Wednesday, August 1, 2018

"I'm Going to Kill You Like I Killed Maura"

Three women have come forward to ask police to investigate Bill Rausch in relation to the disappearance of his girlfriend, Maura Murray, in 2004. Two of them have come forward in an audio interview. The third wishes to conceal her identity as much as possible, except for interviews with the police.

Lawton, OK, 2004

Two weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman who lived in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 2004. She knew Bill a few months after Maura Murray disappeared in 2004. He visited the people who lived in her house, often, as some had ties to Fort Sill, where Bill was working at the time. He was friends with the man she was seeing at the time, who warned her that Bill "had gone off the deep end" and that his girlfriend was missing.

One day, Bill found out that her guy was not home for a while and he texted her, asked if he could come over. There was a party at the house that night and so she didn't see the harm. Once he arrived, though, he took her outside and grabbed her and started kissing her. He suggested they go to a hotel. She agreed and went with him in the car.

At a stoplight, she says, Bill reached over and grabbed her by the neck and said, "I'm going to kill you like I killed Maura." She reached over and dug her nails into him. "I'll rip your crotch off," she said.

Immediately, Bill's demeanor changed and he became gentle again. He said he was just joking and they continued on to the hotel. However, at the hotel she decided not to have sex. Later, she says, Bill explained that he was glad she never slept with him because "the only people I care about that I have sex with die." He mentioned how a girl he slept with before Maura had died in an accident (something to do with horse back riding, she believes). I have not been able to track back this incident.

Bill told her he was working on a book, titled "You'll Never Be Happy Until You Realize That You Will Never Be Happy."

She remembers the day he came back to town after his sister died and how he responded by being flippant, "I was home and she shot her face off -- so that's awesome."

Washington D.C., 2011

Please listen to the interview (click YouTube link above) with these two women to hear the story in their own voices. Below is a summary.

Two years ago, I learned that Bill lost his job at Ray Group International in 2011 after a woman alleged that he sexually assaulted her in the office one night. This woman says his aggression toward her began before that, when she was going up the escalators on the Metro one morning. Someone jogged up beside her and pushed her down. Luckily fellow commuters caught her before she could tumble to the bottom. But her dressed was ripped. She looked up and saw Bill at the top of the escalators. Later, when he assaulted her, he began by saying that it was him who pushed her down that day as (in her words) the humanity in his eyes went away and he became robotic in the attack.

Insert: Here's a photo of the woman inside the "man trap" at Ray Group with Bill behind her.

Last month, another woman contacted me about her encounter with Bill in the fall of 2011. She was working as a bartender at the time. She hooked up with Bill one night. The sex started consensual but quickly progressed to choking. He wanted to hear her gasp for breath. She too described the lack of emotion in his eyes. After it was over, she says he was threatening. "This never happened."



When I asked Bill about the second woman, he said it wasn't true. That he never knew her. When I told her that he denied it, she sent me a picture of the napkin they used to communicate at the bar that night. It contains his cell phone in his hand writing.


What the Phone Bill Tells Us


Bill has an alibi for the time of Maura's disappearance. However, if there was a tandem driver (as I believe), then the Monday alibis may not be so important.

We can track some of Bill's movements during the search for Maura Murray by looking at his phone bills. At the time, both Maura and Bill's phone bills were consolidated into a single bill that went to Sharon Rausch (Bill's mother) in Marengo, Ohio. After the disappearance, Sharon provided a copy of the bill to Helena Murray. John Smith then obtained these documents. Sharon threatened to sue John (he says) if he ever made them public. Two years ago, he gave them to me.

Maura disappeared on Monday, February 9, 2004.

When Bill arrived in New Hampshire on Wednesday night, his cell phone went on roaming. The roaming charges are at the end of each individual bill and listed by location. This gives us a rough look into where he was traveling as they searched for Maura. Below are those rough locations by date:

Wednesday, Feb. 11
4:55 - Rutland, Vermont
7:02 - Burlington, Vermont

Thursday, Feb 12
10 a.m. - noon - Lebanon, New Hampshire
3:24 - Streaked Mountain, Maine
4 p.m. - 4:20 - Concord, New Hampshire
4:40 - 5:30 - Lebanon, New Hampshire

Friday, Feb 13
10:30 - Rutland, Vermont
10:40 - Burlington, Vermont

Saturday, Feb 14
No calls

Sunday, February 15
4 p.m. - Concord, New Hampshire
4:53 - Lebanon, New Hampshire


Now, during these days Bill was calling Maura's cell phone, each call lasting a minute as it was likely going to voicemail. But that last call, at 4:53 was to Maura's phone, too. And that one lasted from 3 - 4 minutes. And after that call, Bill makes no further calls on his cell phone for four days. There are no further calls from his cell phone until Thursday, February 19.

Was it a really long voicemail?

Is it possible Maura answered?

Where was Bill in the four days he didn't make a single call?

If Maura answered her phone - and she was in the area - her call would have been logged in her "roaming" section of her bill, which would come directly after her in-service calls, but before Bill's section begins. The copies Sharon provided are 25 pages long. One page is missing. It's the page at the end of Maura's bill, Page 9.

Heather

In 2007, Bill's sister Heather committed suicide in the home of their parents in Marengo, Ohio. A gun.

When I contacted the medical examiner of Morrow County, William Lee, he told me that in the days leading up to the suicide, Heather had wanted to speak to the police about a crime she knew about. However, her suicide note makes no mention of any crime and the Sheriff's department has no record of her trying to contact them.

Sharon was interviewed by the New Hampshire Union Leader in 2007. Here's what she said about their trip to New Hampshire to search for Maura:
"We arrived Wednesday around 7 p.m. They interviewed Billy. He was a prime suspect. He was totally distraught. I'll never forget the look on his face. He said 'I feel as dirty as Scott Peterson. They think I've got something to do with it.'"
Bill refused to be interviewed by the journalists behind the recent Oxygen series.

He has not spoken about Maura in many years and was never a major part of the search for her after 2004.

Note by the Author

These are serious allegations against Bill Rausch, who is now a public figure, Executive Director for Got Your 6, and a married father. It was a very difficult decision to write this piece. Bill has suggested he would commit suicide if more was made public. He has threatened to sue me. And he may, though the women he wronged are no longer afraid to speak up. These women have a voice, too. They believe Bill is capable of violence because they have seen it firsthand. And as someone with a daughter, I'd want others to know what Bill is capable of if I were the next woman's father.

If you have any information that could help in solving this case please contact the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit at coldcaseunit@dos.nh.gov

You can also contact me directly at jameswrenner@gmail.com

If you have specific evidence and wish to remain 100% anonymous you can also submit tips through Globaleaks. 

***UPDATED***

A 4th Woman

Another woman came forward yesterday. She and Bill had a brief relationship in 2006. "I'm not surprised to hear all this," she said. "He was a pathological liar."

He spoke about Maura Murray only once, by saying he had a girlfriend who had "passed" but that they were broken up at the time.

She describes Bill as being extremely pushy, obsessive, arrogant, and controlling. She said even his friends at Fort Sill called him, "Billy Liar."

***3rd UPDATE***
 May 8, 2018
A fifth woman has come forward. Here is her story:
I spent one night with Bill when we were both working in politics in Ohio in 2008 and he was violent and degrading towards me. We were at a bar with other political staffers one night when he sent me one text  saying that he wanted to go home with me and a second that said "I want to break you." I seriously thought the second one was a typo because I didn't know why someone would send that message in a flirty situation. He came to my apartment after the bar and it was clear that text was not a typo. The language he used and the demands he made were threatening and demeaning. We only spent the one night together but I could see the potential for regular abhorrent behavior towards women. The next day I was shaken and decided to google him and that's when I saw the case about Maura. I was deeply disturbed and felt lucky that nothing more had happened to me.

Bill was working at the ODP at the time and I asked other women there if they knew about Maura or if any of them had witnessed this kind of behavior. They said Bill had been proactive in declaring innocence in Maura's case during his interview process. It was top in google results, so he had to talk about it straight away in the interview vetting process. The women brushed Bill's relationship to Maura as a weird coincidence,  but confirmed that he made inappropriate comments to women in the office and was often seeking sexual relationships.
Follow up:

There are other similarities between the stories from the women you interviewed on youtube and my story though. Firstly, looking back at that night I felt like he was testing me to see how violent he could get away with being without me resisting and in my case, the answer was not very. He might have been less aggressive with me than other women who were continuously choked because he realized I was going to resist submitting to that and/or because I had connections to political leaders and he feared retaliation. Also, when we were at the bar, Bill was passing notes on napkins with the bar tender and trying to get her to write her number down. It was like a manipulative game he was playing that she was not interested in and he wouldn't let it go. He wrote a note to me also, which I've attached photos of. There were cheap paintings for sale at the bar I bought one. On the back, Bill wrote "fuck you -captain bill". The handwriting isn't identical to napkin notes posted on your blog that also start with "fuck you". It's more of a cursive scrawl, but he wrote it. He also seemed to be blaming me for his inability to control himself, like the bartender in your story said, and I think that's what the "fuck you" meant. Like "fuck you for triggering these urges in me." I thought it was kind of funny, but it did not seem so funny later on. Also when Bill left my apartment he said, "This never happened", just like the bartender in your story said. 
DC Police are currently investigating this string of odd behavior. Subpoenas have been served for files related to Bill's dismissal from Ray Group International and witnesses have appeared before a federal Grand Jury.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Kent State documents

An Irregular named Elaine Gray was the first to view the collection of material on Maura Murray's case this week. I asked her to send me her thoughts after reading through it all:

On Thursday, April 26, I had the opportunity to visit the Kent State  Special Collections Department to view James Renner’s personal Maura Murray files. I was handed a large banker’s box filled with labeled file folders, and spent the next four hours engrossed in the mountain of documents: hand written notes, maps, newspaper clippings, yearbook scans, phone records, police reports and much more.

You may know Maura’s case, even down to the details, but you don’t know Maura. After my day at Kent State, I believe James Renner does know Maura (as much as any of us can) and the closest you can come to knowing her is through his files.

I am more of a casual observer of Maura’s disappearance. I listen to the podcasts, watch the shows, read the blogs, but have never done any of my own research. But even for the person who can debate the timeline down to the second, there is much to gain. 

I found the most valuable part of the collection to be the notes from the interviews James has conducted over the years with friends, family, coaches, reporters, co-workers, teammates; and not just to Maura, but to many of the key players. In his torn notebook pages, many stained with coffee and heavily underlined and starred, humanity is restored to those who have become characters in this case. And, I believe, a simple answer emerges.

I wish everyone had to spend a day with these archives as a prerequisite for commenting about Maura online. I left with a much different theory than I came in with, and with new, more specific, avenues to explore.

Friday, April 27, 2018

BREAKING: U.S. Attorney's Office Takes Case to Grand Jury in Hopes of Indicting Bill Rausch


Assistant U.S. District Attorney Julianne Johnston has called witnesses to testify before a Grand Jury in D.C. Witnesses are connected to Ray Group International, where Bill Rausch worked in 2011. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman there.

Law enforcement has also served subpoenas in this case, compelling Ray Group International to turn over all records related to the internal investigation the office conducted into Bill Rausch's misconduct there (they let him resign quietly).

You can hear the victim tell her story in her own words here.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Early Reports Suggest EAR/ONS Has Been Caught!!


The most prolific uncaught serial killer and rapist in American history may have just been caught. Follow the developing story here.

This is a bittersweet ending for Michelle McNamara, who died before he was caught. Congratulations to Billy Jensen and the crew who put the book together.

Further info out of Reddit this morning:
Suspect is a former police officer, Joseph DeAngelo



Friday, April 20, 2018

UMass Police Detective: Renner was right. Maura lives in Canada.

As I'm wrapping up the blog, I'm going to share some things I've held back over the years before I take it all down in May.

Here's a conversation Lt. Thrasher shared a couple months ago on Facebook. Thrasher was a Lt. at UMass when Maura went missing. He's the one who first share info about the call Maura received from her sister the night she had a breakdown.


Monday, April 16, 2018

UPDATE: Bob McDonald provides further alibi for Bill Rausch

After some questions arose about Bill's whereabouts in the days following Maura Murray's disappearance (based on cell phone roaming charges), I heard from one of his West Point professors, Bob McDonald.

Here's what McDonald says:
I was with him for all that time. My wife and I arrived late Friday and checked into the Wells River Motel, which is where everyone was staying. If my memory is correct (not a 100% certainty given that 14 years have passed) my wife drove home on Monday (it was a three day weekend) but I was able to get colleagues to cover my classes and didn't head home until -- I think -- Wednesday. That last day Bill and I drove to UMass and met with campus police; afterwards he drove me to Springfield (or maybe it was Worcester), where I rented a car and drove home.
Bill basically didn't leave my side. While my wife was with me, he slept in his parents' room. After my wife left, he moved over to mine. There were times when he'd go to the motel office to do phone interviews with Greta Van Susteren, etc., but other than that I don't remember us being apart. I wish I had a better memory of NH and VT geography and place names. The first day or two I was there (Saturday and maybe Sunday) we searched in the general vicinity of the crash site. We visited the tourist town near Mt. Washington and also went to a few other towns both in the direction in which she was traveling (into NH) but also in the opposite direction (toward VT) since, if she got picked up, we weren't sure in which direction the car was traveling. We were posting fliers, talking to people in convenience stores and food markets, and trying to get her picture and police contact info out there. We went to UMass on my last night up there to meet with campus police and also to get me a car rental so I could drive myself home. I hated to leave. Bill stayed up there for a while longer. 

As the days passed the focus shifted from searching near the site of Maura's crash and talking to people who lived nearby to trying to do everything possible (distributing fliers, speaking to the media) to raising awareness that she was missing and getting her photo out there in the hope that someone had seen her.

I'm not 100% sure how to explain the 4-minute call. Maybe he was trying to access her voicemail (I think I remember her voice mail being something all of us discussed, but can't remember if we had access to it right away, later, or ever), or maybe he was just leaving a long message in hopes that she would get it. I'm guessing that the period in which he didn't use his cell is explained by the fact that coverage up there was so lousy back then. He was using the hotel phone to speak with media and others in the evenings and during the daytime we were either searching or driving around passing out and posting fliers

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fred Murray's Odd Behavior Caused One Organization to Rescind $75,000 Reward


In 2006, the non-profit organization Let's Bring Them Home, was contacted by members of Maura Murray's family and immediately put up a $75,000 reward for information that would bring closure to the case. The offer made headlines but the reward was quietly rescinded later and a member of the organization contacted me this week to explain why.

She says Fred Murray's behavior and Helena Dwyer-Murray's secrecy raised red flags.

Fred was difficult.  Often hostile.  Very controlling.  I did
everything he told me to do and that was the extent of the
relationship.  He would only talk to me when he felt like and IF he
felt like and then he abruptly cut off all communication once the law
suit was filed to obtain police records.  I was fine with that -- I
found him to be difficult and at the time I was helping dozens of
other families like his.

Helena was nice enough but she held back information.  It was strange.
I never felt like I was getting the full story.  They were all
secretive.  It frustrated me because I did a lot of interviews for
them back then about the reward and Maura's case.

I backed out of the case slowly.... and have never spoken to anyone
again about it until I emailed you.
I asked her what she thought Helena was holding back. Here's her reply.

She wouldn't answer direct questions unless it was on the phone . She
wasn't going to do it in writing. And even then she hedged a lot.  At
the time, I was trying to understand Maura's mental state of mind.
We were, after all, offering a very large reward for information in
the case.

I ended up pulling the reward about 3 months later.  I wasn't trying
to be ugly to the family but there were too many demands put upon our
organization by the Murray family.

A screen shot of one of Fred's emails to the organization is above, in which he says he wants to hear all tip voicemails that come in before anyone else listens to them.

Another thing she found weird were the hang-up calls the tip line sometimes received. Each hang-up was logged and the phone number traced. It went to a phone listed under Julie Murray's name.

And for those saying this isn't such a big deal:


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Maura Murray Records Now Available to the Public

My notes, interviews, and records related to my investigation into Maura Murray's disappearance are now available to the public for review - by appointment - at Kent State University library's Special Collections department.

They will not be digitized anytime soon.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

On the 14th Anniversary

Friday marks the 14th anniversary of Maura Murray's disappearance and she still remains unfound. At 7 p.m., on the Missing Maura Murray Facebook page, Julie Murray will talk a little bit about Maura and the case and share some memories of her sister. Tune in if you can.

So, after all this time, where are we?

Well, this case is a mess, and it needn't be. But at the moment, there's this conspiratorial mood that has settled in around the case - people suspect the police were involved, people suspect the A-frame house has something to do with it, people suspect a random dirtbag picked her up. Some, including her own family, believe Maura's sister Kathleen or her husband had someone to do with it. Having met Tim, I don’t think either one of them had anything to do with it.

This case, when it's done, is going to be elegantly simple.

The only explanation that makes sense with the evidence we have is that Maura was not traveling alone that night. She was traveling with a tandem driver.

Her friends from UMass have never been forthcoming with police.

Remember - Maura bought more booze than one person needed; she was inquiring about places that had multiple bedrooms; she turned down a ride; she disappeared in less than a blink of the eye; she gave up calling condos and motels without reserving a room (because her traveling companion did it before she did). She didn't tell anyone where she was going (c'mon). Anyone who doesn't buy the tandem driver theory has to explain all of that away.

I also believe the Butson's sightings, where Maura was seen buying more booze with two young women before the accident. The Oxygen series, and others, have suggested this can't be, because the police didn't see her on the videotape. But they never bothered to do enough research to discover that the only video cameras in Butson's at that time were pointed only at the bank kiosk, not the registers.

There's a lot of stuff like that that has been spun to others' agendas. When you read those things, please consider what a simpler explanation might be.

What we know now is that Maura's boyfriend, Bill Rausch, has been accused by a number of women of sex assault, physical assault, and harassment. And after he arrived in New Hampshire to join the search for Maura Murray, he kept making dozens of calls every day, until the weekend after the disappearance. Then, he went completely silent for 5 days. None of that sits well with me.

If Maura was traveling in tandem, nobody's alibis for the night of the disappearance matter anymore - because she likely made it to a cabin or wherever she was heading.

I want to believe Maura is out there, alive, and happy. I hope she is. But the likely answer is that she is no longer alive. And I believe that if she is dead, she was murdered by someone she knew.

Don't look to rogue cops or weird stains in abandoned houses or fortuitous kidnappers. Look closer to Maura.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Murray Siblings Invite Public to Facebook Live Memorial

From Julie Murray:

Save the date: Please join me on February 9, 2018 @ 7 pm EST on Facebook live for the 14th Anniversary of Maura's disappearance. In a show of solidarity, we will ask folks to light a candle in Maura's honor and share pictures/videos of their candle lighting with the community.
What: Remembrance for Maura Murray
When: Feb 9, 2018 7pm EST
Who: Everyone
Where: Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/MauraMurrayDoc/
Why: To keep Maura's story alive


Julie will be joined by Maggie, Art, Lance & Tim.