Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The State of the Case

Two months to go before True Crime Addict is released! The traffic to this blog is picking up every day, and there are a lot of new readers. I feel the need at this time to address a couple concerns that keep popping up.

1. My thoughts on Fred
At this time, I do not believe Fred had anything to do with Maura's disappearance that night. I don't think he knows where she is. I suspect, however, he knows why she went to New Hampshire. And he certainly has information from the last few days Maura was in UMass that I believe could be helpful.

2. Rathburn
Yes, I know about the guy who claims he saw some funny stuff at a lake near Warren, NH not long after Maura went missing - red liquid in a barrel, a red truck, a strange man...  No, I don't believe it has anything to do with this case. He may have seen what he believes he saw, but it was misinterpreted. I won't be discussing it further on this blog.

3. Comments
I know it's frustrating to wait so long to see your comments posted. Unfortunately, I have to approve every comment for publication. You don't have to agree with me to get your comment approved but you do have to be civil. There has been a significant increase in trolling and threats lately, too. I will not approve any comment that identifies an uncharged suspect or any comment that is threatening, vulgar, or plain mean.


46 comments:

  1. I just pre ordered my copy of your book. Looking forward to reading it!

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  2. I’ll be honest, the questions we should be asking aren’t the questions you’ve been asking all along… Rick Forcier was the last person to saw Maura. He saw her 4-5 miles from the crash site. State Police Lt. John Scarinza checked out Forcier’s time records at his work and confirmed his story was credible…. He thought it was so credible that he had a search team with cadaver dogs search the area he believed to have seen Maura… Here’s the real questions we need to ask ourselves:
    1) Why didn’t police investigate the street nearest to the last sighting of Maura (Hummingbird Lane)? (less than 2 miles for the last sighting)
    2) Why didn’t police speak with the residents of Hummingbird Lane?
    3) Why wasn’t a search done of Hummingbird Lane including the swamp behind Hummingbird Lane?
    4) Why was there a violent sex offender who lived in close proximity to her last know location who hadn’t registered as a violent sex offender for over 20 years? (He was registered 4 years after her disappearance!!)
    5) Why did police and those who investigated this case NEVER once considered this individual as a suspect in her disappearance?
    6) Why was Rick Forcier’s testimony so easily dismissed, yet the testimony of someone calling themselves “Witness A” was taken so seriously?
    7) Why were cadaver dogs never sent to Hummingbird Lane to search for remains?
    8) Why did police chief Williams order the Murray family and anyone involved in the search for Maura to stop the search because they were trespassing and threatened to fine them with trespassing if they didn’t stop?
    9) Why was most of the search and rescue teams searching areas near and around the car’s location, when Rick Forcier told police he saw her 4-5 miles from the crash site?
    10) Why was the Easton NH police chief never involved in the search for Maura when she went missing on HIS turf!!!

    You see these are the types of questions that will answer what happened to Maura. I highly doubt you will post this on your blog, but just so you know, I’ve posted it elsewhere. I think if we truly want to find Maura, we need to start asking the right questions, and start looking in the right direction….

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    1. Police considered RF's sighting a credible sighting of someone fitting a very general description.

      We don't know that they didn't question people that live in the area but 2 miles is a very large area to cover so I wouldn't call it unusual if they didn't, especially without any reason to do so.

      They don't generally consider someone a suspect if there isn't even evidence of a crime. I think they even have laws about that.

      In my opinion, since they took action based on RF's statements they did not dismiss it easily and the only people taking witness A seriously are conspiray theory fans.

      Police did not order any searchers to stop searching. They were ordered to stay off private property without permission because owners of the properties were complaining about trespassers.

      I cant be sure but I don't believe there is an Easton police department.

      You very obviously have an issue with someone who lives on Hummingbird Lane. This person may be a horrible person but you are drawing them into MM's disappearance with tenuous at best reasoning. This may not be the place to grind your axe.

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    2. Anon: GREAT points but I wish you'd pick a handle you like so the wheat can be discerned from the chaff.

      From what I understand, "Witness A" is mulling whether or not how to present their story in a more transparent manner. But this is info years old and I agree that as more water flows under that bridge the more skeptical I become as well.

      There were many properties in that area that could have been searched but were disallowed by their owners ... why? If it were me there'd be no debate. If remains have been placed around the immediate area and were found, it would've put this whole ordeal behind Haverhill YEARS ago and the residents would've done without all the negativity and suspicion. Let's also not forget more immediate neighbors on Old Peters Road too.

      So while LE and private persons have canvassed that area many times, not every inch has been scrutinized.

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    3. RF saw someone that 'possibly' could have been her, while returning home from work. However, he never knew anything about MM or her accident/disappearance until 2 weeks or so after the fact. Route 116 was nearer to the sighting than H Lane, and that route was thoroughly searched.

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    4. These are really good questions and this is a really good comment, whomever you are.

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    5. Forcier's supposed sighting was taken seriously, more than it merits IMO. First of all it was given almoat three months after the accident even though Forcier lived a block from the accident and by his testimony came home while the car and police were still on site. Secondly the sighting provided him with a backhanded alibi. Thirdly he was then uncooperative with LE even though he had a construction site on his property. Did Forcier ever also say the moon landings were faked?

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    6. Just to put the facts straight here:
      There's no Police Dept in the Town of Easton, NH.
      I believe that LE matters there are being handled by the nearby Franconia, NH, Police Dept.

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    7. You have some interesting points. However, you based everything you said on Rick Forcier's sighting. Maybe Rick saw what he saw. And if he did see someone, it doesn't mean it was Maura. We are to just assume it must have been her, because we are looking in that direction. Since the police haven't released the photo/video of Maura at the Umass area ATM. We don't know what she was wearing that night do we. Only the police know that. They can mesh that up with what Rick said that the person he saw was wearing. What about Susan Champy's statement. She was driving from Lincoln along rt 112 west that night, before Rick and didn't see anyone. Did the witness "A" see anyone? Apparently not, because Rick is the only one saying that he saw someone. I am not bashing Rick, I do think he honestly saw someone. It is just no one else can back him up. So I am skeptical of his sighting. You also state that Maura must be up Hummingbird lane, why? So, if it was Maura that Rick saw and she did in fact run up some dirt road to avoid him. What makes you think that she didn't go back to rt 112 and keep heading east? It is not like Rick chased her. She would have already made it 4 to 5 miles without stopping for help. Why would she stop then? Maura may have been naive and impulsive, but she wasn't stupid. She was an experienced hiker after all. I think she knew all about hyperthermia. Unless Maura was abducted at the scene, which highly doubt, then Maura made a decision to leave the car. What happened to her is directly related to that decision.

      I would say the last conclusive sighting of Maura is at the ATM at UMASS. I would also say it is highly probable that it was Maura in the car when Butch talked with her. But not 100 percent because Butch didn't personally know Maura. He had to identify her from a photo when he only talked to her for a few minutes.

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    8. What evidence do we have that Maura in fact went east that night? So we are to assume that because some tracking dog sniffed that direction she must have gone that way? How do we know that the wind wasn't blowing in that direction and that is what the dog smelled? We are putting a lot of faith in a dogs nose to guide us. They didn't bring the dog on to the scene for quite some time. It is not like the dog can explain what it is thinking. The police and Butch Atwood went west in their searches that night. Not east. Why did they do that? One can only speculate that it was Butch that told the police officer that Maura didn't pass him. The only logical conclusion that night is that she must have went west, got picked up or went to some ones house for help. The only time that she could have passed Butch's house on foot was when Butch was inside calling 911. The rest of the time he was outside in his bus, doing "paperwork". I think everything Butch did that night was logical. Atleast up to the part where he goes back outside, in the cold, to do some paperwork from the ski trip. What other reason then getting the mileage from the odometer did he need to do in the bus? Why not do the paperwork inside where it was warm? It is obvious that Butch had some concern for what he just experienced with Maura at the accident scene. He did call 911, and I think he was watching the scene as best he could. As far as I know, Butch stayed out in the bus until the police officer came to his home. How long did it take from the time the police showed up at the scene until the time he gets to Butch's house? How ever long that time frame is, it is a long time to be doing paperwork. If Butch was so concerned for Maura, why not just get into his regular vehicle and drive back down there? Also he was concerned enough, to jump into has car and drive around looking for her. What he did and where he went are in my opinion, sketchy. What was his motivation to do that? We may never know.

      The fact is, we don't know where Maura was going, why she was going there and what her plans where when she got there. I might also add that we really don't know what her problems where. If we knew some of those things we could speculate her motive and what she may have done at the scene.

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    9. It has never been proved it was Maura who Forcier saw & he didn't come forward with this "sighting" for a while after her disappearance

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    10. Is that last sighting really CREDIBLE? the circumstances behind it, to me, make it seem a crock. Some of the fishy details, such as the informant living within sight of the accident, were not initially released. I think the informant should have had his own property searched before LE went on wild goose chases based on the say of an uncredible witness.

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  3. I will try to read the book. I agree that Fred Murray does not have anything to do with her actual disappearance.

    If Maura Murray is out there she has a 12 year head start. The moment she is away from the car anything could have happened to her or in the next 12 years.

    On this blog, James Renner actually came up with a very good idea. Remember the receipts from the credit card case against Maura Murray? One aspect that I thought was really interesting was that even when committing credit card fraud, she used a coupon.

    Now AAA is a travel company and if you have your AAA card with you, there are many discounts on things like hotel rooms. So in Maura Murray's online searches did she look for AAA discounts on hotel rooms? The woman who rented the cabin in Bartlett, did Maura Murray ever ask if she would get a AAA discount? Toomanyquestions

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    1. Jeannie ProvencherMarch 27, 2016 at 9:12 PM

      Get your facts straight before posting please. It was a privately owned condo. AAA would never reimburse owner for a AAA discount. Condo owners were not a business entity that pays advertising fees/ membership to AAA Travel/ Tourist Services.

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  4. Your assessment of what Fred Murray knows (and does not know) is judicious — thank you for clarifying.

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  5. I appreciate the necessity for the comment protocol, but respectuflly, I do see a comment from time to time that I would definitely classify under the "plain mean" category—for example the "Fred is a shady person" comment from the prior thread, or any number of taunting posts directed at Mr. Smith. Criticism is fine, even tough criticism, but it should be more constructive than that, I think.

    Put another way, it seems that the idea of "mean" tends to adhere in the person to whom it's directed.

    On the other hand, I wrote one or two posts which were entirely civil and violated none of the mentioned criteria, but never saw the light of day, for reasons I can surely guess, but don't fall under the stated rubric here. Just sayin'.

    All that said, I appreciate the fact that so many different views make their way public here. The same most definitely can't be said of a number of other outfits related to this case.

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  6. Haven't heard of "Rathburn" before....where is this rumor circulating?

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  7. You've got a fine operation here.

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  8. When Maura crashed her father's Toyota early Sunday morning
    2-8-04, who was the UMASS student standing around?

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    1. Also, it has been stated that Maura lost her phone that night. Who called AAA?

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    2. You refer to this as if it is a fact. What is the source of this fact?

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    3. Where did you get that information from? I don't think I have ever heard that one before.

      Here is some speculation. (And I am not saying any of this is true). Maybe Maura wasn't heading to her fathers hotel. Maybe she was driving someone else home from the party. Maybe that person was driving Fred's car. How did the police arrive at the scene? Did someone call? According to reports, Maura left her phone at Sara's dorm (or the party location). I read an old newspaper article recently, where I also read something I never read before. In the article Fred and Billy's mother Sharon are talking about where Maura might have been going and why. Sharon states something to the effect that Maura might have been upset because she would have to pay for the damage to her fathers car. We don't know what happened to Fred's car, and if the insurance did in fact pay to either fix it or replace it. I have always assumed that Fred was concerned that the insurance would cover Maura. But maybe he was concerned that it wouldn't cover someone other then Maura. James did try to interview the officer who was present that night and I am not sure there where a lot of questions answered.
      One other thing that has always bothered me is in Fred's statement to the Umass police. In it he mentions that when going looking for a car to a place where her boyfriend had good luck at. Maybe there is a good explanation for that statement and someone on here can set me straight. But when did Billy have good luck with any car dealers around Umass? Was Fred talking about someone else?

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    4. Billy had been at West Point still when Maura was first going to UMASS. He would visit it her on weekends and the two would go hiking or shopping or both. Fred moved to Shelton Connecticut in late 2003 and according to him he would visit Maura every other weekend and the two of them would go hiking and hit the pubs in Amherst as well. Fred stayed in Shelton Connecticut until 2005 on a contracting hospital job. And Fred would return to Amherst and new Hampshire every other weekend to search for Maura

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  9. Renner, I try to follow this case often however I have gaps of losing touch due to work, life etc. Forgive me if you have already answered this. Few months back you claimed to have a big announcement you would release on a Fri @ noon. This news changed your outlook on MM's fate after all, I Beleive you wrote 60%-40% that she faced her demise. You then wrote that I Beleive LE advised you not to release your info. Ok so, can you ever release that? Have you changed your thoughts or do you still feel 60% chance she has passed? Will your book mention that? Do you feel this news is a big as you thought? Thanks and please post this and answer if you can. Phoenix Az citizen here just trying to help solve this case, as I was born in mass raised in salem & Derry NH.

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    1. I am also curious about the above.

      I enjoy reading this blog and will be your book Renner.

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  10. I agree 10000% with a previous poster that suggested Hummingbird Lane could be key to Mauras dissapearance..There is more than 1 shady character on that street.Ive asked around&gotten no response:Was the duct tape found near Hummingbird Lane?

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  11. Oh SNAP! I'm assuming you all already know about the murder mystery case of Judith Smith. However I just recently read more into it and it just makes me think of MM. Woman from Mass vanished while out of state and then was found murdered miles away. Rumors mention that she could of met with fowl play while attempting to start a new life. She was a hiker and a nurse I read. Just made me think.......

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  12. Not that it matters much, but it's Rathbun.

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  13. https://local.nixle.com/alert/5613107/

    Missing Indiana woman found. She disappeared in 1975! Thought I'd share.

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  14. For the record I am a female who is not married and my last name begins with a "D". I choose to use this vague name due to the fact that I am from the town where Maura disappeared. I knew Jeff Williams, Cecil Smith and at the time I believe Wallace Trott was an HPD officer. I rode the local school buses as a child and for part of my high school career. I knew who Butch Atwood was. He is not someone I would ever have suspected was guilty of committing any crime, especially not murder. I am a long time follower of this blog although I only recenty decided to share my two cents. In a recent blog I wanted to get a few things off my chest. I shared a few reasons why I thought that Butch Atwood should not be completely acquitted as a suspect. I hate to repeat myself so I apologize to those who have already read my babbling. I explained these facts:

    Butch Atwood was the last known (for a fact) to see Maura after her accident. He was the only person to have direct contact with her.

    BA went to his house and had his wife call the authorities while he was out in his bus doing paperwork.

    At that time the police were treating the scene as a minor accident with a young woman trying to avoid authorities due to a possible DUI.

    BA failed his polygraph test. Health issues, morbid obesity.....call it what you want, he failed. I wasn't aware that a heart problem and obesity caused evidence of deception when given a polygraph.

    Murderers/serial killers are often respected members of society. They are often in plain sight and show interest in the investigation. Sometimes they are even the person to report the crime to authorities.

    Let me be clear and say that I'm not convinced BA murdered Maura. I simply think it's a little naive to suggest it's not even a possibility. To suggest a police conspiracy, her father had a part in her disappearance, her friends killed her and drove her car up here and staged an accident..... The list goes on. But Butch Atwood being a suspect is preposterous?

    Almost done. In an ending statement I would like to say I have one other theory in this case which does not include any that I've heard as of yet. It involves the fact that I was around Maura's age when she disappeared and had a group of friends in the area around that time. There was alot of drinking, drugs and parties and several young men with a history of physical abuse, sexual violence and even rape. I distanced myself shortly before Maura's disappearance but I have often wondered if any of them were questioned.


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    1. I think Miss D is right on the $$$
      BA IS DEF A UNUSUAL BUT POSSIBLE SUSPECT! ID DIscovery has taught me expect the unexpected. So to many BA is expected so no big surprise BUT in most circles he seems to have been for the most part dismissed. T&F W. Could of all just turned a neighborly cheek, as could RF for BA and vise versa. Also teenagers from then with or without a record should be talked to. Teenagers who even had social ties to other teenagers with any sort of criminal record, just common cop work rite.....maybe this has been done?? Now that miss d made me think, was every known criminal in a certain radius from the crash site spoken with? Ill risk being an ass and assume not.

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    2. Ceerjurrio I agree with the fact that questioning the locals with a history of drug use and sexual violence should be common police work but I'm not so sure any common procedure was followed in this case. I appreciate that I have at least one person who can see the reasoning and possibility that Butch Atwood could have been a suspect.
      I wish I could see a list of everyone questioned, I'm sure I would have a few suggestions to add to it....

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    3. BA had nothing to do with it in my opinion. Other witnesses saw Maura standing by the car after BA left if I recall. His wife was home, would have known what happened if he was involved.

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    4. He also went and looked for Maura in his personal vehicle that night after police arrived and found no sign of her. Again as I stated I'm not convinced he had something to do with her disappearance I just wanted to point out the possibility.

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    7. MissD it's just that BA was last one to see mm so until she's found he'll stay in my mind. RF tho he jus seems like a ball busta kinda guy. Gotta be a less than if he announced he had mm captured @ his house and really did so doubtful. I would like your thoughts missD and all the commenters thoughts bout tommy conrad????

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    8. Butch's actions that night are questionable to me. Why did he move to FL shortly after the incident? That seems sketchy as well.
      If I were in Maura's situation that night I would accept a ride from a bus driver or someone who was around my age and didn't look like a creeper. Probably wouldn't wait around for someone worse to come along but that's me. 😉

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    9. Tom Conrad was a drug dealer so I believe his murder either had something to do with that or had to do with his ex wife. There is speculation that his killer was a woman because of how small the footprints dicovered at the scene were.

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  15. All very good guestions and comments anon and others. This Forcier issue has never been explained, not even remotely, to my satisfaction. I never understood why this issue isn't discussed more here. I totally agree that it made absolutely no sense that Forcier waited so long to report his sighting of her running 4 to 5 miles away. Especially when the very early news reports had her family members, searchers and law enforcement combing the area of the crash site, knocking on doors in the direct vicinity of the crash site in days after the crash. He obviously knew she was missing in the first few days. I've never bought his story that he had his "days mixed up." One either he's Interjecting himself into the case...and if so...why? or two he's directing the search elsewhere. Either way...it doesn't jive.

    "A girl crashes her car in front of your house and disappears into thin air and you wait weeks to tell the police you saw her running on a dark road 5 miles away?" Why?

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  16. As someone who has actively and consistently followed this case for over a decade, I have to say that the saddest thing about it at this point is that dozens of names have been brought up as suspects or painted in a questionable light and at BEST all but one of them are completely innocent and likely to be good people.

    Maura, if you're out there, please put an end to this. I don't think you are, but the one constant message that's been said over and over since the day you went missing is: "Someone knows something." If you are alive and well I'm sure you read this blog. I'm sure you follow this case. I would too if I were in your shoes. Maybe the "person who knows something" is you, meaning only you can end this. So many people are going through so much emotional distress - your family, your friends, members of law enforcement, communities throughout New England, and surely many others as well.

    If you are well, you're going to be 34 soon. We're really close in age; I couldn't imagine dealing with all of this over the last twelve years. What you did at 21 shouldn't have to follow you for the rest of your life.

    This is nothing more than a plea from a stranger. My "gut" tells me that you aren't here to read this - and the thought of it breaks my heart. But if you are out there, please end it and finally give the people affected by all of this peace and harmony.

    -Joshua Damaso

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  17. If Maura resurfaces your book will be rendered moot. What do you know that made you willing to spend all of that time, effort, and money knowing it might be totally wasted if Maura reappeared?

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    1. The title of the book implies that it's about the very question you ask.

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    2. Let me clarify. I totally support James' efforts and am anxious to read his book. But virtually everything is subject to the laws of risk versus rewards. Again: Why take so much risk (and have to deal with disgusting trolls) knowing that the rewards will be minimal if Maura resurfaces? I have to think that James knows that Maura won't resurface.

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  18. I have one question about the "red glow" in the car. Couldn't anyone smell the scent of a burning cigarette when the doors were opened by the tow driver or Fred. The smell of a burning cigarette is a very distinct smell. That would clarify the issue.

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  19. It just occurred to me that maybe Fred was driving the car when she hit the guardrail in Amherst. Is it possible he was partying with her and her friends that night and was driving the car when it crashed? Maybe making a beer run or something? And then fled on foot to leave Maura there to deal with the cops? I still don't understand why she would have his car without him. That never made sense to me.

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