Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It Is Still Easy to Disappear in This Country


A woman's car found on the side of the road. Personal items left in the car. Missing woman is under investigation for theft. Family believes she was taken by a dirtbag...

Sound familiar?

This is the case of Michelle McMullen, who walked away from her life and managed to remain hidden for three years, without leaving the country.

Now, imagine Michelle was trained by the military on survival techniques and had a sister who worked for a CIA contractor. She'd do a little better than McMullen, I think.

(thank you to constant reader, Corey for reminding me about this story.)

43 comments:

  1. Brandi Stahr did this for seven years and she did not even change her name.

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  2. Michelle Whitaker, Timothy Carney & Brenda Heist-- similar stories.

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  3. Wow I did not know that Maura's sister had CIA connections (is it Julie or Kathleen?)
    Was she working for this contractor in 2004?

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  4. James what is your top 10 reasons that sway you 11 years later she is still alive.

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  5. Yes this case is very similar to Maura's...although if I recall, Michelle was outed when somebody recognized her from the Disappeared episode about her case shortly after it aired. Unfortunately that hasn't happened to Maura 6 years after her case was featured on the show.

    It doesn't mean that Maura has fallen off the face of the earth, but it does seem to indicate that if she is out there, she's managed to elude detection.

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  6. Maura has been gone the longest out of anyone who's been voluntarily missing and then found. It's still a very unlikely scenario.

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    1. Brenda Heist. Left on a whim after dropping her kids off at school in 2002. Was gone over 11 years and turned herself in as a missing person. Yeah it's rare and I am sure there are more out there that have been gone longer but unless they turn themselves in or are recognized, we will never know.

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    2. I need to do some research but I'm pretty sure that some were gone for longer than that even. Also we can only analyze the ones that were eventually found. Those that were never found pulled it off for a lifetime.

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    3. Right. So Brenda Heist was gone a year longer and that's the longest deliberately 'lost' and then found case we know of. Still statistically incredibly unlikely

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    4. Well we don't have any data for those with similar backgrounds to Maura who 'pulled it off' so that's pure speculation. Seems that Brenda Heist's 11 years is the longest found person though, from a few sleuthers I've talked to.

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    5. Oh oops. So Maura has been gone nearly longer than Brenda Heist, who was gone the longest. they both are/were gone for 11 years

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    6. This is an impossible thing to figure out guys....because if they truly pulled it off, then they never reappeared and gave us a statistic to compare. Just a friendly thought:)

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  7. If Maura's aim was to disappear and start a new life, then why head to Northern NH? From Maura's point of view, what would there have been to "run to" up here? Jobs are tough to find, even for people with education and technical skills. Further, people from other parts of the country tend to stand out in Northern New England. Unless you literally lock yourself in a house at the end of a very long driveway, never get a job, and never otherwise venture into the outside world, you're going to stand out up here.

    If her object was merely to ditch the car at a location relatively distant from Amherst before heading to a different part of the country, then why not do it in some of the rural country in Southern VT or NH? And why ditch the car on a highway where it was sure to be immediately found?

    In other words, why not just head to another urban area--e.g., NY, DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc.? There would be more opportunity, and more anonymity, in places like that.

    I'm not a supporter of the flight-to-Canada theory, either. If she wanted to get to Canada, there was absolutely no reason for her to be on Rt. 112.

    As I have stated before, I respect the various posters who think she disappeared to start a new life. Nothing above should be taken to me to think otherwise. denigrate their opinions. Rather, I am just stating a few of the questions I have which lead me to think otherwise.

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    1. *Nothing above should be taken as me denigrating their opinions.

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    2. Joe M, I respect everyone's comments also, but sadly I think Maura is dead. Whether it was by suicide, or she got kidnapped while trying to run away from her wrecked car. I've seen quite a few posters on here doubt that her Saturn was in as bad of shape as claimed, but I'll try to keep this short, I had a Saturn Ion, it was the worse car ever. I won't even go into all the repairs I had done on mine. My Saturn was a 2006, and I sold in 2013 for $2500 because I was tired of having the same things fixed multiple times. As for the ATM money for a car that Fred got, I do believe it was for a car, and not money so Maura could run off and start a new life. I can't remember the amount that Fred took out of the ATM's, but I believe it was under $5000. I'm sorry, but I don't think 5k is enough money to start a new life. And I think he was just going to get her an inexpensive car. A lot of car lots don't take checks, that's why I think he was using cash to by her another car. I also think the reason Fred used several ATM's, is because of the amount of money you can take out at each time. People wonder why Fred didn't just go to his bank and get out the full amount, but I have to do the same thing all the time. I use a credit union that has 3 branches in my old hometown, but I moved 2 hours away from my hometown about 3 years ago, and I'm not going to go open another account at a new bank because it's too much a hassle, transferring all my auto pay bills, like mortgage, cable bill, having my husbands paycheck re- routed to a new bank, etc. Plus I've been with my credit union since 1997.

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    3. Becki-- Like you, I think she is deceased. None of the supposed sightings seem all that convincing to me. As I recall from a class I took, most states presume a person who has not been seen or heard from for seven years is dead. I suspect that is because, after that amount of time, the odds of someone reappearing are pretty darn low.

      Of course, I am totally prepared to eat a healthful serving of crow if she appears on the anniversary of the crash this year.

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    1. Why? We all are looking at the same information. I have seen no one else show that level of certainty about ANY theory. Including LE who can't even say for sure a crime was committed that led to her disappearance. Make the rest of us 99.9% certain as well.

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    3. Bill, you don't know? Miss Understood is an insider with super duper special knowledge that she cannot share - she can only drop hints. But we should just trust that she is very very special, even though of course everything she knows is top secret (she is a very important person who has access to this information). So trust her okay because she knows a lot about this case.

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    5. Do you have a source that I can verify? You quoting that LE is 99.9% sure, then saying that LE didn't tell you that, sounds very much like a rumor, which is one of the things we try to separate from actual fact here.

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    7. Bill H-- I stopped paying attention to anything MU had to say after MU's suggestion that local "doppleganger[s]" had something to do with Maura's disappearance. See responses to Renner's 1/9/15 post. Clearly, someone involved in the local rumor mill must have gotten their hands on an Agatha Christie book or watched a few too many Lifetime movies. I always say that I am willing to listen to just about any theory there is . . . but the idea that there are Maura lookalikes running around the North Country who were somehow involved in her disappearance is a couple bridges to far for me.

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    8. Well put.

      She somehow went from:

      "Asking relatively basic questions about the case"

      to:

      "I live down the street, have deep direct LE insider knowledge, participated in searches, and had personal contact with Fred Murray"

      within a span of give or take a week. And interspersed with empty "threats" to take her ball of sweet, sweet knowledge and go home!


      "It's about to fall down, baby".

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    12. Kojak hahaha

      Elicited audible laughter, no joke.

      It's actually Marshawn Lynch of all people, but good call.

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    13. I was aware of the history with her. I was hoping to elicit a valid response by leaving ridicule out of my interaction with her. All for naught, she truly is what everyone was saying she was and then some. I gave her a last chance before writing her off. I live locally, I have no idea who she is but I can tell you she local rumblings she was hearing was between her ears only.

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  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyRDj_tO9lE

    This is the DISAPPEARED episode about the case in question.

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    1. In case anybody is interested and may have missed it, the material below is from the comment section of the video link I posted.

      "James Barnett4 months ago

      Michelle McMullen stole thousands from a Dauphin County church, ditched her little boy, and had been on the run for years. Tuesday, McMullen pleaded guilty to theft and fraud charges, and surprisingly, walked out of jail a free woman.

      McMullen had been locked up for about seven months. Prosecutors agreed to give her credit for time already served. So despite convictions on four felony counts, McMullen left prison without handcuffs. Her court days aren't over just yet. There's still the matter of repaying the money she pocketed.

      McMullen, 30, was all smiles as she left Dauphin County Prison. Prosecutors were happy for other reasons.

      "It's great to get resolution to this case because now that she's been sentenced, she's under court supervision and has been ordered to pay the money back to the church," Dauphin County prosecutor Jenni Allen said. "That, of course is the goal, to make the church whole again, now that they've been victimized by the defendant."

      Progress Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Susquehanna Township is where McMullen had been working as a secretary. She was reportedly fired for poor performance.

      Church leaders later realized more than $12,000 was gone. Court documents revealed McMullen wrote herself checks and gave herself raises without permission.

      "Our theory was that she took the money and held it for herself," Allen said.

      In 2008, McMullen vanished. She left her 6-year-old son with a baby sitter. McMullen was considered a missing person at first, then a fugitive. About a week after she went missing, police filed theft and forgery charges. The TV shows "Disappeared" and "America's Most Wanted" picked up the story.

      "It was helpful because those tips led to her initially being apprehended, and now she was brought back to this jurisdiction to face the consequences of her actions," Allen said.

      In January of this year, McMullen was spotted in California, thanks to national attention her case received. By late February, she was back in the midstate. Had McMullen not taken off, prosecutors said she might have spent less time behind bars, or at the very least, been done with her probation by now.

      "So the time she was on the run, most folks would have finished up supervision in that length of time," Allen said.

      "It's conceivable she may not have even done the seven months?" abc27 News asked.

      "That would have been possible, certainly, just by standing up and being accountable for the charges and her actions," Allen replied.

      McMullen's layer and prosecutors are at odds over how much money she stole. McMullen will be in court for a restitution hearing next month. That's when a judge will officially decide the amount to be repaid to the church. The pastor did not want to comment Tuesday about McMullen's guilty pleas."

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  12. "Maliciously Missing," as the wife of Jon van Dyke coined it. He was retired military...

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  15. Holy cow, what in the world happened to all the comments?

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  18. What about the PA case of Tim (I will not post his last name because he has in the past invoked his legal right to privacy.) who disappeared and despite a billboard on tr 95 and media attention managed to stay hidden and start a new life just one state over in New Jersey?
    Or Brenda Heist. A woman from Lancaster County, PA who disappeared leaving behind children. ("Oh she had to be murdered by her husband. No way she would have left her children behind." Many speculated.) 11 years later she re emerges in Florida- ALIVE.
    Now about what you said in your post about this. I'm gonna switch gears for a second about another case that you've written about that I believe may make the news soon. Imagine you are a District Attorney of Slovenia heritage with a brother who worked at an army base for a CIA contractor. Just months prior to your disappearance you go overseas. Then more details turn up in 2014 that were never released to the public that make several facts reported by the media outright lies. And those lies are so big they make any rational person come to the conclusion that a person with that background and those details are anything but a homicide case. Related to Maura's disappearance? No, but your points are very important. A person with Maura's training adds a very important component to the "free will disappearance" theory and I would say the "sensitive disappearance" theories.

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    1. Ok, getting off topic but, are you talking RG, was his bro's body ever found?

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  19. Lerch, his brothers was yes. But the question remains as to WHY he committed suicide. RG himself has never been "found" publicly.
    My point is basically if an average person like the ones I mentioned (Add "Judith Bello" to the list and look at the circumstances of her disappearance) can up and disappear so easily. James has a point. Imagine how a woman with Maura's intelligence and background could. It is exactly what makes this case so difficult. Just way too many plausible scenarios.

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