A new look at one of the North Country's Coldest Cases
To all those searching for the truth, I applaud you. I know one thing. If my child were missing I would want any and all help available to help find him/her. Thank God there are still some out there who will walk the extra mile in helping to solve this case while the rest make snarky computer comments.
It is too bad so many of these articles focus on individuals instead of the actual information about the case. I think the allure for the case is not really the case itself. There are other mysteries out there, but James Renner and Lance and Tim from the podcast have given life to the case where there probably would be none. In my opinion, without the blog and the podcast, the case's discussion would die down real quick.I think James Renner said it best that you could basically come up with any theory about the case. My theory centers around Franzia wine boxes and AAA cards. Others may center on other aspects.I think it was Maura Murray at the accident scene unless someone impersonating her bought all the alcohol and then decided to leave the receipt in the car. It is ironic that if she had not made a call from her cell phone while driving, had not purchased the alcohol, and had not left the AAA card in the car there would be a lot more speculation about the case. If there is a mystery person that would be something. Then that mystery person locked the car too. And they somehow decided to find Maura Murray's AAA card to leave in order to verify something they should already know is a lie(if they live in the area). The mystery person then used the AAA excuse instead of the helper excuse. Of course Butch Atwood would know Maura Murray's friends so she could not say her friend would be by shortly to pick her up. Was there a AAA decal on the car?What happened after the accident is anyone's guess. I think the best answer is I do not know.
How would Butch Atwood know Maura's friends?
I was being sarcastic. The point is that he does not know Maura Murray's friends so the idea that Maura has to lie with the AAA excuse says to me that no one was with her or helping her. In my opinion, if another person had showed up to help Maura Murray it probably would have put Butch Atwood's mind at ease and made it less likely for him to have called police. He probably felt she was lying to him because of the cell phone reception in the area.The whole case falls apart after the car. Even if she walked to the nearest town far away from her vehicle, she might have taken a ride with a stranger and was harmed by that person. Or like the psychic said she may have walked and fell into a creek and the body simply has not been found. But then you would still have that backpack. So I do not know what to think. I agree that along with the blog and podcast, the details surrounding the mystery make it unique. Whatever happened after Maura Murray was either taken from the car or left it on her own is the real mystery after 12 years. I think either there is a murderer out there who through a lot of luck managed to get away with it or there is a Maura Murray out there somewhere who came up with the perfect plan, almost perfect.
The rag is what is confusing for sure. If she was a freakishly timed victim, it looks as if someone tried to suffocate her. If she was trying to run away, was it because she wanted to give the impression of suicide? Did her father REALLY tell her to stuff it in the pipe for another reason because that is dumb.
Three "Anonymous" posts. In bowling, this is known as a split.
I watched a couple of the videos in the article and it was interesting to see pictures of Billy and Maura as a couple at West Point. She obviously returned to WP to visit him after her separation for at least 3 or 4 years. I had not seen the pictures of them before and had not thought about her returning to West Point to visit her boyfriend over the years. It must have been very hard on her when he graduated and left for his Basic Officer Leader Course and his first post.
I have followed this case since the day it happened. I grew up in the area not far from the crash site and know that road quite well. I always keep going back to the same scenario. There is only one person who who admittedly had direct contact with Maura after the accident.....Butch Atwood. I have to believe that if I was in her situation in a strange place in the dead of winter that would be the one stranger I would accept a ride from. Who doesn't trust a bus driver, right? Now that he has verified that he had contact with her there is a reason the canines might detect her scent on him. I have always wondered if they had the dogs check his bus for her scent knowing that the dogs lost the trail after only a short distance. I have always thought it was the perfect situation for him to commit the crime given all of the circumstances. I know that he was dismissed as a suspect early on in the investigation but why? I also do NOT believe it wasn't Maura driving the car like I have seen a lot of people speculating. The dogs never would have detected her scent along the road. These are all just basic facts that everyone has known since the beginning I believe the things that I know are true.
"I know that he was dismissed as a suspect early on in the investigation but why?" ...Because he didn't do it. His wife and elderly mother lived with him. His wife was the one who immediately called police. He was outside, sitting in his bus, doing his nightly paperwork while police were at the scene. He was visible -- there's just no way he would have the time, location, or ability to have done this. He was very transparent. Being the last person who saw Maura, of course he would be thoroughly investigated. Add in the fact he was MORBIDLY obese, had a severe heart problem, and he's someone who Maura could have easily gotten away from. It just doesn't make sense in the slightest to suspect him. The timeline wouldn't add up. The fact his family called police wouldn't add up. The fact he was seen outside in his bus, etc. Police *know* Maura did not accept a ride, and she did not get in his bus or home. Dwelling on Butch is just wasting time. James wrote an excellent post about this I highly recommend reading.
It has also been said that anyone could be a suspect in this case. There are some reasons why I believe Butch Atwood should have been. First of all he failed the first lie detector test. Health issues or not, he failed. Second he was in his bus doing paperwork in the cold darkness of winter and asked his wife to call HPD. At that point the police were treating this as an accident and possible dui case with a young woman trying to avoid authorities. Third as I stated before he was the last person to see her alive. Yes he was over weight (I wouldn't say morbidly) but that doesn't mean he couldn't overpower an unsuspecting young woman under the influence of alcohol and possibly injured and shaken up from an accident. Lastly murderers and serial killers are often in plain sight and respected members of society. They also are often reported to be present at the crime scene and show interest in the investigation.Maybe he did, maybe he didn't but to suggest it's absurd to consider him a suspect at all is a little naive. I'm not a detective nor are you nor is James. We are all just people who have a lot of knowledge due to following cases such as this one.
Atwood could of been a witness to mm's abduction on rt 112?? Hense why he failed 1 of 2 polygraph tests. Maybe he was just afraid of the same kind of folks that dropped tommy c.
I apologize if I submitted a similar post just before the second one. It seemed like I lost it somehow but I hope I didn't send in two!
There was an interview done with Maura's mother by the Daily Collegian on May 5 2004. In this article, she says "Vermont officials are away of Murrays disappearance, and her closest friends have contacted the Canadian authorities." What closest friends is she talking about? Why contact Canadian authorities if the belief is she was murdered by a local dirtbag?IMO- that tells me that some of her friends thought it was possible Maura had went to Canada.
Maybe there was something wrapped in the rag. Maybe her keys? Maybe something else as a sign?
I think the allure with this is that we simply have no answers after 12 years, not even an inclination of what happened. She crashes her and car and then she's gone.I listen to all the theories here and they all have merit, but certainly after 12 years I feel she's deceased. Looking at numerous missing persons cases over the years, the odds are pretty favorable that she was killed somehow.
The car crash was not part of her plan. She never made it to a hotel or condo or anywhere else. She wasn't trying to cover her tracks in any way. She was in plain sight and her whereabouts are traceable until the moment she disappeared after the crash.
The allure of Maura Murray's case. Hmmm.She was a beautiful young woman traveling alone...in a high risk situation. Most of us do that at some point. Nothing like a road trip to give us our first real taste of independence. We think we're invincible at 21. And for the most part we are. It's a jolt to the system to realize maybe we were just lucky. It's haunting. This should not have happened to her. If this happened to Maura it could have happened to anyone.It's the stuff of legends or nightmares or unending mazes. Though I'd love to imagine her living an idyllic life somewhere, I just cannot hold that fleeting image. Surely she is gone by now. So, my prayers are with the family. My prayers are with Fred....for resolution and peace...and justice.
This was really well put. Thanks, Anonymous at 9:17.
Not long ago I was telling a friend about Maura Murray's case. My friend came of age in the 1970's and isn't inclined to follow blogs or listen to podcasts. She'd never heard of Maura, nor did she appear that interested. After I finished explaining all the details and theories surrounding Maura's case, my friend quite nonchalantly replied, "I knew a girl who disappeared from a roadside after her car broke down one night. I can't remember her name, but we went to high school together. She was never found." I was a bit surprised, but not totally. We're all one or two degrees of separation away from such tragedies.
Some random thoughts on the case...Rag in the tailpipe: I never made much of this. To me, it could have been placed there to show that the car was broken down; a road marker for the tow truck or police. (However, also possible but I believe less likely that someone stalked her at the nearby store/gas station and stuck it in the car to cause a breakdown).The box of wine: Indicative of Maura’s state of mind—but we don’t know is exactly what it was. Was she depressed? Was she celebrating? Was she with others or heading to meet someone? Was she drinking on the road or was she planning to drink at her destination (or both)?Book in the car: Either placed there by Maura to suggest suicide and mislead about her real intentions, or more likely a red herring that happened to be a book she was reading. Having a book with her suggested she intended to spend hours at her next destination; perhaps she was planning to spend the night alone in a hotel room? I would think she would be less likely to bring a book if she was planning to stay with friends or a lover. To me a book suggests quiet contemplation, "getting away from it all," not hanging out with friends. It also suggests forethought.Many possible reasons for her taking off so suddenly: Getting an abortion, getting time away from school to drink/party, fleeing problems back home, punishing the boyfriend, hooking up with someone she met recently, running away to start a new life, or getting out of dodge after the Vasi hit-and-run accident??? (I never believed suicide to be a realistic possibility because young women commit suicide at home, not far from home or in the wilderness.)The police: What is the status of this case right now? Is it an active case or a cold case? Police often have their theories. I’m wondering what the general thinking in the case is right now... ?
I would like to see a timeline from the onset of the accident on 112 till the minutes when the state police officer arrives. Was there an SUV parked nose-to-nose with Maura's car, as one witness swears to? How long, after that did the state police show up, did bus driver speak to Maura, when did the wife call 911? The timing is confusing.