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.
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: