Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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


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

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

Other points of interest:

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

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

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

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

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

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

115 comments:

  1. College kids make stupid mistakes. Hopefully they learn from them.
    I do not see the point in digging up dirt on Maura. Her loved ones don't need it and no matter what foolish college kid mistakes she may have made...she did not deserve to be hurt, or worse, killed, if that is the case. My prayers will remain with the family and I pray that this is the last holiday that they have to live in Limbo. The truth will be revealed! ��

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    1. The point is to get any an all information regardless, At this point, you have to throw it at a wall and see what sticks.

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  2. But what bearing does this have on the reason Maura Murray is missing.? This was 2 yrs b4 She even went missing so If there was no legal action against her this would not be a catalyst for her departure.

    Just trying to come to grips as to why this info has any influence on this case.

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    1. I think it just gives us valuable perspective on "who she was" - always the hardest part of getting one's head around this case.

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    2. She also filed a complaint against the school,(which is enough for someone to disappear her).

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  3. "Do you still think she could have been overpowered by a random killer?"
    I think its possible still yes. There are cases of very well trained military personnel being murdered in civil life.
    "Do you still believe she went up there to end it?"
    Its possible, there might have been things in Mauras life before that has stopped her from taking her life.

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  4. I still think she was a psychopath. The school of thought that favors nurture over nature (the birth of the word sociopathy) would agree that the lack of a conscience could be a result of the ego perceiving empathy as s hindrance and impediment to survival.

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  5. Interesting update, James. Especially the number of times she was pulled out for hearings (sounds like there were more problems than just the makeup stealing incident)... is there anything else in the record about the types of infractions or aren't they relevant (or can you not get into them now?).

    I wouldn't put too much in the signing off that her parents wouldn't get disciplinary/medical info. A LOT of kids do that for tons of reasons, girls often do it so mom and dad don't see they're getting the pill from health services. It's kind of a right of passage... like, "Hey, I'm 18, you don't get to hear about this stuff unless I tell you!"

    I've never believed that she went to the woods to kill herself and have been more and more convinced that it was an issue of her starting a new life. The special training in survival swimming, combat, and self defense would be especially helpful on the run. And it didn't even have to have occurred to her at that point. Especially if she went to Canada partially on foot.

    I wonder what kind of firearms laws MA and NH had at the time of her disappearance. I would imagine that if she wasn't tandem driving with someone she might have hoofed part of the trip, actually even doing it in tandem she may have been on foot quite a bit. I know the gun laws vary insanely. Here in Vermont you can just walk into the gas station and buy a guy - no licenses or anything. Would be interesting to see if she had purchased a gun OR see if anyone close to her had reported a gun as lost or stolen.

    And yes... insane that her Dad and Billy spun so much - I guess people never think that over a decade later they'll still be under scrutiny.

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    1. In MA: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/firearms-reg-and-laws/gun-laws/ Note that Mitt Romney made permanent a state ban on assault weapons that originally was a temporary 1998-2004 one.

      In NH: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_New_Hampshire The "shall issue" clause is similar to that of Vermont but apparently not as absolute.

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  6. Hi James, I used to be in the 'ran away from dui into the woods' or suicide camp, but your presentations and the podcasts have pretty much swayed me. This post makes a good case that she likely isn't the type to 'pack it in', so no on the first question, but I would still be very impressed with any early 20 something living reasonably well and staying under the radar for so long, so definite maybe on the second. But I really hope she's done just that. Thanks for all you do.

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    1. Right with you on this post, but I wouldn't be impressed. In my own theory, she had help getting there and probably received help for quite some time after her disappearance in mostly the form of advice through telephone conversations. Unfortunately I don't think we'll ever find her. A lot of the evidence is shrouded by the Privacy Act of 1974. Also I don't think the investigators figured it out till a few years later, and by then their chance to blow it wide open was lost. Since day 1 the investigators were fighting an uphill battle. A wiretap would have blown it open too, but that wasn't or isn't possible due to the difficulty of getting warrants. The last piece of why this case will never be solved is because only a couple people helped her and will go to the grave with the secret. I honestly believe there are only two more options left to explore in this case. Neighbors of FM and more time investigating temporary lodging/shelters in Canada and/or footwork to include flier postings.

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    2. Why Fred's neighbors?

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    3. I thought JR's i93N conclusion very compelling since I've NO KLEW as to how "pinging" works. But not enough for me to quip, "By Jove, Holmes, I think you've got it!"

      I'm bummed that The Murray, Renner and other disparate camps can't proceed on common ground. At least we know why.

      Renner, John Smith and the podcast guys are banding together loosely. That's good. I'll keep reading.

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  7. Can you say for certain that Maura wasn't given the option of leaving West Point or face an expulsion hearing. Think about it like this the Honor Board could have said to her look here is the evidence we have against you to bring you up on expulsion hearings if you don't willfully resign you will face possible expulsion. Think about it if Maura were to get expelled from West Point it would be very difficult for her to get into another college or university. Her career prospects would also diminish.

    Even though she was trained in survival and defense it is possible for someone to have still over powered her. It happens frequently. Cops are trained in survival and defense and they still at times get over powered and shot.

    The thing with Maura's case is a lot of people tend to get tunnel vision and fail to look at the big picture. No one except for Maura can say with certainty why she lied to her work supervisors, teachers, etc and took off for the North Country. No one knows for certain what happened after Maura crashed her car. All we can do is speculate.

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  8. A huge part of me thinks she only joined West point to appease her father. I think to get out, she did what she thought would give her the quickest exit.

    It wouldn't be the first time by a long shot that someone joined the military to appease someone.

    It was a family thing and family for most people is complicated.

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    1. Agreed, I too think the thefts were an 'acting out' something she couldn't bring herself to express to her father otherwise.....

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    2. Was getting busted for credit card theft at UMass the same type of thing?

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    3. i could see that...but remember that she stole at UMASS too. so if it started at West Point as a way to get kicked out, she discovered she liked it since i doubt she was also trying to get kicked out of UMASS.

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  9. Random comment: Statistics sucks. haha No judgment there.

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  10. ~ keep going........... westpoint days h a v e to be part of the big pic. ^5

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  11. Don't know if she could have overpowered a killer - would depend who the killer was.

    But I DO believe given Maura's training she'd be more than capable of slipping off into the woods and covering her tracks (i.e. not leaving obvious footprints).

    In her drunken state, she may have gone deep into the woods to avoid detection (DUI) and ended up freezing to death. The searches? The annals of true crime are literally stuffed to the gills with cases where the searches missed the body only to have it found years later.

    Is this the only explanation? Certainly not. I don't even know if it's the most likely one. But it's the one that gets bolstered the most by taking her military training into account, in my humble opinion.

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    1. Totally, dude. I was living in Edinburgh (UK) when there was a big search for a missing man named Alan Goulden. Hundreds of police and volunteers searched the area around his home, local parks, lakes etc. They even had a helicopter doing regular sweeps. When there was no sign of him the police widened the search; they were checking CCTV footage from hotels all over Scotland in an attempt to locate him, having pretty much given up on the idea of him being murdered/committing suicide and assuming he'd run off to start a new life. Months later his body was found just yards away from his own front door in an overgrown bush. His family and neighbours had walked past his body hundreds of times. And this was a heavily urban area; imagine searching a dense, snow-covered forest.

      http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/shock-at-police-failure-to-spot-body-in-shrubs-1-1278552

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    2. Exactly. It's just impossible to rely heavily on the results of these searches.

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    3. The Not Without Peril book is key to me. She was aware how even the most experienced hiker can get lost and perish in the woods. Then again, she was clearly an impulsive person, so it's possible she did run down the road and enter the woods against her better judgement.

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    4. The article proves the point splendidly that when Scarinza said that while in the helicopter he did not see a soul, in reality he would have to have walked the same woods looking for a body hidden under a fallen tree or perhaps wedged behind a huge boulder: there were just too many places for someone to have been obscured from sight from a helicopter.

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    5. Man, it's so refreshing to see this post. Not because I want Maura to have succumbed to the elements. But because sometimes it feels like people have simply not learned from previous "missing persons" cases that were eventually solved. This type of thing happens more frequently than we would like to think. That the area Maura was in was heavily searched doesn't prove a single thing. A human body compared to a forest is so infinitesimally small by comparison, that it just isn't that hard to figure out how a body can be missed. And that's not even taking into account objects that can be obscuring the view of the body, or hiding it completely.

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  12. To answer the hypothetical questions at the end of the entry, here are my personal opinions:

    "Do you still believe she went up there to end it?"
    - I have no idea. I believe one thing one day, and then with new information it changes the next. Yes, Maura could be called a "survivor", but I don't believe just because she left West Point during hard circumstances and started over again would rule out a suicide by any means. People handle emotions completely differently at different points of their lives depending on circumstances. At the time of her disappearance she wasn't just dealing with a shoplifting charge. She most likely still felt shame from West Point, she was about to be charged with credit card theft, she had just crashed her father's car, possibly was involved in a hit and run, she may have had a problem with alcohol, her boyfriend was cheating on her, she was cheating, and as you stated this week, police believed she was pregnant. That's A LOT for one person to handle.

    "Do you still think she could have been overpowered by a random killer?"

    -Absolutely. We have no idea the extent of her training. She was most likely intoxicated, and her guard may have been down. Keep in mind she was/is a thin female. Even if you are trained, size matters ....A LOT. Say the killer was a 6'3 man who also had experience with this type of training, or was just strong to begin with. There are many women who are skilled fighters or ex-military who have been murdered.

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  13. You put too much stock into these basic classes they put many military members through. There's nothing in those classes about crashing cars when you're drinking illegally and have a problem.

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  14. Did Maura go in front of the Honor Board 7 times because of the theft? Or was it theft and other problems? If so, seems quite a bit, when they had evidence to take it to trial in front of the Cadet Advisory Board, and Maura plead guilty.
    Did Maura have any punishment since she left West Point before the Superintendent made his decision?
    Didn't Clint say on the podcast that Maura was caught stealing make up in 7-01, and she missed the deadline to get into UMASS in 8-01? It looks like she got caught stealing in 08-01. Wonder if Maura even tried to get into UMASS in 08-01, or was that a lie too? Perhaps when Maura got caught, she tried to apply, so she wouldn't have to stay at a school and be embarrassed and face punishment but it was to late to transfer to a new college.
    I agree, this shows a pattern of behavior. In a lot cases, not all, when someone gets caught stealing its not the first time they have stolen.
    Maura scathed by in both cases. The theft of makeup and using a stolen credit card. She wasn't going to have a record from either one.
    I feel most or all of the story was spun about the weekend leading up to her disappearance.
    In a lot of missing persons cases friends/ families are truthful about what was going on in there life prior to there disappearance. Even if its not the proudest moments in there loved ones life.
    In this case, they tried to hide alot of information and make the public/ media believe Maura was doing great and had no reason to just up and leave. When in reality, she was having alot of troubles going on in her life. A lot of troubles that are hard for a 21 year old. I feel others held Maura to a higher standard than what she felt she could be.
    One of Maura's friends said that maybe she thought if she just up and left, people wouldn't think bad of her.
    Maura's roommate from WP, said" she feels maura is alive, and that if anybody could do it, she could. "
    I think Maura did run away to start over, and I hope if she did, life has gotten better .
    If my child was missing I would say everything I knew and do everything I could to find them. I wouldn't lie and withhold info, exspecially if I thought a dirtbag had grabbed them. Definetly, wouldn't of withheld important sightings from the media/ public. Also I wouldn't wait 2 years to do a formal statement. .
    One of the pieces of evidence that would of pointed to something bad happening, Fred explained away. ( The rag in tailpipe)
    IMO, the only reason you'd lie and leave out important details is because you know the truth and possibly protecting your loved one.

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    1. I have interviewed a coach of Maura's at UMASS, who I met through my own former track coach, from when I was a competitive runner at a school in New England. Maura's coach told me the follow things, some of which bear on what those 7 honor board sessions might have been about. [1] When that coach learned from Maura that she was going to transfer to UMASS, she knew who Maura was, because UMASS had heavily recruited Julie. [2] UMASS had not recruited Maura because (as her times show) by the time she was a senior at WHHS, she simply was not very good (her stellar performances had come as a 15 and 16 year old). [3] Still, the UMASS coach was happy that Maura intended to be a walk on on the UMASS team and hoped that she would regain her form. [4] As most coaches in most college sports will do, after she knew that Maura was coming, she buttonholed the distance running coach from West Point at a meet, whom of course she knew, and asked how Maura had been doing. [5] The coach learned from this conversation that Maura was actually thrown out due to alcohol related offenses, including conduct during a broken up party at a hotel, off the campus, for which the booze and hotel fare had been funded by a parent.

      Subsequent to this interview, I corroborated this story to some degree. Specifically, I researched the West Point honor code, read articles about West Point expulsion and disciplinary cases, and talked to 2 former cadets. I determined that it is unlikely that either a single alcohol related offense or a single shoplifting offense would get a cadet thrown out. In the words of one current Army officer and former West Point student, "The Army invests a lot in cadets and there are only so many officers per year coming out with this exclusive training. They do everything they can do get a cadet back on track." This includes mentorship programs and counseling. In many other cases, WAY worse conduct than stealing lipstick has not resulted in expulsion.

      Thus, there was more than stealing lipstick involved in Maura's expulsion and drinking related problems almost certainly were involved. This is of course very consistent with what we already know about Maura, as highlighted by one of the least effective denial-refutations in history: Mrs. Rausch's assertion that Maura was fine with alcohol, e.g., she liked some Bailey's in her morning coffee (while visiting her boyfriend's parents) but nothing out of the ordinary or anything.

      Lastly, there is a program for cadets having trouble in which an upperclassman is assigned to mentor the cadet with problems. It would be interesting to find out if Maura was in that program and perhaps talk to her upper class mentor.

      John

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    2. IIRC BillyR was assigned to be her upper class mentor and that is how they met.

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    3. Thanks for the insight. I thought 7 times was a lot just for theft of makeup.
      Were you able to find out about the conduct at the broken up party off campus?
      Since Maura wasnt doing that well as a runner her senior year, did she go to West Point on a scholarship for running?
      .

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    4. This is super important and includes detail I have never seen before.

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    5. Wonder if Maura was in that program and if so, who was her mentor. If she was in the program, could Billy or Julie of been her mentor? It would be interesting to speak to this person, if she did have one.
      I agree, i think alcohol, along with the theft played a part In Maura about to be expelled from West Point.
      In that same statement, about drinking Baileys with her coffee, Mrs. Raush also said that she drinks Mikes Hard Lemondade with her lunch.
      The weekend prior to Maura's disappearance, there was alcohol involved.
      The day of Mauras disappearance, there was alcohol bought, and Franzia wine found.
      IMO, there was an issue with alcohol.
      Could Maura of met somebody at these off campuses parties?


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    6. @anonymous, re: Billy as upper class mentor to Maura - I heard that also, form a credible source. I chose to leave it out of my message. Wanted to see if anyone brought it up.

      @anonymous/3:54 ... it was Billy.

      @all 3 of you: I can only tell you what Maura's coach told me: there was a parent who paid for a hotel room and booze for some cadets somewhere near the campus. The party got broken up. This incident was, according to a coach at West Point whom she spoke with, why Maura was thrown out. A little more information: when I heard this story, I was sitting in the bleachers at at a track meet that I had come to watch my former team participate in. I was about to ask the coach if she knew who the parent was. But I had this feeling that the coach was anticipating the question and that she did not want me to ask it. Hard to explain ... it was something in the unspoken communication about the conversation.

      A couple other things I learned: (1) I had already figured this out, but Maura was slow by the time she got to college. Once, the coach saw Maura and Kate on campus and joshingly said "ah! my two greatest under performers." Athletes gets rubs like this from coaches all the time at the collegiate level. But, the coach told me that both Maura and Kate were almost in terms over it. (2) Kate, not long after Maura left the team, actually got her running together. She eventually competed in the Eastern regionals (the eastern US qualifying meet for the NCAA championships) in the steeple chase. This means she was basically in the top 100 in the country in that event, although it must be said that most of the outstanding collegiate distance runner don't compete in the steeple chase, and thus being in the top 100 in that event is not as significant as being in the top 100 in the 5000 meters, for example. But still, Kate actually ran very well in the later part of her college career.

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    7. Oh, but in answer to your question, I don't know what Maura's conduct was in connection with that party. Actually, I should be clearer. At the time (upon talking to her former coach) I inferred that she must have done something beyond being among those busted at the party. Hence my phrasing. But that is a little deceptive, as I don't know that "conduct" in direct connection with that party was the issue. It could also be that the lipstick incident and prior booze related offenses at simply added up in a pattern of misconduct.

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    8. So did Maura go to West Point on a running/ athletic scholarship or academic? How was her running at West Point? If Maura was a walk on at UMASS, then she didn't transfer from West Point on an athletic scholarship.

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    9. You don't pay to go to West Point. You are appointed by a Senator in your home state. You pay via service after graduation as a Commissioned Officer.

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  15. 3. Yes, she could have easily been overpowered by a random killer. She weighed 120 lbs or so soaking wet, was drinking, and probably cold. When my sister graduated from police academy she came back with all sorts of self defense training and thought she could take me. At age 14 I had her in a choke hold (not proud of that now) in less than 5 seconds and she started crying, with only having a few years of wrestling training.

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    1. Wow...I'm 5'7" and I had years of karate. As to people attacking me, it depends on factors e.g. are they not making a sound? Because if Maura was indeed intoxicated, then her fight or flight sensors would be dulled as would her brain activity. Coupled with temperature and she probably would have been trying to keep warm.

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  16. Good post James. I believe in many cases, she could have warded off any likely
    Attack or vulnerable person trying to take her down. I think it goes without saying that she was a skilled young lady with intelligence. If she was man-handled and/or eventually taken into abductive custody, I'm willing to bet she was not in the right frame of mind or was probably under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. After reading more about these Canada posts, it really is a balance between her being alive or dead. I just hope that sometime soon, somebody comes forward on whether she is alive or not. If I knew she was alive, I'd be happy. Another thing that I'm wondering is if she is alive, she is probably using an alias, yet even in that case, you would think people in Canada would be able to take photo or video proof of her alive. I mean were basically living in the dawn of the technology revolution.

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  17. I have had so many theories, changing day to day. I think she was killed, but I don't believe it was a random killer.

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  18. That she had some survival skills doesn't mean she could trick or overpower one or more persons to an escape if she was captured. A couple of courses does not a soldier make.

    I do think it's relevant to the case even if such events are two-plus years prior. DON'T EVER disregard potential evidence - the tossing of such has destroyed chances of justice in too many courts. That we all have opinions which color our decisions and actions cannot get in the way of closure in the case of Maura Murray's disappearance. She is the one who is the important person here ... not me, you or even the cops. Never lose sight of that distinction.

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  19. "Do you still think she could have been overpowered by a random killer?"

    Ok, there is something that needs to be said, and that is, civilians who have no military experience tend to think of military personnel as being "super human". I am a veteran myself, and I've been trained in survival skills too. But that doesn't mean I think I'd do well in a real life survival situation. Civilians tend to think that military folk are something of a hybrid of Bruce Lee & Bear Grylls... but we're not.

    Yes, Maura could be overcome by a stranger. Military personnel are sometimes the victims of homicides like anyone else. In fact, I was just reading about how an active duty Army soldier was murdered (his killer has yet to be found as far as I know) recently. Last anyone had heard, he was trying to buy a car he found on a Craigslist ad. He failed to report for duty and no one had seen him for over a month until his body was found. So please stop trying to act like military personnel are basically like super-heroes that you'd find out of an Avengers comic book. They, we, are human beings like anyone else.

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    1. Um, not to be sexist, but all the adenaline in the world could not have helped her on a dark road if a criminal had a gun or weapon and surprised her.

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    2. Thank you for this comment. This is one way in which people tend romanticize Maura. She was a scared kid in way over her head with her problems.

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    3. "Last anyone had heard, he was trying to buy a car he found on a Craigslist ad."

      It's done so I often I'm afraid at this point most of us have known someone in a similar situation.

      This is one reason I'm here: I knew someone back in The '80s who was baited in exactly the same way. Killed for only $2000. (MM, we assume, was carrying $4000.) Took a while to find the victim. Due to a decent paper and witness trail, they caught the guy. So resolution is possible, as long as interested parties cooperate. This is key.

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    4. Than you for this. She did not go to Ranger School. She went to Basic.

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  20. I am new to this blog. Thanks James, this is a fascinating mystery. I have listened to every podcast twice over the past 4 days and I am hooked. How could she disappear like that? Where is she? I do think she was cunning. Anyone who steals $5.00 of makeup from the commissary is either an adrenaline junky (doing it just for the thrill) or has a myriad of other issues and is crying out for help. I could make a case (in this case for both). Friends have said she was secretive, so her parents might not have known a lot about her and what was happening at West Point. I think she knew she would get expelled and withdrew. So much risky behavior though... I mean, i wasn't a saint in college, but she had so much of it in such a short period of time. And, why did her father lie about so many things? Wouldn't you want to be an open book, so they can find your daughter?

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    1. From all accounts, it does sound like her father was massively controlling. Stealing is often a symptom of wanting to break free from a person's "grip" on you and give yourself power by taking it away from the controlling person.

      That thinking explains most people's rebellion to me.

      The fact that she was secretive tells me it was in response to something personal and not general rebellion. My friend and I once stole from a chain book store that we knew doesn't chase thieves.This was in college. We know stealing is wrong. And we haven't stolen since. it's often a "because you can" and possibly a "anti big business" mentality.

      Maura's was definitely on the high end of family dysfunction and those relationships l likely pushed her to find independence outside her father by defying him indirectly.

      Early trauma also makes one do regrettable things in adulthood. A friend of a friend briefly got into sex trafficking as a "pimp." No joke. but he got himself out and now lives a decent life. that was result from a HARD childhood.

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    2. If I were to steal makeup (my commissaries have never carried makeup,) I'don't steal the good stuff at the BX!

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  21. If Maura was my daughter I think I would lie to the media/public about her past. My rationale being that people won't be as interested in helping if they know she shoplifted, committed credit card fraud or whatever. However, if I thought a dirtbag hurt her I wouldn't lie to the police about anything.

    When I was 15 years old I was walking home alone on Halloween night and 2 men pulled up beside me in a car. One of them yelled "GET IN THE ******* CAR" and the guy in the passenger seat jumped out after me. I immediately ran into nearest backyards, over fences, and got away. Like Maura I was on the track team, so maybe that helped a little? I feel like anyone can be abducted though, even a full grown man, especially if the predator has a weapon and/or it's more than one predator.

    I think the evidence points away from Maura being abducted, but for what it's worth if I didn't immediately run away those guys would have had me in their car and been driving away in under a minute.

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    1. I'm glad I saw this -- I would definitely lie to the media if a loved one went missing. As sad as it is the public are more likely to rally around a "perfect victim" who is super innocent and never been in trouble. I can also sort of see how you'd maybe lie to police about certain details of her background if you thought it was a total random person that took her and you thought the police might have a similar reaction to the public? Possibly anyway.
      Also I'm sorry what happened to you at 15- I had something similar at a park but didn't get away quick enough. I'm 20 now and I still think of it sometimes x

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    2. This entry reminds me of Cold Holefield, who revealed himself to be a seemingly reasonable person on "Missing Maura Murray" Ep 18, though I don't agree with his conclusions.

      While I understand the impulse to lie in order to preserve interest in the victim, missing information doesn't help a case. To me, when a life is endangered, there is no "TMi" moment. Life, warts and all.

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  22. I went through US Army basic training in 2005 and honestly the focus back then was urban warfare training. While they taught the basics of living out in the woods (we did so for a week) it wasn't exactly survival training. They provided food and latrines. It wasn't exactly living off the grid. After not that long at West Point I doubt Maura learned anything more than she was taught by her dad from camping/hiking. We learned only basic hand to hand combat too and that's without going to classes/education.

    I'd say it's safe to say we shouldn't put much stock into how well trained the military left her for NH woods in February. With no military cold weather gear and potentially minimal items.

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    1. I agree! My military training did not cover that kind of survival (in the snow, under the influence).

      Delete
    2. Thank you for reiterating this. Cadet Basic Training (plebe year) or Cadet Field Training (Yearling year) is NOT Ranger School.

      Delete
  23. You say Maura is shrewd, but I can't think of anything less shrewd than using stolen credit card numbers to order things to your front door.

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    1. When I worked at a steak n shake, I had a group of girl come through the drive thru and hand me a credit care. It was declined because it had been reported stolen. It belonged to a man. Before I could address the girls, they drove off.

      In this case, it was probably due to being spoiled little princesses who were never taught specific things.

      In Maura's case, she was likely trying to find her way after familial dysfunction, that most people experience, and at that time had no money. It's not necessarily a trait of a bad person. In middle school I stole a hat from a dept store. I'd never steal from an individual person though.

      Navigating waters in youth is often hard. Especially if your father bullies you and has high expectations.

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    2. I think that was very well said.

      Delete
    3. The issue isn't here isn't about Maura being a bad person. It's that James essentially said Maura is clever, aware and practical (shrewd) in the same paragraph he mentioned her using stolen CC#s to order stuff to her door.

      Delete
  24. Im new here...my fascination with the disappearance of Maura Murray began while I was watching you tube videos of missing people. I'm already obsessed.. this story scares the beJesus outta me. Excuse my ignorance but did they clear the coach she was hanging out with? I never seem to read much about that person. Perhaps those searches on her computer weren't actually done by her, and what if the girl they saw at the crime scene wasn't actually her either...

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    Replies
    1. Butch the bus driver, said at first that the person he saw, didn't look like the picture/ Maura. Later he identified the driver, as Maura.
      I believe the coach told Renner, that he wanted to help Maura get away from Billy, and Maura Never spoke about her dad to him.

      Delete
  25. For everyone talking about her "extensive military training"...come on guys think about it. She was a first year cadet! Yes maybe she went through some basic training but this wasn't Navy SEAL BUD/S school or anything like that. I'm sure her "evasion" and "survival" skills weren't dramatically sharpened by her short time at West Point.

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  26. Gr8 job James, I check in this blog daily.
    Thank you,
    Keek

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  27. If she is alive she the stress of being discovered would be just as great as the 4 days leading up to her bolting from UMASS. Although legally she probably is not in any trouble but morally she would be judged. If she did the hit and run on Vasi / judged. For what she put her Dad and Family through / judged. Letting her mom die on her birthday thinking she was abducted / judged. The thousand of hours of resources and other people's lives risked looking for her / judged. Remember she's would still be kind of young early 30s. That's a lot to deal with if found. And really would that be good enough to just say I'm OK? It's human nature to want more answers.

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    1. It's also human nature to explain things, mysteries especially, in sometimes implausible ways. Hence, lore.

      This case has nearly become lore. Online. This because there's one or two key pieces of the puzzle missing.

      One thing that's always bothered me is the under garment found early in the investigation. We don't know who the owner of it was, but it reminds me of another case: Molly Bish.

      Now, because of this blog, it led to my reading other cases. Molly Bish disappeared in 2000 in Massachusetts but her remains weren't found for three years. Police had rough descriptions of the perp, the area extensively searched multiple times, nothing.

      Finally, a Pi was hired and she ventured out into the suspected area once again. Something caught her eye partly hidden under a log. Clothing. Further walking. Then, more clothing. She made her findings official and waited for the final report.

      The findings were positive. The clothes and remains were Molly's.

      The only reason that Molly Bish wasn't found for three years was understood: The killer had held on to her belongings and placed them out in the woods. Three years later.

      Delete
  28. Maura Murray failing statistics comes as a bit of an irony to me because that is what makes her case so interesting.

    1. How many people could drink a 5 liter box of Franzia wine in 3 hours? Maybe not all of it, but even 1/3 would be a lot. How many people would drink and drive in a rundown car when they are on probation? What is the probability of that?

    2. How many people would fill their car with personal belongings and then crash it into a snowbank around a curve up in New Hampshire? What is the probability of that?

    3. How many people, if they did plan a runaway, would do it the way Maura Murray did it?

    As for whether she ran away or was kidnapped and murdered I do not know. Suicide or accidental death I find harder to accept because she had a backpack, clothes, and shoes on her and I think someone would have found one of those items.

    Most of the time in cases like this when a person has not been heard from in almost 12 years, they are usually dead. This is the most likely conclusion.

    That is statistically speaking of course.

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    1. She is most likely dead. But, there is absolutely no way to know how much wine she drank as it was all over the car, indicating that most likely, it broke open during the crash.

      Also, she really didn't fill it up with personal belongings. A lot of the things in there could be argued as things someone just keeps in their car, such as her running gear and school books.

      Delete
    2. That really was not my point. The point is that certain theories regarding Maura Murray's case can be statistically ruled out by common sense.

      Maura Murray did NOT intentionally crash her car into the side of the road up in New Hampshire. Why? A person would not load their car up with anything personal to them or valuable IF THEY KNEW a few hours later they would be leaving it in an attempt to fool people into believing they were involved in a drunk driving accident. I think a great majority of people who have looked at Maura Murray's case would agree with that and with the reasoning.

      The case of Maura Murray is not a runaway. It is not a runaway because people that KNOW THEY ARE LEAVING do not pack personal belongings and extra items they do not need if they are leaving those items behind for the rest of their life. The car is not even hers. Even if she had made it to her destination if she were running away how smart would it have been to keep a car whose license plates could lead to her location?

      You can also say for fact that Maura Murray was drinking some type of alcohol. There is no other reason for her to leave the car that night, if she left it herself.

      You can also say for a reasonably certain fact that Maura Murray was driving the car. Or else who could have left a Twizzler in a Coke bottle under the car, or who else could have gotten ahold of her AAA card that she just received that Christmas? Was the Twizzler Coke bottle that might have had alcohol in it and the AAA card left in some elaborate attempt by a kidnapper to make it look as if Maura Murray was driving the car?

      The probability that all of these things are staged is so small that no one would ever believe it. Maura Murray would have to be a genius to think this way.

      That is statistically speaking of course.

      Delete
    3. You've fudged this up a bit. Given that the crash was not staged, there would still be crap in the car if she was running away because she hadn't yet reached the place where she would have unloaded it.

      Delete
  29. Cadet Basic Training is learning how to follow orders and assimilate into West Point--it's learning how to be a plebe, shining your shoes, reciting plebe Knowledge, and camping in the woods. "Combat" is likely combatives which is hand-to-hand defense--female cadets take this instead of boxing. Survival swimming is learning how to survive a water incident with your gear on. Airplane noises, waves, and fog surround you as you swim.

    My kid is a West Point graduate and the training Maura had is not anything remarkable and certainly nothing that would give her an edge in the snowy woods. It would be interesting to know what her military grade was when she resigned as a cadet.

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  30. I apologize if this question doesn't belong here. What is the deal with Claude Moulton? The whole confession by his brother to Fred Murray and knife/ house search? There is very little about this guy. It seems like something LE would really check into. Anyone know about this?

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  31. This is the eeriest missing persons case I've ever heard of.

    Here's the rub: No one really knows WHY Maura left college under a phony pretext, then headed for an unknown destination, only to disappear on an isolated road. Her disappearance lends itself to every scenario imaginable. (And every argument counteracts the previous one)

    If she planned to disappear, there are easier ways. If she succeeded in going into hiding undetected, she did it in spite of an ill-planned and flawed approach. A feat accomplished under the influence of alcohol to boot.

    As for a 'dirtbag' picking her up. Well, she probably had a better chance of getting hit by lightening than meeting a killer in the small window of time between talking to the school bus driver and the arrival of the police.

    If she went into the woods to avoid a DUI, then succumbed to the elements, surely her black jacket, jeans and backpack would have been found somewhere.

    It's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

    P.S. Regarding her boxed belongings at UMASS. By any chance was she being evicted? Or switching dorm rooms?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon1: "This is the eeriest missing persons case I've ever heard of."

      You oughta read about the case of Steven Kubacki. That'll blow your mind. Unlike this case, it does have a positive ending.

      Delete
    2. Love this post!! Exactly what most think, including myself, but I could never communicate it as gracefully as you did. I only disagree with one statement, which is your opinion on the dirtbag picking her up and would like to elaborate. I think it's very possible and I believe that is exactly what happened. Yes, the chances seem slim due to the timeframe. Even considering the timeframe, I still don't understand why many deem this as being improbable. It happens everyday!!! I can't recall any cases I have read (there have been many) where anybody at any time expected their loved one to be abducted, raped, murdered etc. We live in a world populated by evil and souless people who have no regard for human life! They are everywhere. I bet 2-3 of these demons are living in every one of our neighborhoods. And even scarier, how often do you hear ..he is the last one I suspected!! So I don't understand why people think it's so unlikely this could happen to Maura. Honestly, it's hard now a days to feel safe in your own home with doors locked and high tech security system..people are breaking in to Rob n kill you..don't ever know if that's gonna be you..Those other families didn't expect it either. People get murdered in their driveways going out to hop in their car to go to work. People being shot on dates n family outings to go see a movie..that's happened numerous times just lately. The list goes on and on and on. It is unpredictable. It blows my mind to hear there was no time for a bad guy to grab Maura and drive away. They are among us and we most likely come in contact with one of our own local dirtbags when we go get groceries each week. We are living in perilous times and sadly, it's gonna get worse as time goes on. Proceed with extreme caution.

      Delete
    3. "If she went into the woods to avoid a DUI, then succumbed to the elements, surely her black jacket, jeans and backpack would have been found somewhere."

      To follow through, a black backpack had been found years later behind the restrooms at Pemi Overlook along the Kancamagus Hwy, Rt 112. It was frozen and reported. It is assumed LE picked it up. That LE has not mentioned anything further about it or its relevance is telling.

      Maura Murray owned a black backpack. Pemi Overlook is east of the final resting place of her car. She was most likely headed east.

      Delete
  32. She's dead. She was picked up by a somewhat local who lived within 10 miles of the scene. It was a crime of opportunity. At first he had good intentions of helping her but her attractiveness changed his plans. She was held captive for three days where she was tied up and raped. She was then murdered and buried in the White mountains. It is unlikely she will ever be found. The GPS coordinates reported are incorrect.

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    Replies
    1. You seem to sound pretty specific. If you know the coordinates are incorrect then does that mean you know the correct ones?

      Delete
    2. Well well well......seems like you are in the know of what really happened to Maura Murray. Please tell us more or let the NH CCU in on this if it is just more than a theory.

      Thank You

      Delete
    3. This is a bit specific for an armchair detective....

      Delete
    4. Renner,

      Look into the above commenter. I am chilled by what he wrote.

      Delete
    5. "The GPS coordinates reported are incorrect."

      Anon2: If this is some sort of joke, you do know that the FBi may be reading this, don't you? They may not appreciate this brand of cyberpunkery.

      Delete
    6. Simple test --> LE reads this blog (I know that for a fact.) The goof who wrote the above post, if indeed he/she has the knowledge he/she claims, would be incite the interest of LE. LE will not be interested, nothing will come of these DRAMATIC claims. I therefore also am not interested. Yawn. Troll. ______. (fill in pejorative term of your choosing.)

      Delete
    7. I keep returning to read this paragraph. I hope something comes of it. It's quite chilling.

      Delete
    8. If this person really knew what happened to maura then they would be contacting the ccu and not posting here. They must know the family probably check in to this blog which makes it even worse. I personally believe the key to solving this case is finding the person she was either travelling with or meeting because I don't believe she was doing any of this alone. Evidence points to another person or people involved, what with the amount of alcohol and the two person condo searches, so where are they, why has no one said anything? I just know when this person or persons are found then the floodgates will open and all will be revealed.

      Delete
    9. Stuff and nonsense! Someone isn't a helpful bystander and then turned into a crazed rapist/murderer because someone is beautiful! Ugh you're the worst.

      Delete
    10. It's a theory people, based on everything I've read, statistics, and esp.

      Delete
    11. Have you never heard the term "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" There is a good chance this may well have happened because there are some Wolves that lurk in the darkness just waiting to pounce on an opportunity.

      Don't ever think that this could not be the case, it is a great possibility and of high probability.

      Delete
    12. ok i'll bite...why is it unlikely she'll never be found

      Delete
    13. Anonymous + Alden = The Olson Twins

      Delete
  33. Maybe she's in the witness protection program. Maybe she knows...things. 0_o

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    Replies
    1. i can't tell if you're being serious or not, but it's very very unlikely this is the case. witness protection doesn't stage odd car accidents, first of all. secondly, witness protection is really just used for criminals who ratted out other criminals--think the mafia--and not innocent civilians who accidentally knew or saw things.

      Delete
  34. The singular thing that makes your theory so unappealing and unacceptable is: If Maura ran away, that makes her the biggest jerk on the planet. Well, a jerk and a coward. And should her whereabouts ever come to light, people will line up around the block to punch her in the nose. There's no moral to that story. There's no protagonist struggling to achieve salvation. There's no justice either. So, good luck selling that morality tale.

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    Replies
    1. I don't think people would be lined up to punch her in the face. I think more people would syphathize with her and understand. She had a lot of issues and pressures for a 21 year old.
      I'm not sure if people would of understood 11.5 years ago, but now that parts of her life and the troubles she was having have been uncovered I think people would understand.

      Delete
    2. On one hand, you are kind of correct. Running away when you face legal problems is acting like you're above the law.

      Criminals act like criminals because something went wrong at home, or at some time in their lives.

      So, yes, no matter Maura's reason for a possible runaway decision, she is no different from any other thief or road offender.

      The only people I would defend in running away are people like my friend's family, who ran from an abusive father/husband and changed their name.

      I don't get the picture that Maura was actually ever in danger here.

      Which is why I believe she had every intention of returning eventually, and that she's deceased.

      Delete
    3. I dissagree

      LE already said that she is in her rights as an adult to run away, No crime in that.

      Delete
    4. "I don't get the picture that Maura was actually ever in danger here."

      You ain't alone. Reminds me of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". There's literally no end to this.

      Delete
    5. Agreed that she is deceased. People over think it. Even the police informed that they believe foul play. I wonder if she is buried somewhere close to where she disappeared like in a place where nobody suspects. Somewhere crazy like in a well, or in someone's backyard etc. I wish money could be raised to search the area again in places we would never thought of. Check out the below article.

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/02/justice/new-york-body-false-wall/

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    6. PS. Maybe they can check abandoned cars or something
      Here's one article. http://wtvr.com/2015/06/19/missing-child-found-in-moms-car/

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    7. Pss. Perhaps someone picked her up and they skidded off the road into a lake. Check out this article.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/remains-man-missing-43-years-found-car-lake-article-1.2301552

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    8. Only Ponds in the area and they were all frozen

      Delete
  35. An irresponsible person, who runs away to avoid punishment, is most certainly a jerk. They are not worth worrying about. They are not worth the search effort...and in all likelihood they owe financial restitution to law enforcement for time and labor since it falls upon police to solve the case.

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  36. If I were law enforcement and it turned out Maura was alive and well, I'd be looking for ways to sue her since she took attention away from legitimate cases.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Maybe the Westmans didn't come out to the crash because they saw a man at the car and thought calling 911 would be just fine.
    IMO, its odd to not come outside and check on someone after they crashed there car, exspecially with the person being a woman.
    But if it was a man, wasn't a major crash, figured there okay and no need to go check
    Perhaps, Butch came by sooner, than his 911 call. Maybe Barbara didn't call right away, believing other neighbors had already called. After 16 minutes and no police have shown up, decided to call herself.
    If Barabara Atwood was at home, then she should of heard the car accelerate and crash too. Right?? The Westmans and Marriott's did
    Is it known if Barabara heard the crash before Butch came by? Butch's 911 call, came in 16 minutes after Faiths.
    Butch backed his bus in, went and asked Barbara to call 911, 911 circuits were busy and was routed to another county, How much time would this of took? Did Butch arrive on scene sooner than its believed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. • Is it common for bus drivers to take their buses home with them? I have never seen a school bus parked at someone’s home before.
      • His bus had to have had a radio in it – why didn’t he use that to contact the police or dispatch to report the accident and remain on the scene with her, helping to use his bus as a way to alert oncoming traffic of the accident? What would you have done if you were a bus driver in that situation?

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  38. Well if not a man at least another rider. That red light could've easily been the light of any gadget, gizmo or auto idiot light. From what we know, and it's little, Ms Westman never indicated from her line of sight if the light was always close to the girl. Was it moving independent of the girl's position? That would indicate a 2nd person. Or was she always close or holding it?

    These are answers that would have been irrelevant had the dispatcher kept Ms Westman on the phone until an officer arrived. One big ball dropped. Who'd know it would turn into all this?

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  39. It's foolish to say that just because she had military training and had endured difficult times in the past, that she could not have died by suicide. More servicemen die from suicide each year than in combat. Not saying that's what happened, just that it's ignorant to rule it out based on what was stated in the post.

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  40. Ok im pretty new to this but a rag in the tailpipe to me screams suicide or murderous intentions. Maybe someone put it there the carbon mo,oxide fumes made her sleepy or dizzy she crashed also the deadly fumes can cause disorientation and paranoia and confision. Maybe the 2men ive heard that she said she was runni,g from think she hit the petrit boy possibly he has family that are holding a grudge and were after her. Who owns the aframe house? Maybe her friends and family were told shes dead and if u speak up we will kill u too. Sometimes if you steal from the wrong people like a crime ring they notice.

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  41. can anyone explain CHartings comments in Ep. 12 where he unmistakably says, ~ HER conditions for leaving WPoint....these were HER conditions (secure a full scholarship & be near Bill) sure sounds like she was negotiating ~ like she had the upper hand. how?

    ReplyDelete