A new look at one of the North Country's Coldest Cases
I am loving these podcasts, today's was by far the best one yet!
James, I listened to the podcast. Nice job. I have so many things I could say but this is something that's stumped me for a while: How did Maura even get into West Point in the first place? Sure, she was a decent athlete. And maybe she did well in school. But it takes A LOT more than that to get into a service academy. Generally, a family has to have very good political connections to get someone in. In fact, knowing what I know about it, having excellent political connections is an IMPERATIVE to get into one. And frankly, the Murray's don't exactly seem like that kind of family. In fact, they seem quite "white trashy" to me. I mean, it's harder to get into a service academy than it is to get into Harvard.Granted, I'm not sure that has anything at all to do with the case. But, just from 1000 miles away reading and listening to all this, when I hear about a girl who really isn't that special from a white trashy family getting into a service academy, my Spidey sense goes off. It's not like she was a minority. Or had any compelling life story to get her in--like her dad died in Vietnam or something.So, any idea?
Well, Julie got in before her, which really helped Maura navigate the process. Fred is very organizes and meticulous and helped guide them through it, from what I understand.
James, if that's a good enough explanation for you then I guess it will have to be a good enough explanation for me. But just so you know: Service Academy applicants must get a nomination from someone no lower than a Congressional Representative. Whether it was the sister or Maura, the acceptance rate, according to Wikipedia, is only between 8 and 17%--even with the nomination. And for an average, non-minority family who can't even pay their mortgage to get 2 children in, let alone 1? THAT'S some pull.Probably means nothing. But having known families who've gotten a daughter or son into an Academy, the Murray's are far out of the norm. But I guess this makes the family's failure to pursue a solution to this case even weirder. If they have some pull with a Congressman, you'd think they'd use that to push the police. But they haven't.
It is interesting. Maura had a letter from Sen. Kennedy.
Senator Kennedy? Yep--that was some serious juice those Murray's had.
Well this alone is incredible that the FBI couldn't be persuaded to get involved. You have a potentially interstate crime, a former west point cadet missing, another west point cadet a potential person of interest based on relationship, not location obviously, but still statistically likely to be involved, a high level political connection and yet they won't even touch it despite the fact that there have been many many accusations of police misconduct in NH? I just don't buy it.
Actually, Maura would be considered a "minority" at West Point---she was a female. And siblings often end up at West Point because there is a thought that the second sibling has a good idea of what West Point is all about and what to expect.You don't have to be well-connected politically to attend West Point. You have to receive a nomination from your member of Congress and they usually aren't involved in the selection but rather turn that job over to a committee made up of various military folks. And you don't pay to get in or attend West Point. West Point cadets are made up of all kinds of people from all over the United States.
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I love the podcasts and your website. Fascinating case. I'm wondering if you could give more detail about why you think Maura is a sociopath rather than having other mental health issues or substance abuse or abuse issues.
Oh, I definitely believe she suffered from all those things you mentioned. As to the sociopath idea, I go into great detail about sociopathy in my book.
Thanks! Can't wait to read your book!
I thought sociopath was a bit strong. I think she was just a dumb kid who probably needed to grow up. Think back to when you were that age. We all did stupid shit we'd want to take back.
Great interview! The girl that you mentioned that went missing and turned up living a new life was Michelle Whitaker. She was found 6 years after she disappeared by someone that called a cold case team. Michelle thought her family didn't want her around and she took off. She was using her own name and turned up in Oregon. I find it hard to believe that one could be missing for that long and using their own name and not be found. If you were able to get away and use your own name for a while, it would be possible to legally change that name, but the SS# would remain the same. Thanks for all of the hard work. I can't wait to read the book.
I love that you are from Ohio! Go James!
Excellent idea, but what Police personnel with a connection to the case would bother at this point?
To comment on the idea of sociopathy. It is very plausible. People seem to have a notion of sociopaths based on CSI and Law & Order type crime dramas. I looked into this a while ago because the term was being thrown around mostly as an insult so much that I wanted to understand it. I came away with an understanding that most sociopaths are not murderers and most murderers are not sociopaths. They are manipulative, intelligent (often), charming, clever, have their own interests at all times, use others and circumstance to always further themselves, and have no compunction about using lies/deception as well as honesty if it achieves their ends. They are hard to detect because they instinctively learn the weaknesses of others and leverage it always. They are not necessarily more intelligent (some are), just more manipulative, so sometimes things blow up in their faces, otherwise we may never know they exist. This is what I've learned and if you do a little research it is frightening to see all the signs. It makes you realize there might be someone in your life with these personality traits.
My ex husband is a sociopath. Your research is correct. It sounds simple but it's scary. The basic element that separates us from animals...empathy....they are missing. Once you realize what they are you can see that relating to them on any level was only in your head. We see what we want to and we see what they want us to see. Fun fact: sociopath is synonymous with psychopath. They are the same. The difference in use comes from whether you believe in nature verses nurture as to the source of their problem. I have long thought Maura might be one. The thing that is fascinating and again, scary, about sociopaths, is that they are always ten steps ahead of the rest of us. They are uninhibited by the emotions that hold us back. Life is a game of chess to them and the things they do only make sense after you hear the end of the story. Nothing is too dramatic or implausible....even purposely crashing your car....when you are a sociopath. My two cents :)
I try not to be too reliant on psychology in evaluating the case, primarily because: (1) I have no expertise in behavioral science, and (2) as much as I've studied read about Maura, it's not like I knew her on a firsthand basis. The most I can say is that she strikes me as someone who could not balance short-term gratification against long-term wellbeing. She got thrown of out West Point for drinking and petty theft. She got a "second chance" at UMass-Amherst, and proceeded to (nearly) botch it by engaging in credit card fraud to purchase a pizza. More specifically, she strikes me as exactly the type of person who might flee the scene of an alcohol-related car accident by hitching a ride with a passerby. E.g., the type of person who would gladly take a chance at a temporary reprieve from being the subject of a police investigation at the expense of potentially more severe charges for leaving the scene of an accident. The notion that Maura was "street smart," and thus would've never gotten into a car with someone she did not know, strikes me as just plain wrong.
@ Nobody NotMe-- No dispute here that a psych. profile might help. My only point is that, presently (e.g., w/o such a profile from a credible source) it's all too easy to speculate a bit too much about Maura's personality, tendencies, etc. I always feel a little reluctant about voicing my opinion concerning what I perceive as an inability on her part to balance risk against reward, and concede that the same opinion might well be wrong due to the reasons marked as (1) and (2) in my post above.
Or maybe it's an impulse issue which is a hallmark of a sociopath :)
I can hardly imagine a sociopath committing suicide . I would say it's counter intuitive for them. They would never feel enough sadness, regret, etc. that motivates a suicide. There is nothing for them to gain by doing so. I just don't see that happening.
Who slams a door in a persons face who is trying to find your Best Friend? Someone who is hiding something or/ and afraid of something. What do you think Sara is afraid of? Doesn't Fred know the last known days could hold the key to finding that person. I'm sure he does and that's why he continuously says the past don't matter. Is it known if Sara was MIA for several days after Maura's disappearance. Why would Kate speak with you at first and now she won't? Its easier to keep quite than to keep a lie together. I think there afraid they'll slip up and say something or keep contradicting there story. What did the letter from Sen. Kennedy say?
Is it possible Sara could have been with Maura when they crashed? Its very strange to hear her about her being MIA in the days following that.
Regarding Fred taking out money from different cash machines: this makes no sense either. There is a daily limit and I am sure his daily limit would not have been $4,000. Also, if my card had been used like that it would have been confiscated. It would raise red flags that the card had been stolen. Also, why did Fred want to pay cash for Maura's car? Seems to me he wanted to keep the purchase under the radar. Did the police interview Maura's two friends that attended the party with her? I had goosebumps after listening to the podcast. And of course, I pre-ordered True Crime Addict from Amazon.
I actually came to comment specifically on the cash point. While I have no idea if the cash was really withdrawn to buy a car or not, I wanted to make a correction. On the podcast they say it's suspicious he withdraw cash, when all dealerships / car sellers take personal checks. This is incorrect. I have worked at one of the largest car dealerships in the country, as well as smaller ones. I've NEVER seen a dealership accept personal checks, as they could easily bounce and the person could be long gone with the car. You need a bank check issued in the exact amount. In addition take a look at car ads posted by personal sellers- most say "no personal checks" for this exact reason. If Fred was planning on purchasing a car over the weekend (when many banks aren't open, or if his bank did not have a location close to Maura) it *would* make sense to bring cash so you wouldn't have to deal with the hassle leaving the dealership and trying to find an open bank, getting a cashier's check, going back to the dealership to complete the deal, etc.
Yes indeed many car dealerships do in fact take personal checks. That is how I purchased my last car. My parents have been doing the same thing for decades. Just to be clear, I walked in to a car dealership with new cars, picked out which one that I wanted, negotiated a price, and then wrote a personal check for the entire amount. Then drove off with a brand new car.
One theory I've always considered is the trip up north being a secret party at a friend's parents' winter cabin, behind the backs of the parents. Surely, a cheaper alternative to booking at Stowe or any other place. The son or daughter would know the parents are away, and would have access to an empty, secluded cabin. This would explain possible sightings with friends, a quick disappearance via a tandem driver, and silence from friends. Perhaps Maura took her car to be able to leave early if needed, but after the crash, left it to avoid a DUI and would pick it up a day or so later. Maybe then upon arrival at the cabin, drugs and alcohol were used heavily and Maura either OD'ed or died accidentally somehow. This would be a tough predicament: They sneaked into a cabin without parental permission, did drugs, and now had a dead body to explain. Being a small group of friends with a future ahead of them, they conspired to hide the body and never speak of it again. Just a thought.
A secret party would be interesting, but my problem with that theory is the fact there are NO cell phone pings after the crash, correct? You'd think if she was staying at a friend's or going to a party, her phone would be on at least for a little bit at the destination (even if she didn't make any calls) and a ping would be recorded. If it was an accidental death that her friends covered up (as in, Maura was not exactly planning on hiding, just getting away with friends) there would be no reason a college aged individual would not have their phone out or on at least once. Plus aren't her friend's whereabouts accounted for during her disappearance (at Umass). I wouldn't think many people would leave school and be out of school during the week. They would have gotten up there Sunday night. And why would she leave all her belongings in the car if she was being picked up by the person behind her to continue on to the party?The thing that's always bothered me about a tandem driver is the fact they would have to be pretty far behind her, as she was seen alone by several people..including the bus driver...after the crash. And instead of saying to the bus driver "I don't need a ride I'll call AAA", why wouldn't she have said "I have a friend on the way"?
The "secret party" theory inherently requires one to believe that there was a party so exceptional that it warranted driving at least 2.5 hours into the backwoods of Northern NH on a Monday night. Possible? Sure. Likely? I don't think so. How many college parties occur 150 miles away from campus . . . on a Monday night?
Maybe it was a Valintines Day Party :-P
Maybe. But there's got to be places not quite as far away from Amherst where one could meet a romantic interest with the same anonymity, assuming that's what Maura was looking for (and that's a pretty big assumption given how little we know about what spurred Maura's trip).
Does anyone recall reading somewhere about a law enforcement vehicle being spotted by someone on a road shortly after the crash... and they said something about how they drove around the loop to see if they could find anything.
James, you have done amazing work. I truly believe Kate and Sara are the only hope left to find any kind of answers about that weekend before. Something else had to have happened the night of the "party"...besides wrecking Fred's car. It's amazing that both women can carry these secrets around with them for this many years. Will you ever try to contact them again?
It's very strange. I hope James tries to make contact with them again...even if it's years from now. People are generally more likely to speak about events like this as they get older and don't care as much about having their reputation on the line.
I've also wondered if something happened to Maura Feb 9 2004 and Kate and Sara are keeping quite so they don't get into trouble or maybe there scared of retaliation if they speak on the Truth... Why would your Best Friends keep quite all these years unless they highly respect Maura's wishes of leaving and being left alone or there protecting themselves or someone close to them. I think the Vasi hit and run could very easily play into why Maura left. It would explain Why she was so upset Thursday, why Fred quickly needed cash with no money trail except ATM , which I think the police didn't get surveillance, leaving quickly, and lieing to her teachers and boss. I think Fred told her to lay low for a bit until they figure it out. Just a thought.. Wonder if Fred really wanted to see what was in the police files, so they'd know if they suspect Maura of any wrong doing. If they didn't then she could come out of hiding but since Fred couldn't see the documents it was safer for her to stay in hiding. A family so adament a Dirtbag grabbed her and harmed her but hasn't declared her dead. Strange to me. If Maura was declared dead could it flag her social security number if she is still using it? Has anyone came forward and said they saw Fred, Maura, and Kate at the pub? Maybe someone observed how they were acting that night. Julie has\ had a boss that was contracted through the CIA , wouldn't she try to use that to her advantage to find her sister unless she knows where she is. I'm sure most families of a missing person would love to have this publicity on finding there loved one. But not Maura's family and friends, they want everyone to go away and forget Maura. If it wasn't for Renner, the podcast ( documentary) and others then No One would be looking for Maura. And I believe that's how they'd like it. Why would the police from the very beginning say " she ran away to start a new life, she can do that she's 21, if they didn't have something pointing them in that direction.
This all does make sense and answers a lot of questions, Ive always thought it was the vasi theory
At this point I'm convinced Maura hit Vasi. I didn't buy into that at first but it really makes the most logical sense out of any scenario.The money and the trip north were to get the car fixed off the grid. Very simple, and there's almost nothing (at least that I know of) that would contradict that as a possibility.What that also means (or at least allows) is the notion that Fred has been mostly truthful, and, if he truly doesn't know what happened to Maura, is somewhat on-track with his assessment that what happened before the accident doesn't have much bearing on the end result.There is various shadiness in play here, and Fred is shady no doubt, but I've always felt he's been at least somewhat truthful to the best of his knowledge (i.e. his "lies" have been primarily, if not entirely, by omission). I can't believe I'm saying this, but I feel that even more so now.I don't think he actually knows what happened to Maura.
Wow...a lot of things you say make sense and are points I hadn't thought of before.Fred very well could have advised her to "lay low" if she admitted to him she hit Vasi. Getting out of state for a bit would make it harder for law enforcement. He could have given her a decent amount of cash to get a hotel room/condo. This would also explain why he hasn't been very forthcoming (ie; where the money went). He also wouldn't want to admit to police she hit him and he advised her to get out of state.I don't believe Fred knows where she is, and I think she was a victim of some sort- whether it was an accidental death, suicide, or she crossed paths with the wrong person that night. But if Fred admitted to police she hit Vasi and left to get away for a little bit, it would a) hinder the chances of her wanting to come home if the media got wind of it, as she could be afraid she would face jail time...or b) Give the police a bigger reason to expect suicide and not work as hard on the case.By not telling the whole truth it would keep the case open to an extent, yet he would still have reasoning to keep quiet on some fronts.
This could well be right which would answer why Fred said it was to stop it smoking when others are saying it wouldn't run with it in
That's an interesting theory because wasn't she seen walking around the back of her car? Maybe not only to pick up some items but she could have also pushed the rag in the tailpipe which was kept in the trunk rather than making a traceable call to her dad.
I agree that if a rag is in the tailpipe than how can the car run without the engine burning out...I don't think anyone needs much mechanical knowledge to figure that out. But what if Maura's exhaust system had so many leaks and holes in it that the exhaust was able to leak out that way...and the rag just prevented obvious smoke plumes from coming out the exhaust that would eventually attract the attention of police. If you're drinking and driving with open alcohol containers in the car, then trying to plug the exhaust might be a way for her to evade detection. Just a thought.
The poster above brings up a good point about the social security #. If a person is declared dead they would normally flag it so if someone is using it fraududently, but what if the person is just missing?do they put any kind of warning out if its still being used? i mean i would think they would and would be able to see that type of thing? can they legally search to see if any bank accounts or credit cards or mortgages were opened in her name and security number? or a phone? i am not sure how the law works with all of this. it is strange that after 11 years her family has not declared her dead and how they are not supportive of this search and blog that James is doing. Its all very strange. James have you tried reaching out to her sister or her brother in law again? maybe a few years more have passed and he or they would like to offer some more information...
That was a great interview. My husband is a board certified psychiatrist. When I described Maura's actions to him, he said, "she sounds antisocial" (i.e. sociopath as James described). My husband has a different interpretation of Maura stealing from Fort Knox. Rather than seeing it as a cry for help, he sees it as a manifestation of the antisocial personality. Stealing from what is considered one of the most secure military posts is an over-the-top demonstration of disregard for the law - very much in keeping with antisocial behavior. Keep up the awesome work, James. Looking forward to your new book.
I think there's more weight to Maura's having a borderline personality disorder (as people have suggested in the past) than being a straight up sociopath. But in some ways it's kinda functionally splitting hairs, there are similarities no doubt.I'm not a psychiatrist by any stretch but I am a "mental health professional" (BCBA) well-ish versed in psychiatric disorders, and I personally feel like true sociopaths don't, for example. steal small stuff like idiots. People who are borderline don't necessarily either, and that is just one very small example, but I'd say more likely.Another way to put it, people who are borderline are often (not always, but often--and, the terms are not mutually exclusive) stressed or anxious over anything they do that could be seen as "out of line". Sociopaths are not.To be clear, when I put in my previous post I hadn't listened to the podcast, but now I have. I don't think Maura is a true sociopath, but there is something there that is not that far off and I could probably be convinced otherwise.
What about just plain kleptomania?
From what I know, sociopaths lack feelings. Would a sociopath be as worked up as maura was the night she got sent home from working dorm security?
No she wouldn't have been worked up but she could have faked it expertly. Sociopaths want to blend in because it behooves them to do so. So they expertly (to an untrained eye) mimic emotions.
James, could Fred be forced to talk if Vasi came forward and asked them to investigate on his hit and run from 2001? Them being the police...if he didn't talk it would be obstruction of justice...maybe an angle to get Fred to talk...maybe vasi's DNA is on the front of Maura's Saturn...do they still have her car in evidence?!?My last thought would be why would Muara's dad do the disappeared episode if he didn't want to truly find her? Did they pay him to do the episode? I believe Maura planned this out to a T but I don't think her dad was part of it bc I believe Maura was in part running from him! I think he later was told this and that's why he has completely stopped his searches and wanting any publicity. I believe Maura bought herself time to get away by writing that email to her professors as a backup plan in case the "crash" didn't go as planned...I believe her girlfriend followed her with another car or rather lead the way...Maura wrecked on accident (like truly bad luck) her friend turned around after she noticed she wasn't behind her anymore and swooped her up along with her alcohol...Maura got the $4,000 from her dad bc she lied to him about why she needed it...he god played my Maura too! Maura drained her account bc she was going to Canada. I think she got her friend to keep her silence bc she told her friend she needed to get away and start over and in order for her to start over she had to leave her dad behind. So Maura was playing everyone to get them to help her do what she needed them to do. Maura was clearly leavingand the odds that she "meant with foul play" at the exact moment that her "car supposedly wrecked" is just a redic low percentage if even possible!! This was all planned ALL OF IT! Maura was selfish and didn't give a shit about anyone but herself and I completely agree with James...her and her new best friend both sociopaths that fed off each other while at UMASS...those two still keep in touch some how and if you stay after it James you will come across Maura one day!
The Vasi hit-and-run took place in 2004, and would have been considered assault of some type, likely vehicular assault which has a statute of limitations in the state of Massachusetts of 6 years. To LE there has never been enough evidence to claim Vasi was actually the victim of an impact with a motor vehicle. So no angle with that to compel FM to give a statement or testimony.Since Maura's vehicle was never implicated in a crime, it is doubtful that the vehicle was ever dusted for fingerprints, much less for DNA. The vehicle has remained in the possession of the New Hampshire State Police since 2004, but has been stored outside so any potential evidence obtained at this point would be questionable.
A car vs. pedestrian collision is NOT an assault unless it can be proven that the driver had the intention of running over the pedestrian.
Perhaps MM hits Vasi and either she or Fred pull the $ out of the ATM for repairs. A plot is hatched to take the car to Canada for repairs because cops might check repair shops locally in the U.S. to find Vasi's hitter. Kate is the Tandem Driver that will bring MM back after dropping the car off for repairs. MM wrecks and F's everything up. She runs to Kate's car and decides its time to make a permanent escape. Kate helps and then returns. Fred has some level of involvement, but is possibly unaware of the decision to flee until he is told of the wreck, but obviously can't implicate himself in an attempt to cover up a hit-and-run. thoughts?
Love the podcast; so glad there are many, many people out there as interested in the Maura Murray case as I am. However; sometimes I feel that the most simplistic, logical scenario is the most likely. I believe Maura wanted to get out of town for a little while; she was probably quite embarrassed about wrecking her father's brand new car, and we might never know what truly happened at the infamous "dorm party" the night before...but in any event, I feel as if she wanted a temporary escape and some time to herself. She was drinking in the car as she drove through NH, and once the car crashed into the tree she knew the police would arrive on scene and find open containers of alcohol. I'm sure Maura knew that if she stayed at the scene, she would quite possibly be charged with a DUI, thereby violating her probation. She panicked and fled, packing up all of the alcohol so as not to leave obvious evidence behind. Because there is no evidence of a second car driving tandem, it is hard to factor that into the equation, For me, the mystery lies with what happened to Maura as she began to walk away from her car...did she go into the woods to hide, becoming disoriented and eventually succumbing to the elements? Or did she really meet a "local scumbag" as she ran miles down the dark, desolate roads (opportunistic abductions happen more than we like to admit)? In any scenario, I don't believe Maura was intentionally trying to disappear from her life at UMASS. I just wish we had more hard, concrete evidence in order to develop more plausible theories...if I'm overlooking any verified facts (not speculation)...please enlighten me...so many years later and this mystery is still so captivating.
She packed her dorm room up...no one packs stuff up just for a "week away"
I recall reading that Maura moved into her dorm room only a week or so prior to her disappearance; there is a theory that her belongings were still in boxes because she never unpacked them.
Please dump the above comment; it's in the wrong place.
Maura came back from winter break, she would have clothes that's it. You leave your room and all of your stuff in your dorm room and then the RA's go into every room to make sure no fridge is on and plugged in along with other possible appliances in the room. You certainly don't take down art work on the walls or pictures...The biggest clue in all of this is her emailing her professors!! This was her way of buying time!! No one would be worried about her and wonder where she is for atleast a week...her professors/coaches wouldn't call we parents or the police at least for a week! Nor would her work supervisor. $240 for a week won't get you far...unless she had friends with her splitting the cost of stuff or that $4,000 that Fred withdrew from several ATMs. (Lots of charges in ATM fees and correct me if I'm wrong but I have a daily limit regardless of how many ATMs I hit up that day I can only pull $500.) in 2004 were there no daily limits on ATM withdrawals?
Anonymous' post of 8/22/15 @ 6:35 PM is, in my opinion, spot-on. I've never been a fan of the various "staged crash" theories. lf one is going to stage a car accident and then flee the scene of the staged accident, it makes no sense whatsoever to leave evidence of alcohol consumption inside the car. If you abandon a car on the side of the road, you're probably going to be charged with something if you are caught afterward. Why make things worse by making it look like you were driving under the influence? Even if one assumes that Maura planned to stage an accident and flee, she couldn't have been sure that she would not be caught in the moments after crashing the vehicle. At least in theory, a police officer could've come down either side of the road at any moment. Further, if Maura's goal was to stage an accident and then flee prior to being discovered by law enforcement, why would she do so on a state highway? She'd travelled to the North Country before; why not crash the car on a backwoods dirt road with comparatively less traffic? There are plenty of those in Northern Grafton County. I'm not sure why there is so much confusion over whether there was evidence of alcohol consumption in the car. Page 3 of the police report (see the "documents" section of this blog) contains a written report which clearly states that a box of Franzia wine was found in the car, and that there was "red liquid on the drivers [sic] side door and ceiling of the car."
Joe M, I agree with you completely, and, as I posted previously, I have a very hard time with the "staged disappearance" conspiracy theories that involve an unknown tandem driver. I just wish there was more concrete evidence that could separate the facts from the red herrings. Lana, when I left my dorm room in college after the semester, I didn't move back into the same one after winter break. But again, we don't know for sure what Maura did or didn't do, or when she did it....all speculation at this point. As for emailing her professors, I would have done the same thing if I wantd to miss several days worth of classes, especially in a nursing program (as I was also a nursing major), and attendance is very strict in a program like that. You must have a good excuse, like a death in he family, in order to be excused for a short time and resume classes again without penalty. All that proves is that Maura wanted to leave for a few days and then come back. Also, why would she bother to bring her nursing books with her if she was planning on starting a brand new life/identity? And yes, I do agree that Fred's strange ATM transactions are very suspicious. But Fred also seems to have a very checkered financial past. Could those series of ATM transactions be a way for him to hide money in a manner that has nothing to do with Maura's disappearance? Possible legal fees for her credit card fraud? We don't know for sure because the evidence is lacking....
Easiest answer for the alcohol is that it and Maura found their way into someone else's vehicle in the immediate vicinity of the crash site.
That's really far fetched. I mean, I ordered Chinese food yesterday, but I'm not Chinese nor was I with anyone who is Chinese.
I went back and re read the post from "observer" and I am leaning towards this being thereal story. Sam Ledyard did his best to discredit the author . I got the feeling that Sam was working for Fred or the family to muddy the waters. Sam is an attorney who lives near the family,OBSERVER WROTE:"Maura Murray is NOT a Missing PersonMaura Murray has the right as every independent adult does to leave with her new boyfriend and start a new life. Maura is living a content and satisfying life in the Province of Quebec.Maura's father Fred Murray never quite forgave her for being asked to leave West Point. It was his personal bragging point that he had two daughters at West Point. Maura's dismissal damaged Fred's ego and he never completely forgave her.Maura's being asked to leave West Point and all the ensuing criticism by her father was the beginning of a certain line of thought for Maura, culminating in her leaving on Feb 9, 2004 to start a new life unencumbered by the constant criticism of her father. Maura's relationship with William Rausch was near its end. Ac- cording to Maura's sister Kathleen, they were having 'serious problems.' Maura had met someone new, who unlike William Rausch had no West Point connections and therefore was not a constant reminder to her of her failure at West Point.On the night of February 5 2004 Maura took a break from her job at the security desk at a UMass dormitory to go and briefly get coffee and some food.Sometime between 12 MN and 1 AM Maura driving her Saturn struck and critically injured the UMass student Petrit Vasi leav- ing him for dead.Around 1 AM - 1:20 AM Feb 6 Maura had a complete emotional breakdown brought on by this hit and run accident. Maura's breakdown was witnessed by a student who reported this to Maura's supervisor, who then came and saw that Maura needed physical help to get back to her dormitory. The supervisor then physically helped Maura back to her dorm and recommended counseling.Between 2 and 3 AM on the morning of Sunday Feb 8 Maura had a second motor vehicle accident wrecking her father's new car.Fred Murray's new car was towed around 3 AM to his Hadley motel room. Maura arrived at Fred's motel at the same time as a passenger in the tow truck. Fred was not happy with Maura to put it mildly. What happened in this motel room we'll never know but I do know for a fact that there was some physical violence on the part of Fred Murray. Fred Murray has a history of domestic violence. The next day Maura left for good.Maura needed to disguise the evidence of the Petrit Vasi hit and run by staging another accident for the purpose of covering up the damage to her car from the Vasi hit and run. She and her new boyfriend travelled in tandem to Route 112 in NH (He was already in Southern NH). The accident was staged, she left her Saturn, walked down the road to where her boyfriend was waiting for her in his car. She disappeared, her only wish is that she be left alone to live her life in peace. She is happy and contented and just wants to be left alone.�'
"Sam Ledyard" absolutely was operating as a Trojan Horse for a long time, discrediting/diverting certain narratives as they would gain traction. Only question is for whom; I doubt it was Fred. But a useful way to approach this mystery is to go back and look at everything "Sam" tried to discredit, and assume that it's true.
I'm skeptical about someone staging an accident and leaving alcohol all over the car, as well as drinking and driving prior to the impact. I don't think staging an accident with the DWI element adds any value to the scenario; it only makes it more risky in case one gets pulled over prior to the impact. Of course, we are talking about a person who had been involved in multiple car accidents in just the span of a few days and had quite a fondness for alcohol.
@anonymous i agree that the alcohol throws a wrench in this theory. i suppose she could've done it as a way to "explain" the accident. police and her family would see that it makes sense she crashed if she was drinking and driving.the boyfriend point is also a little puzzling. did she meet someone who also wanted to run away? if so, how come no one has been looking for him? has he always been off the grid and really had no one in his life that would go looking for him? how did he have money then?most of this story/theory works, but there are some serious questions about who she would be driving in tandem with.
Sounds like a pretty shut and closed case.....One day we will know what came of Maura Murray.....thats for SURE!
I still think it was about to be staged, that was a premature accident, thus alcohol was spilled, I think Maura intended it to be in the White Mountains, as to look like a suicide.
According to Clint Harting in episode 7 of the podcast, Maura and her dad visited the White Mountains in Oct. 2003, 5 months before she disappeared. Did she meet a Canadian on that trip? Or maybe in Amherst?
Anythings possible, but how did they communicate?
Just the fact that every scenario seems almost equally plausible/implausible. I can honestly say that if this case is ever solved, virtually any scenario will not surprise me. Obviously I want her to be alive... and if she is alive, and hiding out with a new identity, that wouldn't really surprise me that much. But if it turned out that she committed suicide (or simply succumbed to the elements) not far from the original crash site, that wouldn't surprise me either. If it turned out that she was the victim of foul play by some opportunist, that wouldn't surprise me either. The clues of this case are such that a case could really be built from every scenario.
I always thought Fred's repeated ATM withdrawals were very strange, especially since he was withdrawing money for a "car" that was never purchased. Why do that unless you're ready to buy the car and bring it home..it makes no sense. Although IMO the strangest, most frustrating aspect of this case is deciphering fact from fiction, and sifting through the lack of evidence in this case. The strange behavior of Fred Murray, Maura's college friends, and the Vasi hit and run could all be just one big red herring.
By people not being truthful at the beggining, especially Mauras family and friends, made it tricky, but if any of the scenerios play out will we know the truth.
i mean i know it's obvious that it's the strangest part of the mystery but i think what draws so many people to this story is that she literally just vanished. if she died or was killed, why hasn't her body ever been found? if she ran away how come no credible sightings? how was she able to start over? is she being held against her will somewhere which would explain no body or sighting??it's like Joe said...because we're missing so many pieces and answers every scenario is possible but every scenario also has its loopholes. it's really mind boggling.
The axiom that says the most easiest theory is the most plausible, whatever that may be?
You are thinking of Occams Razor. As far as her habits, I would say this, if indeed she is a sociopath which I consider quite plausible based on the history of deviant behavior and family elements which I have speculated on, then who is to say what her habits are? When you lack emotion, you tend to lack preferences (for instance, sexually) and you easily play characters. Who you are in any given moment is influenced by who is around you. Who you need to blend in with. An excellent example of a sociopath/psychopath in pop culture is Gillian Flynns character Amy in Gone Girl. I have said it so many times but it is absolute truth: it is naive to assume that anyone is the sum total of what we see. We only see what people want us to see.
It's a great book. If you want to read a good non fiction book about psychopaths read "Without Conscience" by Robert Hare, worlds leading expert on psychopathy and the co creator of the Keckler-Hare checklist and test for psychopathy. :)
I will read both thanks chefsgirl :-)
You're welcome :)
Maura's family and friends keeping silent. If it was my loved one I would be saying everything I knew unless I was Protecting them. If they would be honest a lot of our questions would be answered. I believe if we can figure out what there hiding we will be one step closer to finding Maura. I think the rag in the tailpipe was Maura's indication that she was safe and on with the plan. I wonder though, when Maura left if she was suppose to call Fred or someone else, to let them know where she was but Never did. Maybe Maura's car was hidden in the back parking lot. How did Maura go home on Christmas break? Did Sara and Kate help search for Maura? If Maura did hit Vasi and then ran she knew she would be in Big trouble, so she would need to leave with her car and fast. It seems Maura had a stealing problem. West Point probably wasn't her first time, she probably just hadn't been caught. To steal from there is Brave. I think the letter about Billy on top of the boxes was to make everyone think she was running because of Billy. I
Good questions I'm sure Billy knows the Christmas break stuff...Why were the only friends that were interviewed for Disappeared were high school friends?? Where were the college friends?The sex party goers!? The coworkers? Professors? Track coaches? Her sisters? Any family member other then her dad? Her MOM??? what's up with Maura and her mom's relationship? Was there one? Her dad calls Maura his "pal"...his buddy!
Something I never gave a ton of thought to until now- if the alcohol she purchased was no longer in her car when the cops arrived.. Then she either had to have gotten into another car, or stopped somewhere on the way and dropped it off. Liquid is heavy. Three bottles of it would not fit in a backpack. And even if they did, it would be way too heavy to run off with quickly, So if it was no longer there. She stopped somewhere en route. Gave it to another driver, Or brought it with her in another car. Extremely doubtful she was able to walk away with 3 bottles of alcohol in her backpack.
The alcohol is always something that has bothered me, mostly due to conflicting reports of it. There is nothing definitive as far as I've seen.Some say it was all in the car, others it was missing except the wine. However, one thing that put it in perspective for me was the cost: $40We know she indeed got boxed wine, along with Kahlua, vodka etc. Keeping in mind she only spent $40 I'm not totally convinced these were all full sized bottles we're dealing with.If she truly bought 1 box of Franzia, Skyy or similar vodka, Bailey's, Kahlua, and even Seagrams wine coolers...that had to be well over $40 even in 2004, unless some of them were the tiny travel bottles. Without a receipt and a detailed police report we'll never know.
I read somewhere the alcohol wasnt in the car, just a broken frenzia box of wine, the receipt and an empty diet coke bottle that smelled like alcohol.
I read several years ago that she was involved with selling supplements. Does anyone know anything about this part of her life? I also believe the article said she was involved with her boss in this endeavor and it was a shady venture.
I thought of this too.
Always one of my top theories! This was all planned... By two sociopaths!
lmao @ Lana O " two sociopaths", I think most mysteries involve at least two lies, but this case is riddled with lies right from the getgo. I think if shes found, she could write a hell of a book.
interesting theory. they got divorced didn't they? if i'm remembering correctly Mr.Carpenter didn't say some glowing things about Fred....which makes me think the divorce wasn't so amicable. and in that case i'd think that if this scenario did happen he would've spilled the beans by now. maybe not though.
Most investigators go to a spouse if they just seperated, they are usually more than helpful to spill the beans. I didnt know they were seperated, last I heard she was assaulted by him and busted for growing plants.
I agree that it might not have even been Maura that butch saw.nothing in this case surprises me anymore
I just listened to the podcasts and some thoughts:I don't think the party existed. It makes no sense. Dorm parties were rare... You wouldn't have enough people to not remember names if they could all fit in a dorm. Parties were off campus, Dorm parties would also be broken up. And someone by now would have come out and said they were there. Party didn't exist.Maura likely stole Fred's card to get cash. Makes sense using multiple ATMs. No way would you waste the time and atm fees using like 10 ATMs to have cash to possibly buy a car. You'd take it out the Friday before or something if you really wanted cash up front to even shop. Maura could have even taken his car that night without him knowing, rather then him lending it to her. She was clearly driving it elsewhere before the crash - she ended up sleeping in the lobby.. Why would she purposely be going to her dads hotel if he was asleep and she didn't have a room key?
So many what ifs! Crazy!
Apologies if this has been answered...did investigators ever determine if the windshield was cracked from the inside or the outside? Or has it always been assumed it was caused by MM's head?
the cracks were caused by inside, even though an air bag deployed, apparently.
Seems odd to me with a deployed airbag the windshield would have cracked; but I am by no means an accident investigator. One would also think that she would have been a bit more than "shaken up" if her head hit it. Was the windshield tested for DNA to confirm it was MM driving and not someone else? A long shot, I know.
Ive taken a hammer to my head by accident, but damn thats gotta hurt, safety glass and all.
You are not understanding the mechanics of an airbag at all. The deployment of the airbag itself can cause the windshield to crack in the inside. It involves a high-powered explosion of gases.
One giant conundrum.
I think Fred saying shes lost in the woods chewed up alot of the budget for searching for her, never mind the fact she could be in another country. The department im sure doesnt want to use the whole years budget on someone who may have left to avoid a dui charge.
The novel "How to Disappear" by Frank Ahearn, leading authority on how to disappear, Misinformation, Disinformation then reformation is basically his strategy on how to disappear, all the while chewing up the finacial backing of the searchc, so it has to come to a close. Most of whats happened with Maura I can sorta see these steps being used.
This case has a sexual component. When it's resolved remember what I said.
loving the podcasts. they are really making me think about this case. something that hasnt really been brought up but which has always bothered me is the notecard found w the stolen credit card number. it listed "phone numbers" of friends - were they really SS numbers? as well as a location in Gloucester, NJ. what were these?
I never heard of this, its not out of the realm of possibilities, by the sounds of things.
Was the location the address of the credit card owner? I mean I know she lived in the dorm but I remember reading somewhere on here that she was from New Jersey... I can't find the source for that off-hand, and I obviously can't confirm it's true, but I am positive that was at least mentioned at some point.
Can't imagine this case will ever be solved unless either Kate or Sara (or both) talk about the weekend events on campus.
As I recall maura told the police that the other numbers on the paper was phone numbers. I wonder if they really were phone numbers and if so who did the numbers belong to. If they weren't phone numbers, could they of been other credit card numbers, or social security numbers?
On Maura's phone records it looks like Maura called Dominos on Feb. 5 at 12:00 am and 12:10. Then she called Dominos on Feb. 6 at 3:40 AM. I wonder if she knew someone there or did she order pizza 2 days in a row. I wonder if the police looked into whether she was calling someone or ordering .
Maybe the party wasn't a party. Maybe it was just the three girls preparing Maura to leave. Maybe Maura crashed her dads car on purpose so he couldn't follow her. Maybe Fred doesn't know where she is but he knows why she left. Maybe she knows something she shouldn't and as long as she is out there Fred is in danger of some dirty laundry being aired.
Or, as a sociopath and using everyone as a means to an end and not caring about their safety, she told the girls the info she knew about Fred to motivate them to help her leave and because of what they know they are scared to speak. Just a thought.
I agree they had to recieve some sort of "motivation" or why not say Hell no.
Now I just read somewhere Mauras cousins lived close to the vicinity of the crash, can anyone elaborate on this?
How come none of her friends are on here looking for her, asking questions, this is pretty messed up.
Two thoughts, if Maura is buried in a cement foundation at a supposed house, they have xray type devices for that as well as cadavear dogs that can smell cadavears thru cement and can actually tell ya if they have cancer. My point is they should check it out then rule it out.
Seems like a simple explanation to me.
I just re-read the police report and I noticed that both driver's side and passenger's side airbags had deployed. I thought that was interesting considering that the 911 caller reporting the accident said she could see a man in the vehicle smoking a cigarette. Hmmmmm.This ties in with what Observer said about her having a new boyfriend. During the Disappeared special Billy said he had called her and left a message and she responded with an email that she didn't feel like talking but would call him soon. I always thought that was strange, but now it makes more sense. Also, I'd like to know what the letter to Billy said that she left in her empty dorm room. That brings up another interesting point, actually. Why would she leave Billy a letter in her empty dorm room? They didn't go to the same school, it's not like he would have just happened upon it. If she had to say something she could have just emailed him, so it reinforces to me that she planned to disappear because she knew Billy would come to look for her and then find the letter.Also, I believe it was on this blog that Renner reported he had gotten in touch with either Sara or Kate (can't remember which one) and after initially cooperating she then changed her mind and said something to the effect of she can't talk anymore because she doesn't want to get Maura in trouble.
there was also a sighting at Shaws in Woodsville, where they bought cigaretts and food, then went to the McDonalds. It sure sounds like her car worked fine to me, anyways my point is Mauras two friends smoked apparently, did Maura Idk, it doesnt matter I suppose.
True @carnivalbarker i never gave much thought to the letter, its like she knew they would go to the dorm...she has everyone where she wants, she is a clever little gurl.
@carnivalbarker interesting point, both airbags deployed, is a passenger sitting in the passenger seat required for the air bag to be deployed? This requires a look ;-)
I vhecked how air bags worked and "an unoccupied passenger seat, will the airbags deploy?" The answer - No, the passenger-side airbag is supposed to be disabled when the seat is unoccupied or holding a briefcase or something similar. In fact, the airbag may not deploy even if a small adult is sitting in the front passenger seat. So someone was in the passenger seat, who?
The weight threshold on the passenger seat to trigger the sensor indicating whether there is a "passenger" or not (and hence, whether the airbag will deploy in the event of a crash) is going to vary from car to car, and I have no clue what that threshold would have been in her car, but in mine it's not that much.In my car I'm pretty sure a mostly full box of wine would be sufficient to trigger it.
But surely the airbag couldnt throw the box of wine into the back seat could it? Also if it did deploy because someone was sitting there, that would go with what a witness saw a guy smoking a cigarette in the passenger side, no crime scene pics, witness satements seems constantly changing, i think its been ruined from the beginning.
Scenario #1: Petrit VasiMaura had been lending her Saturn to an "unknown individual" who did not have a vehicle, potentially another male or female student living on campus. Maura trusted this person. The night of the hit and run on campus at UMASS, Maura lent her car to the "unknown individual". This person hit an intoxicated pedestrian, Petrit Vasi, panicked and fled. They then called Maura while she was working her campus job and told her everything, at which point she had the emotional breakdown reported. The pressures of her recent legal troubles, now mounting with the stress of her vehicle being involved in “killing” Petrit Vasi, making her an accomplice, rendered her inconsolable. This is where Maura and the "unknown individual" devised a plan to dispose of her Saturn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire to hide any of Petrit Vasi's DNA or damage from the hit and run. This was an area Maura new well, and the plans may have involved submerging the car or pushing it off a cliff. The "unknown individual" drove a red pickup truck in tandem since after disposing of the vehicle, the two were to hide out in rental condos together in NH and/or VT for a few days and then return UMASS where Maura would report her car stolen. This would explain the witness report of a suspicious red pickup truck with MA plates in the area. The entire plan went wrong in an instant when Maura accidentally crashed and police were called. Now the vehicle they intended to hide from authority, was quite literally being handed over to authority. Police would know Maura was there that night, and worse of all would now be able to investigate the Saturn in connection with the hit and run if two and two were put together. Maura, shaken up, now had to improvise and asked witnesses not to call the police. She fled on foot, seeking cell service to inform the tandem driver of the accident while still hoping she could report the car as stolen once back at UMASS. After spotting Maura and picking her up, the two took off in the red pickup truck where panic ensued on part of the "unknown individual.” This person knew Maura could no longer report the car as stolen, because eyewitnesses could identify Maura as being at the scene of the accident. The "unknown individual "needed to prevent authority from A) ever knowing they was involved in the hitting Petrit Vasi, B) ever knowing they were in on plans to ditch the car, and C) ever knowing they were in New Hampshire that night. Ultimately, it was certain that Maura would be investigated to some degree by authority regarding her abandoned vehicle and she was the only other person who could expose the truth about Petrit Vasi. In the vehicle, plans changed when the "unknown individual” concluded that Maura knew too much. The red truck was in transit, now headed towards the wilderness to silence and dispose of Maura. After all, no one knew that "unknown individual” was there with her, only Maura was confirmed by witnesses and authority would assume she fled and died of exposure. Maura now realized her driver’s dark intentions, and discreetly dialed her boyfriend Billy for help when she found a patch of cell service, leaving the vague voicemail reported. The "unknown individual" proceeded to silence and dispose of Maura at a remote location. Petrit Vasi lived, but remembers nothing of the incident. If this theory is correct, solving this case is hinged on the "unknown individual" being revealed by UMASS friends of Maura who had knowledge of their relationship, or Petrit Vasi being able to identify the driver.
Scenario #2: CanadaThe pressure and emotional turbulence of many events in Maura's life involving West Point, the credit card arrest, car accidents, relationships, alcohol issues, and possible involvement in the Petrit Vasi incident lead to her orchestrating the staged car accident in Haverhill NH involving a trusted family member or friend driving a red pickup truck. After ditching the car at the crash site and refusing assistance from witnesses, she panicked when she realized she didn't have cell service to communicate with the getaway driver. She fled a short distance on foot to get out of sight, potentially to find cell service, or possibly to reach a predetermined pickup spot. The red truck lurking in the area finally saw her and picked her up (hence the witness report of a red pickup truck in with MA plates acting suspicious in the area on this night). As suggested by her dorm computer, Maura had researched rental condos in the Bartlett NH and Stowe VT - possible areas where they could lay low, making their way to Canada where Maura would be dropped off and set up to secretly start a new life. An emotional and unsure Maura, grieving the loss of her relationship with boyfriend Billy, called him one last time jeopardizing the entire plan, but left a blank message when he did not answer. Plans moved forward. With the help of the trusted tandem driver, Maura proceeded to successfully fake her own accident / abduction / demise in the United Sates. If this theory is correct, solving this case is hinged on the trusted family member or friend revealing information on involvement, prior ownership of a red truck, or Maura being positively identified in Canada where there have been many intriguing sightings reported.
Scenerio #3: The ResidentThe stress of many events in Maura's life lead her to plan a getaway road trip, researching rental properties in the Bartlett NH and Stowe VT areas. After investigating rentals and researching details, she embarked on her journey in the Saturn, eventually beginning to drink at the wheel. After losing control of her vehicle in Haverhill NH, she crashed and was approached by a witness, who offered to call the police since there was no cell service at the location. She resisted help and pleaded with him not to call police, but sensed he would call anyway. Maura fled on foot to avoid a DUI, and the red pickup truck witnessed was a local person with a police scanner helping look for a person radioed as potentially injured, on foot, seeking help (plates being NH plates mistaken for MA.) Maura was at this point fleeing the crash site. She was inebriated, alone, cold, desperate, far from home, in the dark with no car or cell service. The adrenaline of fleeing was turning to panic quickly and she approached a different nearby residence in hopes of getting out of sight before police arrived and possibly using a landline to eventually arrange a way home. Surprised, "the resident" let her in and offered hospitality. Police arrived at the abandoned vehicle nearby and Maura is forced to reveal to "the resident" that driving while intoxicated was her reason for her hiding inside from police, not returning to her car. Seeing this as opportunistic leverage to make a deal, "the resident" made an advance at Maura, offering to continue concealing her from police for "favors." Maura sensed danger all too late as “the resident” revealed himself as a predator, and a struggle ensued as she tried to escape. Maura was overpowered and subdued, possibly during a panicked effort to prevent her from screaming, as police could have still been within walking distance outside of the residence. “The resident" eventually transported a subdued Maura, quite possibly to a construction site associated with a profession as a contractor. In transit, heading towards a location to silence and dispose of Maura, she reaches a patch of cell service and discreetly dials her boyfriend Billy for help, leaving the vague voicemail reported. "The resident" proceeded to silence and dispose of Maura. Months later, growing increasingly paranoid, “the resident" realized the need for an alibi. Out of the blue, they volunteered a story to police about spotting Maura on foot that night while commuting home from a worksite. “The resident" was cleared of any involvement and eventually moved out of state. If this theory is correct, solving this case is hinged on the (now former) resident talking, Maura's remains being found at a site tying to a profession as a contractor, or associates of this person bringing forward incriminating details.
In regards to personality disorder discussions above.... I have borderline personality disorder and nothing about Maura screams of BPD to me. The crux of BPD is emotionally unstable interpersonal relationships, followed by traits that support the diagnosis of BPD. From what I can tell Maura's relationships with others were fairly stable/normal. It appears Maura is impulsive, and impulsivity is one trait of BPD, however it's relation to relationships. Examples: I have an emotional breakdown with someone -> impulsive action -> I spend 1000.00 + on psychics to see if we'll get back together or I have an emotional breakdown with someone -> impulsive action -> change phone number so they can't contact me, only to turnaround and give them the new number a few hours later. During these periods it's very turbulent for us with a rapid cycling of emotions 1 minute we can be apologetic to the point of becoming needy and clinging, then full of rage and hate (usually verbal abuse not physical), and then detaching and the process repeats itself in no particular order and at some point severe depression until we're over the person. I think people assume we enjoy this chaos, but we don't, we're extremely miserable while we're cycling through these emotions and we're very hard on ourselves. I think most borderlines would fall into this pattern, however it's not uncommon for us to possess traits of other pd's. People with bpd though do have empathy and do know right from wrong.Sociopaths and Psychopaths are classified as Anti Social Peronality Disorder. Only a very fine line separates the two. A psychopath is very charming, likeable, intelligent, any crime they commit is usually very well thought out and they don't panic, they also lack a conscience, as well as, empathy and their hard to spot. Ted Bundy is a very good example of a psychopath. Sociopaths are usually less intelligent and more impulsive in their actions and any conscience they have is weak at best. Just because one is a sociopath or psychopath though doesn't necessarily mean they commit crimes.All people with PD's use manipulation for different reasons. I think the manipulation is most malicious with people who have ASPD and NPD, because they'll use you and discard you and not give you a second thought. I don't think that same malicious intent exists in people with bpd. We lack a sense of self, and don't know how to ask for what it is we need (compassion, love, to know someone cares about us) and use manipulation to get the things we don't know how to ask for. An example would be someone manipulates you by telling you their going to commit suicide (even though they don't intend to) your reaction is most likely that of concern/compassion which is what we want.
Did Maura have any private journals in her belongings? Did her grades change at all a month before she simply disappeared?