Sunday, June 12, 2016

Desolation Trail


There is one big clue to this case that hasn't been thoroughly investigated yet and I'm hoping we can put this one to rest this summer. I'm asking for your help.

A couple years ago someone sent me an email with the title "Stop Looking," signed Ray Rummau (which is a word-scramble pseudonym for Maura Murray). Inside the email were coordinates: 44°06'10.0"N 71°27'29.0"W

Those coordinates lead to a section of wilderness on the north slope of Mt. Carrigain. The best way to get there is to hike up Desolation Trail from the trailhead near Bartlett, it seems.

Whoever sent this email went to great lengths to hide their IP address. It's clear they are suggesting this is the location of Maura's body.

In April 2014, a team of volunteers attempted to locate it, but were thwarted by the snow. Lance & Tim from the Missing Maura Murray podcast ventured out to visit the location, too, but turned back to Boston after they realized someone was stalking them throughout their visit to New Hampshire.

So, who's up for taking a look?

This is a trail and terrain for experienced hikers, only. It's also possible this was designed as a trap for me, so please be careful. But if you're up for the journey, take photographs of the area and share them with us, here. I can't offer much in the way of a reward but I can at least send you a signed copy of the book!


54 comments:

  1. You said this was caught in your spam folder back when you first posted this. Have you ever checked m your spam folder since then for further communications?

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  2. I would do it in a heartbeat for a signed book. But I'm not an experienced hiker nor do I have any clue how to read topographical maps effectively.

    If anyone who is willing and able to do this needs a tiny bit of financial support to make it happen, reply to my comment and we can talk.

    Fair warning: I'm a skilled and accomplished troll hunter and will only assist people that Renner is somewhat familiar with.

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  3. Wow. Has law enforcement looked into this at all? Seems like a cadaver dog would be needed. And you have a stalker?? Someone really interesting in setting a trap for you? WHO??? (MM's family?) I can see I must get a copy of your book!

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  4. Shit I would go in a Heartbeat!!! I am an experienced hiker and am licensed to carry a hand gun.....anyone else up for this let's do it.....and I will mention I lived in Bretton Woods for years and am VERY familiar with ALL the hiking trails along the Notch!

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    1. Okay, so let us know what you find.

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    2. How experienced of a hiker would one need to be and how many miles are we talking? I am up for it but am not what I imagine one would call an experienced hiker. I could make the hike but have little camping/climbing experience.

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    3. How experienced of a hiker would one need to be and how many miles are we talking? I am up for it but am not what I imagine one would call an experienced hiker. I could make the hike but have little camping/climbing experience.

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    4. You'd NEED camping and outdoors experience to the max. It's at least a week trip if you include the distance, terrain, searching, observations, sleeping...

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    5. I might be in NH in August. I have hiking gear and I believe my concealed handgun permit had reciprocity with NH. I'd love to look.

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    6. Hello Lisa,

      Have you gone? Thinking about going. If not backpacking there I will just be doing it somewhere else. Do not want to go though if it has already been checked out. Let me know.

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  5. One big reason I think she fell into nefarious hands is the threats along the way people like you all have experienced. Threats comes from someone/group of people who are nervous or hiding something. if she ran away, sure there might be 1 or 2 dingdongs play games and you've had that.

    But STALKING two people who visit the area. That is more than just playing a simple game over the computer.

    idk. Barlett was where she always went but unless by some strange reason the murderer is someone she knew, a random creeper wouldn't know that.

    Actually, With the last sentence I wrote, given that the trail is near Barlett, maybe it is a game. But the hacking of emails and stalking is creepy.

    Small town with nothing around are breeding grounds for scandal. Lots of people there have lots to hide as is often the case.

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  6. Are you going?

    Do you know if experienced hikers hike that area a lot?

    It's been 12 years. What exactly is going to be seen that much time later? A buried body wouldn't show evidence.

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  7. Wow, I so wish I could go but I'm nowhere near there at the moment!!!! Thanks in advance to anyone who follows up on this lead.

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  8. Were the police notified at the time?

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  9. Saw some people on twitter say they love hiking Mt Carrigain.

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  10. Hoping some of you will go. I am not a good enough hiker. But go in a group and be careful!

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  11. Interesting ... according to the topo map, these coordinates are off-trail, on the opposite side of the ridge, at exactly 3,000' in elevation. That doesn't seem totally random (meaning there might be something to it).

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    1. Is anyone here a pilot with a small bush plan? Taking a fly around the area MIGHT be the best way to start.

      Honestly though, it's probably just a crazy fucker who knows maps and NH.

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  12. I was thinking that somewhere I read that those coordinates were off of Bear Notch Road, which is not maintained in Winter. Is that correct..?

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  13. I'm not saying I know more than anyone else but how does one get a body to a place that requires an experienced hiker to reach? It would seem to me that there are about 1 billion easier places to leave the body on the way to this far off remote coordinate.

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    1. Well, there are different scenarios. Could someone have encountered Maura while she was up there on that trail? She WAS an experienced hiker, after all. Or could someone have brought her there intending to do harm?

      Not to be graphic, but you don't necessarily have to drag a body out into the woods in order to LEAVE a body there...it's also possible to lead someone or force them into a remote location first and then do them harm.

      I'd have a few theories for this type of scenario:

      1. A serial killer...many leave bodies in remote locations.
      2. A hiker or hunter who committed a crime of opportunity. Probably someone who hasn't done it before or since.
      3. Someone who knew Maura and wanted to hide the body to ensure the crime would never be solved.

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  14. Even experienced hikers get lost and die within feet of the trail. I wouldn't really encourage just anyone to try this

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  15. First, if you are asking questions about how far and how long and where to start you have already proven you shouldn’t be dong the trip. It isn’t accessible from Bear notch in any reasonable way. There are two likely approaches. One is from Sawyer river road and goes over through Carrigain notch on the trail. The other is probably from the hairpin on the Kanc on Cedar brook trail. Strong hikers, can do this as a run in and run out but those people already know they can do it. If you think you can do this in a day, then you can’t. It’s not just the mileage but the terrain. Most people would need to take at least two days, which means an at least one overnight so it is a backpacking trip. It also means you should probably be use to camping out. This isn’t really a first time camping trip. That is just the trip in and out, not including the searching of the area. It is a very isolated area. Not the most isolated, but isolated. It also would require some navigational skills. Even using a GPS it will requires some. Also I would be very concerned with mantraps. The person who sent this message might just think it is funny to send people on a wild goose chase. But maybe he wants to hurt someone. If you are not familiar with mantraps, I am, you probably shouldn’t be playing around in that area. You are a long way, many hours if not a day from real help. I would and could do this trip. I think it almost certainly is a wild goose chase but I would do it, and have the requisite skills. What I don’t have is the time to make this trip. Certainly not before 8/30. If someone is serious, and has what is needed, I would be willing to help them logistically. I am currently too busy setting up a trip out of country to make this trip.

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    1. William Franklin, I could do that in about 6 hours or under in and out. I hike in the Sandia and Manzano Mountains all the time with elevation gain. Time would want to be set aside checking the location, so 8-9 hours should be sufficient for a young, in shape hiker. A 10-12 hour day for any average hiker.

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    2. The Notchland Inn would likely be the best starting location if you could gain permission to use it for parking for the day.

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    3. Lobo87,

      What a lot of western state hikers don’t understand about the Whites is that the western states started their footpaths with knowledge about land erosion, and other trail building techniques that they never worried about in the northeast. I didn’t list it because if you look. Like many trails in the east. It literally goes straight up the mountain. Unlike many western trails that have many, long switchbacks. These trails are often in drainages with also makes them very rough and boulder strewn. You say you can do this as a round trip in 6 hours. Maybe, but have you actually been on the trail you are talking about? I have been on Nancy brook trail on camping trips, more than once. I don’t know you but if you can do that trip to the site and back in 6 hours, I would be very impressed. That would be a 2250’ elevation change to get to the height of land then drop down 1000’ to the floor and then back up 800’ to the search site. A quick search on the internet has one hiker listing this as 2:30 HR just to Norcross pond. Carrying a pack would be longer. I know it was for myself. The next question is after you get to the site in 3 hours, will you be able to hack and force your way through the brush for several hours to do at least a decent small search? And then want to hike out for another 3 hours? And what equipment are you carrying? Likely not much. Also you don’t want to park at Notchland inn. There is a parking area for Nancy brook that you can stay at. There is a trail from the Notchland Inn that joins Nancy brook but there is virtually no advantage to parking at Notchland. Again, I don’t know you but that is not your average hiker.

      I know about the new light and fast group of hikers. They carry no equipment, except a cell phone. Move fast. These people are fine. They are usually young enough and strong enough that they can get out of trouble almost as fast as they got in it. But, when they get into trouble they have no safety net except the cell phone. I have been on rescues for these people. The state of NH got tired of these types of rescues to the point where if you get yourself into trouble and you are deemed to NOT be sufficiently equipped, they WILL charge you for the rescue. And they have done this several times over the years already.

      The two routes I have listed I still think are the easier of the three mentioned. There is of course more approaches such as by whitewall mountain at Zealand also, but again, I think the balance between distance, roughness of trails and elevation change are best with the two I have listed. I have been on all of these trails, either in their entirety or most of the trails.

      I also want people to know that there is no shelter that is listed on the map. The desolation shelter was removed years ago but still appears on many of the maps. So make sure you bring a tent or some form of shelter.

      And lastly. This is my advice based upon what I have seen and know. Anyone can use it or disregard it. It doesn’t matter to me.

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    4. Very good advice. Folks should get in touch with you, even only by the Internet, before navigating that terrain.

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  16. The person who sent the coordinates is definitely implying she's there. Even if true, that was SOOOO long ago. If true, it would be a longshot that someone abducted her, kept her alive for 12 years, and THEN stashed her at some random place in the mountains.

    But I am certain this person is a prankster. Just because it was sent twice, with different places.

    Unless they have her alive, and plan on waiting there each time.

    Still though, why would the podcast guys be threatened and stalked?

    That alone kind of makes the idea that some crazy fuck IS keeping her alive and toying with sleuthers. idk Nothing really adds up.

    I am a hiker but not in New England. And yes, location matters. Each region is different, at least in my opinion.

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    1. Lance and Tim were most likely harassed by the one other person that knew they were there and the reason why is to lend credence to that same persons conspiracy theory. It was a dog and pony show I'm sure .

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  17. I certainly agree with Mr. Franklin's previous post. This is at minimum a two day trip. Possibly three days to allow for adequate search of the area. I definitely agree that a person attempting this trip should have a high degree of competency with map and compass and GPS use.
    If a person uses the Signal Ridge trail to gain access to the coordinates that Mr. Renner provided. You'll begin your hike at about the 1400' elevation point, and will crest Mt. Carrigan at about 4700' elevation. You're looking at about 3300' elevation ascent to the top of the mountain. The best that I can tell it's about a 4.5 to 5.0 mile hike from the road/trail intersection to the summit of Mt. Carrigan. Once you summit Mt. Carrigan you'd have to descend the ridge that runs northwest from the summit to about the 3040' elevation point. The best that I can tell there is no trail that leads from the summit to the coordinates that Mr. Renner provided. However the ridge you would travel does look very prominent. The coordinates indicate this position is pretty much along this ridge. Once a person arrived at these coordinates they would need to allow enough time to do a thorough search of the area. "IF" and this is a big "IF", there were something relevant to be found at this location, it's quite likely it's not in it's original position, unless it was buried. Considering twelve years of Snow fall and spring melt-off and the steepness of the terrain, and that does not even take into consideration animals or varmints that could have disturbed the area.
    I personally feel it's a wild goose chase and one should certainly take Mr. Franklin's and Mr. Renner's advice about being on the look-out for traps.
    This kind of trip would certainly be up my alley, but as with many others I just don't have the time, at this point in my life
    Respectfully
    JW

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    1. James Williams, I am an experienced mountain hiker and I disagree. This hike can be done in 1 full day. It's 5.85 miles in and 5.85 miles out from the Notchland Inn. This hike is reminiscent of the La Luz Trail in Albuquerque, NM - check it out. The La Luz trail has over 3,700 foot of elevation gain and is about 6 miles one way - just like this hike. People do it in a single day all the time - in and out. The La Luz Trail has more elevation gain than the route from the Nothland Inn, but there is no trail to get to the coordinates. The La Luz trail is a bit longer as well. From my experience, this would be a 12 hour hike for an average in shape hiker with a proper pack and a good GPS unit such a Montana 600 or better.

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  18. I think anyone considering this should consider William Franklins advice.A hike in terrain such as this is certainly not for a novice.
    On another note:wasnt this nearby(in the grand scheme of things) where Louise Chaput was found?

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    1. Not really. She was found on Glen boulder trail if memory serves. Not what I would call close. About 14 miles as the crow flies, considerably longer by road and then the trail travel. She was found relatively close to the trail-head if I remember correctly and there are probably lots of suspects as she was a psychiatrist or psychologist.

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  19. These are the directions to Troll Central. That's the reason he covered his online footprints well.

    Think. No one is gonna drag someone up there in the dead of winter.

    Ever hear of letterboxing? This is the only positive possibility. A box; an envelope; a plastic bag hidden under a rock; behind a log; in a crevice. A clue, a possession; unlikely, a confession or accusation. Anything but remains.

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    1. I was thinking it may be the location of a geocache. Maybe they stashed something inside of it with a clue or a message?

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    2. I agree with this, to a point. Of course, sliding a body on a sled in the winter on snow is a piece of cake. I have carried a hundred pounds of camping gear for winter camping trips on my homemade sled. Not burying the body is probably the best way to dispose of it in an area like that. The animals will make short work of it and disperse the bones very rapidly. Also in the winter, in that area, the snow is very deep. Snowshoes or skis can allow you to access areas that would be virtually impossible to get to in the summer because the snow is so deep that it is taller than a lot of the brush and even many of the trees. Gives you great access to areas that no one would be able to even see in the summer.

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    3. I couldn't agree with you more---if anything is up there it's letter gloating that anyone was naive enough to hike up that far. Nobody hauled a dead body on 2 day trek in the middle of winter.

      And therein lies the danger of dealing with trolls; whoever sent that email is thrilled we're here talking about it. And if he can gain negative attention that way then other trolls will utilize the same method.

      This reminds me a lot of murder cases where police receive troll letters---something like the Wearside Jack imbroglio in the Yorkshire Ripper case. The police are so desperate for clues they become certain the letter is genuine and end up wasting time and resources for naught.

      Generally speaking, when actual murderers send correspondence they purposely include details that haven't been published in the press. They want everyone to know they're the real perpetrator so their letter will get the respect they believe it deserves.

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  20. If the hike is as difficult and time-consuming as it sounds I thinks there's a near non-existent chance that someone carried a body up there and buried it.

    The risk you'd have to take to carry a body there - in, presumably, February - to then dig through the snow and frozen terrain to bury it is way too high to be practical. There's no way there's anything to this whatsoever.

    I agree that it's a final clue that no one's looked into, but of everything to come out of this case this one reeks "troll" the most to me.

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    1. No one said a body was carried there. I think it is safe to infer that these coordinates are meant to suggest the location of remains, but that doesn't mean if they are legitimate that her dead body was carried there. Maybe she was alive and forced to hike there at gun point. Not saying I think so, just pointing out that we cannot explore possibilities from only one angle and dismiss it because the one angle we explored is unlikely. :)

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  21. Or you could just rent a helicopter. This is assuming that the area is accessible by one.

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  22. I can understand the need to have down every lead because that is what being thorough is all about. But, if it turns out Maura was killed, the only people who would know where her body is are those that killed her. So, why would they suddenly decide to disclose that fact now?

    Similarly, if she was killed and the body was dumped there, ask yourself how would they have got a dead body/non-cooperating alove Maura to a remote part of the countryside?

    Moreover, even if a body was dumped there, how much of it is actually going to be left die to a combination of natural decay and animals eating it?

    Sadly, I fear that this is just an a semi-elaborate but sinister wild goose chase designed to test your willingness to follow anonymous leads (hence being followed) and/or hoping that you may suffer an "innocuous" and "natural" accident on a regular seeming hike.

    For that reason, there's likely to have been some thought gone into choosing these coordinates and I would personally advise anyone who does go to investigate to proceed with extreme caution and not to go alone.

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  23. Has anyone checked to see if these coordinates are the location of a geo cache? It might be worthwhile to check the databases to see if it's a location of a geo cache. If so, there may be a clue or note inside the geo cache.

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    1. There is no listed geocache at that location on the geocaching.com website or anywhere near it really.

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  24. I have a question. Which properties around the accident were investigators given permission to search and which were not? If I'm not mistaken, one of the neighbors (who months later claimed to have spotted Maura running far from the crash site) did not allow investigators to search. However, this neighbor has since moved. Did he sell his house? If so, have the new owners been approached about allowing a search to take place?

    Also, what about the workplaces/work sites of the neighbors around the crash site? Have these been identified? Have there been any searches? Seems some stickybeaking might be in order...

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  25. Does anybody know what shoes Maura was wearing on the night of her disappearance? Were her hiking boots missing from her room? This could help determine how far she could travel on foot after the accident. Sneakers or leather soled shoes would make a huge difference in her ability to move far and fast.

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  26. I will be around there next month staying near Milan. If anyone is interested in going with me I am willing to go on a possible wild goose chase.

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  27. Is there any info about the stalking ? If so what episode of the podcast?

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  28. I live in Bethlehem nh literally 2 min from the umass cabin.nit to long ago there was a big drug bust there.

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  29. If anyone is going up there, please, try to bring these two types of people, a survivalist or someone who knows the area, and a person who is an experienced hunter or at least someone with some type of scoped weaponry, if it is a trap that would come in handy if trying to spot certain things, or if needed trying to tap someone who is at a long distance.

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  30. It looks like a default location at the centre of the White Mountain National Forest. The kind of thing a computer program would show.

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  31. To me someone smart enough to get away with a murder basically could conceivably drag a body on a sled very very far into a wooded area, and knowing that no one is likely to be out there might also take his time. Conceivably camping a night or two and possibly thinking to himself that he should go as remote as humanly possible to ensure Maura is never found by hikers. From what I have read of serial killers, especially first time killers is that murdering someone is an intensely personal event for them. They might even in a sick way want to spend as much time with their victim dead or alive and the middle of nowhere would be a great place to do it. I think that every lead should be explored no matter how remote the possibility. I have always been haunted by this case. I know first hand how creepy it is to be broke down on the side of the road at night in the woods and just how venerable a position that is for a young woman. All murderers are either someone you know or a complete stranger and the strangers are usually opportunistic predators. An opportunity presents its self, like a woman alone on the side of the road, and they strike. I pray that someone is brave enough to rule this lead out and my biggest hope is that Maura can be brought home to her family or in the very least this one can be crossed off the list.

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