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?

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.

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. **