As an old-school shoe-leather reporter, there's nothing I love more than a good bar story. This one has all the hallmarks of a legit run-in with someone from Maura's inner circle - and they provide an explanation that took me years to bring myself to.
There's also enough identifying info here, that I'm confident a websleuth with a little time can track this down.
Here it is:
I went to college at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass, class of **. In
the fall of 2004 (it was football season), I was in a bar called
Moynihans on Main Street, close to the campus of Clark University. It
was a Saturday afternoon because college football was on TV. The bar
was half empty, and I started up a conversation with this guy who told
me he was a grad student at Clark. He told me he had recently
An Army football game highlight or score came on the TV, and I stopped
the conversation to watch. The guy asks me why and I explain its
because my dad graduated West Point and we always went to games when I
was a kid, and I still rooted for the team. He then started talking to
me about the missing girl who had gone to West Point and then to
UMASS. I hadn't heard about it at the time and he explained to me what
I now know is the MM case. He told me that it was an open secret among
people who knew her personally at UMASS that she ran off on her own to
get away from an abusive relationship. He said that he knew people
that knew her and that had been in on the whole thing, and that people
freaked out once the police and newspapers and media had picked up on
the story. I remember thinking at the time that it was an interesting
story, but that she'd eventually be found out. When I got back to my
dorm later that day, I looked it up online and read a newspaper
article or two, but then totally forgot about the whole thing until I
started reading your blog and the wikipedia on MM.
I know my story doesn't prove anything, but it's interesting that
someone so far back who was personally familiar with MM's circles at
UMASS had been speculating about her running away on her own volition.