Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New 'Missing Maura Murray' podcast makes the UMass cabin look very promising.


Lance & Tim are back with episode 29 of the Missing Maura Murray podcast. This week they feature an interview with Rick Graves who was involved with the search for Maura on the ground for about three years. He says the news about the UMass Outing Club cabin is new and believes it makes sense this could be the destination she had in mind the night she went missing.

He also, in my mind, puts to rest the notion that Maura's body could be near the scene of the accident after having wandered into the woods. Of course those woods were searched extensively. Graves was there for it.

Lots of good stuff in this one.

43 comments:

  1. Ancientexplorer1989July 5, 2016 at 8:31 AM

    gotta be searched. plain and simple. if for nothing else, to cross it off the list. fall would be a good time for it when it gets a bit cooler and some of the vegetation begins to wither out to make the surrounding areas a bit less dense.

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  2. I listened to the episode earlier today and thought it was a great interview and it brought up a question in my mind; has anyone ever determined where Kate, Sara, and Hoss were the night Maura went missing? I think there were rumors that no one had seen Kate that day. Would be very interesting to find out, with the cabin in mind.

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  3. I thought the episode was great and gave a little insight into some things in the case.
    If this Vodka bottle, looked like it hadn't been out there very long, Why didn't they bag it and turn it in, so police could see if Maura's DNA was on it or if it belonged to someone she knew?
    So Kathleen made a comment about the shoes Maura had on. They were some type of rubbery shoes and they weren't running shoes or boots.The shoes she had on most likely,would of caused her feet to sink into the snow. Plus, I thought no one,;not even family had seen the surveillance video. If Kathleen hasn't seen the footage, how would she know what type of shoe Maura had on?
    I think something happened to push Maura to her breaking point and she decided to start over.
    I believe there was a tandem driver and that they were following Maura Instead of her following them. If the Saturn really was in poor shape, then it would of made sense for the tandem driver to be following her. Butch said several vehicles passed by. Could one of them of been the tandem driver?
    Maura was picked up and either
    1. The person(s) helped her run away or
    2. They did personal harm to her
    I also think its Possible that an accident of some sort occurred and whoever panicked and covered it up.
    I would like to believe that Maura started a new life somewhere.
    IMO - Kate and Sara know more than they have said. I'm sorry, if my friend went missing I would be out there searching. Kate denied to Renner,that she knew that Hoss and Maura had dated for a while. Although, other track members told Renner, that Kate, Maura, and Hoss would hang out together.
    Hopefully Hoss will return someone's call and give some answers about the UMASS cabin.

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    1. I too thought the shoe thing was interesting. Was also interesting to hear Rick say Kathleen had said she saw the ATM and store footage. I guess if so she'd know exactly what Maura was wearing.

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    2. Yes, his assumption that someone had seen that footage puzzled me, too.

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  4. One of the routes to the cabin, would of took Maura through Woodsville, NH.
    Wasn't the cashiers sighting at Butson grocery store in Woodsville, NH?

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  5. A comment on another post brought up a good question: Why didn't any of Maura's friends help with the search? I'm with glassjaw: I want to know where they were.

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    1. Yeah I would love to know to what extent, if any, LE questioned them.

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    2. They may have been asked by law enforcement to not participate in the search. I recently watched something on ID Discovery (The Vanishing Women) where LE in that case asked friends and family to not search because of what they may find. When friends and family search for a missing loved one, if they find them, they run the risk of contaminating the scene.

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  6. PART 1 of 2 - James, as you know, I am one of your biggest fans and I am fond of you personally. But I have to disagree with you about the possibility of Maura's body being found near the scene having been definitively put to rest. On the contrary, it is a very real possibility. In fact, I expect that were you to talk to one of the search and rescue / body recovery experts who works for NH Fish and Game through their contractors, they would tell you the same the thing.

    A number of times over the last year or two, you have made comments to the effect that the woods near the scene were searched extensively. This comment is deceptive. For one thing, the density and complexity of the terrain back there make it virtually impossible to search it "extensively," in the sense of precluding that someone is back there. There are many stories of people who have died in the backwoods, just feet away from heavily travelled areas whose bodies are not discovered for years. To name just one complicating factor, marshes pose the possibility of swallowing up someone and they can be even more dangerous in the winter. There is such a marsh not 600 feet from the scene and another not a half mile away. Another factor: there are numerous places were she could have fallen over the cable and fence retaining post into rock crevices along the river (not unlike the thesis of the guy who gave you the ride when you went to the site.) If her body got lodged into a place hard to see from the roadway (and they exist, I have seen them myself), when the river's level and flow rose as the summer approached, her body could have literally been deposited anywhere. This is just a couple examples. I know you will protest "but no footprints," but - and I apologize for the edge to that comment - that is a romanticized simplification. Officer Smith checked the immediate area. There are legion places she could have gone into the woods, past Butch's House, up on Bradley Hill Road or east one 112. She also could have walked down Old Peters, because it was plowed and driven on by the four residents who use it to access their driveways and in the slushy conditions with not very much accumulation, it would have been very difficult to determine via flashlight inspection that someone had walked down Old Peters, particularly given Smith's entirely logical belief that a DUI had simply fled the scene. Besides Old Peters, there are quite a few driveways in the vicinity and the driveway leading back to a outdoors club. There are also trails that cross 116 and Bradley Hill Road that get hiking traffic and animal traffic in the winter. Smith did not check every such entry point or even close to it. In short, there are almost infinite entry points into the woods within a 15 minute walk of the scene and it is NOT possible to EVER definitively exclude that a body is lodged somewhere in the infinite nooks, crannies and complexities of back woods forest.

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  7. PART 2 of 2 - As for the searches beginning three days later, the scent dogs - as a Fish and Game expert and academic expert have made clear to me - would have been utterly useless at that point. In the summer, over dirt and grass, MAYBE 48 hours later they could have tracked her. In the winter ... no way. So, right off the bat, the search for her at that point is behind the eight ball. Now all they can do is wonder around the infinity of places that a body could wind up (within even just a half square mile) and hope they stumble upon something. It is not like looking for evidence on somebody's lawn where crime scene technicians lock elbows and focus on the area around their feet. It is infinitely more complex than that. You could put 200 searches out for 8 hours a day for six months in the square mile around the accident and still not be absolutely sure that you would find a body, even if you knew for sure it had to be there. Again, the terrain is too complex and too dense. As it was, while the searches were very thorough, they did not come close to even that level or thoroughness. I'm sorry James, but you are missing this one. As you yourself have said, in your passion you can become myopic.

    ~ John G.

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    1. Thank you, John. This has been my theory all along, but I've been told it's impossible that she succumbed to the elements. In fact, that is the most reasonable and most put-down possibility.

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  8. why hasn't anyone from the Murray family been to search the cabin area now that this information has come to light? James, if someone wants to put together a search I'm willing to assist

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  9. Wow, inter-esting episode! Items I noted...

    1. There had been conjecture around the time that she went missing that Maura could have been visiting Hoss or another boyfriend "who had a cabin up there."
    2. One of the neighbors consistently aroused suspicion. What of that??
    3. The area that was searched was huge.
    4. The perspective of Rick Graves (who I have to commend for assisting in the search) that Fred was searching hard and seriously for Maura, and that it wasn't all for show like a couple of people (was it Maura's brother in law?) have suggested. Also, that Fred was a good guy and took care of the expenses for people in the search parties. (I'll bet both are salt-of-the-earth types.)
    5. Rick's perception that the police could have been more forthcoming (I am paraphrasing).

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  10. I think it might be time to stop the speculation of what happened to Maura. It's pretty obvious that she ran away. I think Sara and Kate told Fred where she went. I don't think Maura wants any contact with her family and/or Fred. Since Fred probably knows the truth of where she actually is, he has to keep up with the same old story regarding an abduction. If Maura was ever found, she'd have to pay back all the money for the search efforts.

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    1. It is certainly possible that she ran away. If she's still alive it should be possible to prove it. Then no one has to live under a cloud of suspicion and the women of that area can be reassured that there isn't a killer in their midst. The resources going towards this investigation can then be used elsewhere.

      If Maura is alive (I certainly hope so) and wants her privacy I respect that. I don't judge her for running away, either. However, was it Kate or Sara that said she thinks Maura tried to run and then something bad happened?...

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    2. What concrete evidence do you have that can finally resolve this? Not speculation. Evidence.

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  11. How is it "pretty obvious"? I don't think anything about this case is obvious. That's the whole problem.

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  12. Only someone who knows nothing about how searches are done would ever say you can exclude a body being there. Especially in terrain like that. You can never prove that something isn't there. Search commanders use probability of detection as their criteria. They change (raise) the POD by having crews search and research areas. If someone tells you the POD is 100%, they are either lying or have no idea what they are talking about. The only place you might get a 100% POD is a WalMart parking lot that is entirely empty and scoured several times. When a search team is debriefed they are asked how well they think they covered the area. The search commander then uses that in his equation to recalculate if that area needs to be searched more. No team leader would ever think they had a 100% chance of detecting the person or items in areas like that.

    And I believe that it is likely that she is around that car though not necessarily near the car. This is a young woman who is very physically fit. She could have traveled a pretty good distance that night. Fueled by fear of a DUI which would screw up her conditional fix on her other charge. It is very likely that trying to get away from police and keeping out of sight she strayed too far into the woods and got lost and succumbed to hypothermia. I would put that at better than 50/50.

    Bill

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  13. Regarding Kate knowing about Maura and Hoss:

    In college, my then and current best friend had no idea I screwed our mutual boss/friend until last year. That's 10 years after we had a fling.

    It IS possible Maura didn't know.

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    1. By all accounts, MM was a very private person. She didn't even tell Kate about the car accident in her father's car at work the next day! Kate didn't know about it until MM disappeared. That privacy she held so closely also makes me think she wasn't running off with a tandem cat. She wanted to be alone with her diseases.

      And everyone makes a big deal about the amount of alcohol she bought. She was a poor college student. You buy in bulk. I think the amount she bought means nothing. I would've bought a case of beer rather than a 6 pack back then. It's cheaper when you buy more and never goes bad.

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    2. It was Sara who Maura didn't tell about the car accident not Kate.

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  14. That has to be the best podcast episode of the series. I have applaude Rick, not only for helping search and caring about someone he didn't know, but for his candor and forth coming of information. You have to wonder where this case would be if everyone involved would have done the same.
    Striking to me is the amount of information the family had early on. How many years have we been told that no one outside of LE has seen the store and ATM videos? How long was is before it was known publicly that Maura was in fact seeing someone else?
    Never heard of the empty Vodka bottle either. Certainly sounds like it isn't just LE that is holding back information.

    The reply to John Green above and those who believe that Maura wondered off into the woods close by. No disrespect, but didn't you listen to Rick? There was snow on the ground. Endless you can fly, tell me how someone on foot enters the snow without leaving foot prints? LE also searched by air and, as far as we know, saw nothing. I don't know about you, but it didn't sound like Rick was a moron. They followed roads looking for foot prints along the sides. I don't know how far they took the road search while the snow was still there. That would be a question for Rick. But I think any one logically searching would have started at the car wreck scene and gone out from there. That includes all of the possible ways that someone on foot would go. I am pretty confident and willing to take Rick as his word that if there was a trail to follow they did. The searchers where open minded to anything, including physics was also good news. The fact is that it is highly unlikely that Maura walked off into the woods locally. An argument can be made that she ran down the road, went to someone's house, got picked up or something happened to her later that night.
    I will agree that the only reason we have that Maura went up towards Butch's house is because of the dog. I put as much faith in that dog as I do in Rick Forcier's sighting. I did find it interesting that Rick mentions that if Maura was going to go to someone's house it would have been Forcier's. It is too bad that the podcast didn't talk more about why he thought that.

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    1. Don't misconstrue what I said. I am not saying that she DID wander into the woods and die. I am saying that it is a possibility that cannot be excluded on the premise that the area was searched thoroughly.

      As to the point of accumulation on the ground. There was not much recent accumulation and the temperature was near 40. The conditions were slushy with old accumulations, particularly in snow banks. I have looked at the NOAH weather data for that date and the previous weeks. You can also corroborate this with CNN footage at the scene a few days later. This means, for one instance, that she could have walked up Old Peters Road and Smith most likely would not have noticed with a flashlight inspection, particularly given that he reasonably believed that the driver he was looking for was a fled DUI.

      Moreover, even with a lot of accumulation, there are many plowed driveways nearby, including the one that goes back to the club/lodge. He did check all of those. There are also trails crossing BHR and 112 that get hiking traffic and Moose and deer and snow shoers in the window. Smith simply did not and could not have checked all those entry points, let alone any given entry point where she crunched through old accumulated snow.

      Rick was not at the scene that night. Given the slushy and relatively warm conditions, searching for fresh prints a few days later would pose the same impossibilities compounded by the fact that the prints would no longer be fresh.

      I respect your opinion but don't misconstrue mine in order to throw a jab at it - i.e., "unless you can fly." I have researched this through data, interviews, visual evidence, by exploring the immediate area at night after a snowfall and by talking with experts from NH Fish and Game who are familiar with Maura's case. Based on those efforts, I stand by what I said originally: it is a very real possibility that Maura wandered into the woods and perished and it cannot be precluded on the reasoning that the area was searched extensively.

      John G.

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    2. I wasn't taking any jabs at you. I was simply pointing out that if you walk in the snow you will leave prints. You can point out the weather all you like, but the simple fact is that the snow was on the ground long enough to see foot prints. How long was it before it snowed again enough to cover any prints or remains? That would be a better question to have answered. What about the helicopter search? No faith in that?

      I don't have a problem with the possibility that Maura went down any number of dry roads that night. She may even have died in the mountains. But what you are suggesting is that everyone that searched, not only officer Smith that night, but everyone in past twelve years wasn't smart enough or lucky enough to find her. That is rather harsh considering that the fact is we don't know who searched where, when and how large of an area they looked at. We also don't know what was found or observed. Until Rick mentioned it in the podcast, it was the first time that I have heard of the empty Vodka bottle. Too bad they didn't ask Rick where they found it. The fact that she wasn't located can mean that she wasn't found or that she was never there to begin with.
      We don't know where officer Smith searched that night or for that matter, where Butch went either. What we do have now, thanks to Rick, is a first hand account of someone with feet on the ground who was searching. Atleast in my book, that pretty important.

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  15. The woods around the crash site are very dense and from what I understand, wouldn't of been easy to get into in the winter. Also, The snow banks were pretty high.
    I know it's possible that Maura ran into the woods and her body just hasnt been discovered yet. I'm a young woman, several years younger than Maura and I know running into the woods at night time and in the winter, would be a scary thought and probably wouldn't be my first choice of decision making.
    I think if Maura did perish in the woods, then most likely her body is going to be found on the edge and not deep in the woods. Has all the side roads around the crash area been searched?
    Has all of Maura's favorite hiking spots in the White Mountains been searched?

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  16. A 20 miles radius search area would be 1,256 square miles. That is a tremendous amount of wooded terrain to search for a half dozen people on weekends during one year. I'm sure it was just an estimate on his part but I would have to guess that the area they searched would have been a lot smaller than that.

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    1. I took it as 20 square miles total...

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    2. A tremendous amount indeed coupled with the fact that it is extremely rough & unforgiving terrain. A big difference than say, that acreage in relatively flat terrain. Hills, gullies, rocks, small cliffs etc no doubt are present & add to the actual surface area that needs to be covered making it very difficult to completely search all areas.

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  17. Not to go off topic, because I think the UMass cabin indeed looks very promising(!) and should be searched, but do you guys see any resemblance with this Canada unidentified person? She was found far near Vancouver. Myself, I don't find a strong resemblance but she does look mildly similar to certain photos of Maura. Hair, nose, lips and jaw are an approximation.

    http://doenetwork.org/cases/788ufbc.html

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    1. Ancientexplorer1989July 10, 2016 at 2:57 PM

      Well since the Jane Doe was discovered in 1995, no, I see no resemblance whatsoever and it is physically impossible, unless she found 'a wrinkle in time' like that one chapter in renners book. if it was 2005 yeah sure it'd be worth looking into.

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    2. She was discovered in 1995, 9 years before Maura disappeared.

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    3. Can't be Maura, this Doe was found in 1995 before MM went missing. I don't think it looks like her either.

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    4. From that link: "Estimated Date of Death: Between 1985 and 1995". Not possible.

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    5. Woops, I got my years wrong (I thought the date range ended in 2005, not 1995). Off by 10 years, that's a first. Sorry, guys!!! I genuinely saw a resemblance and just mixed up the dates :(

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  18. I feel confident when they say they search 20 miles. Why would someone who is searching out of concern be deceitful or mistaken when he is telling that important piece of information? Lets say they only really searched 10 miles that year, would not be hurtful to say that they looked in a area that really wasn't searched at all? What would that gain? I am not saying that maybe they were off a 1/2 mile or so but I take it at their word. I also don't feel if she really just wandered off in the woods with shoes like she had on, she wouldn't have gotten so far. I am not saying she didn't but to me it's not logically that she got that far with those types of shoes even if she was running.

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  19. The problem with her walking away and dying in the woods is a simple one: What happened to the backpack and any items she might have been carrying with her? What happened to the clothes she was wearing?

    I could understand her body just being skeletal remains, but what happened to her stuff?

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    1. Ancientexplorer1989July 10, 2016 at 3:01 PM

      Bingo.
      i don't think she is in the woods around the accident site. I say that with absolute confidence. not that it means much because everyone is entitled to their own which i respect. lots of people don't like my opinions at all, but i stand by them. she's either alive and well and laughing at all of us (or paying no attention at all) or is entombed (alive or dead) in a place that is not the woods beside her vehicle.

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  20. Given the slushy conditions and the type of shoes that Maura was wearing I personally find it very unlikely that she would walk in ankle and maybe even knee deep snow that would soak her feet to the point of freezing in minutes.

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  21. ^^^^I agree they would've found something that belongs to her.

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  22. Was anyone else puzzled by the fact that Rick seems to subscribe to more than one theory about what happened to her?

    I've listened only once (& it was a few days ago) so forgive me if my details are off. But he seems to say at one point that he thinks she was picked up by a "dirtbag" (weird that it's the same word Fred uses?) & at another point that it seemed likely she was going to meet someone, possibly a new boyfriend.

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    1. Ancientexplorer1989July 13, 2016 at 8:58 PM

      Not really, E Cook. From personal experience, I'll admit my ideas shift month by month, day by day, hour by hour, considering all the new possibilities that arise regularly.

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  23. The thing about a case like this is that you can't ask people for evidence to prove their theory. That's all they are. Theories. Every single opinion is a theory. There is such little evidence in this case that it's impossible to prove any of these theories correct, without of course Maura herself, her body, any of her belongings (which I'm sure will never be found), and if there was one, a perpetrator.

    My THEORY, is that she ran away, tandem driver behind her. Accident occurs, she tries to shoo Butch away, and then gets in the tandem driver's car and drives off into the night. She could have ducked down below the sight lines of those in houses. Just because no one saw her get in a car doesn't mean she didn't. I just find it highly unlikely that she wandered off and died. I'm a first year law student, so I'm far from an expert yet (lol) and I'm a true crime buff. In ALMOST all, not all, but in almost all cases of deaths occurring in woods or forests, there is SOMETHING. Her backpack, her cellphone, the alcohol. She took too much from the car for nothing to have been found if she died in the area. You'd think SOMETHING would have been found. Of course, it's possible. We don't know. But I think the family knows where she is. I'm sorry, but if I lost a loved one god forbid, I'd be out every single day for the rest of my life. I'd have gone to Canada. I'd be in those woods as much as I could. I'm in no way implying anything. I just think they know.

    As always, great work James! Loved the book! And I love these discussions. Nothing wrong with disagreement! Talking it out is the best way to solve it. Cheers!

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