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Missing Woman: Maura Murray - NH - 02/09/2004

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Missing since Monday, February 9, 2004

Age: 21

Height: 5´7"

Weight: 120 lbs. (approximately)

Hair: Brown

Eyes: Blue

Last seen wearing jeans and a dark colored coat.

Additional information is available at Maura Missing

If you have seen Maura or if you have any information regarding her whereabouts, please contact the New Hampshire Division of State Police at: 1-800-852-3411 or 603-846-3333 or e-mail us at the State Police at

Or, please contact the Haverhill Police Department at: 603-787-2222.

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Police, Family Search For Missing Woman

Woman Disappears After Car Crash

HAVERHILL, N.H. -- Police and relatives in Grafton County are searching for a Massachusetts woman who disappeared after a car crash.

Maura Murray, 21, hasn't been seen since Monday night, when she crashed her 1996 black Saturn on Route 112 in the Woodsville neighborhood of Haverhill. Police arrived at the scene to find her care but no sign of the University of Massachusetts student.

A witness reported seeing Murray looking impaired the night of the accident.

"She might be afraid she might get in trouble, but we just want to let her know it is fine," said her sister, Kathleen Murray. "We just want her to come home."

Police said they were able to find few clues at the scene of the accident.

"We did an intense search of the crash scene area for evidence that she may have walked into the woods, but nothing like that was uncovered," Police Chief Jeff Williams said.

Haverhill police have been working with state police and the Fish and Game Department to find Murray while her family and friends have been driving around the region posting signs hoping someone may give them a clue to where she is.

"I feel badly for the family and hope that she is OK," resident Winnie Matteson said.

Searchers are canvassing an area from Haverhill along the Kancamangus Highway to North Conway. The area is like a second home to Murray. She has come to the region with her family since she was a child.

Relatives said they believe Murray may have been upset about something.

"We love her. She is the best," Kathleen Murray said. "She has a lot of family and friends. We love her. We just want to see her come home safe."

Maura Murray is described as 5 feet, 7 inches, weighing 120 pounds, with shoulder-length, brown hair. She was last seen wearing jeans and a dark coat.

Anyone with any information on the case is asked to contact police at (603) 787-2222.

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Family searches northern NH for woman


Union Leader Correspondent

HAVERHILL  A worried family fanned out across northern New Hampshire yesterday in search of a young woman who vanished after a minor car accident Monday night.

Maura Murray, 21, a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has not been seen since her car went off Route 112 Monday in the Wild Ammonoosuc area of Woodsville. Witnesses called police after the accident, but she disappeared before an officer arrived. A search followed that night, but there was no sign of Murray.

On Wednesday, local and state police, including the state police helicopter and Fish and Game conservation officers, searched the remote area of Route 112, but found no sign of her.

“This is very unusual,†said Fred Murray, her father. “It’s not like her to just take off.â€ÂÂ

Family members, including her brothers and sister, as well as her boyfriend, Bill Rausch, who flew in from Oklahoma when she was reported missing, fanned out from Haverhill to Lincoln, across the Kancamagus Highway to Conway and Bartlett, putting up flyers along the way, in the hope that someone may have seen her in the days since Monday.

Their search has been concentrated in the White Mountains, since Murray and her family have vacationed in the Lincoln and Conway areas for years.

“We went to every spot we thought she might go to  hotels and motels  and put up flyers,†Bill Rausch said.

But so far, their efforts have come up empty.

The only thing they do have to go on is a call Bill Rausch received on cell phone after he flew back to Massachusetts late Tuesday.

“There was just someone breathing on the other end, and the number was unknown,†said Bill Rausch, who is planning to ask Murray to marry him. “I tried calling the number back, but it turned out to be a (number for a) phone card.â€ÂÂ

Police were attempting to track down from where the card may have come, he said.

Haverhill police Chief Jeff Williams said Wednesday that there doesn’t appear to be foul play involved. Her family surmises that since there was a lack of footprints near her car, she may have taken a ride with someone.

Fred Murray said he wants to tell his daughter that whatever is troubling her, it’s nothing that can’t be worked out.

“I don’t know what the matter is, or the trouble you think you might be in,†he said, “but it isn’t anything we can’t solve. It’s me  you can tell me. We’ll work it out until we solve it.â€ÂÂ

The family hopes that the hundreds of flyers they’ve put up in the past two days will provide some leads for them to pursue.

“We just want to spread the word around and ask anyone who may have seen her to please call us,†Fred Murray said.

Murray is described as being 5-feet, 7 inches tall, 120 pounds, with shoulder length brown hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing jeans and a dark jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call Haverhill police at 787-2222.

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Probe continues for missing Mass. woman

HAVERHILL (AP)  A missing person investigation continued yesterday for a young Massachusetts woman who disappeared earlier this week after her second car crash in three days.

Haverhill police Chief Jeff Williams said the search of the area where Maura Murray, 21, of Hanson, Mass., crashed her car into a snowbank last Monday has ended, but the investigation continues. He said the hope is she will contact a family member or friend, or someone else might see her and call, he said.

“We are concerned for her personal welfare. There is no evidence of foul play,†he said.

“Our concern is that she’s upset or suicidal, something the family was concerned about.â€ÂÂ

Murray’s family along with her boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch, and his family have flown into the state to help. The family has been passing out fliers with her picture on both sides of the border, hoping someone might have seen her.

“This is very unusual,†said Fred Murray, her father. “It’s not like her to just take off.â€ÂÂ

Police using dogs and a helicopter, and Fish and Game officers searched the immediate area of the accident and found nothing. Murray disappeared after a resident in the area went out to help her, and called police, though she asked him not to. When police arrived, she was gone, leaving behind her car, which was undriveable.

The accident occurred on Route 112 about one mile from the Swift Water Village, and about five miles from Wells River, Vt., across the Connecticut River.

She was familiar with the area because her family vacationed in the Lincoln and Conway areas for years.

Sharon Rausch, the boyfriend’s mother who flew in with her husband, Bill, from Marengo, Ohio, to help, said she had been told Murray “had made arrangements to be away from work for a week.â€ÂÂ

She worked at an art gallery while going to nursing school at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is a junior, Rausch said.

She said Murray crashed her car two days after wrecking her father’s car in a crash.

“She’s extremely responsible, an extremely frugal girl. I think she wanted to get away and get her head on straight,†Rausch said.

“We have no reason to believe she was running away.â€ÂÂ

“She’s a jewel of a girl,†she said.

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Missing Woman Mystery

POSTED: 4:27 PM EST February 14, 2004

HAVERHILL, NH -- There still is no sign of the young Massachusetts woman last seen in northern New Hampshire on Monday.

Friends and relatives of 21-year-old Maura Murray of Hanson, Massachusetts, have plastered the Haverhill area with posters, hoping for a tip to lead them to the woman.

The woman was last seen Monday evening after being involved in a minor car crash. Police say they have no reason to suspect foul play.


A student vanishes, and none knows why

Woman who left crash had planned a getaway

By Peter DeMarco, Globe Corresondent, 2/15/2004

Six days have passed since college student Maura Murray crashed her car on a rural highway in northern New Hampshire and disappeared without a trace. But as family, friends, and investigators continue their search for the 21-year-old Hanson native, two questions continue to baffle them: Where was Murray going, and what was she running from?

A junior in the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's nursing program, Murray was doing well in school. She had a dedicated boyfriend, a loving family, and close friends. Her father, Frederick, had just told her he wanted to buy her a new car.

But on Monday, Murray apparently decided she needed to get away from life for a while. In short order, she withdrew a few hundred dollars from an ATM machine, packed her cellphone wall charger and her favorite stuffed monkey into her Saturn, e-mailed her professors to tell them she wouldn't be in class all week, and headed north for the White Mountains.

Whatever her intended destination was, she never made it there in her car.

At about 7 that night, while taking a sharp turn on Wild Ammonoosuc Road in Woodsville, N.H., Murray lost control and slammed into a snow bank. Shaken by the accident, and apparently intoxicated, Murray told a witness she didn't need help, local police said. The witness went to call the police and by the time they arrived Murray was gone.

Using tracking dogs, helicopters, and trained searchers, local and state police, as well as state fish and game officials, covered nearly 20 miles along Route 112, but found no trace of Murray's footprints in the snow. The tracking dogs lost her scent within 100 feet of the accident, leading investigators and her loved ones to believe she either hitched a ride and continued on her way, or was abducted.

"We're all under the assumption that since the trail sort of falls off someone picked her up. We really hope she doesn't quite understand how many people have been looking for her," said high school friend Carly Muise. "Maybe if she doesn't realize that, the person who gave her a ride will and will come forward." Murray, a former top student and track star at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, is described by friends and family as a responsible, attractive young woman who is very close to her family, in particular her father, who spend yesterday checking bus stations in New Hampshire and Vermont for any signs of her.

A self-reliant woman, Murray toughed out three semesters as a chemical engineer at the US Military Academy at West Point before deciding the Army wasn't for her. Since transferring to the University of Massachusetts, she has been a successful student in the nursing program, said dean Eileen Breslin.

"Nursing students are very responsible. That's part of her character," said Breslin.

If Murray was troubled by something, family and friends said, it might have been a small car accident she got into last Saturday night, when she damaged her father's new Toyota.

The day after the accident, she called her boyfriend, Army Lieutenant Bill Rausch, who is stationed in Oklahoma, in tears. A day later, on Monday, she got into her Saturn and headed north.

Rausch, who got a leave of absence from the Army, arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday. Joined by his parents, who drove from Ohio, and by Murray's father and some of her siblings, Rausch has spent the past few days driving across both New Hampshire and Vermont, stopping at local gas stations, bus stations, and police headquarters, asking whether anyone has seen Murray.

Yesterday morning, Rausch and his father were told that Murray might have been at a McDonald's in St. Johnsbury, Vt. They drove there, but no one had seen her.

"Obviously, we're hoping for the best. If I just got some news, although I guess no news is good news," Rausch said.

Rausch said Murray fled with a backpack, but left many of the other items she'd packed, including the stuffed monkey he gave her and her favorite book, "Without Peril," behind in her car.

A witness told local police Murray appeared to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, and Rausch said that there was an open bottle of alcohol in the car. However, he said he'd never known Murray to drink and drive, and guessed she might have fled out of fear she'd broken the law.

Breslin, UMass's nursing dean, said Murray had e-mailed a professor on Monday indicating she needed to take time off because of a "family problem" and will return to class this week.

Her family and friends, have since spend hours plastering missing posters and calling news agencies to get her picture and story out.

"I'm hoping someone will see her and call someone to let us know she's all right. We're just sitting on eggshells waiting for that," said Laurie Murray, Murray's mother, a nurse at the Samuel Marcus Nursing Home in Weymouth.

New Hampshire State Police have posted her photo on national missing persons databases, and have promised to follow any leads. So far, they have none.

"It's a difficult one," said Sgt. Robert Bruno, detective supervisor. "I wish I has more to tell you."

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Search Continues For Missing Woman

Family, Friends Find No Sign Of Woman Missing For Week

POSTED: 4:34 pm EST February 16, 2004

UPDATED: 5:08 pm EST February 16, 2004

BATH, N.H. -- Family and friends continued to search Monday for a Massachusetts woman missing for one week after a car accident.

Maura Murray, 21, was last seen following a car accident in Woodsville, N.H. Police said there is no evidence of foul play, but they are treating it as a missing-person investigation and said they have no new information.

Murray was last seen on Route 112, and as her father searched the roadway Monday, he said that he needs to stay focused on finding her.

"I don't want to go back without her," Fred Murray said. "I can't face the ride going back in an empty car."

Maura Murray's boyfriend, Bill Rausch, was also searching again Monday. Her family and friends said they don't know what else to do. They've covered a 50-mile radius from Woodsville with posters, but police said there is still no sign of her. Her father believes she's no longer in the area.

"I think she accepted a ride at the scene of the accident, which would enable her to get closer to public transportation, and she got out by bus," Fred Murray said.

Family members can't say why Murray would have wandered away. She left her University of Massachusetts dorm last Monday, e-mailing her professors that she'd be gone for a week. She didn't tell her parents or boyfriend what she planned.

"If she could've, she would've contacted me, so I think she's being held against her will," Fred Murray said. "I'm afraid to think of what could've happened."

Murray's relatives said they are not giving up hope and plan to stay in the area as long as it takes to find her. Police urged anyone who might have seen her to call them at (603) 846-3333.


With no word from missing student, family's hopes dim

Kin of 21-year-old suspect foul play

By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff, 2/17/2004

For all the questions torturing relatives of University of Massachusetts at Amherst nursing student Maura Murray, one thing is increasingly certain. The fact that she has not contacted them in more than a week since disappearing from a rural New Hampshire roadside, they say, means something is terribly wrong.

Murray's father, mother, and boyfriend said yesterday they now believe and fear that the 21-year-old Hanson native is a victim of foul play.

"She is just a skinny, little girl, and I am getting more scared by the hour," Frederick Murray, Maura's father, said in a telephone interview from Woodsville, N.H., where his daughter disappeared Feb. 9 after crashing her Saturn into a snowbank.

Relatives have been searching in and around the small towns near the Vermont border where Maura Murray vanished, posting fliers and interviewing witnesses.

As best they can determine, Murray got a ride from someone in a car shortly before police arrived at the accident scene on Wild Ammonoosuc Road, said her boyfriend, US Army Lieutenant William Rausch.

No one saw her do so, but residents on the street saw her standing on the road before police arrived, and search dogs lost her scent less than 100 yards from her wrecked car, Rausch said.

"It seems apparent that she most certainly jumped in a vehicle," Rausch said. "An older couple who lives here put her at [the Saturn] one minute before the police arrived."

Given the preparations Murray had apparently made for a trip, relatives had hoped for much of the last week that she may have wanted to be by herself or that she was too embarrassed to call home after crashing a second car in three days.

At the time she left Amherst, relatives said, Murray had been upset that she had crashed her father's car two days earlier. Before heading north toward the White Mountains, Murray withdrew a few hundred dollars from an ATM machine, packed her cellphone wall charger and her favorite stuffed monkey into her Saturn, and e-mailed her professors to tell them she would not be in class all week because of a "family problem."

But with each passing day, hopes that she abandoned her car, hitched a ride, and continued her journey are fading, her mother said. It would be out of character for her daughter not to call, her mother said.

"She knows I'm a worrier," Laurie Murray of Weymouth said.

Also out of character, family members said, were reports from witnesses that Murray appeared to be intoxicated just after the crash.

Murray, a former top student and track standout at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, is described by friends and family as a responsible young woman who is very close to her family, particularly her father. She spent three semesters as a chemical engineer at the US Military Academy at West Point before transferring to the nursing program at UMass.

New Hampshire State Police have opened a missing-person investigation into Murray's disappearance and posted her photo on a national law enforcement database.

A spokesman said yesterday there were no new developments in the case. m/

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Missing Woman

Police Chasing Regionwide Leads


Haverhill police officers and detectives from New Hampshire State Police Troop F are receiving leads from all points in New England regarding a missing 21-year-old Massachusetts woman.

"This search has gone nationwide," Haverhill Police Chief Jeffery Williams said in a phone conversation late Tuesday afternoon.

Williams' four-person police department, which includes himself, has been investigating the disappearance of Maura Murray of Hanson, Mass. They, along with detectives from Troop F, have been receiving leads from all over New England.

Murray is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 120 pounds and has long dark brown hair and blue eyes, She was involved in a one-car accident about 7 p.m. Feb. 9.

Her car failed to negotiate a sharp curve and went off the road. Her father, Fred Murray, said it was a minor accident.

A resident who lives near the accident scene told police Murray was asked if she wanted police or emergency medical services called. She reportedly said no. That was the last time anyone has seen the young woman, who reportedly crashed her father's vehicle two days before she crashed her own car, a black 1996 Saturn bearing Massachusetts plates.

According to police, Murray was not injured in the accident. However, she was reportedly impaired due to alcohol consumption when she was seen by her car after her accident.

Williams said his department has received a number of calls in connection with Murray's disappearance, but he will not comment on them because of the ongoing investigation.

The person who saw Murray after the accident also was at the scene when officers arrived.

Williams wouldn't comment concerning what the witness had said about Murray's disappearance between the time of the accident and the time officers arrived.

"We don't know if someone picked her up," Williams said. "We are certainly concerned about that (possibility). We are getting leads from all over New England. It's a national investigation at this point."

Maura's father and her fiance, Bill Rausch, who is a second lieutenant with C Battery, 119th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., have been joined by relatives and friends in their search for the 21-year-old woman. She is a student in the University of Massachusetts nursing program at Amherst.

They have been scouring areas on both sides of the Connecticut River, hoping to find someone who may have seen Maura or have information as to what happened to her after the accident.

Williams said although a search for her was called off last week, the investigation is continuing. He said New Hampshire Fish and Game is in charge of searches.

"I don't see a need for a search until we have a (solid) lead," Williams said.

In addition to officers from his department, and detectives, including Sgt. Bob Bruno from Troop F, Vermont State Police also are playing a part in the investigation.

Williams said information about Murray as been entered into the National Crime Information Center computer systems.

Anyone who has seen Murray is asked to contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333 or 603-271-1170. People also can call the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.


Police Renew Search For Missing Student

Woman Disappears After Car Crash

POSTED: 7:24 am EST February 19, 2004

HAVERHILL, N.H. -- Police will fan out in the Haverhill area Thursday, hoping to find clues to lead them to a Massachusetts woman who was last seen in the area a week and a half ago.

Maura Murray, 21, of Hanson, Mass., disappeared after a minor car crash on Feb. 9.

Police know she withdrew $280 from an ATM and e-mailed her U Mass Amherst professors to say she'd be away for a week to deal with a family problem.

State police are bringing in tracking dogs and a helicopter today.

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Police Suspend Search for Missing Woman

Haverhill, New Hampshire - February 19, 2004

Police used a helicopter and scent dogs to search two square miles of the wooded area where 21-year-old Maura Murray was last seen.

But still, no sign of the missing college student.

"We were not able to come up with any conclusive clues for us to continue,"said Lt. Todd Bogardus of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

Police say Murray told her employer she'd be gone for a week to deal with some family issues. She drove to New Hampshire and crashed her car on this sharp curve on Route 112 in Haverhill. She told witnesses she did not want help and took off before police arrived, leaving her car behind.

"This is unprecedented. She's not irresponsible. For her not to call, means to me she is not able to call, and that frightens me," says Fred Murray, Maura's father.

Maura's family and friends have plastered her picture on 1,500 posters all over New Hampshire and Vermont, hoping someone has seen her.

"The way we're getting through is the same way we want Maura to get through, just not giving up. We're not giving up and we don't want her to give up," says Bill Rausch, Maura's boyfriend.

The search party has taken over a Wells River motel, looking for leads, waiting and hoping. They say they're frustrated Maura was last seen on February 9th, but police didn't start looking for her until February 11th, 36 hours later.

"This is a rural area, not many people, not much crime, so when something big comes up, it's a strain on the capabilities of the local police," says Fred Murray.

Police stress that even though their formal search has ended, this case is still very much open. They want to hear from anyone who may have seen Maura Murray.



Search For Missing Woman Leads To Burlington

UMass Student Last Seen In Woodville, N.H.

Police are expanding their search for a missing woman to the Champlain Valley.

New Hampshire State Police say that before Maura Murray, 21, disappeared a week and a half ago, the missing University of Massachusetts student had been on her computer looking up directions to Burlington.

Murray was last seen in Woodsville, where she was involved in a minor car accident.

Thursday afternoon police scoured the area, as Murray's family kept their fingers crossed that they would come up empty.

"I hope they don't find anything," said Fred Murray, Maura's father. "I want them there, but I hope they're unsuccessful. I appreciate their efforts."

The search turned up nothing, and has been put on hold while investigators look into the map of Burlington found on Murray's computer.

Police say Murray also withdrew $300 from an ATM, and emailed professors saying she had to take a week off to deal with a family problem.

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With no new leads, FBI joins search for missing student

By Peter DeMarco, Globe Correspondent, 2/20/2004

The FBI has joined in the search for missing college student Maura Murray, but without a single lead in the nearly two-week old case, New Hampshire authorities said the additional investigators might not make a difference.

Murray, a 21-year-old Hanson native and nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, vanished the night of Feb. 9 after crashing her car into a snowbank on a rural road in Woodsville, N.H.

Police in helicopters and with their dogs searched the area for a second time yesterday, but with no evidence that Murray fled into the woods, her family and authorities believe she either hitched a ride and is on her own, or was abducted.

Missing persons cases are typically handled by local and state authorities unless a federal crime has been committed.

So far, investigators have found no evidence that Murray was kidnapped or taken across state lines.

Nevertheless, at the urging of Murray's father, Fred, New Hampshire State Police are now working with Boston-based FBI agents on the case, officials said.

Though police have questioned many of Murray's family members and friends, FBI agents will probably return to UMass-Amherst and Hanson for further interviews and background checks, said Lieutenant John Scarinza, commander of State Police Troop F.

"We're now at the phase where we need to learn more about the week before Maura headed north," he said. "If any friends or associates or classmates had any discussions with her about her wanting to come up north, or places she'd like to visit, or important destinations, we'd like to hear from them. Maybe that would help us understand where she went, or why."

Hours before she departed for New Hampshire on Feb. 9, Murray e-mailed a professor and her part-time campus job to say she was heading home for the week because of a death in the family, according to school officials and the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, a student newspaper.

Withdrawing $280 from an ATM, she loaded her Saturn with clothing, a book, and a stuffed toy monkey and headed to New Hampshire, where she had frequently hiked with her father. She told no one of her plans.

About 7 that evening, she lost control on a sharp bend on Route 112 in Woodsville. Unhurt, but appearing to be intoxicated, she refused help from a motorist who offered assistance and was gone when police reached her car about 10 minutes later, officials said.

Fearing that Murray may have been taken across state lines and unaware of any major issue she might have been struggling with, her family urged the FBI to get involved.

Woodsville is about 5 miles from the Vermont border and about a two-hour drive from New York, Maine, and Canada.

Fred Murray, who is scheduled to appear on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" today to discuss his daughter's disappearance, said the FBI involvement is a good start, but not enough.

"They're saying the FBI is in, but that's a very limited scale," he said. "I'd like to see the best case scenario -- agents crawling all over the place up here."

Scarinza said investigators, including detectives at UMass-Amherst, share Murray's concerns. At the same time, he cautioned that people sometimes escape to the White Mountains without telling their family or friends.

"She's an adult. If you want to go on vacation for a few weeks, you have a right to do that. But even the FBI is not going to go to California to see if she's on vacation there," he said.

"Hopefully, by the close of [today] we will have talked to everyone at least twice within a reasonable radius of the area. We're talking 5 miles, give or take," he continued. "There's no evidence of a struggle near or around the car. No witness says there was an altercation. No evidence that any criminal offense has happened to her. Yes, she's missing. It's frustrating for the family. And law enforcement officials are frustrated too. We have no idea where she is."

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Investigators say Murray probably left in another vehicle

By Elaine Allegrini, Enterprise staff writer

HANSON  The 21-year-old college student who disappeared after a minor car crash in New Hampshire last week probably left the area in another vehicle, investigators said Thursday after a search near the crash scene failed to produce evidence she had walked into the woods.

Police say they have considered that someone whom Maura Murray knew was traveling with her in another vehicle, but that remains unknown. She is a junior at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the Feb. 9 disappearance widened Thursday when the FBI joined the probe at the request of New Hampshire State Police. FBI agents spent Thursday morning interviewing Murray's mother, Lauri Murray, at her Hanson home.

"They want to talk to everybody that knows her, any clue," said a distraught Lauri Murray. "We're pushing, now, two weeks and there's not a word or a sign of this girl."

Maura Murray excelled in academics and sports at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, went on to the West Point military academy and left after a year and a half to pursue a nursing degree at UMass, where she was on the dean's list.

"She's a very academically talented, gifted student," said Jim Daley, Whitman-Hanson basketball coach and social-studies coordinator. "She's very organized, very diligent. She was a steady-eddy, very consistent, very focused, a lovely young girl.

"It's more than sad, it's tragic," added Daley, a Hanson resident who is hopeful Murray will let people know she is safe.

"She definitely was very responsible," said her boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch, a West Point graduate who has been in New Hampshire since last week with his parents and Murray's family.

From a small motel over the Vermont border, the families have been searching the area, keeping in touch with investigators and talking to the media.

Rausch said he cannot explain Murray's disappearance in the rural area where she has climbed mountains and vacationed with her family.

Her father, Fred, of South Weymouth, and older brother, Freddy, also searched the woods along Route 112 in the past week and have not found any footsteps to indicate she had been there, Rausch said.

The family has established a Web site with photographs of Murray, hoping someone will recognize her.

"She has that intense radiant smile in every photo," Rausch said. "She's such a radiant, happy girl that you just can't help falling in love with her."

He said his parents, who drove from Ohio to join the search, feel the same way.

Rausch said Murray was excited about the challenges she faced in a new semester at school after they spent the holidays together. Her desire to follow her parents into the medical field prompted her transfer from West Point to UMass, he said.

Although they are separated because of his military assignment in the South, Rausch said he and Murray spoke regularly, sharing a cell phone account.

"We talked about marriage quite a bit, when we were going to be engaged," Rausch said.

He said he received a voice mail from Murray on the afternoon of Feb. 9.

"Regardless of why she went up here, I'm certain that she wanted me to know," he said in a telephone interview from the Vermont motel. "She told me she missed me, she loved me."

She also asked him to call her or, if she did not hear from him, she would call him again, he said. The call never came.

Now, Rausch and Murray's family call her cell phone many times each day, but she does not answer. The calls go to voice mail. They also access the voicemail, but he said, there are no messages related to her disappearance or her whereabouts.

New Hampshire State Police Lt. John Scarinza said investigators are as frustrated as Murray's family and friends. He hopes the FBI will uncover some information to shed some light on her disappearance while New Hampshire state and local police continue their probe.

"We're trying to learn as much as we can about what Maura was thinking, who she may have for friends or why she may have headed north," Scarinza said Thursday.

He was in the area Thursday for the ground and air search of the area along Route 112 where Murray was briefly seen after crashing her vehicle and urging a witness not to contact police.

There are several houses along that stretch of the otherwise lonely road that Murray could have gone to for help, Scarinza said.

If she entered a vehicle to get away from the scene, as police believe, they wonder if she knew the driver or if she went with a stranger.

There is also new information indicating that Murray may have intended to leave school for longer than a week.

"Clearly, her intention was to leave school for, at this point, a destination unknown," Scarinza said. "Why she went through Haverhill is unknown."

Many of her belongings had been packed and left behind in her dorm room at the school, Scarinza said after talking to campus police.

The school newspaper, The Daily Collegian, also quoted a classmate who said Murray's room was packed like she was planning to move out.

Murray was believed to have a single room in the dorm, school spokesman Patrick J. Murray said.

She was also quiet and did not socialize with other students, according to a report published in the school newspaper.

On the day she disappeared, Murray e-mailed the art gallery where she worked and her teachers to say she would be gone for a week to attend to a family emergency, Scarinza said.

Although there have been reports that Murray may have been suicidal, that she had a family problem during the weekend before she disappeared, those close to the young woman said she was upbeat and did not have a history of depression.

She had crashed her father's car in Amherst on the Saturday night before she disappeared, but Rausch said it was nothing serious, that she skidded on ice. Police, however, said it was a significant accident.

A witness at the New Hampshire crash site said she appeared to be impaired by alcohol. Police have not provided information to support that, but Lauri Murray said she believes there was some wine in her daughter's car, though she is unsure if it was open or broke when the two airbags deployed in the crash.

That is not an issue, Lauri Murray said, as she tries to cope. Her son Curtis, 15, remains with her at the family home after spending several days searching the New Hampshire woods last week.

Police have scaled back the ground search after making a third and larger sweep through the area Thursday, Scarinza said.

"That's not the case for the rest of the investigation," he said.

The search for Maura Murray will continue in New Hampshire and in Massachusetts, both on an official and personal basis.

"If Maura is not contacting us because she's unable to, we most certainly don't want her to give up," Rausch said. "We won't give up. Our mission right now is to find her."

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Father of missing woman frustrated with search


Associated Press Writer

CONCORD, N.H.- The father of a missing Massachusetts woman said he wants police to start treating the search like a criminal investigation.

Since 21-year-old Maura Murray vanished after a car accident in northern New Hampshire two weeks ago, police have repeatedly said they do not suspect foul play.

Searchers found no signs of struggle at the scene, and it appears Murray was planning a getaway. She lied to professors about a death in the family, and said she would be gone from class for the week and then packed her belongings as if she was moving out.

New Hampshire investigators have been working with Massachusetts law enforcement, including campus police at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where Murray is a nursing student.

Police said it appears she was leaving Massachusetts without telling anyone and wanted to get away on her own, and she may not know about the search if she's not in New England.

But her family is starting to suspect otherwise.

Her father, Frederick Murray, believes his daughter was given a ride from a person who won't come forward since he helped her leave the scene of an accident, or a person who gave her a ride and then abducted her.

"To take a break or start a new life, she would need money," Murray said in a telephone interview. "She hasn't used her ATM card, she hasn't used her cell phone, she hasn't spent a dime."

Searches, including a renewed search Thursday with dogs and a helicopter in northern New Hampshire, turned up no sign that the woman wandered into the snow-covered woods. Police called off the ground search in that area.

Frederick Murray said he is afraid the search is slowly grinding to a halt.

"We should think of it in terms of a criminal investigation," Murray said. "It sounds like it would be the key to expanding it. Let's grab the bull by the horns and call it foul play."

Vermont State Police, Burlington police and other local agencies were combing area motels on Saturday, after a check of Murray's computer found she had looked up directions to Burlington the day she disappeared

"Still nothing," South Burlington Police Sergeant James Snyder said of the search on Saturday. "We've already given out flyers and we've checked the hotels. All the hotels are full this weekend because we have Mardi Gras. All of the hotels are aware of it."

Police and family members are also trying to gauge the significance of a phone call that reduced Murray to tears while working her campus job at UMass-Amherst on Feb. 5. She was so disturbed by the call her supervisor had to take her home.

Police are also investigating a message on Maura's phone from a friend she talked to the day before she disappeared.

Authorities said Murray withdrew $280 from an ATM on Feb. 9. Around 7 o'clock that evening she crashed her car into a snow bank several miles from the Vermont border.

A witness, who told police Murray appeared intoxicated but uninjured, called authorities against Murray's wishes. By the time emergency workers arrived, Murray had gone, leaving most of her belongings in the car.

Maura's father and his 33-year-old son were searching along the Kancamagus highway in northern New Hampshire on Saturday, where the family goes camping every summer.

"Time's running out. Somebody must have seen something, somewhere," Fredrick Murray said. "One tip from anybody, you could be the person who saves this girl's life."

An award fund for any information about Murray is now more than $20,000.

Sharon Rausch, the mother of Maura's boyfriend, said Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has donated an undisclosed amount to the fund. Rausch said the coach met Maura at Madison Square Garden over the holidays. Krzyzewski's daughter is friends with Maura and her boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch.

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Footprints in the snow

By Brian McGrory, Globe Columnist, 2/27/2004

HAVERHILL, N.H. -- They say the hardest thing that any parent can ever be called upon to do is bury their child.

But standing amid the glorious scenery of the White Mountains this week, where an uneven layer of snow coated the meadows like vanilla frosting on a homemade cake, I had to think there might be something even worse. And Fred Murray is living it right now.

Murray is from the South Shore. His daughter, Maura, a 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, vanished into the thin air of the northern New Hampshire wilderness this month. She had a minor car accident along a pitch black stretch of rural road on Feb. 9, and in the 10 minutes it took police to respond, she was gone.

Her cellphone hasn't been used since. Her credit cards haven't registered any purchases. She left most of her clothing in a suitcase in the back of the disabled car. And her father, her sister, her brothers, her friends have no idea what they're supposed to do now.

Immediately, they descended upon this hamlet en masse. They scrambled through the dense woods nearby. They drove a hundred miles in every direction, tacking fliers to telephone polls and bulletin boards of local stores. They stopped at bus stations in hopes that someone might have seen something. "I followed footsteps through the snow," Fred Murray said this week. When he saw a set of prints, he took off after them.

This much is known: At UMass, Maura received a call on the evening of Feb. 5 that reduced her to tears. A couple of days later, she told professors she'd be gone for a week for a family emergency. On Feb. 9, she left her boyfriend of three years, an army lieutenant in Oklahoma, an e-mail and voice mail in which she indicated nothing wrong, packed her car, and headed north.

The next time she was seen was in this tiny valley town, by Butch Atwood, a 58-year-old local school bus driver who passed her car as it sat in the snowbank. He said he stopped and asked if she needed help. She declined. He drove the 100 yards to his house and called the police. When they arrived, she was gone.

Authorities sent a heat-seeking helicopter along the treetops as recently as yesterday. They used dogs to try to trace her steps away from the accident scene. They dispatched cadaver-sniffing canines into the forest, all to no avail.

Eventually, life continues, bills need to be paid, and last weekend Fred Murray had to get back home. "The worst part was driving home alone," he said. "Then I stopped in her room at UMass, and that was pretty awful."

The two were uncommonly tight since she was a young girl. Both avid runners, they trained together. They hiked regularly in New Hampshire. "I was looking for some hint that she might have left for me, something that I'd understand that would say goodbye," he said of her room search. "But there wasn't anything."

"We weren't strangers; we were very close. I can't see her not saying goodbye to me. That's why I suspect foul play."

Her father acknowledges that she was fleeing school for reasons that he said are still unclear. He also believes that once she crashed, only two scenarios remain: She was picked up on the road by someone who wanted to help her or by someone who hurt her. If it was the former, they would have already come forward to let authorities know where she went.

Butch Atwood, the last witness to see her, has been questioned several times by police. Worried that he should have helped more, he told me outside his cabin this week, "I have some sleepless nights now."

If Maura Murray is alive and well, she ought to know that hearts are broken. She should know that no mistake is insurmountable. People forgive. Time and attention heal feelings and wounds.

These days, when Fred Murray's phone rings, he jumps. Minutes drag like hours. Shady psychics and gumshoes keep offering help. "I just want to get my little girl back," he said.

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Seeking Outside Help

Family, Friends of Maura Murray Upset With Investigation


Family and friends of 21-year-old Maura Murray believe someone picked up the University of Massachusetts at Amherst nursing student after she was involved in a one-car accident in Haverhill, N.H., Feb. 9.

They have hired an outside investigator to find out what happened to her.

It has been more than 2-1/2 weeks since Murray's car failed to negotiate a sharp curve near The Weathered Barn on Route 112 and crashed into a stand of trees about one mile east of Swiftwater.

"With all the attention from the media, if a good person had picked her up, he would have come forward," said Sharon Rausch, mother of Bill Rausch, Murray's boyfriend. "It leads us to believe a bad guy picked her up.

"I just wish they would treat this as a criminal investigation. If they treated it as such, the FBI could become more involved."

The "they" she is referring to is New Hampshire State Police Troop F and the Haverhill Police Department.

Rausch said her son Bill, Murray's father, Fred, and Murray's siblings, Freddy, Kathleen and Julie, are all frustrated with the lack of leads and the apparent belief by law officials that Murray's disappearance is nothing more than a person not wanting anyone to know where she is.

They believe Murray would have fought anyone trying to abduct her.

Family members and friends are also frustrated with conflicting information in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Murray, who is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 120 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes, was last seen on the UMass campus between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9.

Packed Up Her Dorm Room

UMass Police Department Detective Brian Davies said Murray had packed up all her belongings in her dorm room and appeared to be moving out and not returning.

Murray also had notified her professors she was going to be gone for a week because of a family emergency.

A search of Murray's computer by UMass detectives turned up evidence she had conducted a Mapquest search on the Internet for directions to Burlington, Vt.

Murray may had been having trouble with her black 1996 Saturn.

Rausch said she understood the vehicle was not running on all of its cylinders. Believing that, Murray may have left Interstate 91 and exited onto Route 302. She then picked up Route 112 and was headed east when her accident occurred.

She reportedly is familiar with the White Mountains region because of family camping trips.

Accident Scene

After Murray's accident, Butch Atwood said he was returning from taking students skiing when he spotted Murray's car half in the road and half off the road without its flashers on at about 7:30 p.m.

Others near the scene said the car's emergency flashers were on.

Atwood, who drives a First Student school bus, stopped his school bus by the Saturn to see if he could help. Murray was still in her car.

Atwood said she looked to be about 20 and had dark hair.

"I saw no blood," he said. "She was cold and she was shivering. I told her I was going to call the police."

Murray, according to Atwood, told him not to because she had already called AAA.

Atwood said he invited the woman to wait at his house, nearby, but she declined. He said he then went home to call 911.

After about seven to nine minutes, he looked out and saw a Haverhill police cruiser by the Saturn. A short time later, Haverhill Police Department officer, Sgt. Cecil Smith, notified Atwood that when he arrived at the crash scene, Murray was no longer with her car. Between the time Atwood had left Murray and her vehicle to call for help and the time Smith arrived, Murray had vanished.

State police arrived and checked the woods in the immediate area to see if Murray had gone into the forest. There weren't any tracks.

Atwood said Murray didn't appear to be intoxicated, despite police having said a witness indicated she had appeared to be impaired due to alcohol.

He lamented the fact Murray had not accepted his offer for help. He noted school bus drivers have to go through extensive background checks.

Police Delay Search And Press Release

Family members and friends are upset because police did not issue a press release seeking people's help in locating Murray until two days after the accident.

They also are upset because a thorough search of the area wasn't conducted until two days after the accident.

On Feb. 11, a canine team tracked Murray from the crash site east for about 100 yards.

Troop F Commander Lt. John Scarinza this week said investigators are still treating Murray's disappearance as a missing person investigation.

Scarinza says there is absolutely no evidence foul play has been involved, and that people living in the area of the accident scene have been interviewed several times.

A search of nearby homes by a canine team as well as forensics experts would require a search warrant. And a search warrant would require probable cause.

Rausch said family members were told by at least one person living near the accident site a man was seen in Maura's car after the accident.

Scarinza said investigators are using all the tools they have available to them to locate Murray.

Rausch said despite the appearance of Murray's dorm room, she and family members don't believe that's the case.

She said Murray, on the day of the accident, had picked up insurance forms related to an accident she'd had on Feb. 7. Murray was going to call her father the night of Feb. 9 to have him help her fill out the insurance forms.

Those forms, according to Rausch, were found in Murray's car along with school books, clothing and expensive jewelry.

The insurance forms and school books indicated to Rausch that Murray was going to return to Massachusetts and the university and was planning to study while she was away.

Family members and friends also are upset with no information coming from someone who placed a calling card call to Bill Rausch's cell phone as he was waiting to fly out of Oklahoma Feb. 11 to come search for his girlfriend.

Calling Card Call

Bill Rausch said he heard what he believed to be whimpering and crying.

However, Scarinza said that angle has been eliminated because investigators traced the calling card to the American Red Cross officials who had been attempting to contact Bill Rausch.

There also is the mysterious phone call Murray received while working as a security person at a residence hall at the UMass Amherst campus Feb. 5.

The call reportedly reduced Murray to tears and her supervisor had to take her home because she was so distraught.

UMass Detective Davies said his department has been able to track the phone call.

"We know the location," Davies said. "We have not been able to identify to whom she was speaking. Her friends have no idea who called her."

Sharon Rausch said, "It's obvious to us something has happened to distress her."

She said Murray had called Bill Feb. 8 and was crying because of the previous Saturday accident, though he didn't feel that was it.

"He told her on a scale of 1 to 10, it was only a 3 or 4," she said. "He had to talk to her a long time to calm her down. We are convinced something happened at school and her Amherst friends know."

Rausch speculated that what happened at the college has nothing to do with what happened to Murray after the accident on Route 112 in New Hampshire.

Because family and friends have been frustrated with the way the investigation has been carried out, they have brought in a private investigator to help them find Murray.

R.C. Stevens of PSII Inc., a Northampton, Mass., private investigation agency, is digging into what has happened.

A retired state trooper of 22 years, Stevens' firm handles high profile cases.

"Hopefully, we are going to do something soon," he said.

Murray's family and friends have started a pledge for reward fund. Rausch said donations aren't being accepted. However, pledges for a reward are, in the event information is provided which leads to Murray's return.

People can make pledges to the fund by sending an e-mail to

Rausch said Duke University Blue Devils basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and his family have pledged an unspecified amount of money to the reward fund.

Krzyzewski met Murray and Bill Rausch around Thanksgiving time and provided them with basketball tickets during the Christmas holiday basketball tourney.

Anyone who has seen Murray is asked to contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333 or 603-271-1170. People also can call the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.

Posted 2/27/04

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A family waits and wonders: What happened to Maura?

WELLS RIVER, Vt. - Kathleen Murray scatters the belongings on a motel room floor like pieces of a puzzle. The bag of stuff is what her sister, Maura Murray of Hanson, left behind when she was last seen Feb. 9 in Woodsville, N.H. - clothes, CDs, makeup and a copy of ‘‘Not Without Peril,'' journalist Nicholas Howe's story about people who died hiking New Hampshire's Presidential Mountain Range.

For Kathleen Murray, the book is unnerving because it talks about the rural region of northern New Hampshire where Murray was last seen.

‘‘My father gave it to her. I don't know what it could mean,'' the Hanover resident said.

The conditions couldn't have been worse for 21-year-old Murray when she disappeared. It was dark and freezing on the stretch of Route 112 that runs along the Wild Ammonoosuc River near the Vermont border. Police believe Murray was on her own. Nobody knew she left the campus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she was a junior studying nursing.

Then she crashed. The only roadside help was a 350-pound man named Butch Atwood, an imposing figure whose presence wouldn't be that welcoming to a young woman in the dead of the night, according to his wife.

Murray's family has lived in a nearby motel ever since, trying to piece together the mystery of her disappearance. After two weeks, there are few good leads. All they have are the bag of items she didn't take with her, wherever she went.

‘‘I know she was up here on her own will, but something altered her plans along the way and it could've been foul play. Nothing else makes sense,'' said Fred Murray of Hanson, Maura's brother.

The scene of the accident in the Woodsville section of Haverhill, N.H., is at a sharp bend of Route 112, which is marked by an old red barn that at one time was a gift shop for summer travelers visiting the White Mountains. Police believe Murray left UMass that afternoon, possibly upset over cracking up her father's car days earlier, or for some other reason nobody knows about.

It's not certain if she was going west on Route 112 toward Vermont, or east into New Hampshire, but the car went off the road into some brush at about 7 p.m.

The accident couldn't have been that bad. One little nick on a tree is all that marks the scene other than the ‘‘missing'' posters family and friends stapled up. Damage to the Saturn sedan was minimal, but Murray's head cracked the windshield. The front of the car was pushed in.

Bus driver Butch Atwood was coming around the bend in his school bus after dropping off a group of skiers who had been in North Conway for the day. He stopped, offered Murray help, and kept going when she said she had called AAA. Atwood parked the bus at his home, about 100 yards up Route 112, walked inside and told his wife Barbara what happened.

Another neighbor called police, who arrived within minutes. They found the bag, some bottles of alcohol, and that was it.

Maura Murray was gone.

Police searched the area for days but there were no obvious clues. There were no footprints and a bloodhound lost a scent on the road near the Atwoods house. Ever since, Fred and Kathleen Murray and other family members have been staying at a motel in Wells River, a town just over the border from New Hampshire.

Police are treating the disappearance as a missing persons case, and a stagnant one at that. The only significant lead turned up in Burlington, Vt., but it went nowhere. Authorities said Murray had downloaded Internet directions to Burlington. Fred and Kathleen Murray say they're growing frustrated but won't give up.

The chapter of Howe's book titled ‘‘A Question of Life or Death'' is book-marked with a Hallmark card and a photograph of Maura's brother Kurtis in a Little League uniform. Kathleen Murray got emotional looking it.

‘‘We have to find something just to get this going again. We need every lead followed up,'' she said.

For the family, trying to find the clue that will escalate the search is literally like trying to find a needle in a haystack in such an open, rural area. Every morning Murray family members search snowmobile trails, snowy fields, general stores and frozen ponds to look for footprints, and people to talk to. They're looking for anything.

It's all anyone's talking about these days around the area, and everybody has a theory.

‘‘Without fail, everybody who comes in here asks, ‘Have they found her yet?' One kid came in telling me, ‘They found her in Berlin (N.H.).' I would've known that if they did,'' said Bill Matteson, owner of Swiftwater Stagestop, a general store on Route 112, close to the accident scene.

Many people who live in this part of the state are ‘‘immigrants'' from Massachusetts, who came here ‘‘to get away from stuff like this,'' said Jeannette Wrigley, a Dorchester native and manager of the McDonald's in Haverhill.

‘‘Personally, I think somebody picked her up,'' Wrigley said.

Butch and Barbara Atwood are from Raynham and Taunton, respectively. They consider Haverhill much safer than where they grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts.

‘‘I might be afraid if I saw Butch. He's 350 pounds and has this mustache,'' Barbara Atwood said.

But she said there would have been no reason for Murray to fear anyone in an area where people know and look out for each other.

Said ice fisherman R.O. Richards of Lisbon, N.H., in his ice shanty on French Pond in Haverhill, ‘‘We have some thieves that might steal the teeth off a billy goat, but maybe that's it.''

Matteson said people know not to ‘‘mess with each other'' in this part of rural New Hampshire. Nearly everyone has a gun, he said. Matteson said he thinks that Murray walked away on her own, and got lost in the woods. It has happened before, according to locals.

‘‘An armed society is a safe society, that's why we have no crime,'' Matteson said.

‘‘In my opinion, it's a numbers game. On a Monday at 7 at night, maybe three cars went by here, at best. What are the odds that one is a predator?'' he said.

Locals are conditioned to deal with the weather, but wandering off could be fatal for a tourist. This week it was considered mild, even though the temperatures were below freezing and even colder with fierce winds. Without a good jacket and supplies ‘‘good luck,'' log cabin builder Mark Hesseltine said.

‘‘Not if you're not from around here, no way you're going to survive,'' Hesseltine said.

New Hampshire State Police and FBI agents in Massachusetts are now focusing on Murray's reason for leaving school. Nobody is thinking harder about Murray's state of mind than her sister Kathleen, one of her closest confidantes. The Saturday before Murray left school, she and her father, Frederick Murray of Weymouth, were shopping for a new car in Amherst because her Saturn was running on three cylinders.

It is also known that Murray got a phone call the Thursday before she left that disturbed her to the point that she needed to be escorted to her dormitory room by a supervisor. Friends in Amherst told the family they don't know what the call was about. Her father didn't think she seemed upset that weekend.

Looking at her sister's personal effects, Kathleen Murray wondered what went wrong.

‘‘She always told me everything. At school she had a few friends, but the people she was closest to was her boyfriend, or me, or my sister Julie. We would've known,'' Kathleen Murray said.

Posted 2/28/04

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Where could Maura be?

By Brian McGrory, Globe Columnist, 3/2/2004

The mystery continues to deepen around Maura Murray, the nursing student who vanished in New Hampshire three weeks ago after she slammed her car into some trees on a dark, rural road.

Investigators have determined the origin of an unusual telephone call that Murray received a few nights before she fled the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The conversation upset her so much that she had to be escorted from her job to her dorm room.

The call, according to UMass police Lieutenant Robert Thrasher, came from one of Murray's two sisters. But Thrasher said police have yet to receive an explanation of what was so upsetting.

Yesterday, Fred Murray, the girls' father, said he was told that Maura's sister called her to talk about a "monstrous" fight with a boyfriend. "But I don't think that would upset her all that much," Murray said.

The more details are revealed, the more baffling the case becomes, police acknowledge. Yesterday, Thrasher said that Maura had fastidiously packed all her belongings into boxes before she left school, even removing the art from her dorm room walls. Meanwhile, one UMass friend has seemingly withheld information from police, saying she didn't want to get Maura "in trouble."

UMass investigators, who have interviewed dozens of potential witnesses and combed through Murray's computer, shared an in-depth timeline that preceded the disappearance. Murray received the call on Thursday evening, Feb. 5. On Saturday, Feb. 7, Maura and a girlfriend had dinner with Fred Murray, who was visiting Amherst. Afterward, the father returned to his hotel, and the two young women attended a campus party.

At 3:30 a.m. Feb. 8, Maura crashed her father's new Toyota into a roadside post. She told her father about the accident later that morning. Just after midnight on Monday morning, Feb. 9, she conducted a MapQuest search of the Berkshires and Burlington, Vt., on her personal computer.

At 3:40 p.m. Monday, she withdrew $280 from an area ATM, then stopped at a liquor store. Surveillance cameras at the bank machine and in the store show that she was alone.

Maura was next seen at 7 p.m. in the White Mountains hamlet of Haverhill, N.H., an area where she had hiked and camped with her father. Schoolbus driver Butch Atwood came across her car in an embankment, he said, and stopped to ask if she needed help.

When she declined, he drove the 100 yards to his cabin and summoned police. By the time authorities arrived seven to 10 minutes later, she was gone. Her bank card, credit cards, and cellphone have been dormant since.

Authorities are exploring four scenarios, all of which they say contain flaws. Least likely is that she committed suicide. She left no note. Her grades were excellent. Her medical records showed no issues, and her relationships appeared sound. One investigator characterized her ongoing e-mail exchange with her boyfriend, an Army lieutenant in Oklahoma, as "sappy."

Second unlikeliest is that, intoxicated, she ventured into the woods and was overcome by the elements. But dogs couldn't trace her scent, there were no footprints in the fresh snow, and helicopters equipped with heat-seeking devices were no help.

Third is that in the brief window of time, she was picked up by someone who abducted or killed her. But authorities believe the odds of a violent criminal coincidentally coming across her on the rural road are as remote as the location itself.

Fourth is that she was picked up by a passerby, taken to a bus station, and fled the area, possibly with little idea of the anguish she has left behind.

This may have started innocently, with a confused young woman needing a break from the pressures of student life. But it isn't ending well. Maura, if you're alive, if you're able, come home.

And if she's not, there's someone, somewhere who has some idea of what happened that night.

POsted 3/2/04

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Missing Woman Investigation

Potential Evidence Discounted


Wednesday March 24, 2004

Maura Murray's friends and relatives were breathing a bit easier Tuesday after learning underwear found off a road in the town of Haverhill did not belong to her.

Murray, a 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, turned up missing the evening of Feb. 9 after she was involved in a one-car accident on Route 112 in Haverhill. The accident scene was about one mile east of Swiftwater.

"The DNA (tests) came back yesterday ... negative," Sharon Rausch said. "We are very glad. We are very hopeful."

Rausch is the mother of Billie Rausch, Murray's fiance-to-be.

Murray's sister, Kathleen, found a white pair of underpants lying on top of the snow on a secluded trail off of French Pond Road Feb. 26.

Kathleen turned them over to the Haverhill Police Department who in turn handed it over to the New Hampshire State Police.

Maura's hair brush and a toothbrush were provided to the state police crime lab in Concord along with the underwear for testing.

Although it turns out the underwear did not belong to Murray, and that provides a glimmer of hope, Rausch said the family is also realistic. "None of us believe she is willfully in hiding," she said. "But we are hopeful."

Rausch said Murray has money in her bank account. However, that money has not been touched. Her credit cards have not been used. Nor has her cell phone since the accident at around 7 p.m. Feb. 9.

Rausch said she will never give up hope. She said she was praying on her way home from work Tuesday that something would help lead them to Murray.

She recalled the miraculous story of how Elizabeth Smart had been found and returned safely to her family in Salt Lake City, Utah, in March 2003 after being held captive by a couple since June 5, 2002.

"I lost my father when I was 9," Rausch said. "My mother died when I was 31. Both of those events were very hard. But nothing has been as hard as this."

Although Murray and her son had not yet married, Rausch, with her voice quivering, said Murray's disappearance is even more difficult because she is like a daughter to her.

Whenever Murray enters a room, she said, her big, dazzling smile just brightens it up.

According to Butch Atwood, a First Student school bus driver who lives about 100 yards from where Murray lost control of her 1996 black Saturn after rounding a sharp left-hand curve near The Weathered Barn on Route 112, Murray refused help from him when he stopped.

In a renewed effort to get the word out about Murray's disappearance and jog people's memories, Rausch said 15,000 8- by 10-inch color posters of the 21-year-old have been made up.

Bethlehem Fire Chief Jack Anderson, who is also the president of the Twin State Mutual Aid Fire Association, tentatively has agreed to have firefighters throughout the twin states help distribute about 1,000 of the posters. "We will try and help through our 26 towns," Anderson said. "It's a good cause. We have to find that girl."

He said he feels for Murray's family and friends.

Rausch said she also has enlisted the help of Beth Drewniak of Hanson, Mass., to help distribute the posters. She said Drewniak's daughter grew up with Murray.

"We are hoping $40,000 will (jog) someone's memory," she said.

The posters show a picture of Murray with her classic big smile and dimples. It says $40,000 will be paid for any information leading to her safe return.

She is 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighs 115 pounds, has blue-green eyes and curly brown hair.

People with any information should call the New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-3636. Anyone who may have see Murray can also call the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.

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K-9 Teams To Search For Murray


Friday April 2, 2004


Family and friends say they have not given up hope that 21-year-old Maura Murray, of Hanson, Mass., will be found.

Although an official air and ground search was declared concluded by New Hampshire Fish and Game and Troop F State Police officials in February, K-9 teams from the Adirondack Rescue Dog Association will resume their search of the Haverhill area this weekend.

Sharon Rausch, whose son, Billy, is Murray's fiance-to-be, said she, her son and Murray's family have not given up hope she will be found and safely returned.

However, Rausch said they also know a lot of time has elapsed since Murray's black 1996 Saturn was found off the road near The Weathered Barn along Route 112, about a mile east of the hamlet of Swiftwater, Feb. 9.

This weekend, like last weekend, K-9 teams from the Adirondack Rescue Dog Association will conduct a search of the area surrounding the accident site.

Rausch said one of the teams is Marilyn Greene, a team trainer and private investigator, and her K-9, Buddy, from Guilderland, N.Y.

Fred Murray, Maura's father, said he was impressed by the teams when they searched the area last weekend. He will be returning to the accident scene this weekend to search areas not being searched by the K-9 teams.

On another front, Rausch is enlisting the help of University of Massachusetts at Amherst officials. Maura was a junior nursing student there.

Rausch is asking them to send an e-mail message to the university's 40,000 students through a blind e-mailer between April 15 and 20.

The e-mail will read, "Please help us find Maura. Please forward this to all the contacts in your address book."

The e-mail will contain information about what Maura looks like as well as information about the accident which she was involved in the night of Feb. 9.

"It will literally (reach) hundreds of thousands of people," Rausch said.

She is holding off sending out the e-mail right now because about 15,000 posters are being distributed in Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as at UMass.

Rausch also wants to do something special for Maura's 22nd birthday May 4. Initially, she wanted to have balloons released.

However, she said the family and friends will ask people to tie blue ribbons around trees as well as to their car antennas.

The following message also will be released May 4: "Maura's family prays for her safe return on her birthday."

Maura is 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighs 115 pounds, has blue-green eyes and curly brown hair.

She is soft-spoken and is an avid runner, logging between five and six miles daily.

People with any information should call the New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-3636, or the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.

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04.22.2004 08:43 A.M.

State police to resume ground search for missing girl

The Associated Press

HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) - Another ground search is planned soon for a Massachusetts college student missing since Feb. 9 after she crashed her car.

State police Lt. John Scarinza said searchers will be out in the accident area in a few weeks before the leaves come out on trees, which makes sightings more difficult.

State police searched the area in a helicopter Monday for any sign of Maura Murray, 21, of Hanson, Mass., a University of Massachusetts student, who had packed up all her belongings at school before she disappeared.

Murray, who didn't tell her family or anyone at school where she was going, was driving east along Route 112 when she failed to make a sharp left hand curve. She was unhurt, but disappeared before police arrived and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Scarinza said the area leads into rugged, mountainous terrain that covers many miles.

Scarinza said state police have talked to Vermont State Police about a girl missing in Vermont to see if there might be a connection, but "based on what we know, there does not seem to be any correlation whatever."

Murray's family has spent considerable time searching the area and asking people in New Hampshire and bordering Vermont if they had seen her.

The woman's father, Fred Murray, still searches every weekend.

"I'm happy the police are doing what they can," he said.

He said the pledged reward money for information leading to her safe return has reached $40,000.

He said he thinks she might have been abducted by someone who lives in the area.

Scarinza said it is a possibility.

"Until we know the answer, I would never say that that's not possible, but ... there's no evidence to suggest that," he said.

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Missing student's kin skeptical of psychic

By Peter DeMarco, Globe Correspondent, 4/11/2004

Maura Murray's parents have reacted with skepticism to a nationally known psychic profiler who believes the missing college student was abducted and murdered after vanishing from a rural New Hampshire road on Feb. 9.

"I don't believe her," said Laurie Murray, of Hanson, whose daughter disappeared without a trace after crashing her car into a snowbank in Woodsville, N.H. "I don't believe in [psychics] at all."

Murray's father, Fred Murray, of Weymouth, said he was not sure whether to believe California profiler Carla Baron, who said she has had psychic visions of his daughter's abduction and death.

But with law enforcement officials at a loss to explain his 21-year-old daughter's disappearance, Fred Murray said he is willing to listen to anyone offering help.

"About five or six psychics have contacted me. I have no idea whether they know what they're talking about or not," he said. "If they're wrong, they're wrong. It's worth a try, [as] the police seem to be out of ideas and there's no information coming forward."

Murray, who believes his daughter was abducted, said he contacted Baron a few weeks ago after being told of her strong track record with missing persons cases. The California psychic said she has helped dozens of police departments with homicide and missing persons cases over the past 20 years.

Baron said yesterday that after speaking with Fred Murray on the phone, she saw visions of Maura Murray and received messages from her in the form of thoughts.

Baron said she believes Murray hitched a ride with "a clean-cut looking man" in a truck following her car accident the night of Feb. 9. The man then sexually assaulted her and buried her body in a sparsely wooded area that may be a construction site, Baron said.

Her assailant, Baron added, has killed at least one other woman whose body is buried close to Murray's. "He happened to be driving by her. It was an opportunity. That's the thrill for him -- he never knows where the thrill will be," Baron said.

Baron equated her visions to snippets of a movie film, in which she perceives some details but not others. She could not say where Murray was picked up by her assailant, or whether Murray had hitched previous rides.

The psychic said she also was not sure why Murray, a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and former college track star, abruptly packed her belongings the day she disappeared and drove to New Hampshire without telling any friends or family members of her plans.

Fred Murray said he met with New Hampshire State Police on Friday to inform them about Baron's psychic reading. At his urging, Baron said, she left her contact information with investigators.

Baron, who was featured with psychic John Edwards on the 2003 Court TV program "Psychic Detectives," and has made several television and radio appearances, acknowledged that her readings are often met with skepticism.

While in some instances she has led invesigators directly to victims, she said, on other occasions her input is merely a starting point for an investigation.

"Hopefully we can start talking," she said. "Even if there is one little piece of information I have that can assist them in finding where she is, it's [worth it]."

New Hampshire State Police have said they have yet to find evidence of foul play in Murray's disappearance. The lead investigator on the case, John Scarinza, could not be reached yesterday.

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Public Urged To Attend

Ceremony Planned For Murray Accident Site

By GARY E. LINDSLEY, Staff Writer

Friday April 30, 2004


Family and friends of missing University of Massachusetts at Amherst nursing student Maura Murray will hold a special Circle of Hope ceremony simultaneously throughout parts of the country at 1 p.m., Sunday.

Murray, who is from Hanson, Mass., has been missing since she was involved in a one-car accident on Route 112 in the town of Haverhill, N.H., the night of Feb. 9.

Her father, Fred, will be joined by Jennifer Henry of Essex, Vt., and Leslie Grima of Franconia, N.H., for a ceremony at the accident site Sunday.

Simultaneous ceremonies will be held by Maura's boyfriend, Billy Rausch, in Lawton, Okla.; Rausch's parents, Bill and Sharon, in Marengo, Ohio; friends and family in Hanson; friends at UMass at Amherst; and by her sister, Julie, in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Twenty-two blue balloons, signifying Maura's 22nd birthday Tuesday, will be released at each site.

There also will be blue ribbons, buttons and a large laminated photograph of Maura.

Sharon Rausch said blue ribbons and balloons are being used because blue is Maura's favorite color.

At the accident site, there will be a large laminated photo of Maura. And Henry hopes to tie a blue ribbon around the tree where Maura had her accident.

Maura left her Amherst dorm the afternoon of Feb. 9, driving a black 1996 Saturn, which Rausch said was not operating on all of its cylinders.

As Maura rounded a sharp left-hand curve past The Weathered Barn in the town of Haverhill, she lost control of her car and went off the right side of the highway into some trees, causing minor damage.

Butch Atwood, a school bus driver, was returning home from taking students on a skiing trip when he spotted Murray's car.

He offered her assistance and said he would call police and emergency medical services for her, but she asked him not to.

Atwood, who lived about 100 yards east of the accident site, said Maura did not appear intoxicated.

He drove up to his house to call police and EMS. Between the seven to nine minutes he left Maura and Haverhill Police Sgt. Cecil Smith arrived, Maura disappeared. She has not been seen nor heard from since.

May 9 will mark three months since Maura disappeared.

Her father said he will be releasing the blue balloons and "hope for the best."

He said the balloon casting and Circle of Hope ceremony is going to be symbolic. He is hoping others, including area residents, join him for the ceremony.

However, he also is asking people not to park in the driveway of The Weathered Barn nor people's driveways.

The Rev. Lyn McIntosh will be leading the Circle of Hope ceremony at the accident site.

Grima said she has become involved in the ceremony and search because she is a nurse.

"It's just something I believe in," she said, referring to the search for Maura. "I think it's awful things aren't happening quicker."

Her sister, Jennifer Henry, also is a nurse.

Henry will be bringing ribbons not only symbolic of Maura, but also of Brianna Maitland, 17, Sheldon, Vt., who disappeared after her own car accident in Montgomery, Vt., the night of March 19.

Henry also has been involved in trying to help find Maura. She laments the fact she disappeared so far from home.

"If one of my children went missing in another town, I wouldn't have the hometown advantage ... support," she said.

She noted how hundreds of people have come out to help search for Brianna, which has not been the case for Maura.

"We want to get the local people involved," Henry said

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Police Have New Lead In Maura Murray Case


Thursday May 6, 2004

Parents Of Missing Women To Meet

The parents of 17-year-old Brianna Maitland and 21-year-old Maura Murray are joining forces to increase pressure on law enforcement to call in the FBI to join the search for their loved ones.

Bruce and Kellie Maitland and Fred Murray have scheduled a press conference for 9 a.m. Saturday at the American Legion in Woodsville.

The Maitlands and Murray are frustrated with the respective police investigations into their daughters' disappearances.

Brianna has been missing since she clocked out at her job as a dishwasher at the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, Vt., at 11:20 p.m. March 19. She left the inn to return to Sheldon where she was living with a friend.

Her car was discovered partially ensconced in an abandoned building during the early morning hours of March 20 about a mile from the Black Lantern. She hasn't been seen since.

Maura was involved in a one-car accident on Route 112 in the town of Haverhill, N.H., the night of Feb. 9. She hasn't been seen since the night of the accident.

Both women disappeared after being involved in accidents on rural roads.

The Maitlands and Murray believe there may be a connection between what has happened to their daughters. And they want that connection explored.

However, state police from Vermont and New Hampshire have discounted any connection between the disappearances of Brianna and Maura.

"We want to meet Fred and talk about what we are going through," Bruce Maitland said. "Also, we want to get out to people we need to have this looked at as a combined effort. There may be a connection."

He believes the FBI, which has more resources than the state police, should become involved in the search for Brianna and Maura.

Murray has been asking New Hampshire State Police right from the beginning to ask the FBI to become active participants in the search for his daughter.

And with Brianna missing, he believes it is imperative any possible connections be explored. "I believe there may be a connection," Murray said. "The people in Vermont and New Hampshire should be screaming to have the FBI become involved."

He said until Brianna and Maura are found, young women in Vermont and New Hampshire are not safe until whomever is involved is found


There may be a break in the case involving 21-year-old nursing student Maura Murray who disappeared the night of Feb. 9 after she was involved in a one-car accident on rural Route 112 in Haverhill.

New Hampshire State Police Troop F Lt. John Scarinza said a witness has come forward with information he may have seen Murray about four to five miles east of the accident scene.

Scarinza said a man, whom he declined to identify, was returning from a construction job in the Franconia area when he spotted a young woman matching Murray's description hurrying east on Route 112, about an hour after her accident.

He not only believes the witness' information is credible, he also believes the man actually saw the Hanson, Mass., resident.

Murray, a student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, left campus the afternoon of Feb. 9 after e-mailing professors and her boss, telling them she was going to take a week off because of a family problem.

Before heading north, she packed her black 1996 Saturn with some clothing, books for her college classes, expensive diamond jewelry from her boyfriend, Billy Rausch of Fort Sill, Okla., and computer-generated directions for locations in Vermont.

Although directions found in her car indicated she may have been headed toward Stowe or Burlington in Vermont, Murray apparently exited Interstate 91 at Exit 17 and headed east on Route 302.

She then turned right onto Route 112 and apparently headed to Lincoln, which she was familiar with because of family excursions to the area.

About a mile east of Swiftwater, around 7 p.m., she lost control of her car while rounding a sharp left-hand curve near The Weathered Barn. Her car went off the right side of the highway and into some trees, causing minor damage.

Butch Atwood, a school bus driver who lives about 100 yards east of the accident site, discovered Murray's disabled car while returning from taking students on a skiing trip.

Atwood spoke with her and offered to help, including calling police and EMS. However, Murray insisted that Atwood not call police and EMS because she had already contacted AAA.

Murray did not appear to be intoxicated, according to Atwood. Police said a container of alcohol was found in the car.

Atwood went to his house to call for help. About seven to nine minutes later, Haverhill Police Sgt. Cecil Smith arrived at the accident scene. Murray was nowhere to be found.

"Based on the description of what he saw, we believe it may have been Maura," Scarinza said, referring to the witness seeing a young woman fitting Maura's description about an hour after the accident. "Based on the place and based on the time, there is a good possibility the person he saw on 112 was Maura."

The witness contacted state police April 29 about possibly seeing Murray the night of the accident.

Scarinza said although the witness thought shortly after her disappearance he may have seen Murray, he discounted that thought after talking with a friend. His friend had said Murray's accident had happened Feb. 11 instead of Feb. 9. And he had seen the young woman the night of Feb. 9.

It was after seeing subsequent news reports, and realizing the accident had occurred Feb. 9, he decided to contact state police.

The man, who Scarinza said is a contractor, checked his work records and verified he was returning home from a job in the Franconia area the night of Feb. 9 when he spotted who he and state police believe was Murray.

Maura's father, Fred Murray, is upset police didn't travel Route 112 toward the Woodstock area, at least calling ahead to the Woodstock police to ask them to look for his daughter.

"This was a young woman involved in an accident," he said. "She had a head injury by the indication of the spider hole in the windshield."

"They know she is somewhere close by and they don't go down the road to bring her to safety?" Murray asked. "If they had searched for my daughter, she would most likely be safely here now."

Sharon Rausch, Billy's mother, said she believes the news of an eyewitness is wonderful.

"It gives me renewed hope she is still alive," Rausch said. "If she sees this in print, we want her to know she's more loved than ever."

Scarinza said because of the new information from the eyewitness, a search will be conducted Saturday in the area of routes 112 and 116 where Maura was last seen by the eyewitness.

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Families of missing women gather to support one another

Saturday May 08, 2004


Associated Press Writer

HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) The families of two missing women came together in Haverhill on Saturday to plead for help from the public and federal authorities.

Fred Murray of Weymouth, Mass., whose daughter, Maura, 21, disappeared on Feb. 9 in Haverhill after a minor car accident, set up the meeting before starting another weekend of searching.

He was joined by Bruce and Kellie Maitland of East Franklin, Vt., whose daughter, Brianna, 17, was last seen on March 19 after she left work at the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, Vt.

Also lending their support were the parents of 20-year-old Amie Riley of New Hampshire, who was last seen leaving a bar in August. Her body was found last month in a marsh.

Although they had never met before, the parents hugged tearfully, knowing each other's pain.

Murray said the three cases ``easily could be'' connected, although state police said there is no evidence pointing in that direction.

Murray said the three investigations should be centrally coordinated by an agency such as the FBI, since they cross state lines.

``There is substantial reason for the FBI to be involved,'' he said. ``People should be yelling for the FBI to come in.''

``What if the cases are not related'' and a local person is involved? he said. ``Then people here should be uneasy. It takes a local to catch a local.''

Bruce Maitland said any missing person over 12 is treated as a runaway. Murray and the Maitlands pleaded for anyone to come forward if they think they have any information about the whereabouts of their daughters.

``It can come to you; it can be your family; it can be your daughter,'' Kellie Maitland said.

Asked what message she wanted to send to the public, she shouted tearfully, ``not one more girl; not one more beautiful girl.''

Charlotte and Michael Riley have been lobbying lawmakers to change the rules for reporting a missing adult. According to Mrs. Riley, it took police three months to enter her daughter's name into the National Crime Information Center system.

About 15 Fish and Game officers, joined by the New England Canine and the Upper Valley Wilderness Response team with six dogs, searched the woods for Maura Murray, a University of Massachusetts student, about five miles east of the accident site on Route 112. A limited ground and helicopter search was conducted in March, and another helicopter search was done last week, Fish and Game officer Todd Bogardus said.

The search was prompted by a new witness account of a woman fitting Murray's description walking along the road that night.

Searchers would not be out again unless some evidence is found, he said.

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Skeletal remains found are too old to be missing Mass. woman


Union Leader Staff

A hiker out on a scavenger hunt Friday discovered human skeletal remains in a rugged and remote region of Mount Kancamagus east of Lincoln, state police said last night.

Police quickly ruled out that the remains belonged to Maura Murray, the Massachusetts woman who disappeared from Haverhill on Feb. 9. The remains are believed to be at least several years old.

“We’re looking into any missing persons/hikers reported missing from that area, and I’m aware of one and maybe two from the last decade who were in fact missing and not found,†State Police Lt. John Scarinza told the Sunday News last night.

Authorities hadn’t determined whether the remains were of a man or woman.

“We’re going to send the remains to the medical examiner for identification and cause of death,†he said.

A jacket and sneaker were found at the site. Scarinza said the items “appeared to have been out in the elements for quite a long time.†No further details were available.

The hiker reported his discovery to State Police Friday and authorities waited for sufficient light before heading out with the hiker yesterday to find and recover the remains in an area more than 3,000 feet in elevation, he said.

“It’s certainly safe to say he was bushwacking off the trail, which is probably why he had located the remains and others have not through some pretty rugged terrain up there,†Scarinza said.

He said the hiker, whose name wasn’t available, was participating in a treasure hunt.

Hikers frequently compete in such games using global position satellite equipment to find items hidden in water-tight containers left in challenging locations.

Members from State Police, the New Hampshire Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service removed the remains from the mountain, which is located south of Route 112 in the town of Livermore, about 8 miles from the center of Lincoln. Authorities took approximately nine hours to reach the site and return with the remains.

The skeletal remains were found about 25 miles east from where Murray was last seen.

The discovery isn’t unprecedented.

“In my career in the past 25 years, I know of at least several occasions where skeletal remains have been found in northern New Hampshire,†Scarinza said.

Meanwhile, the families of two missing women came together in Haverhill yesterday to plead for help from the public and federal authorities.

Fred Murray’s daughter, Maura, 21, disappeared on Feb. 9 in Haverhill after a car accident.

The Weymouth, Mass., man was joined by Bruce and Kellie Maitland of East Franklin, Vt., whose daughter, Brianna, 17, was last seen on March 19.

Also lending their support were Charlotte and Michael Riley of Chester, parents of 20-year-old Amie Riley, who was last seen leaving a Manchester bar in August. Her body was found last month in a marsh.

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Families Issue Emotional Plea For FBI Help


Monday May 10, 2004


When Fred Murray and Kellie Maitland met for the first time Saturday morning, it was a very emotional moment for the parents of two missing young women.

Maitland went up to Murray and they tenderly embraced, both knowing one another's pain of not knowing what has happened to their daughters.

Murray's daughter, Maura, a 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has been missing since she was involved in a minor one-car accident on Route 112 in Haverhill the night of Feb. 9.

Maitland's daughter, 17-year-old Brianna, has been missing since she clocked out of work at the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, Vt., the night of March 19.

Maitland, her husband, Bruce, and Murray were joined by Charlotte and Michael Riley of Chester, N.H., in a press conference at the American Legion, Ross-Wood Post 20, in Woodsville Saturday morning.

The Rileys were told their daughter, Amie, who had been missing since August, was found in April in a swamp in Manchester. She had been brutally murdered.

Murray and the Maitlands clamored for public support in having the FBI brought in to investigate not only the disappearances of Maura and Brianna, but also the murder of Amie.

Murray has been beseeching New Hampshire State Police officials at Troop F to call in the FBI to join the investigation since learning his daughter was missing.

The FBI will not join an investigation until asked by the police agency handling a case.

And after learning about the disappearance of Brianna, Murray and the Maitlands called for state police in both New Hampshire and Vermont to call in the FBI.

State police officials in both New Hampshire and Vermont have said there isn't any connection between Maura and Brianna's disappearances, other than they both were involved in car accidents.

However, they also have not said how they have ruled out any connection.

"Something has to be done," Charlotte Riley said. "It's important. No one knows where to turn. I don't want (the media) to portray my grief. I want them to portray something has to be changed."

She spoke about how the police in Manchester did not place her daughter's information into the National Crime Information Center until three months after she had disappeared.

Riley said until a case gets an NCIC number, parents of missing children do not receive any help with searches or posters or from support groups.

Kellie Maitland said her daughter had been at a party a week before she disappeared. She had been assaulted at that party. "Maybe she knew something," she said. "We are hoping someone out there knows something."

Murray said, "We need help. All three families need help. None of us have our daughters. If these three cases are connected, and they very well could be, it's horrendous. You could have a killer locally in your midst." He said there is ample reason for the FBI to become involved.

"We are asking for your help," Murray said, pleading to the public through the media. "People should be screaming for the FBI. We want this to be brought to a close. You owe it to yourselves, folks."

Bruce Maitland said although he has been told the cases aren't related, he believes no one has really looked into whether they are connected.

"I am going to practically beg the governor (Jim Douglas) to step up to the plate," he said. "Let's give (state police) some help."

Kellie Maitland said she felt as if they are up against the wall.

She spoke about a drug bust at a crack house in Vermont in which those busted were let back out on the street the very next day.

"We can't keep having a revolving door for criminals," Kellie Maitland said. "They are back out there. We don't have our daughter."

"Not one more girl!" she continued, her voice quivering. "Not one more beautiful girl! They are bright. They are talented. Not one more. It's a pretty bad Mother's Day."

With that, she walked away from the microphones and went over to Murray, tears streaming down her face. He hugged her, trying to console her.

Her husband joined her and laid his head on top of hers, encircling his arms around her as they listened to Charlotte Riley speak. Riley said until people are in such a situation, they have no idea what it is like.

She spoke about the lack of media coverage after it was determined her daughter was missing. "She was at a bar," Riley said. "Does that make her less of a person?" The Maitlands and Murray responded with a resounding no.

She also emphasized the importance of pressing police to enter the information into the NCIC system. "The system is not working," Riley said. "Three months! It was three long months before she was considered missing!"

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Says Police Failed His Daughter

Fred Murray Appeals To Governor Benson


Wednesday May 26, 2004

The father of a missing 22-year-old University of Massachusetts at Amherst nursing student is appealing to Gov. Craig Benson to urge New Hampshire State Police to call in the FBI for help in finding his daughter.

Maura Murray has been missing since she was involved in a minor one-car accident the evening of Feb. 9 after her black 1996 Saturn failed to negotiate a sharp left-hand curve on Route 112 in Haverhill.

"The finest resource in the world is available and you, sir, should direct Lieutenant John Scarinza and Troop F to accept its offer," Fred Murray said in his letter. "There are corollary cases in Vermont also and this entire situation begs for central coordination and investigation by an agency which is not bound by the confines of configuration of Grafton County and the Connecticut River."

Scarinza is the commander of Troop F, which is based in Twin Mountain.

Murray also was referring to Brianna Maitland, 17, of Sheldon, Vt., who disappeared after she left work late the night of March 19. Her car was found partially ensconced in an abandoned building about one mile from the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery where she worked.

Murray noted the FBI offered its assistance during the week of his daughter's disappearance. However, state police declined the offer.

Scarinza said the FBI was involved in background searches and gathering information in Massachusetts.

He has said the state police have enough resources to conduct an investigation into Maura's disappearance.

Besides asking Benson to direct the state police to call in the FBI, Murray also has claimed state police and Haverhill police had been grossly negligent because a cruiser was not dispatched east along Route 112 to help find his daughter after her accident.

He said police arrived within minutes after Maura was last seen by an eyewitness. "This means that when the police reached the scene, Maura could have been no further than a couple of hundred yards up the road around the first corner walking away," Murray said in his letter.

Police, including Sgt. Cecil Smith of the Haverhill Police Department, were told the driver of the car was a young woman about 20 years old. "There was an empty beer bottle found in the car and in addition, there was a spider hole in the driver's side of the windshield indicating that she had struck her head at impact," Murray's letter reads.

Murray said police should have called ahead to the Woodstock Police Department so officers from that community could have driven west to intercept Maura on the dark, desolate highway.

"She was figuratively and nearly literally right there readily available to be rescued and saved from whatever fate has befallen her," Murray said in his letter. "All that the police had to do was to expend minimal mental and physical effort."

If they had done so, Murray said, Maura would be safe with him today. "Unfortunately, the police neglected to make even the most basic effort to find her and I remain without her now, and perhaps, forever," Murray's letter continued. "The onus of this irresponsible and possibly fatal lack of action lies not only with the North Haverhill force, but also with the New Hampshire State Police who responded to the 911 calls from the neighbors as well."

Another witness is believed to have spotted Maura, who is a track star and runner, about four to five miles east of the accident scene running toward Woodstock.

"I get nearly physically sick when I wake up each morning and the thought of how really little effort it would have taken to rescue my daughter automatically flashes through my mind," Murray said in his letter.

In addition to sending the letter to Benson, Murray also sent copies of it to New Hampshire Attorney General Peter Heed, state police Col. Frederick Booth, and U.S. Sen. John Sununu and Judd Gregg.

Alicia Preston, Benson's press secretary, said Benson had not received the letter as of late Tuesday afternoon.

However, Murray said according to tracking records on the U.S. Postal Service Web site, Benson, Heed, Booth, Sununu and Gregg's offices received the letters Monday morning.

"The young women in the northern region of your state are not safe and it is clearly imperative that you act decisively before you lose another," Murray stated in his letter. "Deep within themselves, your citizens are nervously apprehensive and anxiously awaiting your response to this threat."

Booth could not be reached for comment Tuesday. And Simon Brown, chief of the attorney general's criminal bureau, said he was not aware of Murray's letter.

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