One reason to declare someone dead is so that you can sue public entities in private court -- Fred has wanted to hold the State of New Hampshire accountable (negligent) in their search for his daughter. This would have been a good opportunity for him to force some answers. But it didn't happen.

The most common reason someone is declared dead when they are missing and no body has been found is so that their property can be divided amongst survivors in probate court. Maura likely didn't have more than a couple hundred dollars to her name -- though it is possible that Fred or another relative set up a trust for education or life insurance or something. So, dividing assets was really never an issue.

Except it kind of is.

When Maura's mother, Laurie, died (on Maura's birthday) in 2009, Laurie's estate wound up in probate court with Fred as the executor and Julie as an agent. At this point, it would have been in everyone's best interest to have Maura legally declared dead. And yet it doesn't appear that this has happened.


One reason might be so that Maura can continue to work.

If someone is declared dead, the Division of Medical Assistance and the Department of Revenue (for Mass, here) would be notified. The IRS could be notified, too. That means if Maura is alive and working, she could not file taxes or sign up for welfare or social security. All this becomes very problematic.

When a person is declared dead, family members and friends must be interviewed and provide affidavits under record about why they believe this person is deceased.

In any event, the court was required to do their due diligence to figure out if Maura was still missing when Laurie passed away. It's unclear if that took place.

(Special thanks to Boston probate attorney John Dugan)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Could the Londonderry Ping Have Come From a Rental Agent?

I'm still thinking about this "ping" thing. On the day she disappeared, it appears that someone called Maura Murray's phone from the area of Londonderry, NH.

I wonder if it's possible the person who made this call was the person who rented a property to Maura that night. If you recall, Maura was trying to track down a rental property in the White Mountains for that night -- she had called the Salamons trying to rent their two-bedroom condo but they could not arrange it for her at that time.

Maybe she (or the tandem driver) was able to leave a message with a renter and the ping was them calling her back. That person was not close to the White Mountains but may have had a listed number for the property Maura wanted. They could have called Maura and told her where to pick up the keys.


I wonder if there is still record of rental places along Rt. 112 in which the listed contact lived in Londonderry.

First one to track it down gets 100 master class points.