Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Fresh Approach

Over the last few days, I've reviewed every post on this website, and have decided to remove about twenty or so. In the last year, I've come to believe that Maura is alive and is staying away to protect herself and a child - though in a world of Ariel Castro's, I can't say I'm 100% sure. Let's say 90%.

The posts I took down relate to more prurient details of her college life. At the time, I thought it worth sharing because some of the people involved were interviewed as potential suspects. I no longer believe they are suspects, so the info is probably not relevant. I've also taken down some unrelated personal details about her friends and family.

I will continue to update with new info about the investigation, of course. And will still consider possible suspects, treating this mystery as a homicide until we know for sure it is not.

Thank you for continuing to visit this blog.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Another Cold Case: The Abduction of Amy Mihaljevic

Along with this blog about the disappearance of Maura Murray, I maintain two others: One on the modern-day Crucible that is the Lisa Pruett case. And the other, on the first unsolved mystery I became fascinated with, the abduction of Amy Mihaljevic.

Next week is the 27th anniversary of Amy's abduction/murder, so I thought I'd share this recent three-part segment Crime Watch Daily did on the mystery.







Friday, October 14, 2016

Missing Maura Murray Returns

The boys are back with a new episode. This one features audio from their trip to the UMass Outing Club Cabin, which may have been Maura's destination the night she disappeared.

Listen closely. Inside the cabin they discover an interesting clue - another copy of Not Without Peril, the book Maura left behind in her car. One could argue that it is a very popular book in the area around the White Mountains. But as someone whose business is books, I can tell you a book like that did not have a very large print run. It's a very specific local-interest sort of book. And it would not be available in most bookstores, even out there. It's more likely it was available in local hiking-supply stores or White Mountains visitors' centers. To me, that book is evidence of a connection to Maura Murray. As in she ran with the crowd that frequented the cabin back then.

**UPDATE** I stand corrected. Not Without Peril has sold over 70,000 copies. Damn. That's impressive.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chance Encounter Provides Possible Explanation for Maura Murray's Disappearance

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
graduated UMASS.


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.

Old Link Provides Lots of Info on UMass Teammates


Here's a link to an old program from the time Maura Murray was running with the UMass Amherst track team. Lots of familiar names. Some new.

Friday, October 7, 2016

All The Cool Kids Are Going to CrimeCon

If you like True Crime and want to hear a bit more about the Maura Murray case, in person, you should come to CrimeCon in Indianapolis June 9 -11 next summer.You can register today. Enter the code: RENNER20 for a 20% discount.

See you there!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Someone Is Actively Trying to Shut Down This Site

There are only two reasons why this blog would disappear. 1. If Maura is discovered to be alive and well. 2. If the person/persons trying to shut it down finally succeed.

I've been debating about whether or not to share this publicly because I don't want to give attention to this kind of thing. But recently the attacks on this site and anything connected to True Crime Addict have increased dramatically.

It started with notifications from Blogger that someone was trying to reset my password through a similar email. Shortly after that, and just before the release of my book, there were two DDos attacks on my personal website, jamesrenner.com They succeeded in shutting down the site for a couple days. I have since hired a private security firm that monitors the site and handles additional attacks quickly.

Then came the "official" looking emails that contained links to Google docs related to information in Maura Murray's disappearance but when clicked would download keywood-logging software. Luckily these were flagged by Google before I clicked into it.

Then came the most disturbing attack. Someone created an email to make it appear that my publisher was contacting me and asking me to review a document. They used her name, my name, and everything looked official. I should have been suspicious as normally the publisher doesn't contact me directly - I work with her assistant, mostly. So I clicked on it. It asked for my password and without thinking, entered it. What followed was a difficult day of resetting every single password I had and scrubbing the sites.

Following this, someone successfully posted porn on the site. Security took that down, too.

Beyond the attacks, there has been a very organized disinformation campaign on Reddit that focuses mostly on two narratives: 1. That Maura simply wandered off into the woods to die and there's no mystery. 2. Bill Rausch's actions after the disappearance don't amount to anything.

When I've been able to track the emails, it tends to lead back to rerouting services in the Netherlands.

The question is, where are these attacks coming from?

Do I think they're coming from the Murrays (Julie Murray worked for Booz Allen, the same CIA contractor that Snowden worked for). No, I don't. I don't think Julie would waste her time on something like this.

Do I think it's coming from Bill Rausch, who has a history working for the elite propaganda and misinformation office of the U.S. military? No. I don't see him doing anything so brazen.

Someone who knew them? A coworker? Alden Olson? Some troll with nothing better to do?

In the end, I doubt it really matters. I doubt it would change anything to know their identity.

For what it's worth, the Cold Case Unit has some of the original emails. That's about all I can do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New Episode of True Crime Garage Features The Serial Killer's Apprentice

 Fans of true crime podcasts may find the new episode of True Crime Garage particularly interesting. It's the story of Robert Buell, a serial killer from Ohio was put to death in 2002 - but who may not have acted alone.

Buell was the subject of the title story from my collection of true crime tales: The Serial Killer's Apprentice. I'm in the garage with Nic and The Captain to talk about it.

You can subscribe on itunes here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Recent post

House cleaning note: I removed the post from earlier today. It was too tangential for it's own out-of-context separate post so I rolled it into another from last week. While I think Bill's involvement with PSYOPS provides interesting history and important character context, it didn't merit it's own separate post.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Just a Reminder

No comments will be approved that reference or suggest police involvement in Maura Murray's disappearance. That's a conspiracy theory I cannot support.

For those who are out of the loop, a witness came forward a couple months ago, claiming she saw a police vehicle nose-to-nose with Maura's car in 2004. If she saw what she claims she saw, her timing is off. Of course there were police there that night, processing the scene. But her words have been used as "evidence" to suggest police killed Maura. She, and the men who interviewed her (not Lance & Tim) all have personal issues with police and a reason to push this theory.

One man tragically lost his sister after she was hit by Trooper Todd Landry (lead investigator on Maura's case for a long time). The other has been suggesting police involvement for years. The female witness blames law enforcement for their role in losing her own son. It's all around sad but they are openly accusing police and their statements need context.

A cop did not kill Maura Murray. As someone who has researched this case for several years, it is nothing more than a ridiculous distraction and takes us away from avenues that might actually lead to more clues.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

What Leads Have Not Been Exhausted?

Open question:

What leads remain in the disappearance of Maura Murray? What has not been fully investigated which might lead to more clues?

One thing I'd love to have is the name of anyone else who was present for the party at Sara Alfieri's dorm room the weekend before Maura vanished. Those people are out there somewhere and have not yet come forward (and if you were there and are reading this, please email me - I do not need to publish your name and we can use the info on background).