Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Maura Murray Went Off the Grid Before Leaving UMass


Now that the excitement around the book has calmed down a bit, I think I'm able to see the data related to this case with clear eyes. There's a lot we missed in the phone records that I received last year. Yesterday, I talked about how the phone call data suggests Maura was with Kate Markopoulos just before she left UMass and disappeared. Today, something else hit me:

It appears that Maura turned her phone off when she was still at UMass.

In fact, Maura appears to have turned the phone off at exactly 2:18 p.m. since no incoming call was logged on her account from Bill Rausch's phone number. His records show he called her at 2:21, 2:22, and 2:24. Since we know she was in range of a cell tower at that time, due to her call at 2:18 to Bill's voicemail, the only way Bill's calls could not register on her bill is if Maura's phone was off.

There are two ways this is possible. 1. It ran out of batteries. 2. She turned it off.

I think the most likely explanation is that Maura purposefully turned off her cell phone immediately after Bill called Kate Markopoulos's dorm room at 2:18 p.m. Bill was looking for her. Maura didn't want to talk.

So, the next question is: did Maura turn off her phone just so that Bill couldn't find her? Or did she turn it off so that nobody could find her?

Maura made one last and final phone call, when she turned on her phone again around 4:37 p.m. She checked her voicemail.

52 comments:

  1. I think she turned it off to not get calls from either Billy or Fred. Both had let her down after she crashed Fred's car. I think Billy was mad at her(probably yelled at her) when she called him from Fred's motel room drunk and in the middle of the night, and Fred was furious, possibly physical with her. She was communicating with Kate, and possibly Sara, either by dorm phone, a burner phone or in person. That's why Kate wasn't seen on campus on Monday. She skipped classes and was either in Maura's room or her own dorm room. Just my guess.

    I find it interesting that Kate's coach said she had been lagging a bit recently, but at a meet on the weekend following Maura's disappearance, Kate ran some of her best times. Did Kate feel that the pressure was off whatever had happened that involved Kate, Sara and Maura, and she felt somewhat free again? Or was her fear driving her to be faster than usual?

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  2. This is interesting. However, in 2004 I don't think it was that unusual to turn your phone off (to save battery life or whatever, or even to avoid being charged for incoming calls while you're driving). People were not on their cells 24/7 like we are today. My mom STILL ONLY turns hers on if she needs to call someone while she is out. 99% of the time it is turned off.

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    1. I had an LG in 2004 and it had better battery life than any of the phones I've owned since. I wouldn't have to charge my phone for 2-3 days. I was a full time college student in 2004 and was on my phone as much as any other college student.

      You're right... In 2004, we didn't use our phones for everything as we do now so the battery life was known to last longer. Battery life did and still differs by phone.

      In 2004, I used one of the largest mobile phone providers in the US. It was a flat rate by 2004 with unlimited calls and texts. I wasn't billed like I was back in 1997 when they charged per call and per text message!

      Whomever has access to Maura's cell records may be able to answer the questions of how her mobile provider did billing. It's stated on the records.

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  3. Disregard if this posts twice- had an issue posting previous comment--

    What college drinks white Russians and boxed wine? NONE! I think it's obvious she was planning on hanging out with other women during her time away from school. I'm not saying men weren't there, but I think her beverage choice indicates that there would be other women there.

    Also, no chic goes and hangs out in the woods by herself. I'd be scared sh*tless. No way :)

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    1. I agree about the drinks. Those are women's drinks. But could it be that the guys brought the beer and the women brought the sweeter liquor for themselves? You usually provide whatever you're drinking, and bring a bit more for others to drink. That's the way I remember it in college.

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    2. Not true. When I was in college in the early 2000s I knew a lot of women who drank boxed wine. In fact me and my roommates kept a box of wine in our fridge mostly as joke but would drink it from time to time.

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    3. I was including wine in the women's drinks category, so I agree with you. The men would be drinking beer or sometimes wine. But the Bailey's and Kahlua are definitely women's choices. I do know a couple men who like some Baileys or Kahlua in their coffee, though.

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    4. Are we seriously using gender stereotypes for evidence now?

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  4. There is also the possibility that she had been kidnapped.

    But if she turned off her cell phone, then how did she coordinate with the random driver? It must have been face-to-face. Or a second cell phone - that not one person has ever mentioned. I highly doubt that senario.

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    1. Sure turned her phone back on to check her voicemail. Knowing they were in areas with shotty service. It's totally plausible that the tandem driver would be leaving messages on her voicemail as to not leave a trail on her cell records vein a certain number. Am I remembering correctly that her phone service was on Fred's plan?

      Messages through voicemail makes sense to me. It's something I'd do if I were running away from my controlling father who had access to look up my bill with the click of the mouse. Just call your voicemail, not your friends number. No trail!

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  5. I just checked back on Bill's cell phone records. When he was calling everybody to try to find Maura on Monday, why did he not try to call Fred? There are no calls from Billy to Fred on Monday, but on Tuesday, after Maura's disappearance, he calls the Holiday Inn Express in Conway at 7:30 p.m. for 2 minutes. Why did Billy call everybody but Maura's father when he was frantically calling everybody to find her on Monday? Fred would be one of the first people he should call to try to find Maura. Was Billy concerned about Fred's reaction to Maura telling Fred about his crashed car? There's something fishy there.

    I think Maura turned off her phone to avoid getting calls from both Billy and Fred. My guess is that when she called Billy, drunk, in the middle of the night about crashing Fred's car, he yelled at her. Then Fred did the same when she told him, possibly getting physical. Both men had failed her, and she didn't want to talk to them. She was in communication with Kate (Billy calls Kate, and Maura calls Billy while he was on the phone with Kate), and possibly Sara, but was avoiding Billy and Fred. Just my guess.

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    1. Possibly getting physical? There is not one single shred of evidence that Fred is in any way a physically violent person. Why throw that in there?

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    2. maybe that wasnt maura who called boyfriend while he is on the phone..only her phone..its a good alibi.... maybe that is just someone trying to do some evidence that she is well and fine at that time....thats why person calls bill while he is busy with other call. ?

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    3. But we see her later at the ATM, so she is fine until that point.

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    4. Nicholas, I read somewhere that Fred had been involved in physical violence in the past, but I can't remember where I read it. I'll try to find it for you. I think we can all agree that Fred was a verbally combative person, as in how he dealt with LE. I don't get a warm-hearted, loving vibe from him, to say the least.

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    5. To Anonymous 9/21 @ 10:43, you don't get a warm hearted vibe from Fred in his dealings with the police. Did you see his first interaction with them after his daughter went missing? His second? His third? You see where I am going with this, I can imagine Mother Theresa herself wouldn't seem like a warm hearted person is she had to deal with the stuff Fred has. Most parents have "lost" a child for even a few seconds in a store or at home, it is a heart pounding, sensory overload, chaotic couple seconds, for Fred, this has been TWELVE YEARS. Don't judge until you've walked a mile in his shoes

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    6. Not sure why his girlfriend's dad would be the first person he should have called. I don't think I've ever even had a significant other's father's number.

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  6. This makes lots of sense for sure. So this indicates some rehearsed statements by Billy Rausch as well as his mother Sharon in the days after Maura went 'off the grid'

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    1. I don't trust Sharon R. She comments that Maura doesn't drink much, then lists Bailey's at breakfast, some other liquor at lunch and another at dinner. This is a shaming hidden within a compliment. She took over for her adult son, feeding info to put him in the best light. She also made it sound like Billy and Maura were in a solid and committed relationship, getting ready to marry, when that was not the case. She's a crafty one.

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    2. I totally agree with you. Sharon definitely was running the show, no doubt about it. And what bugs Me is the whole "Sharon's Diary" thing and how people take all that as gospel / truth.

      And Billy separated himself from this whole incident asap. He was done with it and Sharon was behind it. They are all about their status and any embarrassment to that would be detrimental.

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  7. 1. It ran out of batteries. 2.She turned it off. What about 3? Something sinister was already underway that afternoon and someone other than Maura had her phone. They weren't there to "talk" on it, they only needed to know what the messages were coming in and who would be looking for her at this time.

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    1. But if she is on an ATM pic and CC footage at the liquor store, this doesn't add up--unless something happened en route to NH. Remember, there is missing time on her trip...

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    2. I agree one-hundred percent. It's an important possibility that shouldn't be discounted.

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  8. I personally think Billy Rausch and Kate M. have all the answers needed to solve this case. There has to be a BIG issue involved for them to remain quiet all these years. I think Sarah got got up in the middle and was scared.

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    1. I don't think Billy knew exactly what Maura and Kate were involved in. Sara seems to be the third wheel in this. Billy's goal was to put himself in the best light and to control Maura as well as he could from a distance. I don't think he knew exactly what was going on, but had a hunch that something was hapening. His goal on Monday was trying to patch things up with Maura after he yelled at her when she called him from Fred's motel. Also, I think he was worried about Fred's reaction to Maura crashing the car.

      I get the feeling that Sharon and Billy thought Fred was inferior to them, a lower-class person. Just my hunch. I don't think Billy, Sharon and Fred communicated much.

      I agree that Sara got caught up in whatever was going on, and her involvement began on the night of the "party". Then, she was sucked into being involved as Kate and Maura made plans. But whatever was going on began before Maura's breakdown on Thursday night.

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    2. Did Maura and Sara work the same shifts together at the gallery, or did one leave as the other started work? That makes a big difference in how much they communicated or how close they were.

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  9. College kids feel that their cell phones are their lifelines. I think if Maura left it at the "party" (we don't know that for sure. It could be a ruse to explain why she wasn't accepting calls), she would track it down as soon as she sobered up at Fred's motel. The party wasn't huge, so somebody, probably either Kate or Sara, recognized her phone and called Maura on her dorm room phone and said they had it, or she tracked it down herself. Human nature of college kids and their beloved cell phones tells me that she got the phone back fairly quickly.

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    1. Not sure if people really had that kind of cell phone mentality in 2004.

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    2. I was a college student in 2004. I forgot my phone somewhere at least once every couple of weeks (if not more). I freaked when I didn't have it and would be frantically retracing every step to track it down.

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    3. It definitely wasn't the same back then. That's when the razr first came out. I mean it may have had a camera, but not one good enough to take quality pictures and the screens weren't that big. You couldn't access the internet and that was before apps like today. Basically, you made calls, possibly texted a little bit, and played snake.

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  10. WELL, we know she did not call the tow truck for the Corolla crash bc that was not on the cell records.

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    1. Does anybody know how busy that T shaped intersection is? How much traffic? A passing driver could have called it in, or the cop could have just come across it on his rounds. Could she have used a burner phone?

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    2. I thought there was a detail officer near by working a construction detail.

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  11. I wouldn't put so much stock in cell phones being so important as this was before everyone had smartphones. I left mine in my dorm all the time and only really used it if I left campus or was alone after dark. It wasn't attached to me like it is now to the point where I feel weird without it. FWIW I am the same age and attended college the same years as Maura.

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    1. I'm just the opposite. I had my cell phone with me at all times.

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    2. Me, too.I always had it with me.

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    3. I am about Maura's age and I used to turn my phone off sometimes when I was driving, in class, watching a movie, etc. Now I never turn my phone off, but in the early 2000s cell phone use was pretty different.

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  12. Sounds to me like she was checking out. I see a girl who's life is falling apart. She went from a being a champion distance runner as well as a prestigious West Point cadet to a girl in trouble with the law, wrecking cars, drinking a lot, and imo the most likely suspect in the Vasi hit and run. Even assuming she wasn't involved in the hit and run, I see enough of a downward spiral to believe she was depressed. In my mind, Maura turned her phone off when she did because that is when she made up her mind about what she was going to do. What is the point in entertaining Billy's controlling garbage if you'll never see him again. Sounds like she needed help at that time, but unfortunately everyone calling her was pissed about something.

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    1. I see exactly what you see in Maura, but I think she still had some fight left in her. She was partying, planning on going to a Dane Cook concert, and I think she wanted to just disappear from Fred and Billy. I don't think she was suicidal.

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  13. With Kate, turns phone off, Kate won't talk.

    Coming together, imo. Kate helping her prepare to leave. Checks voicemail and hits the road.

    She was disappearing.

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  14. It's also possible Maura did not have a plan or a destination. A friend of mine was driving home from work one day and she just kept driving. Three states away she stopped and started a new life. She had nothing with her -- no clothes, jewelry, etc. she just wanted out of her marriage and to have a chance at a different life. It was a spur of the moment decision that she doesn't regret.

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    1. I did that in college, but always came back. I'd just point the car in one direction and keep driving to clear my head on weekends, but I'd always come back to campus. I didn't have Maura's problems, though. Interestingly, I always headed toward the mountains.

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  15. Sounds right, but how do the accident reports figure into this? Why go to the trouble of picking these up if you already have one foot out the door of your current life?

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    1. "Here, Dad, I got you the papers from the DMV. Now you fill them out. I'm done and outta here."

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  16. Did any canine searches occur at UMASS? Perhaps Maura wasn't driving her car and they've been searching in the wrong region this whole time?

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    1. I wondered about the same thing. What if Maura Never left the UMASS area.
      Sara said she had saw Maura at work on Sunday Feb.8,04. (Art Gallery) Is there 100 % proof that Maura was at work? Did she have to clock in? Did anybody else see her on Sunday besides Sara?

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  17. She spoke to her sister, Kathleen, sometime at night (it just says P.M.) and made another call to a 4-digit number (a dorm room?) after that.

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  18. Why did Bill call Holiday Inn Express in North Conway on Tuesday evening???

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  19. I would like to point out... that in 2004.. (and most likely her phone was from 02-03), phones hardly ever run out of juice! I could of gone a week, without charging my phone. That is if I wasn't playing snake lol.

    100% she purposely turned off her phone.

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    1. Or.....someone else turned off her phone so it could not be tracked or traced.

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  20. Phones didn't get great signals, either. Could have very easily been out of range during those times. Hell, I lose a signal where I work and the coverage map in my area is completely red according to my carrier's website. Mostly happens if I'm not near a window.

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