Saturday, December 3, 2016

Did Maura Take Off With More Money Than We Thought?

Here's a comment that came in today from a reader who works with financial aide:

I'm a university academic advisor with expertise in financial aid, so I wanted to offer some insight on this.

At a school like UMass, most students receive the following types of financial aid:
-- scholarships
-- Pell Grant
-- Direct Loans
-- PLUS Loan

Direct Loans are fairly small ($3,750 per semester for juniors/seniors), but the PLUS Loan exists to supplement whatever is not covered by the other forms of financial aid. The PLUS Loan can also provide a substantial refund (often around $4,000+) to be used for books, supplies, and other expenses.

The PLUS Loan is always in the parent's name, and the PLUS Loan refund always goes to the parent unless the parent authorizes the school's financial aid office to issue the refund directly to the student. Some parents use private loans (such as Sallie Mae) instead of the PLUS Loan, but usually the PLUS Loan has a lower interest rate.

HERE'S THE IMPORTANT THING: Maura went missing around the exact time she would have gotten her spring semester refund check. If you look at UMass academic calendar for spring 2017, for example, you'll see that classes start on January 23, and the last day to drop or add classes is February 6. Financial aid disburses after the last day to drop or add classes, and students receive refunds approximately one week after the last day to drop or add classes -- putting it squarely on February 13.

If Maura was indeed planning to disappear, she may have been waiting to receive her financial aid refund check. She could have picked it up, cashed it, and left town.

Universities cannot release any information related to student financial records because of FERPA. They can't even release information to parents unless the student signs a consent form, but they would of course release information to law enforcement if warranted.

Monday, November 28, 2016

No, I Do Not Think Maura Is a Sociopath.

The latest Missing Maura Murray podcast is out, today. It's a kind of Best Of episode, catching listeners up on all that has happened so far. They revisit episode 6, which was recorded over a year ago. That was the episode where I called Maura a sociopath (based on actions like credit card fraud, identity theft, affairs, etc.) and said she was "at her best when she was with Billy Rausch."

Boy do I wish I could take that back.

I have since learned that Bill Rausch lost his job in D.C. after coworkers claimed he assaulted a woman in the office, pushing her down onto a table in a drunken state when they were alone. That's one of several alarming stories I've heard about Bill.

To be clear, I no longer believe Maura was a sociopath. I believe she was a survivor. I believe that when she left UMass, she was leaving Bill behind as well as other sources of stress in her life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

33 Episodes In, Here's Who Still Refuses to Go On the Podcast

Since 2015, Lance & Tim have produced 33 episodes of the "Missing Maura Murray" podcast, making it one of the most popular mystery podcasts and surely setting the record for most episodes devoted to a specific case. They have built a huge audience clamoring to help solve this missing persons case any way they can.

And yet, Maura's family and close friends don't care to use this opportunity to help find her. Lance & Tim have proven to be kind and respectful of guests, open to explore any theory or idea that comes up - unlike me, who has a favorite theory and would not be so magnanimous with my questions.

33 episodes in, here are the people who could have helpful information but who have not yet appeared on the podcast:

- Fred Murray
- Fred Jr.
- Julie Murray
- Kathleen Murray
- Kurt Noble Murray
- Bill Rausch
- Sharon Rausch
- Kate Markopoulos
- Sara Alfieri
- Heather Hammond (Sara's roommate)
- Liz Drewniak

I am at a loss to understand why.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chance Encounter Provides Possible Explanation for Maura Murray's Disappearance

As an old-school shoe-leather reporter, there's nothing I love more than a good bar story. This one has all the hallmarks of a legit run-in with someone from Maura's inner circle - and they provide an explanation that took me years to bring myself to.

There's also enough identifying info here, that I'm confident a websleuth with a little time can track this down.

Here it is:

I went to college at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass, class of **. In
the fall of 2004 (it was football season), I was in a bar called
Moynihans on Main Street, close to the campus of Clark University. It
was a Saturday afternoon because college football was on TV. The bar
was half empty, and I started up a conversation with this guy who told
me he was a grad student at Clark. He told me he had recently
graduated UMASS.


An Army football game highlight or score came on the TV, and I stopped
the conversation to watch. The guy asks me why and I explain its
because my dad graduated West Point and we always went to games when I
was a kid, and I still rooted for the team. He then started talking to
me about the missing girl who had gone to West Point and then to
UMASS. I hadn't heard about it at the time and he explained to me what
I now know is the MM case. He told me that it was an open secret among
people who knew her personally at UMASS that she ran off on her own to
get away from an abusive relationship. He said that he knew people
that knew her and that had been in on the whole thing, and that people
freaked out once the police and newspapers and media had picked up on
the story. I remember thinking at the time that it was an interesting
story, but that she'd eventually be found out. When I got back to my
dorm later that day, I looked it up online and read a newspaper
article or two, but then totally forgot about the whole thing until I
started reading your blog and the wikipedia on MM.


I know my story doesn't prove anything, but it's interesting that
someone so far back who was personally familiar with MM's circles at
UMASS had been speculating about her running away on her own volition.

Old Link Provides Lots of Info on UMass Teammates


Here's a link to an old program from the time Maura Murray was running with the UMass Amherst track team. Lots of familiar names. Some new.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Someone Is Actively Trying to Shut Down This Site

There are only two reasons why this blog would disappear. 1. If Maura is discovered to be alive and well. 2. If the person/persons trying to shut it down finally succeed.

I've been debating about whether or not to share this publicly because I don't want to give attention to this kind of thing. But recently the attacks on this site and anything connected to True Crime Addict have increased dramatically.

It started with notifications from Blogger that someone was trying to reset my password through a similar email. Shortly after that, and just before the release of my book, there were two DDos attacks on my personal website, jamesrenner.com They succeeded in shutting down the site for a couple days. I have since hired a private security firm that monitors the site and handles additional attacks quickly.

Then came the "official" looking emails that contained links to Google docs related to information in Maura Murray's disappearance but when clicked would download keywood-logging software. Luckily these were flagged by Google before I clicked into it.

Then came the most disturbing attack. Someone created an email to make it appear that my publisher was contacting me and asking me to review a document. They used her name, my name, and everything looked official. I should have been suspicious as normally the publisher doesn't contact me directly - I work with her assistant, mostly. So I clicked on it. It asked for my password and without thinking, entered it. What followed was a difficult day of resetting every single password I had and scrubbing the sites.

Following this, someone successfully posted porn on the site. Security took that down, too.

Beyond the attacks, there has been a very organized disinformation campaign on Reddit that focuses mostly on two narratives: 1. That Maura simply wandered off into the woods to die and there's no mystery. 2. Bill Rausch's actions after the disappearance don't amount to anything.

When I've been able to track the emails, it tends to lead back to rerouting services in the Netherlands.

The question is, where are these attacks coming from?

Do I think they're coming from the Murrays (Julie Murray worked for Booz Allen, the same CIA contractor that Snowden worked for). No, I don't. I don't think Julie would waste her time on something like this.

Do I think it's coming from Bill Rausch, who has a history working for the elite propaganda and misinformation office of the U.S. military? No. I don't see him doing anything so brazen.

Someone who knew them? A coworker? Alden Olson? Some troll with nothing better to do?

In the end, I doubt it really matters. I doubt it would change anything to know their identity.

For what it's worth, the Cold Case Unit has some of the original emails. That's about all I can do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New Episode of True Crime Garage Features The Serial Killer's Apprentice

 Fans of true crime podcasts may find the new episode of True Crime Garage particularly interesting. It's the story of Robert Buell, a serial killer from Ohio was put to death in 2002 - but who may not have acted alone.

Buell was the subject of the title story from my collection of true crime tales: The Serial Killer's Apprentice. I'm in the garage with Nic and The Captain to talk about it.

You can subscribe on itunes here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Records Show Bill Rausch Was Part of an Elite Military Propaganda Unit

The truth about the Information Operations Task Force came to light in 2005 when journalists discovered that American soldiers were writing propaganda in support of the unjustified war in Iraq and funneling it through private groups which then helped to place the articles in foreign newspapers.

As the Los Angeles Times put it:
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
On his RallyPoint page, Rausch is listed as working for the IOTF in 2006.

Prior to this Rausch was stationed at Fort Trotten as part of the 301st battalion, part of the 151st Theater Information Operations Group, which was tasked with "synchronizing related capabilities comprised of five core functions: electronic warfare, military deception, psychological operations, operational security, and computer network operations."

Psychological operations is known as PSYOPS in the field. PSYOPS create spin, "to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own." In the past they have attempted to infiltrate American media as well, most notably getting caught at CNN and NPR.

You can read more about this sort of thing in this article from Christopher Hitchens at Slate.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Maura Murray Went Off the Grid Before Leaving UMass


Now that the excitement around the book has calmed down a bit, I think I'm able to see the data related to this case with clear eyes. There's a lot we missed in the phone records that I received last year. Yesterday, I talked about how the phone call data suggests Maura was with Kate Markopoulos just before she left UMass and disappeared. Today, something else hit me:

It appears that Maura turned her phone off when she was still at UMass.

In fact, Maura appears to have turned the phone off at exactly 2:18 p.m. since no incoming call was logged on her account from Bill Rausch's phone number. His records show he called her at 2:21, 2:22, and 2:24. Since we know she was in range of a cell tower at that time, due to her call at 2:18 to Bill's voicemail, the only way Bill's calls could not register on her bill is if Maura's phone was off.

There are two ways this is possible. 1. It ran out of batteries. 2. She turned it off.

I think the most likely explanation is that Maura purposefully turned off her cell phone immediately after Bill called Kate Markopoulos's dorm room at 2:18 p.m. Bill was looking for her. Maura didn't want to talk.

So, the next question is: did Maura turn off her phone just so that Bill couldn't find her? Or did she turn it off so that nobody could find her?

Maura made one last and final phone call, when she turned on her phone again around 4:37 p.m. She checked her voicemail.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Was Maura with Kate Just Before She Left UMass?

I'm taking another close look at the phone records for Bill Rausch and Maura Murray, from the day Maura disappeared, and I found a sequence of calls that is interesting.

According to Bill, he was "out in the field" helping with some kind of training exercise at Fort Sill. But apparently, there was cell phone reception out there because he's busy calling Maura all morning. She's not returning his calls. Then, at 2 p.m. EST, Maura sends this email to Bill:

Subject: hey hey
To: "Bill Rausch"

I love you more stud
I got your messages, but honestly, i didn't feel like talking to much of anyone, i promise
to call today though
love you
maura


Bill ignores this and calls her cell phone again. Maura doesn't answer. So at 2:18 EST, he calls Kate Markopoulos's room at UMass, twice in one minute. Seconds later, Maura calls Billy back but he's still connected to Kate's room so the call goes to voicemail.

Bill then immediately calls Maura's cell again. Three times. She doesn't answer.

A couple take-aways: there was some stress between Maura and Bill that day. And Maura is only prompted to call him once he calls Kate. Did Kate tell Maura? Why wouldn't she talk to Maura if Maura's boyfriend was calling from Fort Sill - obviously Billy really wanted to get a message to Maura. Was Maura in Kate's room - is that how she knew he was calling at that moment?

But what happened next? That is the question.

Again, phone records show that Bill is petty consistently making phone calls that day (he made a LOT of calls, to West Point professors and former girlfriends and family members) and that alone suggests he could not have been in the White Mountains, where cell phone service is scarce to this day.

A year ago, I asked Bill about his alibi. Here's the email he sent back.

As previously discussed with you and confirmed by authorities in NH while I was on the ground searching for Maura after she went missing, I was at Fort Sill, OK the day Maura went missing to include the weeks in advance. The last time I saw her was during the holiday season.

Understanding that you need to confirm, please reference the information below.

- From June 2003-June 2004 I was assigned as the Executive Officer (XO) to Charlie Battery, 1-19th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, OK.

Two individuals who can confirm that I was at work when Maura went missing and that I was unable to leave until the Army gave me permission are:

1. Senior Drill Sergeant Robert Ramos -- assigned to Charlie Battery, 1-19th FA and in charge of operations and all Drill Sergeants assigned to the unit.
2. LT Nate Mayfield -- roommate at the time

Nate Mayfield and Robert Ramos have not returned emails or phone calls asking to confirm.

One bit of interesting info that just came to light: records show that Bill was part of the Information Operations Task Force. In 2005, journalists discovered that American soldiers were writing propaganda in support of the unjustified war in Iraq and funneling it through private groups which then helped to place the articles in foreign newspapers.

As the Los Angeles Times put it:
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
On his RallyPoint page, Rausch is listed as working for the IOTF in 2006.

Prior to this Rausch was stationed at Fort Trotten as part of the 301st battalion, part of the 151st Theater Information Operations Group, which was tasked with "synchronizing related capabilities comprised of five core functions: electronic warfare, military deception, psychological operations, operational security, and computer network operations."

Psychological operations is known as PSYOPS in the field. PSYOPS create spin, "to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own." In the past they have attempted to infiltrate American media as well, most notably getting caught at CNN and NPR.

You can read more about this sort of thing in this article from Christopher Hitchens at Slate.



Friday, September 16, 2016

Poll Shows Plurality of People Believe in Tandem Driver Theory

The poll just closed. The results are in. Over 1,000 people responded. Here's the results:

What Happened to Maura Murray?

She was abducted by a serial killer.  5%


She was picked up by a stranger who never killed before but things got out of hand and she died.  17%


She was picked up by a tandem driver (someone she trusted) who then killed her. 11%


She was picked up by a tandem driver (someone she trusted) who helped her continue on to her new life, somewhere. 32% 


She committed suicide. 3% 


She wandered off into the woods and died. 26%


She never left Amherst. 2%

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Unidentified Phone Number

The day that Maura disappeared, before she left campus, she made a number of calls trying to find lodging in New Hampshire and Vermont. But she also made one call to a local number on campus that has yet to be identified (and it doesn't appear in the student directory that was recently shared online).

That number was 413-546-1466.

It was suggested this was the phone number for the UMass messaging service but I have not been able to confirm that.

So... who can figure it out. Where did this number go to in 2004?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Rumsfeld Ordered Review Of Sexual Assault in Military the Day of Maura's Breakdown


On Thursday, February 5, 2004, Maura suffered some kind of mental breakdown during work at the security desk of Melville Hall. Her supervisor discovered her in a "catatonic state." The only thing she would say was "my sister."

The same source who provided new insight into Maura's crash in Hadley just pointed me toward an interesting coincidence. On Feb 5, 2004, Donald Rumsfeld ordered a 90-day review of sexual assault on female soldiers in the military. The review focused on female soldiers already in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this investigation would ultimately kick up stories of sexual assault at West Point and other military institutions. There were Congressional hearings. It was a big deal.

Later investigations would show that at the time Maura was at West Point, at least 6% of the female cadets were sexually assaulted and 62% were sexually harassed.

How did this news affect Maura? We do know she knew at least one man from West Point who was later accused of sexual assault: her boyfriend, Bill Rausch.

New Insight Into Maura's Accident in Hadley

About 39 hours before Maura disappeared, she was involved in another accident, in Hadley, very near the UMass campus. The story relayed to police by Maura's friends, family, and the responding officer was that Maura was driving her father's car to his motel at 3 a.m. after leaving a party at Sara Alfieri's dorm with Kate Markopoulos -- a party that was standing-room only, but one where Kate doesn't remember who else was there.

I've always questioned why Maura would be traveling to Fred's room at that late hour instead of waiting for the morning. A frequent reader who has spent time in Hadley has the best explanation I've heard of so far. I'd never considered how strange it would be for her to have kept her father's car on campus to begin with, for any length of time:

"Why would Maura take her dad's car to campus when UMass police are nazis with parking tickets? His car did not have a pass and the lots are only partially plowed in winter. They actually truck snow into those lots from other lots to let it melt in a massive pile in the back corner. There would have been limited parking for students with stickers let alone guest spots. There are no guest spots there and visitors can only park in blue lots. The blue lot there is tiny and would have been full. Full to the point that it would have been stupid to leave a spot to run out and think it would be open when she returned.

So I got to thinking about the townhouse apartments on Meadow Street. The parties there are massive. Like 300 kids and police getting bottles bashed on their heads kinda crazy. I remember my friend having a massive party at his place and him saying that there are lots of UMass athletic kids that live across the street and that is why the parties get so huge over there.

Now think about this. We doubt the party was at the dorms. It just does not happen. RAs do checks on the floor and it would have been busted.

If they partied at the townhouses, the crash would make more sense. If she dropped the girls off and left to go back to the party with the random guy no one seems to know, she would have dropped them off at the turn around behind the building and went back the way she came leading to the crash intersection. If she wanted to avoid cops since she was drunk and get to her dad in the middle of the night, going right out of the lot and a right at the corner where Rafters is makes more sense. She is literally driving out of her way if she was heading to her dad's room.

It is more likely that she left to bring the girls home and go back to meet up with this guy. She headed out over 116 and crashed. She freaked and said she was going to see her dad and the cop let her go since the route makes sense to the cop. If she had taken a right where she had crashed and gone a mile, she would be at Meadow Street townhouses.

No one goes to a party where no one knows each other. No one hosts a party and then cannot name names. No girl goes off drunk driving daddy's car to go find daddy. That would be the last thing a drunk girl would want to do. She had to have taken that route for a reason and getting to her dad is not it. The route does not make sense. This was a track party off campus and the "foggy memory" is to cover their asses and the track teams ass."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Recent Sightings Focus on New Hampshire and Canada

I was contacted by a couple people this week who wonder if they've seen Maura Murray.


The first is from a woman who found this photograph posted under escort services on the New Hampshire craigslist page. The resemblance is striking, but of course the age is way off unless this was taken years ago. Note, too, that this photo that was used on craigslist actually comes from an adult-content website and is almost certainly not the photo of the person who posted it.


The second sighting, which occurred in Canada, is more compelling, in my opinion. Here's the story I was sent. Photo is above.

"The main town on Manatoulin Island is Little Current, population of around three thousand.  There are only a couple of restuarants in the village, one grocery store, so it's quite a cozy place.  In either 2012 or 2013 a group of our family (not including my wife and I, sadly) were vacationing on the island, and one evening decided to patronize a place in town called Garry's Family Restaurant.  They were chatting with their waitress, and in course of small talk this young woman told them that she was actually American as well.  She said she'd come up to the island to attend a band camp, and decided to just stay there and live.  It struck them as odd at the time (and the reason they relayed the story to me this year) because of the whole "band camp" notion.  Its very unique, at least.  If she was associated with a school music program that suggests she would have to have dropped out of her old life, whatever her academic pursuits, to take up menial work in remote Canada. But to be fair this not all that outlandish; it is a very "granola" area, so if you like the great outdoors and nature and living fairly (but not entirely) off the grid, it's a nice place to land.

So this summer I'm listening to podcasts discussion of Murray case, and the idea that Maura could be living beneath the radar in Canada.  Naturally this made me think of the band camp girl. This whole idea poses a huge problem, however, since if it was actually Maura why on earth  would she ever admit to being an American to other Americans?  That would be a very good way to you blow your own cover. Regardless, I decided to Google this place, see if I could find any staff photos or employee references or anything that might allude to this young woman's identity (assuming she is still an employee, now 3-4 years later).  I could find no such information, but on a restaurant review site I did find, among photos of food they serve and an empty dining room, the attached "action" shot of a couple eating at the place.  It's from a very unfortunate angle, but that waitress obviously looks a little like Maura.  My sister-in-law says the waitress in the photo looks like it might have been the same they encountered, as far as she can remember, but did not think the photo of Maura looked familiar.  So...??"

Friday, August 26, 2016

My Current Thoughts On the Mystery


This blog has been quiet for a while but that doesn't mean I've stopped working on this case. I've interviewed a couple people this week, off the record, and it's caused me to take another look at some of the strange circumstances surrounding Maura's disappearance.

I become more and more convinced that Maura's destination that night was the UMass Outing Club cabin, in Bethlehem. I firmly believe she was traveling in tandem with another vehicle. That leaves two possibilities in my opinion: 1. This other driver took her to the cabin and then Maura went on to a new life. 2. This other driver disposed of the body after killing her or after she died unexpectedly from complications after the accident.

I lean toward #1. But just a little.

But lately I'm hung up on the pieces of this case that still lack satisfactory answers:

- Bill Rausch mentioned to me once that he knew Maura was shopping for a used car that weekend because he had a contact at a used car dealership near UMass that got him a good deal, before. I'd like to know who that contact was.

- At the time Maura's car crashed in Haverhill, Bill was on the phone with Bob McDonald, a professor from West Point. I'd like to know what that conversation was all about.

- What in the world does Sara Alfieri know? According to the Murray family spokesperson, she told Fred Murray a story about Maura that she won't tell anyone else. And in the days after Maura disappeared, Bill was repeatedly calling Kate Markopoulos until he phoned Sara Alfieri. Then the calls to Kate stop.

- Did Hoss Baghdadi tell police about the Outing Club (which he was active in) and the cabin in Bethlehem?



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

***Final UPDATE*** Frightening New Troll Claims Murray Family Has Identified Maura In New Video

Last week, I told you about the anonymous Facebook account that posted photos claiming to be from a video of Maura Murray that nobody else had seen before. That person was posting under the name "Joseph Cpaw" using a new Facebook account. Something about this case brings out these weird types who create multiple fake accounts and toss out bits of info to see how excited everyone gets. It gets their rocks off for some reason. This is only the latest, but perhaps the most alarming since Alden Olson.

Yesterday, this person took to Facebook again with a long tirade. Buried in the deranged and delusional manifesto was the claim that they have shared a link to the original video (which they found on a "public site") with the Murray family and that " Initial response was they believe it to be Maura."

They go on to taunt and chide others for not actually helping the investigation, even though this person was too afraid to go directly to the police for fear of losing their anonymity.  Here's a few choice quotes.

"Idiots, fuck-tards, phonies, pet detective wanna-be's...that's all you people are."

"From the bottom of my heart and with all the contempt I can muster...GO FUCK YOURSELVES!"

So much hatred and rage, there. But there's any truth to this troll's tale, there's a video out there somewhere, which was just delivered to the family and not detectives.

***UPDATED***
Family spokesperson Helena Dwyer Murray just dropped this statement on Facebook:

This morning I was contacted by somebody questioning whether I had made a comment regarding a video which some believe is Maura. this was my response, "I'm pretty much alone, but I think it is Maura...but earlier than 2004, regardless of the date it was I uploaded 

 ***2nd UPDATE***
A Redditor by the name "PippaPuppy" whose account is one hour old has found the video. Everything about this is suspect. Check it out. The resemblance is very striking but I don't believe it's her. It's close enough that investigators should check it out, though. The ski resort is Mountain High in California.

***Final Update***
We and the family have been trolled. Here is another video of the same woman, in which you can clearly see it is not Maura Murray.

Another Redditor was able to nab the IP address of the troll via Facebook. It tracks back to a man who is well known to the online community. His social media profiles were taken down recently after he posted threatening messages. It appears he is suffering a breakdown of some sort and may have purposefully orchestrated this new story as some kind of public performance commentary.

We're not going to dox him so I will not approve any comment that mentions his name. He's enjoyed enough of the spotlight already.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New 'Missing Maura Murray' podcast makes the UMass cabin look very promising.


Lance & Tim are back with episode 29 of the Missing Maura Murray podcast. This week they feature an interview with Rick Graves who was involved with the search for Maura on the ground for about three years. He says the news about the UMass Outing Club cabin is new and believes it makes sense this could be the destination she had in mind the night she went missing.

He also, in my mind, puts to rest the notion that Maura's body could be near the scene of the accident after having wandered into the woods. Of course those woods were searched extensively. Graves was there for it.

Lots of good stuff in this one.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Is This Maura Murray?



Since this blog began in 2011, the community searching for Maura Murray has grown exponentially. There have been at least a dozen other blogs devoted to the case, run by amateur sleuths and just down right crazy people using fake names. Along with this is a group that is more annoying and dangerous - Internet trolls using IP-masking software to hide their identities just to get their rocks off by creating drama around a missing persons case.

That's probably all this is. But this one takes it to a new level and I feel like we should share it to find out of it's partly legit.

A few days ago, someone created a Facebook account under the name "Joseph Cpaw" and posted a number of photographs they claim is from a video of someone who could be Maura. The pictures do look strikingly like Maura and if it is from a video, it's not one I've seen before.

Does anyone know where these photos came from, originally?


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Final Destination?




I am quickly becoming a believer in the theory that Maura's destination the day she went missing was the UMass Outing Club's cabin in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. To get there from UMass, following the directions online, Maura would have exited off Rt 91 in Woodsville and taken 302 past Rt. 112, where her car was found. An alternate route, though, would have been to take Rt 112 to 93, then North to Bethlehem. Perhaps she thought that could be faster, or easier - this was in the days before cell phone map apps, after all. Or maybe that's the way she was taken there, before.

It makes a lot of sense when you consider she stopped looking for motels and cabins after coming up short. She knew there was a place she could stay up there, for free. Some place big enough for a couple people.

Maura likely knew of this cabin through Hoss Baghdadi, the track coach with whom she was having an affair. Hoss was active in the Outing Club.

I remain convinced that she was traveling in tandem with someone and it was this person (or persons) who picked her up at the accident. I'd like to think that they went on to the cabin or wherever, and then Maura continued on to her new life. I'm willing to consider, though, that Maura died at her next stop. Perhaps she hit her head too hard in the accident. Perhaps something else happened, there. If so, her body is likely near where she stayed that night.

The grounds around the UMass cabin have never been properly searched. And they should be.

I visited the place yesterday. Rugged country. In the summers, the ground all around is covered by thick ferns and it's hard to see what's there. What needs to happen is an organized search by Fish & Game, with about 100 volunteers.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Desolation Trail


There is one big clue to this case that hasn't been thoroughly investigated yet and I'm hoping we can put this one to rest this summer. I'm asking for your help.

A couple years ago someone sent me an email with the title "Stop Looking," signed Ray Rummau (which is a word-scramble pseudonym for Maura Murray). Inside the email were coordinates: 44°06'10.0"N 71°27'29.0"W

Those coordinates lead to a section of wilderness on the north slope of Mt. Carrigain. The best way to get there is to hike up Desolation Trail from the trailhead near Bartlett, it seems.

Whoever sent this email went to great lengths to hide their IP address. It's clear they are suggesting this is the location of Maura's body.

In April 2014, a team of volunteers attempted to locate it, but were thwarted by the snow. Lance & Tim from the Missing Maura Murray podcast ventured out to visit the location, too, but turned back to Boston after they realized someone was stalking them throughout their visit to New Hampshire.

So, who's up for taking a look?

This is a trail and terrain for experienced hikers, only. It's also possible this was designed as a trap for me, so please be careful. But if you're up for the journey, take photographs of the area and share them with us, here. I can't offer much in the way of a reward but I can at least send you a signed copy of the book!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Long Lost Forum Comment Suggests Detectives Thought Maura Was Running from Family

Recently, a reader was looking back through old posts on Websleuths devoted to Maura's disappearance and found something quite interesting. Ten years ago, someone using the name "Peabody" was commenting about the old rumor that Bill Rausch got a message from Maura on his cell phone after she disappeared (law enforcement later learned that message was actually from the Red Cross). Whoever Peabody was, they claimed to be in contact with Sharon Rausch, Bill's mother. Here's the pertinent quote:

I emphasize that Sharon told me that NH SP traced the mysterious prepaid calling card call while she, her husband and now Cpt Rausch sat in a room with the NH SP in the Haverhill Police Station; that she immediately disputed that the call was from the ARC because they would not have had her son's phone number (because she was the only one that had spoken with ARC and she knew that she had not given them his cell and cell phones do not have directory assistance; also the ARC had her cell and had not called her; her thinking was IF there was any reason they needed to correspond, they would have contacted her). 
When the Rausches insisted the call was not ARC, then they were all told that the police believed that Maura was upset with her family and that she was already in Kenton OH on her way to the Rausch residence (again the Rausches disputed this because Kenton is Northwest of them and they asked if they perhaps meant Canton and the officer became hostile and said there was no Canton OH - fyi Canton is Northeast of the Rausches and would have made some sense) 

Weird, right?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Women Claim Bill Rausch Assaulted Female Coworker in 2011


True Crime Addict is out, today. It is the definitive book on the Maura Murray case and includes several new clues and insights into the 12 year old cold case. It ends with an epilogue in which we learn more about the character of Bill Rausch, who was Maura's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance.

Last fall, four women who worked with Bill at Ray Group International, in Washington D.C., in 2011 came forward with stories about what it was like to work with him. One woman, whom I call "Andie", claimed he pushed her down the stairs in the Metro one day and pretended it wasn't him. Another woman who shared an office with him believes he destroyed ultra-sound photographs of her unborn child which she'd brought to work to show around. Another woman says Bill mentioned Maura one day. According to her, he said he and Maura were breaking up when she disappeared and, in hindsight, he was glad things worked out the way they did.

But what caused Bill to lose his job at Ray Group was an alleged sexual assault that took place in the president's office, after hours. Andie returned to the office one evening, after meeting with coworkers nearby. She found Bill inside and he appeared to be intoxicated, she said. This is how she explained the rest: He asked her to come into the president's office and once inside, he locked the door behind her. Alone, he turned to her and smiled in a way that scared her. He told her he was the one who pushed her down in the Metro. She tried to leave. He blocked her.  He pushed her toward a wide table. Then he turned her around and pushed her face-down into the tabletop and pushed his body against her. She struggled. He pushed her down harder. Luckily, a coworker arrived. They could hear her outside the door. "Don't say a fucking word," he said. Frightened she called out. This appeared to shock him and he hid under the desk. She took this opportunity to open door to let the coworker in.

After this incident, Ray Group International did "an internal investigation" and Bill never came back to the office. He no longer lists the company in his public LinkedIn profile.

I spoke to Bill about this. He admitted he knew about the allegations and left the job after the women reported it.

It is important to note that Bill has a tight alibi for the night Maura was missing and he was actively searching for her after she disappeared, calling her friend, Kate Markopoulos repeatedly.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hoss: "Maura felt she couldn't get away from Bill Rausch"


A little recap: Last week, we learned about a cabin owned by the Outing Club at UMass, which could have been Maura Murray's destination the night she disappeared. The cabin was known to family and police for years (though they never mentioned it publicly on forums as a lead). Lance & Tim from the Missing Maura Murray podcast were told the prosecutors in the case have never found evidence to suggest Maura was at the cabin in February, 2004. But what wasn't known until last week was that Hossein Baghdadi was active in the Outing Club and knew about the cabin. "Hoss" had an affair with Maura in 2003.

When I interviewed Hoss years ago, he told me a few interesting things about Maura. She never once mentioned her father, he said. And she sometimes fantasized about disappearing and starting a new life. "I wish I could disappear" she told him. He always thought she'd choose Mexico.

In light of this new info, I've gone back to my notes on that interview. A few more things are worth mentioning.

According to Hoss, Bill Rausch was very controlling and Maura wanted to get away from him. "There were hints that he got physical with her," he told me. "She felt she couldn't get away from him. He wanted her to be in certain places at certain times. He'd check up on her. He was very demanding."

Hoss is not the only one who told me Bill could be physical with the women in his life.

I've left messages for Hoss. He has not returned my calls or emails.

I will tell you this much, after speaking to Hoss, I think he was the only one who was totally honest with me in my years of research.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Podcast Episode Explores Criminology and the UMass Cabin


Fascinating new episode of the Missing Maura Maura podcast, this week. Lance & Tim talk to Professor David Wilson and Elizabeth Yardley of Birmingham City University, in England, criminologists who have some fresh ideas about armchair sleuths and Maura's case in particular.

They also spend a little time talking about the Outing Club cabin.

Turns out Lance and Tim found out about this cabin a few weeks ago, in time to ask the NH prosecutor's office about it. Listen to the podcast for the full explanation but the gist is that there is "no evidence" to support that Maura was going there. Of course, it's unknown at this time if the police knew about Hoss's connection to the club, which, in my mind, makes it exponentially more likely that Maura knew details about the cabin.


Kate Markopoulos, the Week of the Disappearance


I've always believed Maura's friend, Kate Markopoulos, knows some important pieces of this mystery. She's never been completely honest with me - she claimed she didn't know that Maura and Hoss were romantic, even though she used to hang out with the both of them after track practices, when the affair was going on.

And I've always wondered about her actions around the time Maura disappeared. Track teammates of Kate's said she wasn't seen at practice around this time. But another journalist just found some old UMass postings that show Kate was at least showing up to compete, if she was really absent from practice.

On February 7, Kate competed at the Rhode Island Invitational, and did quite well. Here's a quote from the article:

Kate Markopoulos’s time of 5:18 may not have been enough to earn points in the mile, but later she anchored the DMR, running an amazing 5:17 for her second mile of the day.
“Kate Markopoulos ran really nice back to back miles,” LaFreniere said, “and that’s something she hasn’t done before. She really needs to be recognized for that.”

This is the same day Fred Murray arrived at UMass. When Kate returns to campus she meets up with them and goes to the brew pub. Then, afterwards, she and Maura go to a campus party that some say was held in Sara Alfieri's room. Others say it was actually held off campus. I wonder if there were other track teammates present - Kate and Maura sometimes partied with upperclassmen members of the men's track team at the athletics pool, after hours.

Then Maura disappears on Monday, February 9.

On February 13th, Kate competes at the Valentine's Invitational.

During this week, Bill Rausch is calling her constantly, trying to find Maura. Kate is not calling him back (however there is a six-minute call to her dorm room once that week). As far as I can tell, she never traveled to Haverhill, to help in Maura's search.

Maybe she just didn't know anything and didn't care to speak to Bill. Maybe she dealt with Maura's disappearance by focussing on running. Maybe she didn't talk about Hoss because it was none of anyone's business. I don't know.

I still believe these actions are strange, but we can see that Kate was definitely not "missing" for very long if indeed she did stop reporting to practice.

* Thanks to Clint for the new info.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

True Crime Garage: Maura Murray Part 2

The True Crime Garage podcast continues this week, with Part 2 of their discussion on the Maura Murray case. Some really fantastic ideas are bandied about this week. A must listen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BREAKING: The Cabin in the Woods


Yesterday, we learned of the existence of a cabin in the White Mountains, owned by the UMass Outing Club and wondered whether this was Maura's ultimate destination the night she vanished in Haverhill, New Hampshire. Everything I've learned in the last 24 hours leads me to believe this is - at the very least - a real possibility.

Today I spoke to Erik Hjerpe, who has helped run the Outing Club for several years. The cabin, he says, was often reserved by UMass clubs during the weekends but was usually vacant during the week. He found some documents related to cabin rentals from Spring 2004 that show it was rented during the weekends before and after Maura disappeared. But the cabin was likely - officially - empty the day she vanished.

The keys to the cabin were kept in a numbered lock box at the door. Anyone who knew the four-digit combination could get the keys and enter the cabin. Erik was up there often, and when he traveled with the crew from UMass they got off at the Woodsville exit and traveled to Bethlehem, where the cabin is located, up 302. This is the same exit Maura likely took that night.

With me so far?

Erik did not recall if he'd ever met Maura and figures he probably did not. So I gave him a list of people close to Maura to see if someone she knew was familiar with the cabin. One name stuck out to him: Hossein Baghdadi, known as "Hoss" to his friends.

Hoss was an active participant on hiking and canoeing adventures with the Outing Club and very likely stayed at the cabin, himself. Erik has fond memories of Hoss, saying he was always up for a challenge, always giving 110%, always up for adventure.

Hoss was Maura's lover. She was seeing him when she was still with Bill Rausch but according to Hoss, she broke things off late fall, 2003, before going to stay with Bill's parents for the Christmas holiday. He says she sometimes talked about running away.

I have a message out to him, but he has not yet returned my call. Is it possible he told her about this cabin at some point? In these cases, you look for coincidences that begin to line up and form a coherent story. Here, we have a cabin in the woods Maura likely knew about. She got off at the right exit, was headed the right way. It also explains why she stopped looking for rental properties - maybe after the Salamones turned her down, she realized she had a place, anyways. A place she didn't need to call ahead to.

Was this her destination?

Monday, May 16, 2016

UMass Athletes Had Access to Cabin in the White Mountains

It has been a long time since anything in the way of a new clue has surfaced in Maura Murray's disappearance. But today, a Redditor known as AncientExplorer1989 discovered an interesting connection between UMass Amherst and the White Mountains.

Turns out UMass students could reserve stays at a cabin located in the White Mountains, not far from where Maura disappeared. We've never known Maura's destination that night. Could this have been where she was heading?

The question is whether or not Maura knew about this. I think there's a very strong possibility she - and the friends she hung out with - did. After all, Maura enjoyed the outdoors, and particularly enjoyed hiking the White Mountains.

The cabin was in the news today, because police were called out to it on May 10 when a girl overdosed on LSD. Police found several intoxicated, under-aged students when they arrived. Was this area ever searched? I doubt it.

This is the best lead I've seen in a couple years.

Now, who can find some posts of pics of people there in February, 2004?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

True Crime Garage Delves into the Maura Murray Mystery

Looking for a new podcast to binge on? Check out True Crime Garage, where Nic and The Captain crack open a cold one and discuss today's most frustrating unsolved mysteries.

This week is the first part of their coverage of the Maura Murray case. It actually works as a pretty decent definitive timeline of the days leading up to her disappearance, for those new to it.

I'll be on Part 2, which I believe is coming out May 23.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lance & Tim Speak to the AG in new Podcast


The latest episode of the Missing Maura Murray podcast just went live. According to Lance & Tim, this is the first episode of "season 3" and a new turn in their investigation as they begin to go directly to sources close to the case.

Joining them this week is Marley Davis, who works for a public defender's office in Massachusetts. The focus of the episode is a series of answers the New Hampshire Attorney General's office gave them, in order to put to bed some rumors surrounding the case.

The most interesting thing that comes out of it is a statement from the AG's office, saying that they are considering releasing the video footage of Maura at the ATM prior to her disappearance.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Maura's Case Featured on The Night Time Podcast

The latest episode of The Night Time Podcast, a really spooky show out of Nova Scotia, features the Maura Murray case. I'm on for the first half.

Check it out here.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Top 10 Unsolvable Unsolved Disappearances


Head on over to Boing Boing for my new crime article, "10 Unsolvable Unsolved Disappearances." Guess who's #1? Here's a snippet:

As a true crime journalist who searches for the missing, I am keenly aware of the breadcrumbs I’m leaving behind throughout a typical day. If I were to suddenly disappear, these bits of information will mean everything to detectives. But I worry that these clues will be misleading, that my receipts and cell phone pings will only muddy the waters of the official investigation should I vanish without a trace, because the littlest detail can seem quite suspicious when taken out of context.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

**UPDATED** Rape Suspect Followed Maura's Case, Not Connected to Red Truck


This is Michael Glynn, of Woodsville, NH. He was arrested yesterday, and charged with various felonies, including rape and kidnapping after he attacked his ex-girlfriend at a sand and gravel pit off Rt. 302 in South Ryegate, VT. He picked her up in his vehicle at her home and drove her to the pit, where he allegedly assaulted her and then left her by the side of the road.

Why is this worth mentioning here?

There's been a lot of talk about a red truck that was seen near the site of Maura Murray's accident around the time she disappeared. One witness claimed the truck belonged to Walter Glynn of Woodsville, NH.

Michael is not related to Walter Glynn, who one witness claimed was seen near the site of Maura's accident. Other sites have reported they are brothers. This is not true. There is no direct relation at all, according to friends and family.

Michael Glynn's Facebook page shows that he follows the Maura Murray case.

At this time it is unclear whether Michael is directly related to Walter or this red truck. Michael's age has been reported as "23" "32" and "38". Michael is 32.

**UPDATE**
This story is still developing and I would caution anyone from drawing conclusions. A source close to Michael spoke to me today. She says the alleged victim has alleged similar crimes five times in the past. The alleged victim's own sister took to Facebook to suggest the story is not factual.

This could be a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time and in no way associated with Maura's disappearance (I still maintain Maura is most likely alive and well, by the way). Michael has had a rough life, to be sure. His two younger brothers died in a river accident when they were kids, along with the family babysitter.

If this story is found to be made-up, I hope the news sites that reported on this will delete or change their articles.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Confirmed: The Book Has a Secret Epilogue


We're about five weeks away from the release of True Crime Addict and things are heating up a bit, after Library Journal called it "An entrancing, brilliant next step for fans of the podcast Serial, Netflix’s Making a Murderer​, and other true crime cases."

A few advance copies leaked out recently, resulting in some very early reviews over on Goodreads. Going forward, I will not post any spoilers on this blog until May 24, when it is released to the general public.

I will say this: the advance copies did not include the 10-page Epilogue. That has been under lock and key and was only just added. What's so important about the Epilogue? It likely reveals why Maura Murray ran away.

More soon.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Is This An April Fools Joke or A New Lead?


Late last night a YouTube commenter known as "1978mackdaddy" posted the following message under the beginning of the Disappeared episode devoted to Maura's disappearance:

"If you want to find this girl it's pretty easy. She now lives in Sherbrooke Quebec with a guy named Maurice. She's been living there for years."

I strongly suspect this is an old troll coming back to muddy the waters. But it would be interesting if this person could offer a bit more.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why I Took the Tim Carpenter Post Down

After speaking to family members of Tim Carpenter, I decided to remove the previous post. Tim was married to Kathleen Murray at the time of Maura's disappearance. I had links to a couple WickedLocal articles related to criminal charges Tim faced in Massachusetts.

However, after looking into these charges I have found that one charge was thrown out after the alleged victim recanted and the domestic dispute involved a fight with his girlfriend's brother and is a little more nuanced than the article let on.

I don't suspect Tim had anything to do with Maura's disappearance. However, I also don't think she was the victim of a crime.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The State of the Case

Two months to go before True Crime Addict is released! The traffic to this blog is picking up every day, and there are a lot of new readers. I feel the need at this time to address a couple concerns that keep popping up.

1. My thoughts on Fred
At this time, I do not believe Fred had anything to do with Maura's disappearance that night. I don't think he knows where she is. I suspect, however, he knows why she went to New Hampshire. And he certainly has information from the last few days Maura was in UMass that I believe could be helpful.

2. Rathburn
Yes, I know about the guy who claims he saw some funny stuff at a lake near Warren, NH not long after Maura went missing - red liquid in a barrel, a red truck, a strange man...  No, I don't believe it has anything to do with this case. He may have seen what he believes he saw, but it was misinterpreted. I won't be discussing it further on this blog.

3. Comments
I know it's frustrating to wait so long to see your comments posted. Unfortunately, I have to approve every comment for publication. You don't have to agree with me to get your comment approved but you do have to be civil. There has been a significant increase in trolling and threats lately, too. I will not approve any comment that identifies an uncharged suspect or any comment that is threatening, vulgar, or plain mean.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fred Changes Story About the $4,000, Again.

A quick recap: Just before Maura disappeared, someone visited 8 different ATMs in Massachusetts and withdrew $4,000 from her father Fred's bank account. Fred has gone on record, in a police report, claiming it was him.

And remember back in November, when the Murray family spokesperson said that, after Maura disappeared, the money was put back into an account that Maura could access?

Well, during last night's live discussion, that story changed again. John Wolfman Smith says that Fred recently told him only $500 went back into that shared account after Maura disappeared.

What happened to the remaining $3,500?

No version of this story makes sense. And it keeps changing.

The thing about the truth? It doesn't change. The truth is easy to remember because it happened. It's harder to remember lies.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Library Journal Gives True Crime Addict a Starred Review!


Starred reviews are rare awards for upcoming books. Happy to report today that Library Journal just gave True Crime Addict a starred review. You can read it here.

Their verdict?


An entrancing, brilliant next step for fans of the podcast Serial, Netflix's Making a Murderer, and other true crime cases.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Update on the Montreal Sighting





Some good news and bad news on the possible sighting of Maura Murray in Montreal.

According to an employee at Chez Suzette, a Montreal Police Detective came to the restaurant to view the video tape. Unfortunately, the tape had been erased by that time by their video system.

However, the detective was able to view several pictures taken of the video from an iPhone (see above, and click to embiggen). And the man who was with this woman paid with a Visa card, so they have that info, too.

How Our Obsession With True Crime Leads to a New Existentialism


I wrote a piece on the popularity of true crime stories - like Making a Murderer and Serial - and how it's pushing pop culture toward an existential crisis.

Check it out here.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Someone Just Solved Alden Olson's Puzzle


Just about 4 years ago, a Walmart greeter from Hadley began posting cryptic videos related to the anniversary of Maura's disappearance.

What followed was a couple months of hysteria as people wondered if this was Maura's killer taunting authorities or just a rabid Internet troll. It was covered by newspapers in the U.K. Eventually, the Murray family released a statement saying they believed he was nothing but a psycho with a police record for stalking and threatening to kill members of his own family. Olson went on to threaten me and my family, but Mass prosecutors never held him accountable for his actions.

In one of the videos he posted before he was identified, Olson showed the hand-drawn picture above, left. For years, people have wondered what it meant. If it was a map, what did it lead to? Well, yesterday, a reader from Alaska finally figured it out.

The numbers and directions from the drawing match up really well with a brochure from Bretton Woods, the skiing resort that was referenced in another video by Olson. Check out the numbered circles.

I believe this is a definitive solution and clearly Olson was trying to suggest Maura's body was somewhere on the ski resort. It's unclear if the grounds were ever properly searched.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Did Maura Murray Hit Petrit Vasi?

The new information on Vasi's hit-and-run is confounding like everything else in this mystery. But, to me, it supports my opinion that Maura could not have been responsible for the accident and that her car was not involved. Here's the breakdown as I see it:

Circumstantial Evidence Supporting Maura's Involvement:

- The old messageboard post where someone "close" to Maura said she hit Vasi and then fled to avoid prosecution, and the "confirmation" from a supposed member of the family.

- Maura's breakdown at work around the time of Vasi's accident.

- The damage to Maura's Saturn is consistent to the type of damage a car might sustain in the event of hitting a body.

- There was an extra headlight taillight bulb in Maura's car when it was found in Haverhill.

- It gives Maura motive to flee.


Circumstantial Evidence Suggesting Maura Was Not Involved:

- The paint chips found on Vasi do not seem to match Maura's car

- If her car was damaged before her trip to New Hampshire she took a BIG risk leaving when it was still light out. Would she really drive with a blown airbag, cracked windshield, and dented car all the way to NH without someone getting suspicious? 

- The accident in Haverhill was not staged. No way. 

- There was no broken glass on Maura's car. If we're talking about a busted headlight, it would have been plastic shards and not bits of glass.

- Maura had other motive to flee and had talked about starting a new life before (in conversation with Hoss Baghdadi).

** If you have any information about the person responsible for Petrit Vasi's hit and run accident, please contact Amherst Police, Vasi himself, or this blog. **

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

**UPDATED** What We Learned From The Police Reports on Vasi's Hit and Run


Now that we've had time to digest the detail of the police reports, here are some highlights we've found:

1. It was definitely a hit-and-run

Early newspaper accounts of Vasi's accident were unclear whether he was actually struck by a vehicle or if he fell from a moving vehicle or was mugged. The investigator's notes references broken glass and paint chips, all but confirming that he was indeed struck by a passing vehicle. It's possible he was dragged for a significant distance.

2. The woman who reported the accident was not Maura.

The "reporting woman" was identified as being 20 years old. Maura was almost 22 at the time of her disappearance. This woman found Vasi lying in the street and stopped her car so nobody else could hit him. Her vehicle showed no signs of damage.

3. The glass might prove it wasn't Maura's car that struck Vasi (or maybe it doesn't) Probably does.

As "KF" noted earlier today, the fact that glass was found on Vasi's clothes suggests it probably wasn't Maura's car that struck him. Other than the spider crack on Maura's windshield, there was no broken glass associated with the Saturn. Unless... unless she replaced a headlight. And goddamn it as I'm writing this, are there not spare headlights listed as being found in her car? How common is it to always carry around spare headlights?

*UPDATE*
As one reader pointed out, if it was a shattered headlight, it would be plastic shards they found on Vasi, not glass. Also, it doesn't look like the paint chips match. They were red, white, and metallic silver.

4. No skid marks

Who ever hit Vasi didn't slow down -- unless he was moved from the scene of the accident.

5. Vasi was left alone and intoxicated by his friends.

Prior to the accident, after a night of drinking at Monkey Bar, Barselloti's, and Delano's, Vasi's friends propped him up on a railing outside Bart's Ice Cream and left him there around midnight. Nice guys. It was damn cold and snowy that evening, too. Remember, classes were canceled the next morning, Friday.

6. None of Vasi's friends are directly linked to Maura, so far as we know.

His friends are identified in the reports, if you look closely. None of them are names known to me as Maura's friends or teammates.

7. The Amherst police had an opportunity to help Vasi and didn't take it.

At one point in the evening, 5-6 policemen found Vasi very inebriated sitting in front of the ice cream shop. They did not take him for public drunkeness or make sure he had a safe way home. If you ask me, this is why it took so long to get these damned reports. This case is ripe for a civil suit.

**UPDATE**
I have seen an unredacted copy of the forensics report. The paint chips found on Vasi's clothes had "red, white, and metallic silver layers."


** If you have any information about the person responsible for Petrit Vasi's hit and run accident, please contact Amherst Police, Vasi himself, or this blog. **

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

*BREAKING* Amherst Releases All Records!


We did it!

Earlier today, I received an email from the Records department at the Amherst Police Department. They decided to release the complete file on Petrit Vasi's hit and run, which has long been rumored to be connected to Maura's disappearance.

In order to release the records, they needed payment in person. I had to get a courier service to deliver. And...

Here is the report, complete with investigators' notes.

I've read through once, already. Like everything else, it only raises more questions.

Vasi was definitely hit by a car. There is evidence of that. There are statements from his friends in there too.

There is no mention of Maura Murray. Now, I don't believe Maura was directly involved. But the fact that she's not mentioned at all is very suspicious. I'd bet the Amherst police have been contacted before about the possibility that Maura -- or someone who was driving her car -- hit Vasi. To be working the case and not know about that is absurd. If that was an angle they investigated, it should be in there, but it's not. Make of that what you will.

So... thoughts?


** If you have any information about the person responsible for Petrit Vasi's hit and run accident, please contact Amherst Police, Vasi himself, or this blog. **

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Amherst Police Ordered to Explain Why Vasi Records Are Still Being Withheld

We just won round two.

The Public Records Division of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has just determined that the Amherst Police Department must provide more details about Petrit Vasi's hit-and-run.

From the report I received today:

"Accordingly, the Department is hereby ordered, within ten days, to provide Mr. Renner with a revised response that explains, with specificity, how information, other than information that would identify witnesses or complainants, may be withheld under Exemption due to an ongoing investigation."

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cracked Profiles Maura Murray Mystery


Cracked writes about the "5 Weirdest Disappearances" today and Maura Murray is on the front page. Check it out.

One note: I do not think she committed suicide, as the article suggests. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

4 Million Views and Counting!


As of last week, this blog has been viewed over 4 million times since it was launched in 2011.

Thank you to all the constant readers as well as the new fans of this mystery who have recently wandered into this dark corner of Internet!

Hopefully, this case can be closed in 2016.

Best,
James Renner