Thursday, September 1, 2016

Simple, Glaring Detail

Often, we get hung up on all the weird, possibly meaningless clues (the rag in the tailpipe, etc.) of this case, and we don't see the forest for the trees. But there's one simple thing that's always bothered me and I think it's another detail that points to the tandem driver who has still not come forward:

Does anyone really believe Maura left that day without telling a single other soul where she was going?

I know the quick, easy social-justice-warrior response to this is, "she was a grown woman, why would she have to tell anyone where she was going?"

But, seriously consider it for a second. Do you really think Maura left that day without telling any of her friends that she was planning a trip?

I put this question to women who come to my readings and signings and I have yet to find one who took a trip without telling a single soul, especially one into another state that would take a couple days. And before you step up and say, well I did - I go off on my own all the time - think about it again. Were you going away for days? Did you really not text anyone just to let them know not to call the cops when you didn't show up in a day or two?

What is more likely? That Maura didn't tell a single other person what she was planning to do? Or that she did, and it's that person or persons who were with her that night?


122 comments:

  1. Ive always believed somebody knew her plans but the question is unless they.know she's alive why didn't they.speak up when she vanished? Or as you said they were with her and know everything about.what happened that night. I'm not even.sure how much her friends we're pressured by LE to open up, very little I think. If they were given polygraph tests the investigation may have moved along fast and.been solved by now. So frustrating but yeah I think someone.close to.her.knows everything

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  2. Woman here - who is extremely careful about being safe, normally - and I can honestly say the only reason I would ever, ever, ever not tell anyone that I was leaving town in college would be if I were to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy.

    Men don't have to think about the hypotheticals of getting pregnant, but this is a thought that has run through every woman's mind at least once. As a single, sexually active woman in college, the second you think you might have gotten pregnant all other thoughts go out the window and the only thing you can think of is: how do I get rid of this and how to I make sure no one ever finds out.

    This is why I've always thought Maura was pregnant ever since I was her age and in college, watching the Disappeared episode on her.

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    1. I don't believe that's the only reason. In fact, my friends in college found comfort by sharing that tragic decision with their friends. It's not 1970 and it's not illegal. Not all women feel the need to slink off in shame and have an abortion. And many probably want the comfort of their homes to recover. Not every women who has an abortion runs off to do it, so I'm not sure that's a fair characterization.

      Remember facts. She searched places to stay in resort areas. Not abortion clinics or hotels near abortion clinics

      pS Woman here.

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    2. Fair - not everyone would respond this way. I however grew up in the same area as Maura (2 towns away, my mother grew up in her town) - an area that is extremely Irish and Catholic (I embarrassingly thought everyone was partially Irish until middle school).

      All of my childhood friends from this area were instilled with extremely outdated Catholic values from an earlier age. I'm not 100% sure this was Maura's experience, but for what I know of that area, there is a pretty good chance she had a similar upbringing. Although I wouldn't think twice before getting an abortion if I thought it was what was best at the time, this does not mean that I wouldn't be extremely private about it.

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    3. I think you're spot on about the abortion angle. I was in fact planning on bringing it up, but you beat me to it. Those final email exchanges with her boyfriend & the school faculty seem to indicate this, IMO. I believe the "death in the family" explanation was a half truth, referring not to a passing that had already occurred but rather the intended termination of the life inside her. The whole "new age we we can do it in the open, now" argument doesn't really hold water with me, either. Abortion is a major life choice that very large portion of teen & 20something women would greatly prefer to keep secret from friends & family - Especially their fathers.

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    4. I don't think Maura had strong Catholic beliefs/morals based on her behavior (repeated stealing, threesomes, etc). I don't think she was getting an abortion that week either. You cannot just go to a clinic and get one the same day...that's not how it works. It takes multiple appointments, pregnancy confirmation, etc and many clinics have waiting periods after the pregnancy is confirmed. Not to mention clinics are generally HEAVILY booked weeks out, especially if it's not a major metropolitan area that has multiple providers. There would be record of her making an appointment... I think maybe her going away was more to contemplate her options if she was pregnant.

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    5. Not true. Even in rural areas it can be done in a few days.

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    6. Grew up in the are and was a Umass student when she went missing. I can name three abortion providers in the local area, two far enough away that the odds she would be seen by anyone she knew are approaching zero. There would be no reason for her to go to rural New Hampshire or into Vermont where it's much less available.

      Amherst and the 5 college area is hugely liberal. She could have walked from campus to a place that could anonymously refer her and I don't know a single person/student who doesn't know the place exists. A five second google search in 2004 would have taken her straight to them. It just doesn't jive that she'd drive out of state and go north for this.

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  3. So true...I made some bad choices for a while...drank too much, juggled several boyfriends at a time..stuff I'm not proud of AT ALL. I drove to Charleston SC from OH twice alone and even then a few close friends were aware of my whereabouts. They might not have been thrilled with my bad choices but they knew where I was.
    Someone(s) definitely knows.

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  4. With Maura, this could go either way. From previous posts, it has been mentioned that her friends did not even know she transferred into UMASS or went to the city(I believe Boston) for an extended period of time without telling anyone. She is very private about her personal affairs,also mentioned from friends. If she did not tell anyone, than it was something she did not want anyone to know, like a pregnancy. But,again,that private side to her,it would not be unusual for her to take off. But since it was a nursing program, it would obviously be noticed that she was not there. Other students could have asked and it could have leaked out about the death in the family. If she was coming back it would certainly have raised questions. Imagine having to pretend the lie about the death in the family. So because she told the teachers she was going to be away, I think Sara and Kate knew, phone records show they did not speak to each other during that time. The only other person who would know, would be the one she was meeting.

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    1. As far as her not telling anyone about the Boston trip, all we know is that she didn't tell everyone that was asked. That is the point of all of this I believe.

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  5. As a woman, who partied pretty hard in my 20s I can honestly say that yes I have gone out of town without anyone knowing except for those going with me obviously. At that time I had a wide circle of friends and a fairly close-knit family but yeah I did it. I can look back and see how incredibly stupid this was but keep in mind this was in the late 90s/early 2000s when like most 20 somethings I thought was invincible. Thankfully the worst thing that ever happened was a wicked hangover. I think it was mentioned that Maura was a pretty private person and the impression that I always got was that she was a hard person to really get to know. In fact I remember reading somewhere that several of the people she frequently interacted with felt that they really didn't know her coupled with the fact that she was obviously struggling with some personal stuff at the time I don't think it is that unusual for her to not have told anyone of her plans. My honest opinion is that she was picked up by someone with malicious intent to do her harm. Whether this person was a complete stranger or someone she knew...I don't know. People can argue about that chances of her car breaking down and then a serial killer cruising by but when you really think about aren't some people who are kidnap/murder victims because they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Take Amanda Berry for example, she accepted a ride from Ariel Castro walking in broad daylight down a busy street in Cleveland and no one saw anything....why is it so far out of the realm of possibility that someone offered Maura a ride on a cold dark mountain road and she accepted? If she had been drinking her inhibitions were most likely lowered...who hasn't made a dumb or even potentially dangerous decision while drinking...I know I have. Only by the grace of God did nothing truly awful happen to me but I know now the outcome could have been very different and unfortunately I think that is what happened to Maura. As far as Butch Atwood is concerned and why she didn't accept a ride/help from him...by his own account he is intimidating figure but that doesn't mean she wouldn't have accepted a ride from someone else, maybe someone closer to her own age, maybe it was a woman or a even a couple.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I don't want this to seem like I'm being combative but I need to point out a couple things, here. 1. You kind of prove my point here. When you set off, you had other people with you. 2. Serial killers are either organized or disorganized. If they're organized, they plan their abduction to the second. This could not have been a planned abduction because of the accident. Disorganized serial killers are messy and loud. If couldn't have been a disorganized killer because there is no sign of a struggle. Nobody saw or heard anything. 3. Berry accepted the ride at her work, Burger King. She'd seen Castro before. He was excellent at scoping out opportunity, but only in his small little realm that he knew well.

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    2. James, I really like your logical approach to this case, and I was wondering if you could comment on something said in Episode 27 of the Missing Maura podcast, in which they interviewed the woman who works in the Massachusetts public defender's office. She was actually implicitly responding to what you said in the recent round-table discussion on MMM, where you said basically that the odds of her being picked up by a criminal are just too unlikely. This woman answered that people are more likely to become victims of crime when they're in more vulnerable situations. Maura Murray was an attractive young woman broken down on a dark country road with no cell phone connection. This type of person in this type of situation is very likely to be the victim of a crime.

      What are your thoughts on this idea?

      She emphasized that MM may not even have been picked up by someone intending to harm her at all. It may have been someone intending to help her out, but then something changed after picking her up that resulted in that person killing her. This is actually how I see the case — maybe some guy picked her up and in the course of conversation in the vehicle he invited her over to his house, possibly with bad intentions. She refused, he got offended, and one thing led to another until she was dead. I think this is vastly more probable than someone wandering the roadways looking for someone to murder — that would definitely be a stretch.

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    3. It's a logic problem as well as a statistical one. We're to believe this woman didn't tell a single person where she was going, lied to professors about a death in the family, packed her stuff in boxes, and drove into the white mountains only then to run into a serial killer? Nope. That's too much coincidence. And again, if she was picked up by a stranger, there would have been a conversation at the accident scene. That transaction would take time. Long enough to be seen by someone. But if she knew the other driver, she could have hopped in an gone on her way in about ten seconds, a believable window of time to go unnoticed.

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    4. If you are going to dismiss every woman who responds and continue to only believe she couldn't have told anyone, why ask? Do you know for an absolute fact she didn't tell anyone? You can say that with certainty?

      It frustrates me how little you have been interested in Maura's personality and how little regard you have for a women's perspective, especially when it doesn't fit your theory. If you open your mind to what was really going on, you would see she may have wanted to escape the world she kept piling bad decisions after another on.

      Besides, you can't have it both ways. Either she ran off and has been hiding out with some other unknown person living the high life, or she left alone to run off and enter a women's clinic that shelters women who are abused or pregnant. It can't be both ways.

      Kate and Sarah aren't hiding her. They never were. They didn't answer Billy's calls because every time he couldn't get hold of Maura, he probably incessantly bothered them and they were tired of it. (Been there. Done that.)

      If she's still out there, why can't you find her?

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    5. But of coincidence could be quantified as too much then it would not be coincidence. That's like saying miracles can't happen because they are miraculous . I'm not saying she ran across a serial killer. I'm just saying it is not impossible, however improbable.

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    6. Mr. Renner, you didn't answer the previous question. The anonymous poster specified that it was NOT a serial killer but a random good Samaritan who may or may not have had truly good intentions. It may have begun okay but then the guy started getting ideas, things escalated from there and something terrible happened. That is NOT a serial murder by a serial killer.

      Yet your response concludes with yet another reference to a "serial killer" scenario. Are you unable to differentiate between a one-off, terrible chain-of-events killing by someone with no priors and some premeditated ("loud" or not) action by a serial killer? The world is shades of grey; not black and white. It's not either the work of a serial killer or simply not a murder/manslaughter at all. That's a false equivalency. It seems to me you are dismissing a very strong possibility by deliberately tainting it with the "serial killer" tag. Not helpful.

      Please address the actual stated question instead of simply dismissing the admittedly overused "serial killer" scenario. Thank you.

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    7. It doesn't change the math. And in fact it's even more preposterous. After everything that happened in Maura's life in the days leading up to this encounter, we're now to believe an ordinary citizen picked her up - unseen - and over the course of the next minutes/hours became a killer for the first time? No way.

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    8. Always a mistake to be so sure of yourself about a matter which none of us knows the truth of. I'll remind you of these comments if and when the truth ever comes to light. Wrong place at wrong time killings happen far more often than you suppose.

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    9. Perhaps she was picked up unseen, or perhaps a neighbor saw who picked her up but was scared to come forward. Wouldn't want to be seen as a snitch, especially in a small town or by someone you're genuinely frightened of or who has connections.

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    10. There's also the possibility she ran out of the search area, only to succumb to the elements and hasn't been found yet. The temps were moderate for February and a runner with jeans and a sweatshirt could have easily run out of the 5 mile search area. I walk my dog in those temps 2-4 miles daily. In much colder conditions in fact. In jeans and a vest and hiking boots. If you are used to the weather, it was more than possible.

      I'm so sorry for her family, but to me, that makes more sense than running off with a still unknown person or being snatched up by a serial killer.

      Bruce Atwood said in the earliest news reports that she looked drunk. How did she find this tandem driver? There wasn't one seen so the driver would've had to have known where she went after she left the car and found her when no one else could. She wouldn't get in a car with a bus driver, but jumped in a car with a serial killer? Neither of those make any more sense than Kate slunk off, found her, hid her, then snuck back. Yet also managed to go to at least one meet.

      I know, everyone. I'm the one with the crazy theory that couldn't possibly have happened. Sorry. I just use logic and facts we know to be true.

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    11. James, what you're saying makes sense if you're talking about a regular citizen deliberately murdering her. I agree that that's nearly impossible. But what I was thinking about was a scenario along somewhat different lines. What if someone picked her up and they started down the road. She gets a bad vibe from the driver for some reason, panics, and tries to get out of the car, maybe while it's still moving. She cracks her head on something as she jumps out, getting killed. The driver disposes of her body rather than be put on trial for murder.

      And isn't there a window of about seven minutes in which she could have gotten in a passing car? That sounds like enough time for someone to offer a ride and have it be accepted.

      The actions in her life in the days before this happened indicate that she made impulsive and bad decisions, so I think this would favor something like what I'm thinking of.

      Thanks for taking the time to discuss this with us!

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    12. Probability and math and numbers and coincidences......none of these things matter when it comes to unplanned murder. They happen all of the time and are usually the result of a sexual advance gone wrong or rape.
      I personally know people who lived in that area at the time who had a history of sexual violence and were on drugs.(not the best mixture) While I'm not saying I for sure believe it was one of these people, I also can't say I wouldn't put it past them.
      As far as Maura not telling a single person where she was going I do believe she must have told someone she needed to get away for a little bit. My only problem with believing she wanted leave permanently is that up until the accident her whereabouts can be accounted for. She made phone calls, went into stores etc. Why is there absolutely no activity on her cell phone or credit cards or confirmed sightings of her after that? Cell phone service in this area is still shitty (excuse my language) to this day. That's why she wouldn't have made any calls when she was in the area, but what about when she got back into service? I can't believe she wouldn't contact anyone after that especially being the emotional wreck she was at that time.

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    13. My biggest pet peeve in this case is the serial killer idea. It's so dramatic! The vast majority of people who are murdered are not killed by serial killers. It could have been a regular 'ol killer or an encounter that went wrong.

      Statistically, one in four women are sexually assaulted during their lives and that's just the cases that are reported. It may sound like an out there theory, but definitely not as impossible as you make it out to be.

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    14. 1 in 4, has been disproved so many times. where it has become on of the most absurd fake stats, out there.. Take the SJW feminist BS stats out of here.

      They are clouding your judgement.

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  6. I have been following this case for going on ten years and I'm constantly going back and fourth on what I think happened to her. I have a hard time believing that she went and started a new life and hasn't made a single mistake reveling her real identity or that someone else hasn't given her up. The way you framed this question really got me to thinking and makes complete sense. It's very unlikely that she didn't tell a single soul that she was leaving for days, driving a run down car to the middle of the mountains. I completely understand your point here and it makes me think twice about what I believe happened to Maura... I read on a comment above that someone was saying that she would have not told a single soul where she was going if she was terminating a pregnancy. I've had people close to me have abortions and it was one of the hardest things they have ever had to go through. That being said every female I know that made that extremely difficult decision could not do it alone and all brough either a very close friend or family member. That being said, I believe that if that's what Maura was going to the mountains for I believe she would have brought someone with her for emotional support.. I believe her destination was the cabin used by the students and it's extremely hard to believe she would have been going there alone. Honestly it's impossible to believe!! That person HAS TO BE FOUND!!

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  7. I still firmly believe that she was driving in tandem with someone(s) else. Yes, we've heard from those who knew her that she was a private person, but to me it still doesn't fit together that she would take off out of state for several days without telling a single soul. Someone has done a good job at keeping their mouth shut. (As a side note, I am almost 36 years old and even in my 20's I would have never traveled out of town - let alone out of state - on a cold, icy night on a semi-isolated road.)

    I also tend to believe that Maura is still alive somewhere. It would explain the tight-lipness of her friends and would explain why her father isn't still being proactive in keeping her story out there.

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  8. Not combative at all you bring up some really great points....I guess the point I am trying to make is that if someone like me who I would consider to be pretty outgoing, was not in any sort of trouble, with a large group of friends at the time and a pretty close-knit family would take off, albeit with a friend for a couple of days without telling anyone, then I can see how someone like Maura who had some personal troubles, who many felt they didn't really know and who had some secrets, who was probably used to being on her own and taking care of herself, based on her upbringing (yes I read your book - and loved it by the way :) wouldn't take off for a few days alone to clear her head? Maybe the person who picked her up was a fellow college student, someone she had seen on campus? It could have even been someone she knew? Maybe he/she was stalking her and she had no idea? I realize that Amanda Berry accepted the ride at her job I am very familiar with the case because it happened right around the corner from me so I get it he was an opportunist but the point I am trying to make with that is that she accepted a ride from him and disappeared and no one saw a thing. No one had a clue what happened to her and this was during the day on a busy street. Why couldn't this same type of situation have happened to Maura?

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    1. Good point on Berry. 216 represent!

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    2. You know it...West Side!! I really hope that I am wrong I hope she is alive somewhere and if she is I wish her all the love and happiness in the world but I really cannot believe that a person who is naïve enough to use a stolen credit card to have pizza delivered to her own home would be clever enough to pull a disappearing act that would rival D.B. Cooper. It just doesn't make sense. I can agree that it is possible that there was a tandem driver and they are responsible for doing her harm which is why they have not and probably will not ever come forward. But my money is still on the wrong place, wrong time, crossing paths with the wrong person conclusion

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    3. i like your point about Amanda Berry, and i agree it doesn't take much planning for a predatory minded person to grab someone. also i think the current modern criminal behavioral research says most criminals are not so cut-and-dried "organized" or "disorganized", most are a blend of both. if anyone thinks it's almost impossible for a woman to be snatched just for being in the wrong place, wrong time...look at the thousands of entries at any missing persons website. ~xjd

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  9. As a woman if I was planning on going on a trip (which I would never do thanks to my panic attacks) I would tell my parents and my doctors so they can contact the police in case of emergencies. Also I would contact my local post office in order to stop all delivery of mail and newspapers until I got back from my trip. Do we know if Maura had a post box? If she was going on a trip she would have put in a request to the local post office to not deliver any mail. Also I do think that the reason she left West Point was because something happened to a person she was close to that involved don't ask, don't tell. I now think she may have witnessed a sexual assault/murder occur which caused her anxiety, an event that involved a person she was close to. She must have worried that if the assailants thus why the "shoplifting" began. She most likely transferred to UMass in order to make a clean break. What she didn't realize is that UMass has one of the highest amounts of sexual assaults, reported and unreported, for a college. This may have triggered another burst of anxiety which is why she left.
    Another this is that a lot of rape victims more often than not feel a sense of shame, of it was their fault for it happening. When in reality the shame should be directed to the person who committed it, not the victim but the problem is a lot of victims also fear societal judgement.

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  10. James, have you been on the DoeNetworks website lately? There is a Jane Doe that is around Maura's age found in the area.

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    1. I just went through all the sites I know of, I don't see anything new.

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    2. http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/1227ufvt.html

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    3. "The decedent's remains were disinterred at the Rochester Cemetery after flooding from Hurricane Irene." This is from the case history. Doesn't seem to be related, I hadn't seen that one though.

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    4. Huh, interesting... 18-99 years old, gray hair, and washed out of her grave in a cemetery during a flood from a hurricane. Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that's probably not Maura. I mean, anything is possible, but I just feel like someone kidnapping her, dying her hair gray, and then burying her in a cemetery in Vermont is a fairly unlikely scenario.

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    5. That's not her. That's a body disinterred from a cemetery after a hurricane.

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    6. A woman with *gray* hair [ie; elderly], had been previously (formally) buried but needs an ID because the cemetery had a hurricane and some graves washed out.

      Seriously...what in the world would make someone think that could be Maura?!

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  11. As I ponder the tandem driver scenario, my logic makes it seem that it was nefarious, but unknown to Maura. It was a definate meet-up idea, but she thought a friendly one, not one with bad consequences. Or, a "crazier" #2 tandem driver theory, has me thinking that something bad happened to Maura in Mass. Then 2 Accomplices(named X and Y) had to set out quickly to get that car (and possibly Maura) WAY FAR away and ditch them both in NH. The accident spoiled their plans. They needed the extra car so that they could ditch Maura and her car, then ride back to Mass in the other car together. Not realizing the non cell area, they were just lucky enough to hook up at some point again and get out of NH. One of them, accomplice X (a female in the Saturn) unfortunately got seen by Atwood, but not 100% ID'd as Maura. But in this theory, there are 2 people involved in her disappearance and silence doesn't last forever. In the NH Eric Windhurst case, his girlfriend finally spoke, which ended with him in prison for murder. But that took 20 years for someone to spill the beans. Yikes

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  12. Has anyone ever checked to see if any of Maura's classmates were absent at the same time she went missing? Perhaps she had been targeted by someone she knew and the rag in the tailpipe was put there deliberately to cause the car to breakdown providing an opportunity to harm her or kidnap her?

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  13. If she is deceased and her remains found and was pregnant at the time I'd think that would eliminate a lot of Does.

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  14. I don't think Maura would have left so late in the day to drive to New Hampshire by herself. I understand she hadn't had her license very long, she didn't like to drive, and her car was not in good mechanical condition. I think she waited in Amherst for someone who was going to follow her in another car, that's why she left so late in the day knowing it would be dark by the time she got to New Hampshire.
    I think the plan was to get rid of her car in New Hampshire. Too many odd things happened in the previous few days (that we know about). One thing I find odd is that when she and Fred went car shopping on Saturday, they did not take her car to trade it in towards a newer one. What were they planning to do do with hers after they bought a new car?

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  15. If the tandem driver was a friend of MM helping her run away/support her terminate a pregnancy/take breather from school&life ingeneral, its hard to believe that this "friend" would not have mentioned to anyone going on this trip! MM may have been a very private person which given her age is a little unusual, but how likely is it that the tandem driver (assumed friend) is also tight lipped about the trip?! How often (even when promising someone to keep a secret or a private issue) do you end up mentioning the secret to an other person that you trust? I might mention something about a friends dilemma to a sister or other close family member that i perceive to be trust worthy! Anyhow if the tandem driver did NOT mention the trip to anyone either, they were in on some much bigger secret than a trip to take "a breather" or they had decided to do something to MM. Ofcourse something out of their control may have happened were MM died but instead of calling the police this person(s) panicked and some how disposed of the body!
    Bottom line, as a woman in her mid twenties I can understand how/why MM may not have told another soul about her trip, the issue was private/scary/intense FOR HER! However if there was a tandem driver and it was Sara or Kate or another female of the same age group I believe it is very very unlikely that this person(s) would not have told anyone!

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  16. I like these comments from Anonymous 9/1, 1:48 pm & Anonymous 9/1 1:49 pm.

    I was also going to suggest 2 alternate tandem-driver theories .

    1) The unknown-to-Maura "tandem" driver who happened to wind up behind her that night, following at a safe-enough distance so as not to arouse suspicion. That makes more sense than someone randomly happening upon the crash.

    2) Someone who'd planned the trip with her & meant her harm.

    However, I've never quite been able to shake doubt about it being Maura at the scene. Didn't Butch give at least one statement in which he was not definitive in his ID of the woman he saw being Maura? If it wasn't her, that's a whole new can of worms.

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    1. E Cook, it's a definite possibility that it wasn't Maura. Butch said the driver had her hair down, and by all accounts Maura almost always wore hers up.

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    2. Remember that Butch saw her right after she'd had an airbag blow up in her face. I'm sure that would make her hair look different from how it looks in the pictures we have of her.

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    3. In response to E Cook, I also wonder if it was Maura, as Butch could not totally ID her. There may have been 2 people after something terrible went down. Like I said, tandem as far as, 1 to drive her car to ditch it, then the other to pick them up and get the hell out of NH. The far away the better, but maybe their plans went awry with the accident. I think either Maura was there, and it was a possible local DWI hit&run where they had to cover it up, OR the latter.

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    4. Jodi K. I wear my hair up everyday unless its a special occasion BUT when i am driving (especially on a long trip) i take my hair down so i am more comfortable and my pony isnt leaning against the head rest. ;)

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  17. I read the book, it is fantastic work and blew my mind more than a few times. I have also kept up with the case for years as I am from Mass. For statistical purposes and to answer the question, I am a woman and when I was younger and foolish have gone pretty far for more than a day without telling anyone just to have some alone time. I am independent and also keep things to myself so I wouldn't be shocked if Maura did that. However, I never packed all my things and then took off. She was running and not coming back to school but not sure if she was running for good. I don't think she cared about her mail. I agree with James's tandem theory.I have always thought someone else was involved. However, I have always had questions about how she had no communication trail with this person (s). No email or snail mail trail, no phone calls or texts though I don't know if she texted in 2004. No trace? I know there was that random NH number that she called once but that didn't lead anywhere. Didn't the police hide what was on her laptop? There has to be a trail of communication unless maybe she had a disposal phone that she was using secretly. But I don't think she was that crafty. Has anyone ever ruled out strange phone numbers and emails?How would she have planned a get away with this person with no communication?My other theory is that she was concussed and disorientated from hitting her windshield in the accident and wandered off in the snow and passed out and died. By the time she was searched for she could have been carried off by animals and she could have made it far in the woods before collapsing. I know they said there were no footprints but there wasn't a very thorough job done on the search. I don't think she is alive either way. I just bought B.O.L.O by David Blake, anyone read that?

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    1. Hi AnonymousSeptember 1, 2016 at 5:06 PM, yes I did read BOLO and I really liked it! I liked the dialogue and thought it took a creative approach to Maura's case. I'm curious what others think of it!

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    2. Your point about there needing to be a paper trail indicating her arrangements with the tandem bothered me for a while too, until I realized that maybe one of those phone calls on her bill was her arranging the tandem driver. Or maybe one of the phone calls to her family or friends was her calling them to ask them to set up the trip with the tandem driver. Who knows.

      I have a hard time with the tandem driver theory on the whole, but it's for other reasons besides lack of paper trail.

      I also think the phone call from Londonderry is extremely interesting, and I wish we could get more information on it, but it seems like that's a dead end. It's quite possible it was just a wrong number, though. It's just one of many tantalizing clues that would tell us so much more if we could just uncover a tiny bit more information ...

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    3. I've wondered if it's possible she had another cell phone no one knew about. Could you buy pay-as-you-go phones back then that required no personal info to set up?

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    4. There are no animals in NH that would "carry off" the body of a full grown human. And don't say "bears" 'cause you'd be wrong.

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  18. I think she told the person who she was meeting at the cabin. Then something went wrong that night and everything else is a coverup

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  19. When I drove 2.5 hours away to kill myself, I didn't tell anyone.

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    1. Did you succeed?

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    2. AnonymousSeptember 3, 2016 at 11:37 PM, I am not sure how to read your response, but I hope we can be sensitive to RK in the way we ask about this. RK has shared something personal and it seems like a sensitive subject so I hope we can tread lightly. Just my 2 cents ;)

      RK, I hope you are feeling much better now and I'm sorry you went through that.

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    3. I'm so mad at myself for laughing at that comment^^^^

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  20. I absolutely think so. And we know from the Disappeared episode that it was not the first time she left and didn't tell anyone. And I believe there were other times in between those two that she did.

    We also know she was a very private person under tremendous stress. Now she could be worried she could get in trouble for the credit card theft of she gets in trouble for the car accident. The car accident she never even mentioned to Kate at work the Sunday after that accident.

    I think Maura was very private, hiding many parts of herself. And running off allows her to be free of responsibility and allows her to be with her diseases. All bulimics want to spend time alone with their diseases. Alcoholics too.

    Running off by herself? It makes absolute sense to me.

    How many 20 something women in college want to escape once in awhile? Most of them. Never say never, Renner. I think you could get a lot of insight from us girls. It's always been interesting to me how few men try to figure out what was going on in Maura's internal life and how bulimia as alcoholism can play a role in personality traits and thought processes. And I think many folk would be less narrow minded about her fate if they understood her better.

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  21. Unlike most of the people here, I have been following this case only quite recently.
    Before leaving she left a message that there has been a death in her family. Various sources on internet say that she was intoxicated while driving. Did she mean that the person who died was actually her and she prepped her death. After fleeing from the crash site as she encountered someone who was willing to call for help, she died possibly from exposure in the woods (cold, wild animals). I'm sure her biometric and DNA credentials were easy to get and if indeed she started a new life, its probable that the biometric or DNA could have been traced by now.

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    1. Anonymous September 1, 2016 at 7:12 PM, you make an interesting point. Was it Maura's habit to drink and drive on icy desolate roads? The fact that she did does make it seem possible that she was planning to drink herself to death. I wonder what the statistics are for someone her age and gender to try to commit suicide in this manner (drinking to death away from home, exposure to the elements, etc.)

      Was the crash near a bridge or a stretch of river she could have jumped into? If so, I wonder what's the likely route to such a point she might have traversed. If it was suicide she would have had a plan and she was familiar with the area. Was there a location nearby where others had commited suicide previously?

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    2. Here's something that's been driving me crazy. Why don't we know the source of the Londonderry ping?

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    3. Agreed. Still no info on the Londonberry ping and still no ATM video. Obviously LE knows a lot more than anyone and could very well know what happened to her but they just don't have enough evidence to prove their theory. Unfortunately, this happens all the time with LE.

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  22. Citing statistical probability in a circumstance like this just isn't very compelling. None of the possible outcomes for Maura are very likely to begin with, so to dismiss certain ones because they "aren't very likely" is a fool's errand.

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    1. We can dismiss nothing. All notions remain on the table.

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  23. Hrrmmm...
    I would personally tell someone where I was going but I also wouldn't steal someone's credit card number, participate in orgies or steal from Fort Knox. She seemed like a pretty private person who had a history of recklessness. I don't think it would be out of character for her to not tell anyone she was leaving.

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    1. Thank you, voice of reason!

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    2. Agreed. She'd done it before; in this case it seemed imperative for personal reasons.

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  24. The mind is a powerful thing and we don't know her state of mind at the time of her disappearance. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

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  25. If her intention was suicide she wouldn't tell a soul.

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  26. Some of her friends/classmates said that they really didn't know Maura that well as she was a private person....I can see myself leaving campus and traveling without telling a soul...I was brought to be a private person and not reveal plans etc ...I don't think that most people are that way but some ar...

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  27. I have taken trips before and told people mid-journey via text.

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  28. A little off topic but I was wondering wouldnt Mauras disappearance have been big news at UMASS within a week of the party at Saras dorm? Didnt someone write a few articles about MM in the school paper? How is that not even one person who attended that party ever came forward? No one? A packed dorm, and not even one person thought to contact the police or someone from MMs family?...makes you wonder what happened that night, was there even a party?! Or were Sara, Maura and Kate doing something else...if so, whatever they were really doing might explain the strange decision MM made to drive her fathers car to the motel in the middle of the night drunk!

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    1. Excellent question! You would think that someone who attended the party and saw Maura would have come forward if for nothing more than their 5 minutes of fame but not one single person has....very strange and all the more reason to believe that the party never existed and if the party never happened then why did Sara and Kate lie?

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    2. Exactly! I truly believe there was no party that night and Sara and Kate know something.

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  29. i can say yes... currently a 32 yr old white female who went away for university ........I definitely made travel plans without telling anyone I was leaving. One trip in particular was a bad decision as my family was looking to get in touch with me (and couldn't) and in the end broke into my apartment with the police. so many times i could have been harmed without anyone knowing where I was.

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  30. I wouldn't have taken off my myself when I was Maura's age without telling somebody, but as Lily said, I didn't steal someone's credit card number, wasn't sexually promiscuous or try to steal from Fort Knox. I wasn't asked to leave my university. I wasn't bulimic or an alcoholic. I had two wonderful parents who loved me. There was never a doubt about that. I've driven all over the country by myself, but somebody always knew where I was or was supposed to be at a certain time of day or night.

    When you think about it, she really hadn't known Kate or Sara that long, Billy was unfaithful and possibly rough with her and her father was probably the same. I know I wouldn't want to face Fred if I had wrecked his new car and blew every dream he had of her being a huge success in life. Who was it who said the track star/West Point thing was an ego boost to Fred?

    I think Maura had some sort of mental break from all of the stresses, and I think she ran without much thought. Whether somebody coerced her to drive to Haverhill, followed her, abducted her or threatened her, or she just left on her own, I think she did leave two big clues. One was the email from Billy that she left on top of the boxes on her bed, and I think the second one was the rag in the tailpipe as a signal to her father-her way of telling the two men in her life who treated her badly that she wasn't going to take it anymore. She was leaving all of her troubles behind. I don't think she had an idea of what she would do next. She just ran. What happened after the Haverhill accident and how it happened is still a mystery, but I don't think she wandered off into the woods or was going to commit suicide. She left an "out" to get back into UMass by leaving a message for her profs that she'd be gone for a week.


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  31. Hey everyone, I was late to the game writing my comment at the end of the previous blog post so I don't know if anyone has seen it. It's the last comment in the "My Current Thoughts on the Mystery" as of now. I hope maybe some of you will see it eventually if you haven't already :)

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    1. "If the scent dogs are to be trusted, Maura either entered a nearby home or a vehicle where her scent was lost. If it was a home, more search warrants may prove fruitful." On what basis would a judge grant a search warrant?

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    2. Nicholas Krancher, I don't know the standards or requirements for a judge granting a search warrant. Perhaps there is some way...or maybe police can get around it somehow (like when they pulled over a trailer that was moved from the area). Something has to be done. Also, police should keep a very close watch and put pressure on anyone who doesn't allow their house to be searched.

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    3. In order to obtain a search warrant, there needs to be a reasonable suspicion (aka probable cause)that either a crime was committed in a house or evidence of a crime is in the house. The police can't just go in based on the feeling that "something must be done." The case is over ten years old now so it's a top priority for a police force that doesn't have a lot in the way of resources. If they get a credible tip they will investigate it but until then the police have more important things to do.

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    4. Search warrants are granted everyday based on nothing more than an anonymous tip. If a prosecutor wanted one he would get one.

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    5. First of all, an anonymous tip is not the same as "something needs to be done." Having worked in the criminal justice system I can assure you that a prosecutor just doesn't get what he wants. That's ridiculous. There needs to be probable cause to get a search warrant. Any decent defense attorney will get a warrant quashed if I's are not dotted and T's crossed. And regarding anonymous tips, it depends on the tip, who gave it, and what the information is. Generally speaking, an anonymous tip is not enough for a warrant. Secondly, after over 10 years the odds of any evidence being found in any of the houses around the accident scene is next to nothing.

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    6. We both have something in common then. I worked for the prosecutors office for over 10 years and a judge will sign a request for a search warrant 99% of the time they are asked and yes with little evidence. Defense attorneys are never involved until after the fact. How does someone know that their house is going to be searched before it actually happens? That's the whole point of a warrant, the element of surprise. If your house is searched and incriminating evidence is found THEN you retain council and try to get the evidence suppressed. In this case if LE suspected that there was evidence of a crime that involved Maura being murdered and LE needed to search a home then they would get a warrant. The person whos home is being searched would NOT know in advance to hire a lawyer, if he did he would have time to get rid of said evidence. Anyone who has worked in LE would know this. Also, how would you know that the odds of finding evidence is low? That's just a blanket statement based on nothing. Bones of victims have been found well beyond 10 years for example.

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    7. This is a very illuminating comment because it sounds from what you are saying it is unlikely that police have requested a search warrant...but they COULD try...I wonder why they haven't? Could it be that police are leaning towards other theories, such as that she committed suicide or ran away, or that the case has been left to languish?

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  32. I thought I read that Maura had or was going to purchase tickets to a concert for that Wednesday. Does anyone recall this? If so, who was she supposed to go with? Why would she buy tickets when she knew she was heading out of town for a week?

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    1. Maura had an email thread with her friends from Hanson; in one of the messages she mentions Dane Cook is having a show and she can't miss it this time. It seemed they made mention to going after Maura's suggestion, but tickets were never purchased and a set plan was never made to the best of my knowledge.

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    2. I believe she was p;anning on attending a Dane Cook concert.

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  33. "I know the quick, easy social-justice-warrior response"

    Jeez James, can you please not be that guy?

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  34. Do we really know if Maura even made it out of MA that night? And where is the ATM video that was supposed to be revealed? And why all the calls and then nothing?

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  35. I wonder if DNA testing was done to determine if she was the person drinking from the Coke bottle found in the car. This could be a setup. Was it positively established that she was the one behind the wheel?

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    1. That is a very good point and one I don't think has been brought up before. I wonder if there was DNA testing of anything surrounding the crime scene. On another note, what do you think of this new ascertain that Maura is alive and well in Finland, James Renner?

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    2. AnonymousSeptember 5, 2016 at 4:16 AM, agreed. You have a very good idea. Is Maura's car still sitting intact? Where are the contents of her car? Could they still be tested?

      The Coke bottle idea is genius. I'm also wondering more generally if there are any forensics/DNA of items in the car that could aid the investigation at this point. Maybe this is grasping at straws but you never know...

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  36. James, if coincidence is all too much, please look at the case of Brittaney Drexel, a NY teen who went missing in Myrtle Beach. She went against her parents wishes, drove with friends to SC, was walking between hotels when she was picked up by someone she had no connection to, kidnapped and murdered. Of course there is more to this story, but the coincidences surrounding her case are astounding and the FBI is sure she is dead.

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    1. It's a big difference between Myrtle Beach during spring break and a back road in New Hampshire. Not even close to the same circumstances.

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  37. New to the blog. Just read the book. Strange family-seems like the father is either a nut or involved-probably both. Just wondered with as much time and money as you have invested, why not have more people up in Canada paid to spot sightings with evidence ( pictures, etc.) even a reward for luring her in some respectable fashion?

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    1. Granted, I believe Fred is withholding information but he is neither a nut or involved in Maura's disappearance. As to your suggestion about paid spotters in Canada, there is no clear evidence that she is even in Canada

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    2. Welcome, Anon! Definitely read as many posts on the blog as you can. James has gathered more information here than is available anywhere else...what he does is amazing. As for Fred being involved, I think as you continue to learn about the case and read the blog your opinion will change. While I think everyone can agree he's withholding information (in my opinion he's trying to keep her image and reputation as squeaky-clean, positive and 'all American girl' as possible...very concerned about how other's see the family), there's really no way he was involved. Nothing points in that direction and he was 100% at work out of state when she went missing. I can definitely understand why someone new to the case would suspect that, though...in fact, when I first started researching that was my first thought as well. Sadly, I really believe his constant attempt to protect her image is one of the reasons the case is at a standstill. The family and her friends have to know more about what was going on in her personal life that would cause her to get up and leave. It doesn't matter how dirty or small the details may be. There's such an incredible number of people who care about the case and are actively working on it. If they would just be more forthcoming, I think we'd be able to get somewhere....

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    3. It is my personal belief that Fred has not been more forthcoming because information that makes Maura appear troubled might lead police to assume that she's a victim of suicide or a runaway. Police are notorious about not following up on suspected suicides and runaways.

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    4. Adding to this, making Maura look like an all-American girl helps get media attention whereas looking like a troubled runaway with bulimia, a rap sheet and possible drinking problem does not. I mean no disrespect whatsoever, I'm merely saying that I have empathy for the difficult position Fred and Maura's family have been in...

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  38. I read that Kate was away for several days around this time. Have police ever ascertained exactly where she was? Where is Kate now? I wonder if police could learn more about this time period by interviewing her again?

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    1. She would never agree to be interviewed. The police can't force her to answer questions. She has no interest in talking about the case.

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    2. Nicholas, I find it very interesting that one of Maura's closest friends would be unwilling to speak to police. Is this really the case, or is it that police haven't tried to contact her recently? We don't necessarily know what's going on behind the scenes, but police do have methods for applying pressure to people to get them to comply so I'm curious about the state of the investigation at present...or is it just stalled...

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    3. What pressure? We don't live under a dictatorship. People don't have to answer questions from the police. Reading some of your comments makes me think that you watch a lot of television and are very influenced by police dramas.

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    4. Nicholas KrancherSeptember 11, 2016 at 6:48 AM, Not sure how you meant it but it is hard not to take your comment in an insulting way. I do not watch police dramas. However, I am aware of some police methodology.
      1. Police can put a detail on a person and have unmarked cars parked outside of someone's house. That is a way to put pressure on a person, no?
      2. Police can also try to convince a person that it will look better for them to talk to police than not.
      3. They can also convince them that the door is open, they can leave at any time and can speak to them on their own terms.
      4. If they have cause, they can also intercept their communications.
      How do you think murders are solved if police actually have none of these techniques at their disposal?
      For example, how did police know to pull over the trailer that was in the accident's vicinity when it was sold years later in order to do an on-the-spot search (when they weren't given permission to do so otherwise)? It's obvious to me that they were watching and waiting for the opportunity to do so. My point is, are they looking at ALL of the people, or are some people not considered of interest... If they have homed in on the wrong theory or POI that could be why the case has not been solved.

      I don't see why they couldn't they apply some of these same methods to some of the other individuals who need to be more forthcoming in the case, and no, I have not been informed by NYPD Blue or The Wire (although I have read a lot of true crime) :)

      We're all here for the same reason, I believe, and that's to help get this case solved. So let's brainstorm what could be done that hasn't been already.

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    5. I forgot to mentiont that another important tool at the police's disposal is the element of surprise. Even if someone is overseas, the police can work with local authorities to conduct an investigation. It's happened before.

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    6. Not a single thing that you mentioned would apply to Kate, especially when the case is over 10 years old. Plus those tactics are used on stupid people that don't understand there rights or obligations in regards to the police. Kate is just gonna tell them to screw off. They have no leverage with her. I'm sorry to break it to you but unless a body is found or Maura comes out of hiding or someone confesses this case is not going to get solved.

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    7. You are entitled to your opinion but I do hope you are wrong because otherwise we are all wasting our time, aren't we? However, it would not hurt to put more effort into finding a body and/or trying to track down Maura alive.

      Killers make mistakes. If someone killed her, someone else knows or suspects something and there are clues that can be put together to solve the case. I don't believe Maura's associates--if she was harmed by someone who knew her--are diabolical geniuses who can outwit police evermore ESPECIALLY if more than one person was involved. Someone usually talks or implicates themselves eventually.

      The idea that someone will not talk to police--if that is actually the case--well, I would hope the police would look at them very closely. You can say there is no point, but look at all of the unsolved cold cases that eventually are solved 15-20 years later. Let's not be so quick to give up on any lines of investigation. The way I look at this is, cold cases are a marathon not a race.

      Respectfully, Jodi K.

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    8. Do you understand that the police do not have unlimited resources and manpower? That's not an opinion. This is what makes me think you are very influenced by how the police are portrayed in tv and movies. I know you said that that is not the case but I really don't understand what you expect the police to do. What would looking at someone more closely entail? Harrasing them? Tapping their phone (need a warrant to do that)? There is nothing at this point that can be done. All we can do is speculate on what might have happened to her.

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    9. Nicholas, you seem to really have it out for me! I think you've taken my original post about police putting "pressure" on suspects too literally.

      Of course I know that police don't have UNLIMITED resources. There is always the adage "work smarter not harder." They can interview others, try to conduct analysis of phone records or bank accounts, engage the media, pretend they've made a break in the case in order to gather more info., coax people into talking, put up billboards up to get more tips, release information that they previously have kept confidential, do further analysis of phone records, et cetera.

      If the police aren't able (funding), or for some reason, willing, to do these things, the public can make phone calls and otherwise put pressure on them to keep the case alive. Families of victims do this all of the time. If the public demands answers, the police may allocate the funding.

      Furthermore, what about the FBI? They have A LOT of resources, and they have also been involved in Maura's case.

      My gosh, there are still cops working the Lyons sister case (1975), trying to locate more of Ted Bundy's victims, and trying to identify DB Cooper!

      You can either complain that nothing can be done, or you can brainstorm what CAN be done.

      If you have solidly made up your mind that the cops can do nothing (myself, I'm not convinced), why don't you come up with some other ideas? For example, getting the media involved doesn't have to cost anything. Find a hook for a local media outlet, and then call them. If it's a good enough story, or you have a contact there, they will be more than happy to put pressure on a suspect themselves.

      I understand that you believe that unless a body can be found the case can’t be solved…how about organizing some public searches of new locations that have come to light thanks to James and his sources (like the UMass cabin)? Police can do this if they have public support/pressure, or the public can take the lead.

      It’s rare, but murder cases have been solved without so much as a body! I have not given up and I don’t think others should either.

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    10. I don't think he "has it out for you" as much as "he's telling you where you're wrong."

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  39. Why would her sister say in so many words: even if it is a relative of family member. Why would she say that?

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  40. James, I want to underscore several things which I consider glaring having listened to all the podcasts.
    1. Death in the family is the new Dog ate my homework. When I was an adjunct the excuse I heard most often was Death in the family. Why? Because the teenaged or just post teenaged brain thinks it's hard to refute, will elicit contrition, and stop probing.
    1a. She may have also felt like whatever happened was like a death that she had to grieve.
    2. Having taken mental health first aid, it is nearly impossible to detect a suicidal teen versus a nonsuicidal teen, especially as a result of how they seem or look.
    3. Liars or even just canny dissembles learn how to deflect attention to their words or actions. If I'm going to do something not so well thought out like temporarily run away, I may not tell anybody because I don't want to be talked out of it. Better to do and explain later - put it off. Always put off what you can't deal with now til later.
    4. Maura had some kind of weirdly enmeshed relationship with her father, who seems like an enabler to me. He pushed her on the one hand and rescued her like a child on the other. He hands out cash and forgives like crazy but was too hard on her in terms of expectations? It's possible. My dad was a bit like this especially when nobody else was looking (after my mother died and before he remarried a real predatory b----).

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  41. ...sometimes the biggest details of all are taken for granted ~ just as ho-hum face value. Her dorm room was BOXED up. SHE (or someone) packed her belongings. Unless MM was PsYcHiC & knew she was gonna-be-abducted-by-a-local-dirtbag OR was gonna-be-the-victim-of-a-hit&run neverrrrr to return ~ THEN she was plannnnnnning on moving ON. A PLAN that very well could have involved numerous people, KMT, SA, HB, BR, K&TC, JMT, & a guy that knows a guy that knows a guy with pull. Dont forget the little BIG stuff ~ dont use your fist to make the puzzle pieces fit...

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  42. Well you know I used to be involved with a woman who'd been stalked by an ex who had been very controlling when they were together. As a result of this, she developed a host of trust issues, and she came to like disappearing and being off the grid for a day or more at a time.

    Now the question this leads us to is whether or not Maura had a man in her life, perhaps an excessively controlling romantic partner, who might have made her feel stalked. Maybe an ex or a soon to be ex. But we all know the answer to that one, don't we?

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  43. I am a girl who left and didnt return for years. I have intermittent communication with my family. However, I broke up with my ex-bf of seven years and moved to a different town and I didnt tell my family until months later. My work friends would have known, but beyond my personal life (relationship probs, etc), most of my work friends didnt know how to spell my name, couldnt find me on fb, didnt have my phone number or email unless I allowed it. Having no family in an area makes it incredibly easy to disappear. I would even say moreso in New England (where I live) than anywhere else, because the places that are densely populated allow you to blend in. And the places that are sparsely populated are rarely social enough to be recognized (unless you become a creature of habit). Having essentially disappeared several times over, I say it is entirely possible for a woman to leave without telling anyone who matters, even if she is chatty like me. My solution to not being found is to only tell people you see occassionally, and who would not notice your absence. By the time they connect you to your disappearance (if they ever hear about it), they cant be sure if they remember it right, or heard you right. Like this for example: I worked with a girl whom I never saw socially and told her all my secrets. A couple months later, she was working elsewhere (as a CNA). I bet if you showed her my picture she would recognize me, but I doubt she could recall a single conversation we had and I dont believe she would know whether I was dead or not. And I doubt she remembers anything but my first name.

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