The old blog was deleted shortly after Bill Jensen’s excellent article was published. Right now we’ve just started rebuilding; and your contributions will help.
First of all: Thanks, Bill, for writing such an accurate and informative piece.
I found three portions of the article particularly noteworthy.
1. “Maura’s 1996 Saturn … was ‘smoking something fierce,’ according to Fred Murray.’I said, “You can’t drive this car. The cops will pull you over in a heartbeat,”‘ he recalls. As a temporary fix, Fred says he suggested she put a rag inside the tailpipe to hide the smoke. He says he withdrew $4,000 over the course of eight ATM transactions and that on that Saturday he took Maura to purchase a car in Northampton. They ended up a couple of thousand dollars short, though, so Fred figured he’d go home, round up some more money, and come back another time.”
Fred’s recollection reinforces a portion of my theory from the blog: “On Saturday, Fred came to visit Maura as he had done in the past. He wanted to have a few drinks with his daughter, but he didn’t want her driving back to the dorm in her car. If Maura drove the Saturn back to campus, he thought, she would be practically begging for a DUI.[The police would] take one look at the car –— smoke coming from the tailpipe, a student sticker on the window — and she’d be done for. He insisted that Maura drive his car, instead.”
2. The article describes the items found in the Saturn. Significantly, it mentions “a MapQuest printout of directions to Burlington, Vermont” — there is no mention of the directions to Stowe reported by Maribeth Conway. This was one of the details that, admittedly, I obsessed over. See Jensen’s article (“[The items found in the car] would be obsessed over for the next decade”)
As reported on the blog, I contacted Helena Dwyer Murray. She recalled there being a single set of directions: to Burlington. I emphasized, to Jensen, the importance of addressing this detail. He said that he had contacted Maribeth Conway, that he hoped to speak with her and that he would ask her about the Stowe directions. It’s unclear whether he spoke with her. In any event, I am satisfied that Jensen investigated the issue and concluded that there was a single set of directions: to Burlington.
3. Jensen’s description of the Saturn accident does not appear to be consistent with James’ theory. Instead, it is somewhat ambiguous. Jensen wrote: “[Maura] took a shaky turn and crashed into a snow bank.”
I find this noteworthy because, in the past, I have disagreed with James Renner’s theory of the accident.
I hope that you will share your thoughts.
Great post, Sam.
I also liked the Chronicle piece. I thought it was well done and there were a few tid bits of info given up by Fred. The one thing that bothers me however is that Fred continues to say everything was ok with Maura and she had nothing to run from but he aslo acknowledged in previous statements that Maura was very bothered by the Toyota crash. Everything wasn’t Hunkie dory as Fred says wants to let on. I am not sure if Fred is withholding the true facts surrounding Mauras frame of mind prior to her disappearance or Maura was not sharing her thoughts or Feelings with Fred and friends. I think maybe it is a combination of the two. The facts are there that Maura was having many issues and Fred is just in denial about it all.
” I am not sure if Fred is withholding the true facts surrounding Mauras frame of mind prior to her disappearance or Maura was not sharing her thoughts or Feelings with Fred and friends.”
I agree. If Fred offered a plausible explanation as to why Maura was on her way to see him when she crashed the Corolla, then I would tend to think that it’s the latter. In my mind, he sufficiently explained the reason that Maura did not get a new car that weekend. It would seem that he could as easily explain the remaining mystery. But maybe not?
Regarding Chronicle, there seemed to be too much emphasis on Canada. Assuming that Maura voluntarily disappeared, I suppose Canada is an obvious choice. But what support is there for Canada beyond Suzanne’s narrative?
Sam, I didn’t take away like you did that there was to much emphasis on Canada. What I took away from it was that there are two distinct points of views as to what happened and this was the first time that I have ever seen the runaway theory tossed out there and the first time that an alternative theory was presented to go against Freds dirtbag theory. I loved it (Chronicle).
Fred says on one hand on that interview that he believes a dirtbag picked her up and he seems pretty sure of it but later says that he is keeping all options open so I found that interesting and helpful also.
There are just so many contradictions with Fred that I am not sure what to think anymore.
Yes, I see your point. Responding to it, there are four possibilities: accidental death, suicide, homicide and voluntary departure.
I do not believe that any of those theories should be ruled out. Having said that, assuming that it was a homicide, why a LOCAL culprit (as opposed to an Israel Keyes type)?
Assuming that she ran away, why have we settled on Canada? I understand that it’s a logical choice in an objective sense. But what support is there for CANADA? Perhaps she fled from Boston to California like Whitey Bulger did. Maybe she went to the UK.
Bottom line — why speculate on the location? The voluntary departure theory can be examined without doing so.
I myself have noticed several connections she may have had to the pacific north west. the track coach was employed in Oregon, the girl related by marriage that was in her nursing class had connections to washington state. There is an Al Semple that posts on the family FB page, he seems troll-ish to me and he says he sees a maura look a like in seattle, He has some connections to the Amanda knox case apparently. This doesn’t seem like alot, but in fact, I think it’s more than what connects her to Quebec.
I try to see Fred from both sides, when I think he’s guilty of something, I think he knows exactly what happened, why she was up there, she screwed it up by crashing two cars and he did something. When I think he’s just a father trying to live his life after something horrible happened, I still think they must have had an awful fight, I know in 2004 if I crashed my mom’s car while drinking we probably would never have spoken to each other again, so it’s really hard for me to think that he just said “oh well, glad you’re ok, lets just go get some insurance paperwork” So, it really makes me wonder what really happened that day. I just can’t believe it went down the way he says it did.
Glad to see the site back up!
Thanks; and great response.
Its like what you did with Suzanne. Renner did with those that posted that Maura was in Canada. You both took posters comments and used them to back up a theory and to my knowledge there is no proof that either posters were truthful and not just playing the silly games that are played on some forums.
I am not taking a swipe at you Sam. I am only trying to answer as I see fit.
Well, I was using Suzanne’s posts to demonstrate that she was untruthful. I wasn’t relying on her posts as untruthful.
But I don’t believe that Renner’s poster was being untruthful, either. He or she probably believes that he or she saw Maura. And if James hands out hundreds of fliers with Maura’s picture in California, claiming that she may be there, I am willing to bet that there will be posters on his site describing sightings there.
Also, as his fliers state, she may be blond (or by negative brunette) and, based on the false Facebook sighting, we know that he believes that her weight may have fluctuated. She may be thin, over-weight, blond or brunette (and maybe she wears glasses; again see the flier). Of course there will be sightings …
This is no “swipe” at Renner. Even from a cynical perspective, if he is strictly interested in selling books, it would seem that he would sell more if he actually solves the case. So whether his motives are pure or economically driven, in theory, his objective is the same: discovering the truth.
IF you believe Renners poster to be truthful then why are you questioning why he took that angle on Chronicle?
A truthful statement does not equate with a correct statement. I believe that some people are being quite truthful when they say that they have seen Elvis or Big Foot. But I wouldn’t say that those people actually saw Elvis or Big Foot.
There were people who, quite recently, believed that a woman from East Bridgewater was Maura based on a Facebook picture. I think that they were telling the truth; I don’t think that they were right.
As I suggested, above: if James had passed out hundreds of fliers in California (or any other location), there would be truthful sightings there, as well.
Either way it is Subjective. Sam both yourself and JR felt that the posters were correct
and you both felt they were worth following up on. James has every reason to feel the Canada search is worth perusing as well as you felt that this Poster Suzanne was lying. Neither of you are certain but acted on your beliefs.
Ok you felt Suzanne was deceptive but still felt her comments were relevant in some way. I don’t really think that poster knew any more than anyone else so it it really not worth going down that path IMHO whereas in Renners case’ There were several posters that brought up Canada and it was worth looking into although I definitely wouldn’t get overly excited about it without more proof. Renners theory of runaway has some legs to it and makes sense but again is just a theory.
Well, he has expanded his theory beyond Canada and now seems to be considering Georgia.
Fred and Maura went car shopping Saturday. Did they drive the Saturn or something? When they left the brew pub, & went to go pick up the friend, was the friend waiting for the ride on campus? Does this mean two cars all of a sudden? I can’t understand why the emphasis is on Maura using her dads car? Why? Had they been driving the Saturn? But even if it did mean two cars, someone would have to drive each car and part ways for then night.. I think Fred or possibly Maura was driving his car the entire day and into the late afternoon and perhaps it was he who needed the ride after dinner and drinks. No offense intended. Am I off on this?
” I think Fred or possibly Maura was driving his car the entire day and into the late afternoon and perhaps it was he who needed the ride after dinner and drinks. No offense intended. Am I off on this?”
No, you’re not off. It’s certainly a logical explanation. I suppose that the reason I tend to question it is this: he and Maura were both drinking. I would guess that he would have a higher alcohol tolerance. So why would she be in better shape to drive than him?
Why didn’t Fred just drop the girls off…………that is my question.
Many have pointed out that Maura having Fred’s car that night made no sense. It would have made more sense for him to drop her off at her dorm and take the car to his hotel. Also, Maura was agitated at the dorm party about getting the car back to her father. No one there thought it made any sense. It must have made sense to Maura though. Maura had a very good reason in her mind why it was important to get the car back to her father that night. What was it? What could not wait until morning?
I wish Fred would speak to this issue. He certainly must know the answer.
I think it’s clear that Fred did not expect Maura to return that night. So what was going through her head? Surely Fred asked her that question as soon as he saw her.
Hi Sam, nice to see your blog back! Interesting comments by everyone.
I wish to briefly confirm that this is me.
Phrase: “How much can one sew…If one is not a seamstress.?”
Great post. I too believe that the online community will solve this case. The mystery of Maura Murray’s disappearance has really picked up steam in the last few years. John Smith, a private investigator and former police officer raised some very interesting points in his recent video. I hope you do not mind me sharing it with you as it is definitely worth watching – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxEZvow_oyo&app=desktop
“Why didn’t Fred just drop the girls off…………that is my question.”
Yep, that’s the question. Didn’t make sense to me back then and does not make sense to me now.
But hey, I have a proposal. Could it have been Maura’s first attempt to get away? And then the guard rail put a stop to it?
Also remember she still was on probabtion at the time of the crashes – she had to get away for avoiding serious trouble.
Personally I think she got into a car at the Haverhill crash side. So she was a victim of coincidence which is the reason that the case is hard to solve.