Monday, February 15, 2016

Kate Markopoulos is the Key to This Mystery


Sometimes we don't see the forest for the trees...

I got to thinking about the phone calls Billy Rausch and Maura Murray were making the day that Maura disappeared.

Billy is trying to get Maura on the phone. He's calling her cell and her dorm trying to find her. Around 1 p.m., he starts calling Kate Markopoulos. The length of calls indicate he never got through but left a message.

Here's the thing. Kate never calls him back. And, Kate never calls Maura, either.

If she got the message -- Billy calling, asking where his girlfriend is, why didn't she immediately call Maura to let her know? And if Kate didn't get the message, where is she?

The day after the disappearance, Billy continues to call Kate's number, leaving messages until 6:28 p.m. when he speaks to someone on her line for 6 minutes. Either that's a very long message or they finally connected.

Later, after searching for Maura in the White Mountains, Billy again tries to call Kate Markopoulos over and over, getting no answer. Finally, he gets through to Sara Alfieri and after that there are no more calls to Kate.

To date, Kate is the most frustrating part of this mystery, the one with no answers. According to a private investigator, the Murray family grew frustrated with her lack of cooperation early on, we know the police were angry with her when she couldn't provide more information to them, and she gave only vague answers to me after I spent months trying to get her to return calls.

Members of her track team said she sort of disappeared for a couple weeks around the time of Maura's disappearance.

But, these calls... To me, the call logs speak volumes.

66 comments:

  1. I have to agree here and Kate 'KNOWS EXACTLY WHY MAURA LEFT UMASS'

    Apparently they were really good friends and Kate is covering for Maura.......OR Kate is not such a good friend and knows exactly what happened to Maura.

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    1. Yeah that to me points to HER as the one who helped Maura start a new life. It may have been to escape Billy. It may have been to run from shit they both got into. Maura would've been the person, given her history or bad relationships, to meet bad people and need to escape them. I am not saying anyone in her life would've physically hurt her.

      But that breakdown+a close friend's shadiness+a close friends RELUCTANCE to tell her damn parents=WTF

      Seriously, the fact that a close friend was reluctant to tell her family anything peaks volumes to me.

      Actually, it kind of points to a dangerous situation Maura needed to escape from.

      I think it's above the normal running away motive. That girl was scared.

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    2. Hold on...I seem to remember reading something about Maura having an "affair" with a track coach. I'm not sure if it's 100% true or not because I cannot remember the source, but if that is true information, that brings a lot more information to the table as to the motive of her decision to disappear AND the reason Kate (a TRACK TEAM friend) could be staying silent. It also brings up a lot more questions though.

      Perhaps there was guilt that Billy and her family would be ashamed of her and she just needed to get away to clear her head...
      Maybe she was trying to visit a place that held pleasant memories for her from her childhood so she could be alone and build up the courage to tell Billy...
      Perhaps she was afraid of that track coach because it may not have been a willing, consensual "affair"...he may have threatened physical violence or getting her expelled from the school and taking her down with him if she told anyone which could cost her the career she'd been working so hard to build and her boyfriend...

      If that last one is true, isn't it possible that Kate could also have had a similar experience with the same coach? If so, couldn't Kate's silence then be a result of:
      -shame that she got involved with the coach too (if it was consensual)? Or shame because she felt she had done something to cause the coach to prey on her (if it was not consensual)?
      -guilt that she didn't come forward to help her friend before she disappeared?
      -fear that the coach would retaliate if she told anyone? Or fear that people would find out that Kate did something she was embarrassed about with the track coach or some female members of the track team, etc?
      -etc etc etc

      Or perhaps the information Kate knows has no bearing on the case and she's keeping quiet because she feels that she is protecting Maura from something else coming out that could damage Maura's reputation even more after all of the other stuff that came out about her when she disappeared.


      There are so many what-ifs and possibilities in each aspect of this case that we may never learn the whole truth. However, it doesn't seem too far fetched that Maura wanted to get away (either temporarily or long-term) to figure some things out and deal with the following:
      -how to deal with bulimia and her increasing dependence on alcohol
      -being charged for using stolen credit card numbers
      -possibly cheating on Billy or Billy cheating on her
      -possibly being involved with a coach
      -wrecking her dad's car
      -possibly allowing a friend to drive her car a few nights earlier resulting in a separate accident

      Any combination of just a couple of those stressors could cause anyone to hit rock bottom, so it is very possible that she wanted to disappear....

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    3. There's a 3rd option and that is that Kate is simply covering her own ass, to this day. They could have been hooking, selling drugs, who knows. Party lifestyle led to quick money, etc. She might not know exactly why Maura left, but talking about the circumstances in the days before she did would dredge up some sketchy/illegal stuff about herself. I have a feeling Fred knows at least part of whatever the girls were involved in as well, and maybe that's why he seemed not forthcoming to the cops in the beginning - if he believe there was a chance M was still alive, he didn't want her getting busted for drugs or prostitution when she returned.

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  2. "Kate Markopoulos is the Key to This Mystery"

    Maybe not. Maybe whatever happened up there matters most.
    We just don't know. Somebody knows something. Kate? Maybe.
    Somebody in Haverhill? Maybe. We don't know. If the past is any
    indicator, we may never will.

    Remember there's many pages of Maura's call log unaccounted
    for in LE custody. When and to whom those calls were made are
    probably pivotal to this case. But the public CANNOT know that
    yet, or that blows the whole case. This could easily be solved
    thirty years from now, just as many other cold cases, or never.

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    1. Your correct, if there are more cell phone records not being released by LE, there has to be a reason why. This unaccountable records would give a timeline as to whom she called or received calls after the last phone record was released to the public(I think 4:30 pm the day of her disappearance.) It may correlate as to why Kate is being so vague about any information. But,Sara supposedly told Fred everything and was sworn not to tell anyone. In my mind they know or at least Kate knows why she went up there.

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  3. James, do you believe Kate and Sara could've done something nefarious to Maura?

    Is there anyone close to her she has confided in over the years you can get in-touch with?

    Interesting.

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    1. Your scenario would include Kate and Sara knowing she was leaving and then lying in wait after she has an accident. Then chasing her down after they found her. There is no evidence of a tandem driver, so they would have to be pretty far back, wait for police to leave the scene, and then find her and do something. No. That's not in the realm of possibility.

      I think there's an assumption that because they were friends, they knew all MM's deep, dark secrets. But in a 17 Magazine article from within a few months of the disappearance, Sara indicated that MM never even mentioned the car accident the day after (the first accident.) You can hear the highlights and notes from the author on the podcast.

      MM has serious issues. Bulimia, theft, drunk driving, possible alcoholism. People as private as Maura only show what they want to. It's unlikely she had anyone who really knew her pain. I've had 2 friends with bulimia that required treatment and I had NO idea they had it until they went to treatment. People will go to great lengths to hide their true selves.

      I have wondered about those phone calls. Even my husband of 20 years doesn't have contact info for some of my best friends. We know that's not the first time MM disappeared (the high school incident.) So, was it a regular thing and Billy was worried? Or maybe he was worried about her drinking and driving (and rightly so, as it turns out).

      Kate may just not have been worried. Or it's possible he called her every time MM didn't respond to him, and she just had enough. Without knowing their patterns/relationships, those calls don't really give a tell.

      Maybe Billy was an overbearing boyfriend and Jare didn't want to deal with him. We just don't know.

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    2. There's no "evidence" of a lot of things in this case; it's 75-80% theories and speculation. To posture as a high-brow evidentialist is ridiculous. This case frozen with the limited facts known.

      Kate and Sara could've drove tandem; there no evidence they didn't, either, using your analysis. What can we go on? Phone logs. They speak for themselves--to the receptive reader not already being stuck in a rut with their presuppositions.

      If you or I or James had hard evidence for every scenario discussed, it wouldn't be a mystery, would it.

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    3. Wouldn't be the first time 21 year old girls get hammered and accidently sleep with each other's boyfriends. Best friends especially girls can go from Besties to Mortal Combat in emotional seconds. Keep diging maybe their is an Eskimo brother out there.

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    4. It’s not true that that scenario must include Kate and Sara “knowing she was leaving and then lying in wait after she has an accident. Then chasing her down after they found her.” Nor does that scenario necessitate them waiting “for police to leave the scene, and then find her and do something.”
      There are many ways that foul play could have come to Maura and one of them could involve both Kate and Sara, (or just Kate and not Sara, or vice-versa). We don’t know. What *is* in the realm of possibility, is that someone could have acted on Kate or Sara’s (or whomever’s) behalf. When someone intends to harm someone else, it does not automatically mean that that person must be present to cause that harm.
      Also, the fact that Sara told someone (who was interviewing her for a magazine read by many in that age group) that Maura never told her about a car accident a day after a previous accident, doesn’t mean that Maura never actually told her.
      If I remember correctly, Kate or Sara (or both) also said something to the effect of “I don’t want to get my friend in any trouble.” Lying about knowing of a car accident would be in line with the behaviors of someone who doesn’t want to get their friend in any trouble. Or, it could simply be a way of closing down any further conversation to avoid letting anything incriminating slip out. Ultimately, we don’t know. I’m sure we’d all be surprised to learn the truth about what is and what is not in the actual realm of possibility.

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  4. If Kate had nothing to hide why not speak out after 12 years! Surely she can see her silence makes her look guilty of something what tho I'm not sure. Does she have social media accounts or is she "off the grid" so to speak?

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    1. Surely she is smart enough to know that when (yes when) the truth is revealed, she will look bad for her part. Especially if Maura DID run away to avoid legal shit.

      Cowardly.

      If this is a runaway case, the ONLY reason Maura won't look bad is if she was running to protect herself from some harm.

      Sorry, but that is how I feel. Millions of people go through legal shit. Running from it to avoid jail time is cowardly.

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    2. She's on social media. And maybe it's just me, but I find it eerie how happy and perfect she portrays her life on social media. Obviously we all know that people often only choose to show the "perfect" parts... but still seems creepy to me.

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    3. Anon 2:44. We aren't Reddit. We try to be respectful of one another's opinions without name calling here. You have your opinion. I have mine. You calling me names doesn't offer anything to a discussion.

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  5. That's what I think after reading this entire blog top to bottom.

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  6. Honestly it makes sense. Especially if they "know she's fine" and she did leave of her own accord. If they knew why she left and about where she was headed, I could very much see not wanting to try and explain things, the more you talk the more likely you are to let something slip. As such, I could very much understand not wanting to talk to her longtime boyfriend right then. It's hard enough keeping things from people normally, but he would've been worried, had a lot of questions, and taking a day to let Maura get out of dodge and make sure you've got your answers straight makes good sense.

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  7. You have just touched on the very thing that threw me for a loop when Billy's cell phone records were first posted here: That 7 minute phone call between Billy and Kate the day after Maura disappeared. A phone call which took place while Kate herself had disappeared off the map.. (though I had always thought she was gone just a few days. Not a couple weeks.)

    Regardless of how long she was actually gone herself, the fact that she didn't "find out" about Maura being missing until she reemerged and heard it from members of the UMass track team never made sense to me. If that were the case, what was her conversation about with Billy?

    Was it possible to leave a 7 minute message on a person's cell phone in 2004 and not get cut off? I wouldn't know. I've never left a message longer than 20 seconds or so.

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  8. This is one avenue that I always thought needed a lot more investigating.
    The human mind is easily fooled by power of suggestion....so I do not put much, if any, faith in Butch being sure it was maura he spoke to that night.
    Im college I also went days without physically seeing certain friends but the ones I studied with or partied with I was at least in contact with regarding the latest party (which doesnt just happen on wknds) so why the long silence between maura and her friends the days after she vanished.
    And what did they tell fred to make him believe he will never see his daughter again? (Wheter he believes she is dead or alive I do think the pain I see in him is of a dad that knows his daughter is gone in whatever form)

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    1. I agree, so much to think about- and the human mind is definitely easily fooled!
      Supposedly, when Butch was first shown a picture of Maura, he didn't recognize the picture as the same girl from the accident scene. I've always wondered what Butch would have said if first shown a picture of Kate Markopolous?

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  9. This is a really compelling analysis.

    ~ John Green

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  10. I agree,Kate knows more than she has said.
    She can't remember no one at the party but remembers a male walking her and Maura outside that night. Selective memory.hmm
    * How did she sort of disappear for several weeks? Was she not attending classes or track practice? Where was she and what was she doing.
    * Did police get Kate's school and phone records?
    Did Kate have a roommate? If so, maybe that's who Billy spoke with. How often had Billy called Kate prior to Maura's disappearance?
    Kate said, she found out about Maura's disappearance on Sat. Feb.14, 04 by the track coach. She didn't wonder where Maura was all week. She didn't try calling her, exspecially since Billy was repeadly calling.
    No one from Maura's family tried to contact Kate before Sat. One would think, when a person goes missing family and friends are the first to be contacted to see if they have seen that person. Kate (who had been with Maura on Sat night 2-7-04) best friends, didn't find out until Sat by the track coach. Is it because Kate couldn't be reached? Perhaps, out of cell service.
    I agree, there's something about all these calls that are strange/telling..
    It seems Kate stonewalled the police, Maura's family, and investigators early on and is still keeping quiet 12 years later.
    Who and what is she protecting?
    Maura, herself, someone else?
    Billy only called Sara once but tried calling Kate multiple times before and after Maura disappeared.
    Why did Billy stop trying to call Kate after speaking with Sara?

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  11. I often wonder about that cashier's sighting of the three out of state girls in the grocery store...really suspicious if you ask me. Of course; assuming the sighting is credible which we all know is iffy.

    If there truly was a credible sighting of all three girls then what if something happened to Maura while the three were together and the two girls panicked and left her....to die? Seems harsh but young kids drinking do stupid things in the moment. Could explain why Kate would "lay low" for awhile right after...

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    1. I've wondered if they headed up there to help her figure her life out. Buying booze is something their age group would do on a girls getaway.
      Doesn't explain the 2 vehicles which im assuming is the case since the other girls would've needed to get back home.

      What happened when M and friends parted?

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    2. What proof is there Kate also disappeared at the same time? I'm curious what the source for this is or if it's just a rumor?

      And it's possible if she did go somewhere - NO proof it was with Maura- she could have been out of cell phone range. It was 2005. The entire country was probably less than 75% covered at the time.

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  12. Whats Billy's deal nowadays? Did he move on with life?

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    1. Billy is fairly successful and lives in a well appointed neighborhood in suburban Washington DC.

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    2. And he is married. I don't think he has any kids.

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    3. Does he have a kid and happily in a relationship/married?

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    4. he was on tv as a big time Obama supporter in Ohio in 2008, meaning he did his minimum time in the Army (5 years) and got out. Undoubtedly the Obama Administration gave him some sort of job after the election.

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    5. He might have one kid conceived sometime around Christmas Break in 2004!

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  13. Hmmm...probably too simple to work out, but does Kate have a Facebook page? Does she have any "friends" in Canada?

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  14. If indeed Kate had helped Maura disappear, and of course wanted to keep it all a secret, she wouldn't have ignored so many of Billy's messages. Doing so is too suspicious. It would have been far more logical for her to have called him and said, "Sorry Billy, I have no idea where she is."

    Peter

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    1. You cannot make that assumption. That may be how, hypothetically speaking, you personally would react, but there is absolutely no way that you can say she did (or didn't) help based on her ignoring calls. EVERYONE would react differently. Let's pretend she was involved. She very well may have been petrified that she would slip up if she talked to Billy. Maybe to her it was worth the risk. And if in fact she truly DID help, *not* answering the calls probably was the 'right' thing (I hate to even say that) if her goal was not getting caught. Because after all these years there's no concrete evidence about anything, based in large part because she has not been forthcoming with events that transpired in the days leading up to Maura's disappearance.

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    2. kind of points to M running from major trouble, like someone was after her.

      Not sure I buy the new bf and new identity shit. However, if she were planning to run away, she'd be nervous.

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  15. Kate's silence is golden. I don't buy for ONE SECOND that she didn't find out about Maura missing until her track coach informed her. BULL.SHIT. If one of your best friends boyfriends were calling you numerous times, while you might not call them back because you know their history as a couple or know that your friend is pissed at them, you would AT LEAST call your friend and tell them that the boyfriend was calling looking for them and she didn't apparently. The only reason I wouldn't call my friend to let them know would be if I were with them already or knew I wouldn't be talking to them anymore anyway..... just gonna leave that little thought right there. Kate's reaction is not rocket science. Common sense points straight to her knowing SOMETHING, significant or not. Quite honestly, even though Sara has talked a little, neither have been forward enough about Maura for anyone to be able to wrap their head around the reality of the situation. You keep quiet when you have a REASON to keep quiet. So what's the reason so we can quit the speculation about why they act almost as if the disappearance didn't happen?!???

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    1. The reason to keep quiet so long about something so important is often self-preservation.

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    2. This is also a great insight. I've talked to Kate's coach and a teammate at the time. According to them both, the coach told the team about it either during a bus ride to a meet in Boston the following Saturday, or at the meet itself. Moreover, the coach found out when Fred called her on Thursday or Friday and started oddly barking questions. (Recall that Maura had not been on the team during 2003-04). I agree that there is no way on god's green earth that Kate did not know before the coach told them, which the calls essentially prove. Is there a place where she said that she found out from the coach? If so, there is direct proof that she blatantly lied in saying it.

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    3. And there is no reason to doubt her fellow runners when they said she kind of disappeared for a bit.

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    4. Does kind of point to her being WITH Maura.

      But wtf happened? The general store sighting. Then a car crash that I took believe wasn't staged.

      Those two things are WEIRD AF to me.

      Were the 3 girls picking up drinks and heading to a place to crash for a few days, then helping M head off into anonymity?

      If the girls were the ones who picked M up after the crash, oh fuck it Im done speculating.

      SO weird. No other vehicles were seen? NONE of the eyewitnesses saw her leave?

      REALLLLLLLY?

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    5. Her picture should be in the dictionary beside "LYING BY OMISSION".... Honestly I think she was with her, she and Maura probably BOTH saw Billy calling repeatedly which is why she didn't have to call to tell Maura. I don't know if she succeeded in helping Maura disappear or if something horrifying happened while they were traveling BUT either way complete bullshit that she doesn't have a clue what happened. Her silence then & now seems more like an "OH SHIT" moment that the severity of the situation and her involvement are related. I don't think she expected the attention on Maura's disappearance and likely the gravity of her involvement has her wanting to crawl in a hole. If I had helped my friend disappear (especially during my immature 21 year old years) I wouldn't want to crawl out of that hole either :)

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    6. There's 2 reasons, I think is possible on why no one saw Maura leave the scene.
      1. Butch came upon the scene sooner than thought and once he left, the witnesses figured everything was OK and they looked away.
      IMO- Butch came upon the scene, shortly after it happened and not 16 minutes later. How much time, did it take for Butch to talk with the person at the Saturn, back his bus in, walk up to his house, tell Barbara what happened, she call 911, and then routed to Hanover, then Hanover called Haverhill, and then Haverhill called the Atwood house back. I say about 10-15 mins. Which would of put Butch there around 7:30-7:33 and not 7:43.
      2. Someone did see Maura leave and what direction she headed in. And the police have told them not to talk about it. Could this be, Why they searched to the West and not to the East?
      *early on, Butch said the female was hidden behind the air bag. Well airbags are designed to inflate rapidly and deflate quickly. If he saw this, he had to of been on scene fairly quickly after it happened.
      * Barbara on the 911 call, said "My husband saw the crash, came home to call, don't know where female is."
      Seeing the crash and coming on scene 16 mins later is a big difference.

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    7. I think the Westmayers said some cars passed by before the police arrived. They at least heard them from their house as they went about their business.

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    8. Was it ever established that an SUV 01 was parked nose to nose with Maura's car? Could she have gotten into the SUV with someone?

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    9. Anonymous 10:19 - Where did you hear that info? I've never heard this...

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  16. FM stated that Kate had dinner with him and Maura the Saturday that he and Maura were looking for a new car for Maura. After spending hours going to multiple ATMs to get $4000 in cash and looking for a car, Kate has stated that nothing was said to her at dinner about a car. Seems strange.

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  17. Not sure if you can or people still do it these days because many people don't have house phones anymore but back in 04, you could forward your house number to another phone number, so you could get your calls, while your weren't home.
    Perhaps, someone had done this, so they looked like they were somewhere, when they weren't.

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  18. What if Butch Atwood saw Kate not Maura with the Saturn? Memory is a funny thing and young, brunette, white girls look similar enough to be confused.

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  19. You state definitively that Kate Markopoulos did not call Maura Murray after Bill’s call on Monday, February 9, but you have no way of knowing this. Bill calls Kate’s cell and dorm within the same minute at 1:18 PM. It is unknown whether a message was left on either phone, but even if one were, there is nothing particularly odd about Kate not calling Maura within the next three hours. This was 2004, when cell phones were not an all-consuming focus of life, but even today students turn them off from time to time to study. After 4:37 PM that day, it is impossible to know whether Kate called Maura because Maura’s phone shows no calls from anyone and may well have been turned off.

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  20. The only thing that doesn't seem to make sense to me is why would she risk her own legal protection to protect Maura if Maura indeed ran away?

    It seems logical, perhaps, that she could have tried at first to keep any potential promises of secrecy, but after 12 years of being beaten and battered all over the Internet and by various journalists, you'd think she would have had enough by now and gone to law enforcement to spill the beans for her own piece of mind. We're talking about a college-aged kid at the time NOT giving into intense scrutiny from a multitude of people investigating the case. It just seems so unlikely that she never cracked unless she genuinely doesn't know anything m...

    ...unless she has, in fact, talked to LE and we just don't know about it.

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    1. While I am sure it's infuriating that Kate won't talk, perhaps she has been told by LE not to. Maybe what she knows is something that needs to be kept quiet in case it needs to be confirmed should new evidence ever present itself. I am beginning to feel for her. Maybe she's not being a bad friend. Maybe she's being a really good one. I do wish if that were the case that she would simply say that she has been advised not to share what she knows because it could jeopardize the case. Just a thought.

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    2. "Maybe she's not being a bad friend. Maybe she's being a really good one." Brilliantly put.

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  21. Kate is never going to talk. She only has to talk if she is placed under oath and I don't see that happening.

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  22. As far as her disappearing for "weeks", how could that be when she participated in a track meet with her team the week of Maura's disappearance in Rhode Island?

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  23. They should ALL be deposed under oath to get to the truth. But do they really want to know the truth?

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  24. I guess I don't see it in the same way, because even after Billy connects to Kate for the 6 minute phone call, he still goes to look for her in the White Mountains. Maybe Kate told him something, but from the phone records it seemed he was just searching all over the place, not really focused on one area. If she had told him, surely he would have found her? Thoughts anyone?

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  25. I wonder if Kate's and Sara's bank accounts were ever looked at after Maura's disappearance. It would be interesting to see what kind of transactions it would show for February 9th, especially in the afternoon hours. It's probably too late for that now, but I think Kate's and Sara's transactions would be a very good indicator of where they were at the time and what their behaviour was on that day.

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  26. I'm a first time poster. James, thanks for sharing what you've found with the world.

    Respectfully, I have a few points. First, I know text messages weren't as ubiquitous in 2004 as they are now, but the technology did exist. It's possible Kate was communicating with Billy and/or Maura via alternative means. And wasn't it the case that MM left her phone somewhere Saturday night? If that happened on occasion, maybe Billy's intentions in calling her friends was actually an attempt to get in touch with her - thinking maybe she didn't have her phone with her. I also think back then, it wasn't so uncommon for friends /siblings to borrow each other's phone. Just a thought.

    Second, I was at UMass in 2004. I don't recall Kate ever disappearing during that timeframe. Maybe you have some information that suggests she was withdrawn from some realms of her life, but as far as I knew, she was present.

    Lastly, I recall one article after the accident quoting Kate as saying something to the effect of "she was one of my best friends and I barely knew her." MM didn't mention the car crash in the Toyota to Sara who she presumably saw the following day. Or to anyone for that matter. I think she just have been a particularly private, or at least compartmentalized, person. So in short, I think it's entirely possible Kate just doesn't know much.

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    1. Shoot me an email. I'd like to hear more. Her track teammates have said she didn't show up for practice for a few days/weeks around the disappearance.

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  27. Ever look at KM's phone records for that time period?

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  28. I was in college at the same time as Maura, and people used AIM almost more than calling at that point (not for significant others, but definitely for friends). If only the cops had looked harder at her computer, I'm sure they could've used keystroke software to read her old chats and I bet that would have spoken volumes. Sadly missed opportunity. Was Maura's computer returned to her family? Do we know how long it was held by police?

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