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