Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Beginner's Guide to the Maura Murray Case


Are you new to the bizarre mystery of Maura Murray's disappearance? Did you find your way into this dark corner of the Internet after binging on Serial and Making a Murderer? Don't know where to begin? Let's get you up to speed.

Maura Murray vanished from the side of the road in Haverhill, New Hampshire, on February 9, 2004. At the time, she was a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For the basic facts of the case, nothing beats Wikipedia. Start there.

Okay. Now a quick history lesson on this blog. My name's James Renner. I'm an author and journalist from Ohio who has written about unsolved mysteries for many years. I started this blog in 2011 as a way to generate new leads and clues about Maura's disappearance while writing a book on the case, which comes out May 24, 2016.

Before I became involved in the case, Maura was made out to be the "All-American Girl." But Maura, like all of us, was more complicated than that. Here are a list of things I've uncovered in my research that provided new perspective:




- She was about to be engaged to Bill Rausch, whom she met as a cadet at West Point, but had been cheating on him with her UMass track coach. He claims Maura spoke about running away to Mexico to start a new life.

- Her father, Fred Murray, refused to be interviewed by homicide detectives for 2 1/2 years and when he finally agreed to meet, he brought lawyers. 

 - Fred Murray has lied to police and reporters about the events leading up to his daughter's disappearance. 

- A search warrant suggests someone tried to call Maura from New Hampshire just before she disappeared.

- Maura's friends, Kate Markopoulos and Sara Alfieri have not been honest about a late-night party at UMass, two nights before Maura disappeared.

- Maura left West Point to avoid an expulsion after she got caught stealing from Fort Knox.


- Maura and Bill's phone records from the weeks surrounding the disappearance only lead to more questions.



- On the anniversary of Maura's disappearance, a man named Alden Olson uploaded this disturbing video to YouTube. After I identified Olson, he posted pictures of my 3 year old son online and threatened me. Prosecutor Steven Gagne declined to press charges, saying they'd have a much better case if Olson showed up at my door.

A couple more things.

From the beginning, I have shared the police reports and documents I've gathered with everyone. You can read through everything here.



There is also a very addicting podcast dedicated to the case, called Missing Maura Murray.

There are several other blogs and websites but the best are:



You should feel free to comment on this blog, as well. Because of the number of trolls who gather around this case, I have to approve every comment. Comments will not be approved if they reference uncharged suspects or are threatening or mean.


44 comments:

  1. Another thing worth mentioning is the chief PI on the case is almost certain she was abducted and killed by either the police in NH or a prominent public figure in the area. And there is very little evidence to support that claim. This theory is is also slowly encompassing the entire case in conspiracy theory and rhetoric.

    Another thing, the only person who spoke to her at the accident could not confirm that it was Maura and in fact said it was not her the first time he was shown a picture of Maura.

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    1. "Another thing, the only person who spoke to her at the accident could not confirm that it was Maura and in fact said it was not her the first time he was shown a picture of Maura."

      That should be a Red Flag, right?

      Now, with the Kennedy assassination we at least had a body, weapon, bullets, forensics and a viable suspect. He never got to trial due to his uh, untimely demise, hence the conspiracy.

      Here, with the Maura Murray disappearance, we have no body, no weapon, little to no evidence, only possibilities, probabilities, each at a dead end. Forensics? Largely an oversight as far as we can tell.

      In the end, this case is about evidence and, due to the lack of the aforementioned, perspective. We have far more of the latter than the former, hence the call for a New Approach.

      All of us here, including our host, has to admit that we're trying to verify the unverifiable. I admit. We need evidence. Sometimes to get evidence one must shake the tree.

      Personally, I don't think this will be solved unless remains or the missing herself appears.

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    2. There would have to be evidence to make such claims, not sharing that information is what you mean. Of course it's not shared, it's related to other crimes that the district attorney is working on.

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    3. @Mac Parson lmao untimely demise, it seemed pretty timely to me lol. I guess if you are trying to get rid of the mob with your brother, these things happen.

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    4. Mr. Tenner, above, which I agree with, "She was about to be engaged to Bill Rausch, whom she met as a cadet at West Point, but had been cheating on him with her UMass track coach. He claims Maura spoke about running away to Mexico to start a new life." Wouldn't this be the obvious choice for her to run to? Misdirection, park the beat up car near the White Mountains, have someone waiting to take you to Mexico, seems like a lot of effort, none of which I would do.

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  2. It's misleading to say "There have been several sightings..." The link lists several that are plausible, but there have been zero confirmed sightings. The link mentions Sherbrooke, PQ as a focus of reported sightings. That brings up several questions that, oddly enough, I've never seen addressed on this blog. Did Maura have connections, friends, family, whatever, in that area? Did she speak French? Quebec, Canada in general, for that matter, is a fairly heavily organized, bureucratized society compared to the States. It's not likely that a non-citizen who didn't know the protocols and customs and didn't have documentation would last long, especially if she didn't know the language. Creating a new identity would be a lot easier this side of the border.Anyone who wants to go underground is going to have enough problems without throwing immigration and citizenship issues into the pot.

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    1. I agree it's very misleading to say sightings of Maura.these have not been confirmed to be her

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    2. Why is it odd that those questions are not addressed?

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    3. She spoke German, which is pretty close to French. Possible sightings and confirmed sightings are two very different animals. Confirming someone is alive is tricky without their cooperation, almost unlikely unless a felon.

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    4. Its like a sighting of Bigfoot, proving they are alive is almost impossible unless they let you find them. Since she is not a felon she cannot be cross examined, she has the right to go missing, or as I like to say, somewhere else.

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    5. I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I'm an anglophone but fully bilingual and can say for certain that most people know/understand or speak both english and french. She would be able to get by just fine. Furthermore, the customs and protocols here are no different than in the States.

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    6. German is not close to French. French is a part of the Romance family of languages whereas German is part of the Germanic language family which includes English. I should know because my dad speaks High German and my brother knows French. If she did go to Quebec she most likely settled in Montreal as it is a bilingual city, the Quebecois in Montreal speak both English and French.

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    7. I have never thought German and French were particularly similar in construction or vocabulary. In fact, German is a Germanic language, and French, a Latin language, and are mostly unconnected on the language tree. She may be able to pick up additional languages more easily as a result of knowing German, but I don't think knowing German would allow her to immerse in a French-speaking community. (...Is it confirmed she knew German?)

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    8. Sherbrooke is part of L'Estre/Eastern Townships. Historically, that's the the most heavily anglophone part of Quebec, outside of Montreal. And it's near the Vermont border, so talking about Sherbrooke has a certain logic. According to Wikipedia, Sherbrooke is currently only 4% anglophone.Just about everyone in Quebec knows some English, but maybe half or less are fully bilingual. French is the sole official language of Quebec. By law, it must be the primary language of commerce and government. Aside from language issues, how would someone without identity documents get a job, get a driver's license, register a car, rent an apartment, or do any number of other routine things that involve a basic identity check. I'm not saying MM couldn't be in Sherbrooke. At this point, I wouldn't say she couldn't be in Shangri-La. But without some further substantiation, the idea that Maura crossed the border looks like a case of someone leaping at what looks like an obvious answer.

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    9. To be fair, we don't know that she hadn't been learning French on the quiet without saying anything to anyone. At least the basics, enough to get by. Or if she was hooking up with someone in Sherbrooke who was a native of the place, he/she/they could have helped her with a job, car, apartment etc. There's also the fact that Sherbrooke might not have been the final destination she was headed for but a temporary bolthole en route to somewhere else, hence no real need to assimilate to the language/culture.

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    10. German, French, Spanish to me are very related, perhaps to Latin. As I live in BC Canada, most of Canada is Bilingual, as it is required for both languages to be taught UpTo and sometimes including highschool. I think if she was killed, her body is very well hidden, meaning maybe someone close to her. Was it a planned killing, I doubt it as it wasn't very well planned to go to the White Mountains in a floppy jillopy vehicle. What really bother me is her car was riffled thru while it was in the mechanics house garage and by more than one person. When Fred got there it started no problem. I think if anyone should be cross examined it should be the tow truck driver/ mechanic who kept her car in his garage...who the hell does that, and who authorized such behaviour, I mean really wtf.

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    11. The average person,(whatever that means) is picked up on video cameras around in any given neighbourhood a minimum and a maximum amount, she has been on Disappeared, in papers and on posters in Quebec, people are creatures of habit, she would've been intoxicated somewhere and/or stole something and would've been recognized by the attention she brings to herself. The chance of her being alive statistically is very minute, although I wish she was alive, I doubt it.

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  3. Excellent post that should be pinned somewhere up top as, Start Here before continuing.

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  4. I'm on episode 15 on the the podcast and I am hooked. I will wait until I hear the whole podcast and look at all the evidence on your blog before commenting about my theories. I look forward to discussions!

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    1. I look forward to the day this case is closed, hopefully with the least painful possible conclusion. Only then can we say that the myriad of LE work, online support, such as it is, had done they're work.

      I don't find this "addiction" entertaining in the least. It's like watching the First Iraq War on TV. Fortunately back then, I could turn it off. I somehow cannot this time.

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  5. I seriously was going to suggest this to you last week. Has your site traffic increased since the Make A Murderer came out in Netflix?

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    1. What a suck fest that series is. All the support for a real scumbag murderer. Maura Murray never committed a murder and she's somehow gotten lost in her own case despite twelve long years of random attention.

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  6. Why would Fred's phone go silent on Feb. 9, 2004 around 6 pm until the next morning around 9 am?
    Fred said Maura was suppose to call him that night around 8 pm to go over the accident papers but she never did. Why didn't he try and call her that night or the next morning/ day?
    Did the police try to get the ping information from Fred's phone?

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  7. There is a lot of evidence that there are many discrepancies and inaccuracies in the reports. There are many unanswered questions. I don't understand what all of her supposed history of college kids activities has anything to do with the fact that she is gone, and most likely passed on, and not by her choosing. Instead of focusing on her past, why are we not trying to get all these questions answered?

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  8. At some point, I do hope we (those that read this blog) go from presenting ideas to understanding truths.

    It's great and all to have theories, have ideas, have insights and feelings for what happened.

    In the end, it gives no closure.

    Like James said when he rejected the petition to get the FBI involved, they already are. Everything people say or think has already been said.

    The only thing any of us can do at this point is stop repeating what has already been said, and offer a new path to follow based on what has been presented.

    Maybe that path will end in a dead end, and more than likely will, but at least will end in a path that has not yet been taken. Change in its simplicity is at least a change in the lack of direction this case has taken.

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    1. "... get the FBI involved, they already are."

      Lip service. It should be the lead agency. It is not.

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    2. Sorry, but that doesn't make any sense at all.

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    3. I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I'm an anglophone but fully bilingual and can say for certain that most people know/understand or speak both english and french. She would be able to get by just fine. Furthermore, the customs and protocols here are no different than in the States.

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    4. I don't understand the comment about the FBI.

      The FBI has the reputation, at least in popular culture, of taking over investigations even when those with local jurisdiction don't want them involved. And local police departments, sheriff's' offices, etc., have the reputation of often not wanting them involved.

      If there's any truth to that, it seems that if the FBI thought the case warranted them taking the lead in the investigation they would have.

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  9. Watch it be revealed that Maura was not the driver of the car that crashed at that spot. What if at some point she was swiped by a crazy and someone drove her car with the goal of leaving it "abandoned." Or she planned to meet someone and hitched a ride, leaving her car unlocked some place. Ok that isn't likely.

    Even at night on an ill-lit road, how does someone vanish in minutes? And those witness account (the drivers) are weird. The homeowner witnesses are weirder though. There is no way if someone heard a weird car noise outside, they'd turn their backs. So they have to had seen her leave somehow. At least one person.

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    1. "Watch it be revealed that Maura was not the driver of the car that crashed at that spot. What if at some point she was swiped by a crazy and someone drove her car with the goal of leaving it 'abandoned.'"

      This would explain why Butch, the School Bus Driver (SBD), could not at first solidly iD the driver after shown MM's photo the first time. Another local close in age to MM matches Butch's descriptions of who he saw, so your theory is viable.

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    2. Did the police ever determine if the seat was set back to fit a person if Maura's height. Second, why would Maura lock her car doors if she was abducted. I really believe she went willingly with someone she knows or was very trusting of the individual picking her up. In addition, did the police test dna on cigarette butts near the crash? I am partway through the Maura Murray podcast and I am excited to catch up to current episodes.

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  10. Do you believe that everything investigated is all that can be investigated, has this investigation taught you anything about humanity?

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  11. You have made some great revelations. I can't wait to find out what else you have learned!

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  12. A question for James Renner: Does anything in the archives, or in public statements from the NH state police indicate whether they have been in touch with the RCMP and SQ? The presence or absence of such contact would say a lot about how seriously NH investigators take the "Maura in PQ" scenario.

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  13. On Feb. 19 Billy tried calling Kate several times and then the calls stopped once he called Sara's phone.
    Wasn't there a search for Maura on Feb. 19?
    Wonder why Billy had been trying to call them so much on that perticular day?

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  14. Unrelated to the post, but I'm beyond excited to read your book when it comes out. :)

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  15. Changed my opinion so many times on this case.i now believe she is deceased probably meeting her fate close to the crash site

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  16. Why wasn't any forensics performed on the black '96 Saturn that Maura drove? If the authorities lifted prints off the coke bottle, interior/exterior of the car plus gathered DNA of any cigarette butts they might have had some telling information to go on. Why wasn't the Saturn considered a crime scene onto itself?

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  17. Love this blog, this case is incredibly interesting and I can see myself dedicating a lot of time into digging into this case.
    I'm an aspiring investigative journalist, and it's really cool to see this blog and yourself be so successful!

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