Author Archives: Sam Ledyard

Petrit Vasi Still Remembers Nothing

Back in 2009, someone named “Petrit” posted on Topix. The odd thing is, his location showed up as Saint Paul, Minnesota, and later as Boston, Massachusetts. So I had always assumed that it was a troll.

Just this week I emailed Vasi with screenshots of the Topix posts and asked if he made them.

I thought for certain he would say it wasn’t him. I don’t particularly care for the Vasi theory to be honest. My goal was to figure out who has been behind some of the elaborate hoaxes in this community that go back to as early as 2009 with the original Canada post, and continue to present day.

But, to my surprise, he said it WAS him.

Since some people like the Vasi theory, and since my email establishes that the 2009 post was actually him (and that his knowledge hasn’t changed since then), I feel compelled to share this with the Community.

I’m asking the judge to reconsider releasing Maura Murray’s accident scene photos — with Erinn Larkin’s help.

As you know, my first attempt to make the crash site photos public was unsuccessful. I lost the first motion in court.

After I had filed the first motion, however, Erinn Larkin contacted me and offered her assistance for the next stage of my suit.

Well, I took Erinn up on her generous offer.

Today, I filed a “Motion for Reconsideration” – it’s just what it sounds like it is. I basically asked the judge to reconsider denying me the photos. So I had to give him some better reasons to give me the photos, and that’s where Erinn comes in.

Erinn’s affidavit, which is a written statement that’s signed under the penalties of perjury, provides evidence that I want the judge to look at while reconsidering whether I should have the photos.

In the text of the affidavit itself (i.e., without the Exhibits), Erinn relates an anonymous source’s description of the ACTUAL PHOTOS – this source saw the photos, took notes, and related the info to Erinn.

The descriptions raise some questions and answer others, such as: “Were police in the Saturn the night of Maura’s disappearance?

Then there are the exhibits to the affidavit – documents that Erinn attached to it.

The exhibits include:

  • Never before seen pictures of the Saturn, including pictures taken inside the Saturn, that were included in the Black Box Report, which Erinn did a two-part podcast on, as well as some interesting text from the report describing the pictures. That’s in Exhibit A to her Affidavit.
  • The actual false tip emailed to the Cold Case Unit and the Murray family this summer. This false tip included a fake confession that was apparently made using photoshop. The judge denied me the photos partly because he was afraid that after the photos were released to the public, someone could change them using photoshop to make more false tips. That’s in Exhibit B to her Affidavit.
  • An Affidavit from Witness B, describing her observations. That’s in Exhibit G to her Affidavit.

My conclusions.

I just want to note that I personally have not drawn any conclusions – good or bad –about police conduct in Maura’s case in light of Erinn’s  Affidavit.

I have never EVER theorized that Cecil Smith had anything to do with Maura’s disappearance, and even in light of Erinn’s affidavit that is not a conclusion I draw.

Having said that, I trust that the information Erinn provided is accurate and, although I don’t know the identity of her confidential source, I know that because Erinn says the source is trustworthy, the source is trustworthy. Period.

Thanks for your indispensable help on this Erinn.

I look forward to the discussion that will come from this.

***EDIT***

Due to to confusion, I have been asked to emphasize that the “false tip [that] included a fake confession” referenced above was fake.

Decision in My Suit for the Crash Site Photos

The Superior Court decision in my suit for the crash site photos was filed today.

The short of it: I lost the Motion. But I still have options, such as Motions for Reconsideration and Appeals.

I will discuss those options after I have had time to read the denial in depth. But I wanted to get this to everyone right away.

Thank you, everyone, for your support.

Complete and Unredacted Decision of the Superior Court

My Visit to The Crash Site

I spent some time, today, at the site of Maura’s crash in New Hampshire. I will upload the video I took as soon as it transfers from my phone to my laptop. Of note was my conversation with Mr. Westman, which I will describe here.

Mr. Westman, shaking out a rug in his front lawn, was nice enough to answer some of my questions about his observations of the crash.

He had been in his office, with Mrs. Westman, when he heard a crash. In response, he and Mrs. Westman went to the kitchen, which is in the smaller section of the house.

Maura Murray

They looked out the side windows (the ones closest to the ribbon) and saw Maura’s car facing westward in the eastbound lane.

I asked Mr. Westman whether Maura might have impacted a snowbank in front of his house. He stated that she could not have done so; she “definitely” impacted by the trees near her ribbon. He explained that he had heard the impact and he was certain of its location.

I asked Mr. Westman about the red dot — what did he believe that it was? He stated that, originally, he and Mrs. Westman believed that it was a cigarette. Later, “a family member” of Maura’s “told” him that it was not a cigarette and that, instead, it was a cellphone charger.

I asked Mr. Westman why he and Mrs. Westman stopped watching the site. He stated that Mrs. Westman remained in the kitchen until the cruiser arrived, but acknowledged that she had not made it a point to watch the scene the entire time. He believes, however, that Mrs. Westman would have seen Maura traveling west had she done so.

Does any of this information alter your perceptions of the case? If so, how?

Lost and Found in the White Mountains

I read this today, and thought it worth reblogging.

Great Northern Ink Spot

(This story was written in May 2004 and published in the New Hampshire Sunday News.)

Image A Blackhawk helicopter in a search of Waterville Valley.

If nowhere is a place where no one has trod for decades, then Mount Kancamagus is in the middle of it.

A hiker found himself there last week on what the Appalachian Mountain Club’s White Mountain Guide describes as a “trail-less mass of round, wooded ridges” and where he stumbled upon human remains.

Several law enforcement officials returned with the man the next day to retrieve them and earlier this week, dental records confirmed that they were those of Steven Romines, a Massachusetts man who went missing almost 20 years ago, in October of 1984. Investigators say initial reports had indicated that he was “distraught” at the time and while no cause of death was determined, it is likely that he committed suicide.

“From where…

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The Internet WILL Find Maura Murray

not without peril

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.