A new look at one of the North Country's Coldest Cases
James have you considered organizing a search of the area for the summer? I know it is a long shot, but finding any clues at this point would be amazing.
Hello! It sounds like a good idea, but honestly that area was searched extensively twice by Fish & Game. I've searched it on my own. I am convinced her body is not there. I believe the most likely explanation is that she is still alive.
I still wonder if she's near the area of her wreck. Despite intensive searches, her body could have remained hidden. When Amber Dubois was missing they were searching very near where she was buried, in fact, the search dogs led the police to the exact area but they called it off as they didn't find anything. It took the murderer leading them to the body to find it. Not saying this is the case with Maura, but it's a possibility her body is still there- as is the possibility she's alive and well.
Killer Isreal Keyes would abduct in Vermont if I recall and have a kill kit ready in New York. I sure hope it was not him, he cant lead people to bodies after commiting suicide, on top of that he buried them in New York and flew back out.
Can you go to the UMASS student list for the year(s) Maura was there, to see if there was anybody with the first or last name of Stephanos? It might be a tedious process but you should follow every lead. You never know which lead might be the lead to Answers. My thoughts on if Maura left with a guy why isn't he missing to. Because he didn't need to runaway, he ran to be with Maura, so his family would know where he is. So he would of never been reported missing. Can you look in Kate's family history to see if there is someone with the first and last name of Stephanos? I believe there's two reasons why the rag was in the tailpipe. 1. Maura was trying to commit suicide2. Someone put it there to make it look like something bad happened. I wonder if Fred pushed the dirtbag theory because if Maura was found dead he and everyone who loved and knew her would want it to be a homicide and not a suicide. They wouldn't want Maura to be known as committing suicide. I believe there wasn't a "party" but maybe a get together with her close friends and maybe a couple of other people. If Maura ran away with a guy and he was at there get together, then it could lead straight to "Maura", if they told his name. There's a reason why her friends "can't remember" who was at the "party". Not sure if it's because there protecting "Maura", protecting someone else we don't know about, or maybe it would shed Some light on Maura's emotional and mental state.
This is actually a really good idea - getting the student list. A FOIA request would do it, although you'd have to pay. Another option is to find someone who went to UMASS and have them go to the library and scan yearbooks. I'm actually fairly close to Amherst and would be willing to do or partner up with someone to do this if James is interested in doing that.
You can read in the police report that the citizen who was looking at the crash site when she called 911 to report the accident reported seeing a male there. If memory serves, I believe she was referring to the driver as a male, not just as "the driver," which I always found interesting. Maura was petite; I don't know that you'd mistake her for a man.
Why would you have to file and FOIA request? Is UMASS a government agency? Also, I don't recall any witnesses who claimed they thought they saw a male in the car. Could you post a link to that.
@ Nicholas - I can't copy and paste the section into this comment, but if you go to the "Documents" section of the blog, under "Documents Given to Fred Murray", "Part 1." About a quarter of the way down the second page there is a narrative by the dispatcher that relays what the caller FW said. I don't know what the abbreviations mean, but it says, "UNK IF PI, BUT CAN SEE A MAN IN THE VEH SMOKING A CIGARETTE."
Just before Maura disappeared, she was seen in the liquor store with 2 other women. We don't know who they were. Could the "party" the night before have been a last-minute planning session with Maura, the two other women and Mystery Man Stephanos? If she was planning to run away, her helpers would need a strategy. She bought liquor right before that party. And more booze right before disappearing. These strategy sessions must have involved lots of drinking!
I can't help comparing how little we know about Maura's last weekend, compared to how much is known about those involved in the Adnan Syad case. Why is it that so few people are willing to talk about Maura? Surely somebody else saw her that weekend.
You may have already thought of this but I didn't see it posted here so I wanted to mention it. The cashier at Butson's said Maura and her friends purchased cigarettes. I haven't seen any evidence that Maura was a smoker so I assume the cigarettes would have been for another member of the group. This lends credence to the story told by Faith Westman, the witness who called police after Maura's accident. She saw a small red light in Maura's car which she attributed to a cigarette. She later said it could have been a cell phone light, but I have never seen a cell phone light that I would mistake for a cigarette light. It seems these two anecdotes could be connected.
There are many people who are not smokers but do smoke once in a while when they drink. I'm one of them.
A cell phone would have a steady red light. A cigarette, when being smoked, would flash bright at the inhale, then dim.
Just a thought and this might be so far fetched but what if bruce attwood thought it was maura he saw? what if it was actually one of these friends she was supposedly with. do any of these friends that were spotted look like maura in the least? one of them could have had the same color or hair style as her and Mr. attwood made a mistake. you know how older people are. what if maura was actually left elswhere and her friends took the car and crashed it mistakenly and got nervous and was leaving the car when they saw butch attwood. it would explain why a scent was not picked up or any prints of maura...
I have wondered that to if it was really Maura at the scene. As I recall ( could be wrong )Butch Atwood was hesitate at first on identifying Maura as the person at the scene. Could Fred of drove Maura's car home on Sunday and not a rental car? Was the plan for Fred to drive the car and wreck and then run down the road to Maura and her friends. Didn't one of the responders say that it looked like someone else could of been driving? If Fred , knew about this plan would he want his daughter to purposely crash or would he do it for her? Also, the police used Maura's "New Gloves" for a scent, did they do DNA on the gloves to make sure it was Maura's? If someone else was driving and wore or touched the gloves then there DNA would be on it but also there scent would of been what the dogs were tracking. What about the lady Ann that said she was listening to the police scanner because she was worried about her friend driving in icy conditions and said she heard someone say driver left in an unknown vehicle. But it has been denied that's what was said. Why try to discredit the witness and what she heard. The rag in the tailpipe has been a mystery. Maybe they were using it to stall the vehicle so it looked like an accident and not like it was on purpose. The way the family has lied, won't talk, discredit all witnesses and sightings, pushed the dirtbag theory, hid Maura's troubles, her brother wrote a song about her running away,and Fred hid important sightings from the beginning, shows me they are hiding something and they don't want it to be found out. I think they know exactly what Maura was doing and why. I'm not sure if they know where she is today but it's very likely they knew what and where she was heading 11 years ago.
"What about the lady Ann that said she was listening to the police scanner because she was worried about her friend driving in icy conditions and said she heard someone say driver left in an unknown vehicle. But it has been denied that's what was said. "Whoa! I have not heard of this one. Do you have a link to a source?
Did the police ever check to see what cell towers Maura's phone was pinging off of that evening? Maybe Maura never got in the car and drove North. Maybe one of her friends took her car to throw the whole search off and it bought Maura lots of time to get away in the other direction...she's very smart! She knew her computer would be searched and her looking up "places north" and maps places in her car...just another thought.
I found an old blog find mauramurray.fr.yuku.com believe the blog is from 2009. On there they talk about a lady named Ann that had been listening to police scanner bc her friend was driving in those conditions, which she wasn't use to. She claims on the scanner it said driver left in unknown vehicle.
I also believe there could be a connection with the cashier saying they bought smokes and Faith Westman saying it looked like someone smoking. She said "Maura's family informed her it wasn't a cigarette but the light from a charger or cellphone. Ironic she changed her story after the family spoke with her. My guess is her first thought of it being a cigarette is correct. If Maura's family was covering for her then they wouldn't of wanted this connection made. I see them trying to convince the witness it's a light not a cigarette incase the sighting of her with two friends came out (11 years ago) who's the smoker in the bunch? Maura's dad doesn't speak of the sighting by the cashier but instead keeps his silence. Then Faith Westman changed her story once the family spoke with her. I find it strange there's no witnesses to hardly anything and the witnesses there are the family discredits them or tells them what they saw is wrong.
Usually in a missing persons case there last known actions and days could be the key to solving the case. Also the police usually release surveillance of there last known actions. Why won't the police release it? Either there's something on it they don't want the public to know or they have no video because they waited to long to get it. Maura was asked to leave West Point for stealing makeup, got caught stealing someone's credit card at UMASS, supposedly bulemic, boyfriend troubles, maybe drinking problem, school, dad and sister demanding, and who knows what else could of been going on that we ( the public) don't know. It seems she had a lot going on and maura believing running away Is the only way out.
My theory on the Rag in the Tailpipe: Maura or someone else stopped shortly before the wreck, put the rag in the tailpipe, causing the car to stall, helping to wreck (so it didn't look staged) , was suppose to retrieve the Rag from the tailpipe before leaving the scene. But Butch Atwood came upon the scene in his bus, when he left they knew the police would be called, so they had to leave the Rag or couldn't get it out. ( witness said that the person was at trunk area) figured they would explain it away or Fred would retrieve it before police could. When the police wouldn't let Fred see it , he needed an explanation why the rag was in the tailpipe. Knowing maura or someone close to them would be the only fingerprints found . Or Maura or someone else put the rag in the tailpipe after the wreck to make it look like sabotage only to realize later that Maura or someone else's fingerprints would be the only ones found on the rag. Either they had to get the rag back or make a story up.
I don't know from where this idea of fingerprints on a rag came. Cloth doesn't lend to prints latent or otherwise.
Maybe Maura put the rag in the tailpipe trying to get the car to start?
Is it ironic that: The red truck that Rhonda Orway saw had Temp plates possibly from Massachuttess.) If Fred and Maura did purchase a vehicle it most likely had temp plates on it. Not sure about this but I read on a blog that there was a person out walking there dog and they came upon a truck parked on the side of BHR road about 1 mile from route 112 with no driver. The person heard someone or something in the bushes so they left and called police about a suspicious truck on side of road. Has anybody looked into this to see if it's true or not? Could this be why Sgt. Smith went the wrong way ? Heading towards this vehicle not Maura's? Maura has five strange days before she disappeared then where she disappeared at there's reports of a suspicious truck in the area.
I read on here or heard on one of the podcasts that when fred was talking to the police he asked if they found a rag in her tailpipe? i found this odd as being a question he would ask but maybe that was some kind of signal from maura saying its done and im ok.... Just strange that is a question he would ask when he found out his daughter wrecked her car and is now missing.
Sometimes a rag is just a rag.I think the basis of it comes from Fred's own misguided purpose of it. Remember the old malicious prank where someone would shove an object in a tailpipe? Doing so plugs the exhaust, creates back pressure and ultimately the car will either run extremely rough, stall out and die, or maybe even not start. Now, a rag isn't a solid object and it's a fabric, so it breathes. But we don't know the size or how well it was stuffed in the pipe. If it was just placed slightly inside the pipe, I'd be surprised it even stayed put for a mile, considering exhaust flow and the movement of the car.Now, if the rag was perhaps larger and thicker and shoved further inside the muffler with the aid of a broomstick, it very well could stay put for a trip from Ma to NH. Obviously if it didn't affect the car initially, I doubt it would all of a sudden start running poorly later. But then one has to wonder...if the rag was jammed into the muffler, how was it even seen?If it was just put into the very end of the pipe then how did it not fall out?I think the car's condition may have been rough, but no where near as bad as Fred described. I think if it was smoking really badly she probably wouldn't have drove it, or been spotted by a cop. Just speculation here but I think Maura probably stuffed it in there right after the crash as just a nod to her Dad's advice, like she did what she was told and did in fact listen to Fred. Or even as a signal of distress... stating she was OK but the car is not. In some areas of the US, it's common. Car breaks down, left on the side of the road with a rag hanging from usually the window... typically an indication the person had car problems, left the scene and will return.
The cop who found it said it was stuffed "way up in there". No matter how far in or what kind of rag it was, its effectiveness in stalling the vehicle has more to do with the condition of the rest of the exhaust system than anything else. If there were leaks in the pipe from the engine back, and/or a hole in the muffler itself, then there was an escape for the gasses other than the tail pipe. It is extremely difficult to stall a vehicle by blocking the tailpipe with objects like this. The pressure would be tremendous and despite what you may have seen on TV, a potato or banana will have just as much trouble. And again, for it to happen at all the entire exhaust system would need to be nearly perfectly air tight. Very unlikely on a 8 year old vehicle.
The one guy just can't wrap his brain around her being alive and well somewhere. Think about Bambi. That Run Bambi, Run case. I think she lived undiscovered for decades and she wasn't recognized.
Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek was on the run only 3 months, between July and October 1990.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurie_BembenekInterestingly, she was captured in Ontario, Canada. I wonder if Maura could have fled to the same area?
There's a difference between an ex-cop who was convicted of murder and escaping prison going on the run and someone who used a stolen credit card to purchase approximately 90 dollars in fast food.
Just a thought: On the 20/20 show about Maura, Sharon Raush states that Maura loved diet Mountain Dew But at the scene they found a diet Coke bottle. In the picture, where Kathleen is holding Maura's shoes and sitting with her stuff from her car, in a bag at back of picture there is a 2 liter diet Cherry Coke. Is this Kathleen's bag or did it come out of Maura's car? Was Kathleen the diet Coke drinker? I know Maura could of been drinking out of the diet coke bottle but seems odd if she Loved Diet Mountain Dew. I'm a regular Mountain Dew drinker and I barely ever will drink Coke. It's interesting on this 20/20 show Sharon says from the beginning the police said Maura ran away to start a new life and she can do that because she's 21. Why did the police tell them this from the beginning, what do they know, what did they find to come to this conclusion from the beginning. Police didn't say she ran to avoid DUI, they said Start a New Life.
I drink both with diet mtn dew being my favorite.
I've literally binge read this blog, along with 90% of the comments, in the last week and a half. I stumbled upon this site after watching the ID show on Brianna Maitland. I'm from Texas and I had never heard of either case until now. During my time reading I decided to collect my couple of questions to pose to the 2015 updates area. They are as follows:In reference to the crack on the windshield...I'm curious to know if Butch describes there being a crack on the windshield of Maura's car? I know the police reported seeing it but could it have happened between the time of BA talking to Maura and the police arriving at the scene? Perhaps due to some sort of struggle to get her into a waiting or passing vehicle? That may be a tad far fetched but since there has been some speculation about when and how the crack occurred I wonder if this have ever been considered?If MM couldn't go a week without two separate car accidents and she is as reckless as she is pertaining to stealing make up and cc fraud how could she run away to live another life without being caught? I have no doubt that she was a very smart girl. But it seems that you'd have to be smarter than getting caught for stealing make up in order to run away and create a whole new life for yourself. Having sexual trysts, stealing petty things, uncontrolled drinking habits, cc fraud etc. are the actions of a reckless woman or someone who is spiraling out of control. How many college students do you know that are capable of hatching a plan to create a new life and follow through/carry it out without being caught for this many years? I'm not saying I rule it out at all I just question it more, I guess.There is a window of time that everyone talks about...but in relation to her FINAL destination it is a moot point, in my opinion. I don't feel she had to meet someone in that small window of opportunity to have met with foul play. Many people have discussed meeting a killer in that time Maybe she got a ride or several different rides to anywhere and met with foul play ANYWHERE along her travels. People may not have reported seeing her because they didn't and still don't know she is missing. It's also possible someone is afraid to come forward because of their own legal troubles or because they are afraid that they will become the new Butch Atwood. That they now will be the last person to have seen her and that they will now be investigated as such. Even if it was just an innocent ride from point A to B.If The Murrays know of her exact whereabouts why would they request the help of the FBI? I think they knew OF A PLAN that ended up getting derailed. And maybe Maura derailed it herself and that was HER OWN secret plan all along or maybe she met with foul play. I absolutely believe her family has acted suspiciously and knows way more than they are letting on. The question I have is what do they ALL know.....family/friends that is so severe that they collectively have kept a secret or secrets for this many years? Seems like if anyone found out this secret it would implicate all of them. So that means they are all involved in some way or another. I'm also curious about coordinates received in a previous post that a few people had checked out and would return back to once the weather cleared?
I really like your post. All we can do is sort through the same batch of "facts" that are known to the public. I think it would be a much different story if we had access to that knowledge that her family/friends do know, and I do believe also that they know more than they have said publicly.Sometimes I wonder if MM had committed a more serious crime than the ones she was caught for - and her family/friends simply don't want the public to know about it. They are trying to protect her, perhaps. This kind of jives with her father's statements that what happened before she disappeared is irrelevant. The truth is that if it was known that MM had perpetrated serious criminal offense prior to her accident, this could potentially affect how the case was treated by law enforcement, and would absolutely impact the public perception and response to her disappearance, and any subsequent effort to find her. There is quite a difference between looking for someone who is thought to be abducted/endangered and looking for someone who is thought to be running from something really bad that they did.
I gotta admit, I did some bInge reading, too. I agree with the notion MM was just not capable of running away. Her life was just too complicated at the time, I don't think it's very plausible.People try and rationalize her being gone without a trace to the idea of a new identity and life. Quite simply, most people vanish against their will when we're talking about a time span of 10+ years. Show me one person who assumed a new life successfully and I'll show you a 100 that disappeared due to foul play. Sorry, but I don't see the probability. Sure, it's entirely possible she got lost in the woods but that would require a lot of bad judgment and decision making, not to mention luck considering her body was not found.Simply taking a ride from a stranger, for example, is seemingly more of a logical choice than venturing into the dark, snowy, cold woods. The benefit would be getting out of the cold and getting away from an potential arrest. Sure, there is risk but I don't Maura thought much about it. Going into the woods?where's the benefit? More risk, with no reward and hard to understand as a choice.
Let's say that it was MM's Saturn that hit Petrit Vasi. One scenario is that MM was driving the car and hit him, then fled back to her post working security at a dorm. This neatly explains why she is found freaking out. Then she enlists her father and her friends to help her get out of it. Neither her father nor her friends will want to get her in trouble. A second scenario could be that MM's friends were driving her car, presumably without her in it, struck Petrit and then left the scene. They called MM to explain what happened, and she freaked out at her post. MM would not want to get her friends in trouble, and her friends certainly wouldn't say anything as not to implicate themselves, and her father is enlisted to help them all avoid trouble. Nobody says anything because they are all guilty of either a hit and run, or knowledge of the hit and run and failure to report this very serious crime. Just something to chew on.
What do you think would have happened to her then?
If I recall after Butch Atwood left Maura, another neighbour saw her moving around quick near her trunk. In my mind its like shes on a timeline like shes going to be late for something, defineatly avoiding cops but it seems more time retricted.