Saturday, February 13, 2016

**UPDATED** Did Maura Murray Celebrate 12 Years on the Run in Montreal?

In any missing persons case, you will have occasional sightings. Everyone has a look-alike or two out there. But the odd thing about sightings of Maura Murray is that they are mostly concentrated in Quebec. She's allegedly been seen in Sherbrooke and Quebec City. And last week - on the anniversary of her disappearance - she may have been seen having a late lunch in Montreal.

It began with this email:

I am a flight attendant currently on business in Montreal. During lunch yesterday with a coworker at a lovely little place called Suzette's, I spotted a woman who looked unbelievably like Maura. I used to read your blog from time to time, enough to know that I am fairly certain this woman was Maura. The resemblance was so uncanny I was distracted the rest of the day. I could not stop staring at this woman and looking back, I wish I had struck up some sort of conversation with her.

In follow-up emails, the flight attendant said the woman she saw was slight of build, soft-spoken, speaking in English with a handsome young man who accompanied her to the restaurant. Significant, again, because this is a French-speaking region of Quebec. This happened at Chez Suzette around 2 p.m. 

I contacted Chez Suzette and asked if they happened to have video. They did.



This is a still picture taken by a cell phone of the woman in the video. The quality is not so good because of the glare from the screen. The video is better, the man at Chez Suzette said. He, too, believes it really could be Maura. "But she looks older than the pictures, of course," he said.

I sent this info to the Cold Case Unit a couple days ago. Hopefully they act on it quickly because the man I spoke to at the the restaurant says the video gets overwritten by their system and he has no idea how long it will keep.

**UPDATE**
Apparently, the police now have the video. Please do not harass the nice people at Chez Suzette. 


96 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I don't have it and they don't know how to copy it.

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    2. Tell them to upload it to Dropbox or Google drive and then give u the link of the file for you to download it.

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    3. Cant they videotape the video using a cell phone?

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    4. No 21st Century skills up there? Average high school student can copy & publish videos.

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    5. It is easy peasy to out load a security video from even primitive systems. This sounds like someone is bs-ing you. Even if it weren't, shared desk tops on Skype or window or iPhone, film it with the iPhone and send it. So, "he too believes it could be Maura" but he's not going to take five seconds to clarify the matter. Doubtful.

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    6. I will say that the uncommon shrinking chin with a protrusion at the bottom, which you see in the rare profile photo of her, does match. But for the reasons stated in my prior comment ... I think this is very likely to be someone blowing smoke.

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    7. In the restaurant's defense I can understand why they'd give the video to cops but not to the media.

      There's sort of an unwritten agreement whenever you're in a place of business that video of what you do there won't end up all over the internet absent extreme circumstances. This is an interesting development but I don't think it rises to that level as of yet.

      I applaud Chez Suzette for working with Renner to provide the recording to police. Can't blame them for not wanting to step into the potential hornet's nest of putting their security footage of their patrons on the internet for the whole world to see. All it takes these days is one vigilant Twitter or Yelp campaign to turn their regular customers against them for doing that (e.g. "Don't eat at Chez Suzette... unless you want to end up imortilized forever on the internet as an alleged fugitive"...).

      While I'd love to see the recording I think they played this one right. Kudos to Renner (and the tipster) who facilitated getting this info to the authorities. An exciting development.

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    8. James-
      Any updates on this development? I know it has only been 7 days, but please update us on the progress as soon as you hear anything.

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  2. Looks more like Michael Jackson than Maura. Photo quality too poor

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    1. Looks more like Jackson's chimp "Bubbles" to me. Might be one of those optical things where I am looking at it wrong? I don't see a human face in this photo.

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  3. Police need to get the video now. This could be the break everyone has been looking for, 12 years...

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  4. The picture is hard to tell from, but it does look like Maura. Finally, there's a picture/ video to see.
    If the police are serious about finding out what happened to Maura, then they should act very quickly.

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  5. Most likely they have a DVR for their camera and the dvr has a USB port. They will need a flash drive to copy.

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  6. Interesting, I'll have to go ask them when I go to Montréal in a few weeks. But keep in mind that none of these sightings have been really credible over the years.

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  7. Come on now.......another wild goose chase.

    How come it is always the same story.....

    'should have spoken to her'

    'should have taken a pix'

    'did not get plate #'

    'don't know how to copy it'

    'there is no video'

    and so many more.......

    Shoulda....woulda and coulda

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    Replies
    1. John, agreed. Insert sarcasm here __________. But I'd prefer her alive.

      My hopes say "Yes!" but my heart says "No." She wouldn't do this to her family and friends.

      People are strange. It's possible, ya gotta admit.

      Another round of elimination begins.

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    2. Because they are different people. It's common to have after thoughts. It's also common to not want to bother someone while remaining suspicious.

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    3. Everything in this case is a Wild Goose Chase because what happened to Maura is unknown. Every tip needs to be looked at and fully investigated.
      There is footage, Its above in the picture. It might not be the best but its something. If the police act quickly, then they can get the video, which should be a lot better.

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    4. Do all "truth seekers" dismiss other possible theories or evidence so quickly? Or is it unique to you?

      Maybe you should change your name to "Seeking My Version of the Truth."

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    5. Exactly! For goodness sakes, people.... if you TRULY believe you see Maura, CALL POLICE! Isn't this common sense 101?! I don't believe this is her, and (sadly) I don't believe she is with us. However, if I did think I saw her, whether it's at a 711 store, the beach, or out for brunch, I would call 911 or the equivalent if out of country. Even if she's in a public setting, you shouldn't automatically assume she is there by choice. In cases where people are kidnapped and kept for years, the abductor will often get brazen and take allow them in public after quite awhile. (Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Duggard, etc). Stockholm Syndrome is very real.

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    6. Unless the police have the video you can call the restaurant & buy the video from them--how much could it cost? It would be odd for Maura to relocate to Quebec if she were looking to keep off the radar: Canada is a foreign country & Maura (as best we know) does not speak Quebec's primary language--2 things which could generate unwanted attention. It also seems very unlikely that someone could recognize Maura from a picture which had to be at least 12 years old. Especially considering nothing about Maura's appearance was very distinctive--lots of women look sort of like her.

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  8. If this person really thought it could be Maura why not go directly to the police? It's too easy to contact James & say I may have seen Maura putting the idea into our heads then our minds seeing what we want to believe.i really hope Maura is alive but very much doubt it & the credibility of this sighting

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    1. Got to the police where? In Quebec? For what? "Hey police man, I think I just saw an American who ran away from home of her own free will 12 years ago." They would tell you to go pound sand.

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    2. Exactly. Maura has not broken any laws, has she? She is free to live where and how she wants. Good point, Nicholas.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Good idea, JJ.

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    5. Actually if it was Maura she'd be living in Canada illegally so maybe the police would have reason to do something. But you'd have probably been treated like a crackpot.

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  9. Yep well I have a feeling this won't pan out just like always. Poor quality picture yes but the profile of this woman doesn't even seem similar to Maura. I hope I'm wrong.

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    1. I just looked at a bunch of photos of Maura from a side profile angle and agree. The profile of the woman above and Maura are *very* different. Maura's nose is much smaller and more sloped, and her chin is not as pronounced. Granted looks change with age, but the nasal bridge would not change like that without plastic surgery, and to get that much of a difference the bridge would need to be surgically built up, which is usually done by removing a piece of a rib.

      I think it's really wonderful that James takes every lead so seriously, no matter how small or improbable. I give him a lot of credit for not dismissing things like this and immediately going out of his way to get the video, contact police, etc. You just never know. Kudos!

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    2. Probably best not to base observations on a poor quality source. Wait for the better quality THEN decide.

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  10. They should take a video of the video with a cell phone, like they took the photo. And they should do it today. That way if they can't get a copy for some reason at least there will be a record.
    I know it's a super blurry photo but her nose looks quite sharp in the image you shared. I think Maura's features were rounder.

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    1. That's exactly what I thought, the nose is too sharp to be Maura.

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  11. On the video for Maura, "Last Ride", there are some pictures shown in the top right hand corner. In one of the pictures, you can see Maura from the side. The picture is small but IMO- it's very Similar to the picture above.

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  12. On your blog post Sara Alfieri speaks...Very Briefly, there's a picture of her
    On the Cast of Characters, there's a picture (2 photos side by side with each other), which looks like there for Sara.
    Are all 3 of Sara? One of the pictures, has a woman with black hair, is this Sara or someone else?
    Didn't the 1st Bolo put out say- female, black hair hanging past shoulders?

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  13. Most surveillance systems now a days have a USB port that you can just export the clip to. It's very basic and you can choose very small or large sections of video to export. This is where I would start, I do it all the time at my office when we need to save footage that will get over written.

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    1. Call The Canadian Geek Squad!!!

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  14. "Hopefully they act on it quickly ..."

    Well we know how THIS will go!

    Anyway ... ABOUT TIME somebody actually backed up their "claim" with EVIDENCE. Not holding my breath.

    If it's a Negative, well, keep trying.

    If it's a Positive, I dunno if we can congratulate the encroachment of technology that busted this case, or human tenacity. Perhaps a little of both?

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  15. I'm born and raised in Montreal and the city itself is bilingual…not necessarily a french-speaking region. Most people here know how to speak both languages.

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    Replies
    1. They did maybe ten years ago. Why do you think tourism has gone down?

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  16. My only thoughts are that if she ran away, at least one friend would know about it. you'd HOPE they tell at least one family member she's safe.

    if not, that's pure selfishness. A person can have familial issues with some of their family but to let everyone believe the worst is bad form.

    That said, it is interesting that all sightings come from Canada.

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    1. "... at least one friend would know ..."

      Except they're not talking either.

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    2. Plus, this is an assumption based no doubt on your own feelings toward your friends and family. There is nothing to say Maura felt the same or that she would feel any remorse or any regrets in just walking away. Suppositions I what behavior should have been is a very sticky and gray area.

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  17. One problem is, she didn't have a "different" look about her.

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    1. I'm certain she now goes by the name Kate Middleton.

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  18. If I or anyone else calls, its harassment but if you call, its investigative journalism. Why do you always have to be the one to break information? If others do and post it here..u wont publish it.

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    1. Because he's one person calling while this blog has many people reading it. There is a big difference between James calling and 50,000 blog viewers calling.

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    2. Melissa: What Nicholas said. There's a lot of misplaced passion in this case however well intended. One of the things that's actually hampered this case are all the pissed off calls to LE complaining of no action. Best they focus on the case itself than all these "outraged" citizens.

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    3. "Why do you always have to be the one to break information?" LOL if you have some information to break, by all means, go ahead. No? Nothing? Weird.

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  19. first of all hearing English in Montreal is non uncommon. There is a sizeable English minority there. William Shatner is from there. We should set up a protocol for people seeing Maura there. They should say to the person something like "do you know how to get to McGill University?" then follow it up with "this is my first trip to Montreal. I'm from Boston. What a beautiful city." Then her reaction can be gaged from that comment. Since we don't really know what her voice sounds like, the person can also gage if a Boston accent (or a nasally Canadian one) is being used.

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    1. English in Montreal is not as common as it was ten years ago.

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    2. Just shout "Maura!" loudly, and if she turns toward you with a fearful look on her face, it's her.

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  20. If it's not Maura, I hope the woman in the picture steps forward to clear this up.

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  21. If it's not Maura, I hope the woman in the picture steps forward and clears this up.

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  22. If Maura has been living in Montreal for 12 years, she is fluent in French by now. I will be there next week for 5 days and will keep a lookout.

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  23. A family member on the Facebook page posted this on the anniversary. "a dozen years, a thousand tears, an unrelenting fear Maura has forever gone from those she held dear". Kinda seems like they may believe she's alive. Speaking as someone who is living in the same small town as my estranged family members and never seeing them at all, I can tell you that whether it's painful feelings, tremendous awkwardness after so many years have passed, fear, etc the decision to remain distant from those you love is sometimes stronger than any love that you had or may still have. Just a thought for those that may not understand how someone couldve walked away and not contact their family.

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  24. Don't think it's her. If she is alive, which I doubt, I am sure she would keep tabs on herself on here & would move from the area area as this idea has circulated the net for more than a year.

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    1. JJ: Popular notion but she had her wallet. Betty Stilt posted a link at Helena's FB "Missing" group that tells the story of a man missing 30 years finally identified himself. He did have a certain amount of "development disorders", but MM didn't. Amnesia is possible but not this long.

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  26. If you had to give a profile like the show criminal minds . How would yours go. Young female early thirties possibly traveling with handsone partner. She purchases cherry soda and twizzlers a lot. She speaks French with a boston accent. She probably wears her hair back. Might talk about hiking . Probably still is a social drinker. Talks about hiking in white mountains. Likes Dane Cook. Just curious what your profile would Be. I local CVS clerk migh be like I know who drinks cherry coke out of a twizzlers.

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  27. Doppelgånger...at best.

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  28. What percentage of women missing for 12 years have been found alive? Maybe Amelia Earhart knows the answer.....

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    1. The difference is Amelia Earhart disappeared on her plane..
      Maura was running away from something in her life. For what and how long, still remains unknown.
      There are Strange circumstances surrounding Maura's disappearance.
      Yes, most of the time a missing person is no longer with us, but there are exceptions, and this case very well could be one of those exceptions.

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  29. Being a young woman in college is ridiculously stressful. You cry in the shower a lot. You're always one step away from a total meltdown. Maura's life wasn't all that different from most college women.

    There aren't enough convincing facts that prove she wanted to abandoned ALL her loved ones...friends, sisters, extended family.

    On 'Disappeared', Maura's friend said there was a day in high school when Maura went to Boston for the day and didn't tell anyone...while everyone tried to track her down. Evidence she needed to get away and be alone sometimes.

    In my heart, I just don't think Maura is with us anymore. Though I pray she is.

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    1. I truly feel she isn't alive anymore. At one time I was sure she could be, but as each year passes And we haven't reached a conclusion, my heart just sinks for this poor girl and what she went through..regardless of how it may have ended. I hope I'm wrong, but my gut says otherwise. Twelve years is just a long time. I would think after all this time, Maura would have been past the insecurities of a young woman by now.

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    2. Is that true? Are all women in college on the verge of a nervous breakdown? News to me. Live & learn.

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  30. Given my doubts, I did some research. May be a little off in some legal details, but I think conclusions are valid. This all just seems a little weird, so I offer some ideas.
    OBSERVATIONS RE: Chez Suzette (CS)

    [1] Old Port section Montreal; upscale, tony, expensive & tourist-attracting; takes reservations; menu, decor, neighborhood suggest somewhat upscale patrons; some carryout business; serve some spiked coffees & liqueurs, but close at 8:30 pm (9:00 on Friday & Saturday) so not a "bar" scene.

    OBSERVATIONS RE: CANADIAN PRIVACY LAW

    [2] Canadian individual privacy laws stronger/better defined than in US. Re private sector video monitoring, orgs required to themselves balance rights of individuals & the business needs. See https://www.priv.gc.ca/information/guide/2008/gl_vs_080306_e.ASP. (By contrast, under US law, typically specific regulations about what business can/can't do & balancing happens in judicial & regulatory arenas.)

    [3] Specific requirements exist for orgs to secure and limit access to security videos.

    [4] Canadian hotel chains routinely refer police requests for lobby or parking lot videos to counsel. Both criminal and civil liabilities exist around these privacy issues.

    [5] Not clear that it would be worth it for an upscale restaurant in tony part of the city to have security cameras monitoring its inside seated patrons. Might not be legal. But such surveillance not unlikely for al fresco seating, near entry/exit & near carry out areas or where cash is handled.

    OBSERVATIONS RE: THE PICTURE AND THE DESCRIBED SCENARIO

    [6] Airline attendant saw a woman seated.

    [7] Video image shows woman standing & holding her coat.

    [8] Looks like woman could be waiting (to pick up carry out, be seated, pay the check) or for a companion to return from the restroom, all consistent with points 5-7.

    [9] CS provided this image, rather than of a seated patron, also consistent with points 5-7.

    CONCLUSION 1- THE SCENARIO UNDER WHICH CS PROVIDED THE VIDEO TO POLICE IS UNCLEAR.

    [10] Limited scenarios exist consistent with Canadian law under which this video could have been provided to Law Enforcement (LE): either LE requested it (suggesting a writ and a Canadian interest in whom they thought the woman might be) or CS believed that a crime, evidence of a crime or a fugitive was depicted in the video. Otherwise, the tendering of the video to LE is inconsistent with Canadian law.

    [11] If "police" have the video, then it is a Canadian LE agency who got it. It defies the law and common sense for CS to provide it unprompted to US LE and a US LE agency would have coordinated with Canadian authorities.

    [12] CS sending the video to a LE agency because someone from the US got an email about Maura would be illegal under Canadian law. (Was the CS contact, perhaps, aware of a fugitive warrant for Maura?)

    CONCLUSION 2- An oddity exists in the scenario reported by James.

    [13] Per points 5-9, how did CS contact associate the image in this camera frame with the person seen by the airline attendant, second hand, after the fact, given that the person is not sitting in at the place where she ate/was seen by airline attendant?

    [14] Per 13, the scenario appears to be this: prompted by call from US citizen, CS employee (who had the legally limited access to the videos) found a woman who looked like Maura from a camera trained on a different area of the restaurant & decided to break Canadian privacy laws, thus taking on for CS and him/herself both civil & criminal liability, thereafter providing the video itself to a LE agency who had not asked for it & had not obtained a writ or warrant to get it through appropriate channels.

    CONCLUSION 3 - Substantial reason to question whether this is a troll hoax.

    [15] See points 2-4 & 14.

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  31. Does it bother anyone else that the police traveled to Canada to obtain the video? The police/FBI have the most complete files and picture on what happened. This paints one of two pictures. They have no solid evidence she was the victim of foul play or they have reason to believe she is alive and well in Canada. Did anyone else watch the recent documentary on the Alcatraz escapees? Everyone thought they were dead, but turns out they are likely ALIVE and living in Brazil. The FBI knew this, but never/could not bring them back. Let's complicate the picture a bit and say she did NOT hit Vasi. Then what type of picture is painted then? Seems like there's not a whole lot the police/FBI can do unless she comes forward.

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    1. Who is to say that NH police went to Canada to get the video. The canadian police could be in communication with NH police and will forward a copy of the video to them.

      Meet at the border

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    2. Hi Lobo. Building on JWB's thought, see my post above. If thevideo was turned over to LE, it almost certainly was Canadian LE. There are some interesting oddities in the story around that.

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  32. James, I'd like to know more about privacy laws in the US and Canada and their possible implications to this case if she is still alive in Canada. What if the police knew she was alive? What would police need to close the case? If the police "closed" the case, would they be required to reveal this to public? Wouldn't this violate privacy laws if they declared the case closed, but no suspect was brought in?

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    1. Hi Lobo. My post above touches on these issues.

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  33. I literally just laughed out loud at points 1-15. Wow.

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    1. Curious why? I thought the same thing as that poster. I couldn't imagine a restaurant in the US providing a photo of a restaurant patron without his or her permission. Maybe it's different in Canada, I don't know...but I'd sure be uncomfortable if I were this woman. Also, the fact that a random person's report resulted in the providing of this photo. Nothing about it seems right.

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    2. Who said the restaurant sent the picture? It says "here is a pic of the woman in the video."
      It doesn't say, who sent it to him. The woman, who sent the e-mail could of took it and sent it.
      Its not against the law to take pictures or video of someone out in public. A restaurant is a public place.

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    3. Anonymous, James' post explains the origin of the picture.

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    4. He said he contacted the restaurant to see if they had a video...and also said the man at the restaurant says the video is better.

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  34. So a witness has said that they heard on scanner, "person left in privately own vehicle." Didn't a Lady say that there was a truck parked in the ditch on Old St Peters Rd? Didnt she call in and report it? If so, How far is this from Maura's accident site?
    Perhaps this is what the witness heard on the scanner. The person got back in there vehicle and left. "Person left in privately owned vehicle."
    Just a thought:could this vehicle of been a distraction?
    If true, could this person be who Maura was with/meeting?

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    1. Anonymous, you are stating as facts some interesting things. Could you provide a source for a witness who saw a truck park in a ditch on Old Peter's? I have not seen since I started following the case. RO, a local who lives near the Stage Stop credibly reported that a red truck whose driver seemed to be looking for someone near the Stage Stop. There was a Topix rumor of another sighting of a red truck on Bradley Hill Road. That is what I recall. Would be interested to see a source about a red truck in a ditch on OPR. Also, who is the witness that heard a statement on a scanner. Again, just something I missed.

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    2. Years ago, I heard this. I believe it was said someone walking there dog, came upon the truck in the ditch but I think it was later said, she saw it from her house (something like that)
      On some old blogs, this was spoken of. On Johns blog, they were talking about this vehicle, and it was said it was on "Old Peters road." I believe the conversation was under "where do you think we are now."
      I wanted to know, Did a lady see a truck parked in the ditch if so, Did she call it in to the police? A witness said they heard on there scanner that "the person left in privately owned vehicle". Could this be why that statement was made. The person got in there vehicle and left.

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  35. It might be time to look into a LE connection. jmho

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    1. Yup. I'd pretty much considered it far-fetched - but the accident timeline you've built to include Witness A's testimony made alarm bells ring for me. Add to that the department's apparent allergy to disclosure and it's actually more plausible a theory than some others I've encountered.

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  36. I love reading this blog and am fascinated by this case, but that looks nothing like Maura, IMO. Completely different bone structure/proportions/facial features.

    I think the sightings in Quebec are most likely just a woman who resembles Maura. Maura's face isn't super unique, so it would be easy to find lookalikes.

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    1. That one woman sure gets around.

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    2. Based on what, a small handful of Quebec sightings over the course of 12 years? That doesn't sound like much to me. I certainly visit more places on a weekly basis than this women who "sure gets around" does in 12 years.

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  37. I would like to preface this comment by saying that personally I don't believe Maura is in Canada. I think we're chasing ghosts up there by even considering it. But just to try and put the theory to bed, does anyone know if there have ever been *widespread* fliers posted in Montreal, Quebec City, and/or Toronto with Maura's image and description (including her "American" accent) at any point over the last 12 years? Suppose she somehow is in Canada, she has surely interacted - probably very closely - with dozens, if not hundreds, of people by now. She's likely been to a ton of different restaurants, stores, parties, workplaces, etc, where someone would see a flier and immediately recognize her.

    If this hasn't be done, maybe folks close to the area (I live in Denver these days, otherwise I'd make the trip if I still lived in NH) may be willing to drive up to each city for a weekend and do this good deed? I mean, post hundreds of fliers on telephone poles and in store windows throughout each city so that they become so noticeable as not to be missed.

    It's a simple idea, but if it's not actually *done* by someone, then there's much less of a likelihood that anyone living in those cities would know of this case, let alone recognize her and report it to authorities.

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    1. There has been several sightings of Maura in Canada over the years. If She went to Canada to start a new life, It would of been easy for her to stay under the radar and not be recognized for 12 years because Nobody had been there looking for her until James went there in dec. 2013. They put posters up but that's the only time it has been done.
      I agree, posters need to be put up again.

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  38. James-
    Any updates on the outcome of this? It has been 7 days since your post but we haven't heard back yet.

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  39. I have been following this case for sometime now. I have read all there is known publicly. I have thought and re- thought countless possibilities. Always have believed she was a victim of someone. Nonetheless, in these past months, I have come to believe that after the crash there was no way Maura would take the risk of running on any road since it is obvious that she was in fact running from LE. So I have come to believe very strongly on the possibility that Maura went into the woods ( more likely drinking or possibly intoxicated at the time ) and perished there.

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  40. If this was real and she "really thought it was her" she would have said something to her or taken a pic or vid on her own cell at the very least. People are very good at taking sneaky photos of others these days and everyone has their phone on them! If she was watching this supposed Maura doppelgänger for more than a few seconds she surely had a chance to take a pic herself. Gotta be a hoax. (Not to mention the nose of the woman in the capture is totally off).

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  41. Hello everyone it's been awhile since I been on here ..Im sorry but I dnt believe it's Maura again I will say if she is alive she would not put her family thru this kind of hell knowing they are looking for her cmon.. I just don't see it...And not to give a simple phone call...Nope sry not buying it..

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  42. I think everyone should just let Maura rest in peace.

    If she is still living, it has been 12 years and she is no longer who she once was.

    Leave her alone, that's why she ran in the first place..

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