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Maura Murray’s disappearance: some people who follow the case closely share their key thoughts

In this post I wanted to give people who follow the case closely an opportunity to share some of their key thoughts about the case – whether it be key facts in the case or key messages that they would want a newcomer to know. I made an open invitation (on one reddit sub and two facebook groups) and welcomed contributions from anyone.

Thank you to everyone who submitted – I thought these were excellent. Anyone wishing to add the list can contact me or email Mauramurrayevidence@gmail.com – I am happy to list by reddit moniker, initials, anonymous, or name if you wish. These are listed in the order submitted.

Fulk Stop (Reddit Moniker)

  1. Maura apparently had a fluid destination. She seems to have decided on Burlington Vermont before she left. There is absolutely no evidence that, before she left, Maura considered going to or through Woodsville. She likely decided to change course, given her fluid plans, after she left. See related post.
  2. The “whimpering call” was likely a Red Cross Employee, not Maura. See last link.
  3. Maura probably crashed into a tree, as reported, as opposed to a staged accident or other scenario. See post.
  4. There is no reason to think that Maura couldn’t have started/driven her car after she crashed. See post.
  5. The main “evidence” supporting the tandem driver theory is that Maura bought a ton of liquor and searched for hotels with two bedrooms; the former is questionable, the latter is false.
  6. Butch didn’t kill Maura. He just didn’t. And before you call him a liar, take a look at what the poor guy actually said.
  7. In theory, RF might have killed Maura. But most of what you hear about him is wrong. See Finn’s blog post for an accurate discussion.
  8. Any information about the Red Truck is probably wrong if it doesn’t appear in one of Finn’s posts on https://notwithoutperil.com/
  9. A word of advice: avoid discussions of 001/002 like the plague. It won’t be sorted out until we get the radio transmission records mentioned by Bernie Marvin in his article. Until we get that, you’re only going to get into arguments, regardless of your position on the issue.
  10. There’s no “missing hour” in Maura’s day. There’s no “seven minute window” when she could have disappeared. The Oxygen show liked gimmicks, and a “missing hour” and “seven minute window” sound good, as does the “light house” theory. In reality, no one knows when Maura left UMass, there was approximately a two minute window, and there was a period of time when the Westmans were in their office not watching the road. It’s possible that the Atwoods/Marrottes were not watching the whole time, too. So there may not have been a lighthouse at all.
  11. Stay inside. CO-VID19 isn’t a joke. Chris Cuomo, an anchor on CNN, described the nightly hallucinations he experiences due to his fever, and the constant body pains he has. It sucks, but stay safe, and stay inside. I don’t want to see any of you get sick (or worse).

Huge Raspberry (Reddit Moniker)

  1. Maura did not have a set destination in mind. She left and drove.
  2. There was an earlier accident / incident, but it did not involve Maura – it was a vehicle off the road at 6:30-6:40 and it was miles away from where Maura was. The person (female) left in a private vehicle at about 7:00 pm – which is what people hear on the scanner.
  3. There is no conclusive evidence of a tandem driver…
  4. There is no way that Witness A, B or C (or D, E,F…) would / could mistake the Franconia SUV that Bruce McKay drove for Haverhill’s SUV 001.
  5. Bruce McKay was a lot of things, but he was not a killer. (At least not of Maura)
  6. The Red Truck had nothing to do with the disappearance or the accident.
  7. It is possible that she is somewhere in the woods – just not in the area of the WBC. Possible that she got a ride, or that she got out of the area and later went into the woods where no one has searched yet.
  8. Even without the alleged sighting of someone on the road that night, RF would be a viable suspect. However, unless he confesses, charges will not be brought due to a lack of a body / evidence. The evidence that is there is circumstantial at best… “She’s a good cook”, etc…
  9. Butch did not harm Maura.
  10. Bill R did not have anything to do with the accident, or the disappearance. He (and their relationship) may have been the reason for her (or one of them) leaving UMass, and needing some time to think…the butterfly effect. But he, like Butch, did not directly cause her harm that night, or in subsequent days.

jwbnh (Reddit Moniker)

  1. The crash took place closer to OPR
  2. Londonderry ping was NH not VT
  3. LE not involved in crime. No conspiracy here
  4. Maura was at the crash scene
  5. RF is not being honest. I don’t buy his story
  6. Timeline is irrelevant for the most part as it is not 100% accurate.
  7. Maura must have stopped and asked directions because signage does not indicate rt 112 at the wells river exit
  8. BR did not kill Maura before or after he came back to NH
  9. Fred loves and misses his daughter and is not involved
  10. Maura is responsible for her bad choices
  11. ( a fulk add on ) I miss hugging my grandson. Stay safe everyone

MR (submitted in a facebook group)

  1. there is no evidence of a crash or accident occurring at the WBC
  2. the person BA describes in his initial statement does not match Maura’s description in height, hairstyle or last known apparel
  3. the first reports from FW and BA do not mention a crash or accident and do not appear to indicate any concerns in this area
  4. no one knows what time the Saturn actually arrived at the WBC
  5. there is no proof that Maura was drinking that night
  6. the roads were clear and not icy that night
  7. the moon did not rise until much later
  8. Many of the LE statements make little sense, both separately and together, such as CS getting lost on a local road that he should have known well
  9. there is no mobile phone coverage in that area
  10. we don’t know whether the Saturn was heading west to east or east to west, and similarly we don’t know the direction of the scent that the tracking dogs followed

Finn (reddit moniker: me)

1) Maura was reported to be crying a few hours before she left

We often wonder about Maura’s mood and state of mind on 2/9. The last person we know who spoke live to Maura at 1:13PM (Erin ON) reported she was “crying” and said she was leaving due to a family emergency, “something involving her sister”.

2) Maura’s calls and internet searches prior to departing seem to indicate an undetermined/fluid destination albeit heading north

If we take the totality of Maura’s phone calls and internet searches, she was looking at destinations in both Vermont and the White Mountains (Burlington VT and Bartlett NH are roughly 3 hours apart from each other by vehicle). Because of this I don’t think she had a clear destination or that she was meeting someone or heading to a party, etc. There is also ambiguous information as to whether she was leaving UMass permanently and whether she was planning to call Fred and/or Bill as indicated that night.

3) People who know Maura do not think she would have committed suicide

I am not at all closed to the possibility that Maura was suicidal mainly because I think suicide is often surprising and unpredictable. However, I personally think the immediate concern by Fred and Kathleen had to do with Maura’s accident in Hadley. I have not heard of any history of depression, suicidal ideation or suicide attempts.

4) After the first day of searching, investigators had a good sense that Maura was not in the woods.

On Wednesday, February 11th, New Hampshire Fish and Game used a helicopter with FLIR to examine the roadways for footprints leading into the woods. By the end of the day they stated with a high degree of confidence that she had not gone off the roadway into the woods within a 10-12 mile perimeter of the crash scene. They didn’t need to search every spot of woods because she would have left a track (no fresh snow). About 10 days later they did a second search with cadaver dogs to “make sure they had done everything twice”. But I don’t think subsequent searches should infer that spots weren’t searched or that they had doubts. They might have been responding to external pressure or trying to be as thorough as possible. After the second search they declared they were done unless they had new leads and indeed the May 2004 search followed the RF sighting. The July 2004 line search was to look for her belongings specifically her backpack.

5) Investigators put credence into the initial dog track

A NHSP bloodhound ran the track from the Saturn twice on the morning of 2/11 both times ending abruptly down the road apparently in the in the middle of the road. This gave investigators a theory that perhaps she had left the area in a vehicle. Although many questions have been raised about the validity of that track due to the timing (39 hours later), and the scent article (a new glove), it does seem that it was taken seriously at the time. I can’t give any confidence level but combined with other evidence it contributed to the lead theory that she had perhaps/likely left the area in a vehicle.

6) The ground search has been thorough and redundant, especially close to the crash site

It’s true that in many cases, a missing person is ultimately found quite close to where they disappeared despite numerous searches. But in this case, we should at least be aware that the searches were numerous, redundant, and with multiple technologies and techniques. In particular, the half mile/mile perimeter of the crash site has been covered quite thoroughly. In July 2004 there was a line search involving 100 trained searchers in the vicinity of the crash site – specifically to look for the backpack (as a side note both Cecil Smith and John Monaghan mention taking part in this as regular searchers – not part of central command).

I think of the search in three parts: 1) looking for Maura; 2) looking for her belongings; 3) looking for a secondary site where her body might have been left.

I am all for searches but it’s important to be aware of what has already been done.

7) All other things being equal, the red truck passed the Weathered Barn Corner ahead of Maura/the Saturn and was a very distinctive older truck with a replaced bed

8) New Hampshire law enforcement state that they have never named a suspect, but there are persistent rumors that they have or had a suspect and even some that they tried to get an indictment

9) The LE investigation is focused on NH – the police investigation doesn’t seem to align closely with many of the discussions we have online.

The family has actively asked us to keep the conversation about Maura going and has given fairly wide latitude for our discussions. But I don’t think Maura is in Canada; I don’t think BR knows where she went. When the theory was first proposed that he had tracked her down later it was pretty soundly ridiculed. In any case, we don’t know what evidence LE has, or if their investigation has been thorough or simply careless. But to the extent that they have looked at a criminal case, they seem focused on NH and as far as I can tell they are focused in the vicinity of the site where the Saturn was abandoned.

10) Maura is a real person and her disappearance has deeply affected people.

Julie once told us that Maura is a “real person” and not a character in a story. Kurtis was once asked if he had a message he would like to communicate and said that “this is deeply painful”. We’ve been asked to discuss Maura’s case and to keep the story alive but it’s important that we remember that to the people who know and love Maura this is real life.

ClintHarting12 (reddit moniker) “Points to point out” (this was posted 6 months prior to this project and used with permission)

There were some things I wanted to touch on but can’t recall which posts or how long ago this stuff was talked about

  1. About police identifying Maura:

Just like in the Hadley accident report, police had ran Maura’s plates or VIN or both and what came up was Fred Murray’s name and address in Weymouth (go back and look at that report, her Car was not entered that night by law enforcement the night she went missing).

A BOLO was put out the night Maura went missing for a missing female with a guetimated height (which happened to be pretty accurate) — based on Atwood’s brief conversation with her and subsequent convo with Cecil Smith. I have been led to believe that the height was guestimated when Maura was standing outside of her car talking to Atwood over the roof of her car. Atwood described that to Smith and the height was determined based off that — that might not be fully accurate but that is how I understood it and have no idea where that came from back in the day, but I don’t believe that was my imagination running wild.

A second BOLO came out in the afternoon of Feb 10 which identified Maura Murray. That info came from Fred Jr. whom police had contacted to try and track down Fred Sr. Fred Jr. explained to police that they needed to be looking for Maura Murray. Fred Sr. had no clue about Maura going missing until his shift ended in Shelton Connecticut after 5 p.m. that Tuesday. Fred Jr. eventually had contacted his sister Kathleen whom then had contacted Fred Sr. A phone message was also waiting Fred Sr. in Weymouth, but that wasn’t discovered by him until much later (all of this info came from family sources)

2. official account of maura’s second accident

Maura sheared off a snowbank right at the corner by the Westman’s house (west bound lane) and her car slid/spun around landing in the east bound lane facing west as a result. Dick Guy (one of the first respoders) brings up the snowbank being sheared off, while Cecil Smith states he followed the tracks of Maura’s car to determine she spun out and landed where she landed. I have never hired anyone to re-construct this. But I have no reason to doubt Guy’s or Smith’s accounts.

Both of their accounts have maura driving eastwardly at the time she impacted the snowbank

3. What the police know

From the Lead Investigator to the responding officer to even the figure head Strelzin … each person in their own way have stated they have no idea what happend to maura

Scarinza has said they hadn’t collected a single shred of evidence that supports any type of foul play (which would have to include the A-Frame house, the rusty knife, rick forcier, etc,,.. all things investigated while Scarinza was in charge)

smith has stated she could be on the beach in cancun or under the snow somewhere, he doesn;t know what happened to her

strelzin has stuck to the company lines of protecting cases in general and when it comes to maura anything is possible as to what has happened to her and they are leaving all scenarios open

translation to all of this: there are no credible suspects in the disappearance of Maura Murray and never have been

It doesn’t mean folks haven’t been looked into and leads haven;t been chased after, but it does mean that they are as clueless as we are as to what ultimately happened (while they keep what they have done from an investigative standpoint close to their vest, by no means have they been secretive about the fact they have no idea what happened to Maura)

4. Rag in the Tailpipe

We have heard Fred’s explanation for this and then Kurt’s story about his conversation with Maura about a rag being used in her tailpipe — but there is something in my humble opinion that doesn’t quite add up.

Keep in mind, no one would be talking about a rag found in Maura’s tailpipe hadn’t a first-responder leaked that tidbit of info on the old MM forums back in the day.

Police weren’t talking about that publicly and most notably, family weren’t talking about it either.

But once one of the first-responders blurted it out that a rag was found in Maura’s tailpipe, the family did some consulting and decided to address it publicly. (this is all from family source info)

The problem with this is the context of the rag in the tailpipe and what isn’t being said publicly IMO.

It is a fact (as best as I know it) that this was something Fred was confronted with by police when Fred came to the area of the accident. This wasn’t some random tidbit Fred threw in while giving info to police.

Upon being confronted with that piece of info, the question in my opinion is how would Fred respond to it?

One would need to know at what point this got discussed. Was fred backing down from his first initial response that Maura was a danger to herself, therefore, feeling the need to explain away the rag? We know police were thinking along those lines after their phone calls with Fred and Kathleen and then initial interviews with them once they got to the accident location.

Context is everything and knowing that context would help

Police used the rag in the tailpipe, the book Not Without Peril, the combination of pills and alcohol and the words of Fred and Kathleen to conclude early on that Maura had come to the White Mountains to do personal harm to herself.

Whether the rag in the tailpipe means anything or as Fred has stated was something Maura was using to hide smoke is hard to decipher considering the odd secretive way in which this tidbit has been handled over the years IMO.


Thank you to everyone who submitted – I thought these were outstanding lists.

Anyone wishing to add can email: Mauramurrayevidence@gmail.com

Is there any credibility to the potential sighting of Maura Murray reported a couple of months later by the construction worker?

updated

Not Without Peril | The Maura Murray Blog

I could make a strong argument that the NHSP have a person of interest in the Maura Murray case.  I can also make an argument – a little less strong – that they know what happened to Maura, but somehow lack the evidence to take the next step.  I’ll revisit this in another post. All of that said, I can’t make an argument that I have heard any solid, convincing evidence against this apparent person of interest (Forcier).  It seems that most everything we cite as evidence is either a rumor, a misunderstanding, or simply odd behavior.  I will grant you, he has been uncooperative, and probably worse. But without any knowledge of the official investigation, I have not seen anything persuasive.

I will focus this post on one incident that seems to have put him on the radar of investigators – the sighting. The origin of this post…

View original post 1,978 more words

Why searchers don’t think Maura ended up lost in the woods. An overview of search efforts in the Maura Murray case

This post will attempt to provide an overview of the searches that have taken place for Maura Murray since she disappeared February 9, 2004.  It will focus on search efforts by land, air, water, and with dog teams — “Search and Rescue/SAR” efforts in contrast to property searches executed by law enforcement or other investigative work.  Just a quick note to say that this was constructed based on documentation I could find or that was given to me. The official search maps from the NHSP are not available.

In summary, the following search operations have taken place:

  • New Hampshire State Police through New Hampshire Fish and Game conducted 5 searches in 2004.
  • The New Hampshire League of Investigators conducted three large searches, the first in 2006.
  • A retired detective and attorney Terry O’Connell assembled a team of investigators. They undertook some searches and specifically used sonar on French Pond.
  • Friends and family searched for the first few weeks after Maura’s disappearance.  A team involving Fred Murray, Rick Graves, and others, searched “every weekend” for the first year and searches continues in various forms to this day.
  • Boots on the Ground has been conducting searches since 2017. This initiative was started by Nancy Cory after attending John Smith’s meeting at the VFW in Littleton February 11, 2017. This is the first time she met Fred Murray.
  • Many other searchers have been going out formally or informally, individually or in teams or groups to search for Maura.

The following are close ups of the above map

SEARCHES FOR MAURA MURRAY

The following will go through each known search for Maura listing date, assets (people, equipment, dog teams), range and findings.

The Night of Maura’s Disappearance 2.9.04

There was a “cursory” search for the driver of the Saturn on the night of Maura’s disappearance 2.9.04.  Lieutenant John Scarinza of the New Hampshire State Police reports that police made a presumption that the driver of the Saturn wanted to avoid contact with the police:  

“… the initial accident investigation led police officers to believe this was simply a case of someone who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident and wished at least initially that night not to have contact with the police.”

Investigation Discovery Disappeared episode “Miles to Nowhere”

There were still some efforts to locate the driver of the Saturn by police (Sergeant Cecil Smith of the Haverhill Police Department), a NHSP officer (the aforementioned Lt. John Monaghan), local neighbors and some members of the Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.  In total the foot search that night covered the game trail, Old Peters Road, and up and down both sides of 112 and was conducted for “about an hour” (APN interview). Indeed, the Fire Department arrived at 7:56PM and left at 8:49PM.   [Note: the game trail or gaming trail runs along the Westman’s backfields the length of their property to the Atwood’s property].

According to one person who was part of the search that night

I can only speak for fire and EMS, we did not search past the Bradley Hill Road on that side and not past Atwood’s on that side. That was because there were no footprints at all. We did not search the other direction at all because we had come that way and hadn’t seen anybody despite that BOL. I would say that we looked “for an hour “would be quite an overstatement.

Abby Kennedy – Maura Murray facebook official group 4.7.2020

Resident Butch Atwood took his personal vehicle and drove a loop to Mountain Lakes to the Swiftwater Stage Shop and to French Pond Rd for “about 15 minutes” (it is estimated he left around 7:55PM). Lt. Monaghan arrived at the scene, spoke to Cecil and then drove towards Swiftwater, into Woodsville, and looked at Mountain Lakes then ultimately drove off to attend to other matters.  I estimate that he left the scene around 8:02-6PM although this is up for debate. Cecil Smith was on the scene from his arrival (noted in the dispatch log as 7:46PM) until he was called to another case at Lime Kiln Road at 9:27PM.  During that time he took seven photos including the tire imprints in the snow in addition to other duties such as talking to neighbors and making several calls.

On Tuesday, February 10th after executing a search warrant of the Saturn, police identified Maura as the driver.  After later speaking to Fred Murray as well as Kathleen Murray Maura’s sister, Maura was categorized as a missing person and a search effort was organized.  The large scale search effort began about 36 hours after her disappearance on Wednesday, February 11th. It is also noted that the Westmans walked around their property on Tuesday and did not see any footprints belonging to Maura.

OFFICIAL SEARCHES BY NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE POLICE (FISH AND GAME)

Starting Wednesday, February 11, 2004, the NHSP conducted five official searches for Maura.  The search operation was supervised by Lieutenant Jonas Todd Bogardus (“Todd”) of New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division out of Littleton.  Bogardus served as Team Leader for Fish and Game Law Enforcement’s Advanced Search and Rescue Team.

In total these five searches covered “12 miles of roadway, 1-2 miles into the woods with dogs and even places up to 50 miles away that they knew Maura loved to visit.” (Oxygen)  They never found any trace of Maura or any item belonging to her. [See transcript of the Bogardus interview for additional details].

Official Search 1: Wednesday, February 11th

On the morning of Wednesday, February 11th, the NHSP began a search supervised by Todd Bogardus of New Hampshire Fish and Game in conjunction with the Haverhill Police Department.  At this time the Haverhill Police Department was still in charge of Maura’s case.

It is noted that the team was brought in 36 hours after the crash on a “clear cold morning”. The temperature had remained steady since Maura’s disappearance and there was no new snow on the ground.  Bogardus reports on Oxygen there was “about a foot and a half to two feet of snow with a thin crust on the top”. He noted that anyone walking off the road would have easily left a footprint.

The team also used a helicopter equipped with a FLIR unit (forward looking infrared).  They searched the immediate area and “toned out” several miles away from the area. Bogardus notes: “had she been out there and giving off any heat signal we would have been able to pick that up.”

Bogardus indicates they covered the significant area of 112 and outlying roads over probably 10 miles distance.  At the end of that day they had “no human foot tracks going into the woodlands off of the roadways that were not either cleared or accounted for”. Bogardus goes on to say that “at the end of that day the consensus was she did not leave the roadway”.

That same morning, a NHSP bloodhound was brought in to run the track from the Saturn.  The dog was given a glove from the Saturn as the scent article. The dog ran the track twice, both times ending down the road.  Bogardus notes that both times the dog ended “at the intersection of Bradley Hill Road which is just within sight of the crash site”.  (However, it is believed that the track effectively ended in the vicinity of the Atwood residence/see aerial photo). Bogardus notes on Oxygen “It’s possible she may have been picked up by a vehicle there.”  Indeed, according to multiple newspaper accounts, it seems that at the end of the first day of searching, a predominant theory was that Maura left the scene in a vehicle whether voluntarily or involuntarily.

Could Maura have been missed by the helicopter and the additional search efforts on this day?  On the Oxygen episode, Bogardus responds to that question:

Maggie Freleng: we’ve heard from people we’ve interviewed that it’s hard to find a body in these woods because they are so thick.  Do you agree with that?

Todd Bogardus: I do agree it’s hard but I can tell you I’m not a big believer in people levitating and going long distances.  So she had to have left the track for us if she went into the woodlands. I’m fairly confident to say she did not go into the woods when she left the area

Official Search 2: February 19th (10 days missing)

A second major search was organized 10 days after Maura’s disappearance to inspect the woods. Three canine teams (this time cadaver dogs) were brought in – two from the New England K-9 Search and Rescue Group and one from the New Hampshire State Police.

According to Bogardus, the dog teams went into the woodlines and searched different segments on both sides of route 112 within the half mile radius.

Burlington, Vermont – 2/20/04

Around the same time, police examined Maura’s computer and discovered that she had searched for directions to Burlington on her computer prior to her departure.  On 2.20.04 according to newspaper reports:

“Vermont State Police, Burlington police, and other local agencies have canvassed motels in Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Shelburne, and surrounding towns to see if she checked in anywhere around”.

However, nothing was found and they were not able to identify anyone Maura knew in the Burlington area.

Search activities noted on 4/2/04 (also previous weekend)

On April 2, 2004, Gary E. Lindsley reported. “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.”

It was noted that one of the dog teams was Marilyn Greene, a team trainer and private investigator, and her K-9, Buddy, from Guilderland, N.Y. We also learn that similar search efforts took place the prior weekend: “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.”

Official Search 3: May 8 (89 days missing) 

On May 6, 2004, the Caledonian Record reported that a man had come forward with a possible sighting of Maura:

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.

Source: Caledonian Record May 6, 2004 https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=478

[Note: As an aside, Scarinza seems to be inaccurate as we learn that the man did not specify that he saw a woman, much less Maura but simply noted he saw “someone”. Nevertheless, this information did prompt this additional search effort.]

Following this information, a search took place on May 8, 2004 involving about 15 Fish and Game officers and 6 dogs. A helicopter was also used. These teams searched the woods about 5 miles east of the accident site. This site is near the intersection of 116 and 112.

“A dozen people resumed the search yesterday on foot and in a helicopter. Scarinza said that was more than enough manpower to scan the rural terrain. It was likely the last time a search crew will venture into the woods. If Murray had wandered off the road, finding her would be easy because there is about 1½ feet of snow on the ground, Scarinza said. and it has not snowed since Feb. 9.”

https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=418
Image of the intersection of 112 and 116.

An article published in 2007 has the following detail:

May 8, 2004 — Members of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, New England K-9 Search and Rescue, New Hampshire State Police and Haverhill Police conduct a search in the Haverhill/Landaff/Easton area of Route 112 after a man reported having seen a person matching Maura’s description jogging east on 112 about 45 minutes after the accident and 4 ½ miles east of the crash site. The search extends about 3 1/2 miles east of the reported sighting, to the height of the land at the Wildwood campground and picnic area, and for several miles north around Route 116. No evidence is found. https://mauramurrayevidence.neocities.org/57.html

Official Search 4: May 17th (98 days missing)

I have no information about Search 4 aside from the date captured from the infographic displayed on the Oxygen episode. I have found no information from newspaper reports from this date.

Official Search 5: July 13th (156 days missing)

The fifth and final “official” NHSP/NHFG search took place July 13, 2004 involving nearly 100 people including 60 state troopers, conservation officers, and volunteers from search and rescue organizations. It is noted they conducted “line searches”. This searched involved a one mile radius of where the Saturn was found. It was noted that police were “looking for anything Maura may have left behind, such as the black backpack she was believed to have been carrying when she left the scene.”

Search and Rescue is highly math-based using a concept of Probability of Detection (PoD). The PoD is the likelihood that a person or object would be detected in a given area by a given search technique (or cumulative efforts called the Cumulative PoD). In July 2004 at the end of the line search, Scarinza noted a 90% probability that Maura was not in the half mile radius from the accident site. (I do not know but assume when he stated this, he was speaking of an official PoD as analyzed by the team).

July 13, 2004 — About 90 searchers continue to look for possible clues at and around the accident site in Haverhill. The search, which again includes use of a State Police helicopter, is focused in a 1-mile radius from the accident site. Search areas include parking sites, wooded areas and roadways along Route 112 to the town of Woodstock; and Route 118, from the Junction of Route 112 south to the height of the land at the Woodstock/Warren town line. Investigators do not believe any of the items collected to be relevant. https://mauramurrayevidence.neocities.org/57.html

SEARCHES BY THE NEW HAMPSHIRE LEAGUE OF INVESTIGATORS

The New Hampshire League of Investigators, ten retired police officers and detectives started working on the case in 2006 pro bono. “The team consists of several Investigators from New Hampshire, one from Vermont, two from Massachusetts and one from Maine. Some are retired from law enforcement, some are career private investigators and one is a retired Fire Chief from New Hampshire. All have offered their services pro bono.” 

In total they conducted three large searches.  I only have information on two of these searches in October 2006 and July 2008.

NHLI Search 1 of 3 – 10.21.06-10.22.06

The first NHLI search was a two day search (Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22, 2006).   They used dog teams from the Connecticut Canine Search (Al and Marian Beland and their dogs Taz and Tracer) and Dukes County Search and Rescue out of Martha’s Vineyard.   They searched multiple areas in the vicinity of the crash site. The furthest site was Beaver Pond – 12 miles away. Although I have a list of 11 sites, it has been stated that cadaver dog teams were sent to 6 sites (from this list). We have heard separately that cadaver dogs went to the A-frame, French Pond and Old Peters Road so three of the six are effectively known.

We learn from the 2018 Guy Paradee interview that they searched a 5 mile radius from the accident site. Paradee describes how they “took tape, did grids of the whole five mile area we were going to search”.  Each roped off area was assigned a team. Each team consisted of the dog handler and dog, one of (NHLI member who was armed), and each team had a video camera and still camera. (Note: Paradee is describing what is known as a quadrant search).

At the conclusion of the weekend search, Don Nason of the New Hampshire League of Investigators told the media that although the search dogs did have some “hits” during the two-day search, there was nothing significant enough that would warrant being turned over to police. We later learn that they did collect a carpet sample at the A-frame that day that was later tested with no pertinent finding.

NHLI Search July 4-5 (Friday and Saturday) 2008

Note: I only have information about 2 NHLI searches – this is confirmed the 3rd of 3.

In July 2008, volunteers led another two-day search through wooded areas in Haverhill. The group consisted of dog teams and licensed private investigators. I have almost no information about this search. I learned the specific date of this search from Peabody on websleuths:

Her family and friends are so grateful for the professionals who gave up their holiday weekend (July 4th and 5th) for another search.

Additional Details Learned about the NHLI Searches

In 2018, Guy Paradee did an interview under the auspices of the 107 degrees podcast.  He reports that there was a hit by a cadaver dog down Old Peters Road “well within the 5 mile radius of the Saturn’s disappearance”. Guy reports that they found some items at the site of the dog alert and when neither the Haverhill police nor the AG’s office responded, they dug and found some things, notably human clothing and some sort of rubber/latex square.

In Maureen Hancock’s book “A Medium Next Door”, there is an excerpt from the notes of NHLI’s Alan Tate:

Notes by Alan Tate, NHLI

[MH identified] an area about three football fields in length in the woods near the suspect’s house. Three weeks later, we returned with the K–9 teams, support personnel, and investigators. It was July and the weather was sunny and hot. Everyone met and we had our morning briefing. The area was described and the goal like always was to determine if there were human remains’ scent. The mapping was done, segments assigned, and the teams took to the woods. Working through the morning the teams came up blank. Each segment is done twice. One dog will work it, we let the segment sit for a bit, and then another dog will work it. Like pitchers, even dogs have an off day. We need to make sure every segment is worked to the best of each team’s abilities. We make sure to provide plenty of rehab time for the dogs and handlers, as well as videographers and support people. Every team has a video person assigned to it and we record all searches in this way.

That day, lunch was way too quick—sandwiches, lots of water and sports drinks, a few high-protein snacks, and back into the woods. About an hour into the second half of the day, we got word one of the teams’ K-9 had had an indication for human remains’ scent. Just a quick word about these teams. The dogs go through years of training and never stop training. The teams travel the country, so we use the most experienced trainers as well as local training through various volunteer groups, many times in association with police officers or troopers who are trainers for their departments. Each team has a résumé that lists every training class, exercise, and search they have participated in. The dogs are specifically trained to detect human remains’ scent and some of the dogs are further trained to be used in water to detect the scent. These dogs differ from those that follow scent from an article of clothing—the tracking dogs, and those that pick up any live human scent—the air-scent dogs.

As is protocol, we pulled the team that had indication of scent out of the woods and prepared another team to verify. No markings are left at the site to give a visual cue but the handler knows where he or she is going. The second team hit the woods. It took a few minutes to get into the area, and the other teams were now out of the woods and on the road standing by if needed. Word came over the radio, “We have a positive indication.” indication.” We pull the second team out and I discuss our next step.

The team from Connecticut, which we’ve used on many searches, has a dog that works forensic cases. She has a documented find on a piece of bone about 750 years old while on an archaeological dig in Louisiana. It’s believed the bone belonged to persons who traveled from South America to the southern part of the United States by boat. The dog is also on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s call-out list and has documented finds in her home state. She’s a Portuguese water dog and works somewhat differently than many cadaver dogs. The handler and dog went into the woods. I followed behind about twenty feet. From the dog’s body language we knew she had picked up on something. She went to the same area the first two dogs were at and gave us an indication. She didn’t stop there. In ever widening circles she worked the area outward from the indication, attempting to see if she could find a source other than where she was. Further and further out and then, without any additional indication, she went back to the spot and again gave her handler the indication. This dog, known as the closer due to her skills, is telling her handler, “There is human remains’ scent here, I’ve checked the surrounding area, and this is the place, nowhere else.”

We moved the team back and looked at the ground. No mounds, no depressions. Nothing that we could visually determine that had been disturbed. The metal detectors were brought in and five investigators worked out from the spot in different directions. They found a few beer cans, an old wiper blade, and barbed wire but nothing that raised suspicion. The area’s GPS coordinates were taken. It was photographed and videotaped.

We continued with the rest of the segments without any positive results. Three dogs, one of which is one of the best in the country, all had identified an indication of human remains at the scene. No doubt it was there, but was it Laura’s or somebody else’s? Could we have found where she was at one point? One theory is as follows: Laura went missing in early March*.* This part of the country is very cold all winter and the ground is frozen solid. Even the funeral homes do not perform burials until midspring. If Laura was killed and stored, could this be where she spent the winter only to be moved once spring came? Rod put all the video of Maureen onto CDs. We sent the CDs, our report of the day’s search, and our results to the Vermont State Police Major Crimes Unit*.*

We know from speaking with the locals that the State Police came into the area with their forensic team and performed a dig of the site. What they did or didn’t find we don’t know. In most of these cases information flows one way, from the volunteer investigators, like us, and K-9 teams to the police department handling the case. A few weeks after the search, I received a phone call from Rod. The state police had reviewed the tapes and had interviewed him for almost two hours as to their authenticity.

Bodies of Water

In 2019 in an “AMA” (ask me anything) on reddit, Maggie Freleng was asked about searches of water/bodies of water and answered:

Yes, back in the day Terry O’Connell and some of the NHLI searched French Pond with divers and sonar. The ammonoosuc river is actually not really a river, it is incredibly shallow, maybe 1 inch. I was there in the winter, same time Maura went missing, a body would be seen and dogs with GPR went all up and down the road that follows it for 5 miles. They would have smelled a body.

On 5.12.20 on reddit, Bill Rausch addressed the possibility of the river:

FYSA: The River was covered in snow/ice in the days after her disappearance altho you could hear the water running underneath it. We walked Rt 112 on foot heading east and did not see any foot prints in the snow between the rd and river. As someone mentioned, there was a section or two where the river and road were side by side but even there we did not see footprints in the snow or a break/gap in the snow and ice on the river. I hope this helps. Thank you for your interest in Maura and for this discussion.

The work of Terry O’Connell and his experts

At some point, retired detective and defense attorney Terry O’Connell joined the case. He introduces his experience and background on the Oxygen show:

I was a police officer in the town of Sandwich here in Massachusetts retired as a detective and sargeant. On completion of 25 years as a police officer I retired and then I became a defense attorney here in Massachusetts. [I got involved in the Maura Murray case when] I made contact with Fred Murray and asked if I could help him with his case. I started working with a team of experts that work with me – forensic anthropologists, pathologists, behavioral analysis experts.

We read more about his team from the SOCO article in 2011:

O’Connell’s team of investigators includes Anne Marie Myers, director of the Molly Bish Foundation, forensic anthropologist, and member of the Boston medical examiners’ office; Craig Ackley, a retired FBI agent formerly in charge of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit and an expert in criminal behavior; Daniel Parkka, a retired Massachusetts police officer who did a reconstruction of the accident scene; and Carla Meyers, a retired New Hampshire attorney.

A chapter by a forensic anthropologist describes some of the work by this team:

Case Three involves a University of Massachusetts’ nursing student who disappeared while travelling along a remote area of highway in rural New Hampshire, in
February 2004. Maura Murray was driving her car, a black Saturn sedan, when she
was involved in a single-car accident. The car was found up against a snow bank
along route 112, pointing west on the eastbound side of the road; the windshield was
cracked. When the police responded to the 911 call, the car was locked and Maura
was gone. They found her vehicle with minor damage, and there were no footprints
leading away from the car. The last person to see Maura was a man who stopped his
school bus to see if she needed assistance. He lived across the street from the accident scene and was observed by the neighbor who had made the 911 call. The initial
police response engaged the bus driver in the search. In a statement he made to the
police, he recounts searching for her along French Pond, an area over 2 miles from
the crash site. After searching yielded no results, the police classified this as a potential suicide. A week passed and the Murray family compelled local police to initiate a search along the road in both directions away from the crash site. The search yielded negative results. The family desperate for answers, engaged a private investigator to look into the disappearance.

Contrary to the police theory of the crime, the private investigator developed a
scenario that postulated that the bus driver was the most likely suspect. The private
investigator reached out to Forensic Archaeology Recovery to see if we would be
interested in assisting to locate Maura Murray. Utilizing the information provided in
the police report which highlighted the bus driver’s behavior, we chose to search in
and around French Pond where the bus driver had an icehouse in the winter months.
The scenario we moved forward to ground truth was that Maura was placed in the
icehouse and that the body found its way to the bottom of the pond.
In 2010, FAR archaeologists and volunteers made an effort to systematically
search the area around the pond and the pond itself. Working in cooperation with the
Murray family and local NH police, the perimeter of the pond was surveyed using
probes. With the help of the Quincy, Massachusetts Police dive team, the entire
pond was surveyed using side scan sonar (Fig. 8.19). There were a series of anomalies, three in total, that were observed at the bottom of the pond. The divers were
able to more clearly define the targets using ROV robotic cameras (Fig. 8.20). Due
to the poor visibility underwater, the divers were put in the water to explore the
anomalies (Fig. 8.21). The divers determined that the anomalies were natural features and not human remains. This area was ruled out and our team moved on to
explore other scenarios.

Mires, A. M. (2019). The Use of Forensic Archaeology in Missing Person Cases. Forensic Archaeology, 111–141. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-03291-3_8  sci-hub.tw/10.1007/978-3-030-03291-3_8

Fred Murray Team

In the first few weeks after Maura’s disappearance, friends and family came to the area to search, including driving around the area, checking motels, handing out flyers, and plastering posters in key places. In total they distributed 1500 posters over New Hampshire and Vermont and up to Maine. They drove eastbound on the 112 to North Woodstock and Lincoln, across the Kancamagus Highway to Bartlett and Conway and others drove as far as Maine near the Canadian border.

After about 3 weeks, Fred continued the search with a group of key volunteers, many with expertise in search and rescue. This is discussed in the Missing Maura Murray interview with Rick Graves which describes how Fred Murray and searchers came up “every weekend for the first year”. They did a circle, moving out (this describes a spiral search). Rick Graves estimates they searched a 15-20 mile perimeter around the crash site. He says it was a team of 4-6. He notes that some distant cousins and relatives who would come out to support them. Graves notes they “beat the hell out of those woods” and mentions gravel pits, etc. One weekend the Maitlands (parents of Brianna Maitland who is still missing from Vermont) joined Fred and the search team.

The following describe some of Fred’s search efforts for Maura which have continued consistently since her disappearance:

Almost every weekend since Feb. 9, he has made the eight-hour round-trip drive from his home in Weymouth, Mass., to the Woodsville section of Haverhill. He searches the vast forest or knocks on doors and questions neighbors who might have seen something. He also hands out fliers with Maura’s picture.

Since February night, Murray has been searching for his daughter, crawling through every bridge and culvert, pressing the police, checking bus stations and asking bus drivers if they saw his daughter. He has checked topographical maps to identify where a vehicle might have gone, checked with neighbors as to what was accessible, and searched.

During the winter, he searched the snow for footprints. The snow is gone now, so he searches the woods alongside the road. He even climbs through culverts under the road, head down, looking for any clue.

He even searched the Kancamagus Highway — one of her favorite places about 25 miles away — should she have contemplated suicide, though he is quick to point out, “I don’t think she did.”

Bill Rausch comments on the search

Starting May 2020, Bill Rausch started sharing some thoughts on reddit and facebook. I am going to compile his comments on the search here. I am not going to include the questions because in most cases they are obvious.

Surprised folks don’t know more details about the actual search. We hit darn near every business in NH with a flyer. From VT to ME and Canada down to MA. In fact, we were going through flyers so quickly, a printing press co. in OH cranked out an additional 5k and overnighted them to us in NH – the local office store in NH couldn’t keep pace with flyer production. Heck, one big reason (there were many) the McDonald’s came up to help was bc we wanted more boots on the ground to intensify our search.

FYSA: The River was covered in snow/ice in the days after her disappearance altho you could hear the water running underneath it. We walked Rt 112 on foot heading east and did not see any foot prints in the snow between the rd and river. As someone mentioned, there was a section or two where the river and road were side by side but even there we did not see footprints in the snow or a break/gap in the snow and ice on the river. I hope this helps. Thank you for your interest in Maura and for this discussion.

I’m not a footprints expert but I know the snow was untouched almost the entire way east on the sides of the road and the snow was deep. When we would stop one day and return the next we could see where we searched/walked the day(s) before. I hope that answers your question.

We walked most of the ~20 mi between the accident site and Lincoln. Thank you for asking.

A Discussion of Maps and Mapping

I am not aware of any search maps available outside of law enforcement of a scale to be useful for any in-depth understanding of the searches. We know that NHSP (Fish & Game) has search maps. We know that NHLI has search maps that have been shared by LE.

One current focus of SAR is using tools such as GIS and Google Earth to coordinate between professionals and community to drop GPS points to flesh out a full search map. I’ll try to discuss methods for mapping, using probability techniques in searches, as well as new technologies that may exist in a future write up.

Sources:

Relevant Posts on this site:

Bogardus transcript from the Oxygen Show
https://notwithoutperil.com/2020/01/04/search-for-maura-murray-transcription-of-the-oxygen-interview-with-todd-bogardus-of-new-hampshire-fish-and-game-who-supervised-the-official-search-for-maura-in-2004/

Analysis of the RF Sighting
https://notwithoutperil.com/2019/07/14/is-there-any-credibility-to-the-sighting-reported-a-couple-of-months-later/

Initial Dog Track
https://notwithoutperil.com/2019/07/08/what-if-the-initial-dog-track-was-accurate-after-all/

Newspaper Articles & news videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRbrTfKJFxk
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=390
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=392
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=394
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=398
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=395
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=405
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=408
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=415
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=416
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=417
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=421
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=423
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=420
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5L2BPg8IWg
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=424
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=427
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=428
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=425
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=426
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=436
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=447
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=448
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=463
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=465
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=467
https://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/police-have-new-lead-in-maura-murray-case/article_677914a8-8916-505f-8f66-a3a9331a1154.html
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=521
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=523
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=524
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URpHslFW4XQ
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=594
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=605
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=633
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=634
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=635
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=636
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=637
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=638
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=639
https://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/k–teams-search-for-student-who-disappeared-in/article_2850ae5a-27ed-5e18-bf6c-290856339b05.html
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=644
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=665
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=674
https://www.patriotledger.com/x1009933237
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=679
https://mauramurray.createaforum.com/evidence/newspaper-articles-57/?message=745
https://sci-hub.tw/10.1007/978-3-030-03291-3_8

Transcription of Q&A with Strelzin et al. from Missing Maura Murray episode 27

I used a transcription program for the Q&A segment of Missing Maura Murray podcast 27: “Questions and Answers”.

As background, Tim and Lance, along with Marley Davis of the Massachusetts Public Defenders Office had scheduled a live filmed Q&A session with Jeffrey Strelzin – which was cancelled at the last minute. Some time later they received written answers to some of the questions sent. (They mention that they do not read the questions that were sent and not answered). The read through starts at approximately minute 22 so I am starting there. Thank you to the Missing Maura Murray podcast for this very valuable information. Marley Davis is the person reading the questions and answers and thanks is given to “KF”. This was published May 10, 2016.

NOTE: This was done by a transcription program; I have cleaned it up but undoubtedly there are some errors and omissions I am working to correct.

Questions and Answers with New Hampshire DA’s Office (Strelzin et al.) published May 10, 2016 – by the MIssing Maura Murray podcast

QUESTION:

What time did Maura send the email to her professors? (21:56)

ANSWER:

Maura Murray sent the email to her professors the day of her disappearance.

DISCUSSION:

They didn’t give us a specific time. Uh, we said did Mara notify either of her bosses that she would be absent for the week and they said no, she did not. The next question was, according to the Boston globe, Maura withdrew $280 at three 40. Can you confirm this was an interesting answer? They said Maura did withdrawal $280 but it was earlier than 3:40 PM

Speaker 4: (22:31)
yup. That, that, that was interesting.

QUESTION 2:

Which ATM did she use and which liquor store did she visit? (22:33)

ANSWER:

Maura left the liquor store at 3:43 PM we are unable to comment on which store she visited.

QUESTION 3:

What time was Maura seen leaving UMass? (22:47)

ANSWER: (22:50)

No witness reported seeing Maura at the time she left UMass.

QUESTION:

Where was she last seen specifically? Did she converse with anyone as she left? Did she appear distraught? Was she carrying anything? (22:53)

ANSWER: (23:02)

We are unable to comment on the last person to see Maura at UMass.

QUESTION:

Can you confirm which direction Maura was heading on Route 112 when she (not captured …) (23:08)

ANSWER: (23:14)

We believe she was headed eastbound on route 112.

QUESTION 6:

How were you able to definitively identify Maura as the driver? (23:18)

ANSWER: (23:23)

All evidence collected to date points to Maura as being the driver.

DISCUSSION: (23:30)

Oh, can I say something about this question. Please? Because I am dying to put this one to bed. I mean we really can’t, based on their answer. All evidence collected is pretty definitive. They have no reason to believe it wasn’t more.

Speaker 5: (23:41)
Oh, absolutely. None at all. Like definitively without a doubt. It was more as driver. All of the evidence that they have points to Maura being the driver. The thing is is that that’s not actually what the question was.

Speaker 4: (23:52)
Right. It’s kind of a denial or not a denial, but it’s kind of a they, they skirted it. It points to her.

Speaker 5: (23:58)
Maybe our question wasn’t clear. Our question was when they got to the scene and they looked at the car and they see that it’s registered to Fred Murray.

Speaker 4: (24:09)
That wasn’t the question though. No, no. She’s saying what our question should have been. Okay.

Speaker 5: (24:13)
The point was to figure out like when they, from the time that they found the vehicle to the time they put the BOLO out, which was I think the next day, how did they narrow down that it was Maura as opposed to her sister or even Fred who had been driving the vehicle? That was what we wanted to know was what was the thing that said, this person driving this car was this person. Let’s put a BOLO out. So maybe the question wasn’t clear, but,

Speaker 4: (24:43)
and we can, we can follow up with them. Sure.

Speaker 6: (24:45)
Okay. So I see. Yeah. So there answer all evidence collected to date points to Mora as being the driver is definitely a little unclear then. Yeah,

Speaker 4: (24:54)
it’s kind of just saying that it’s kind of saying what we already know

Speaker 6: (24:59)
officially. It goes a little further than what we are. A little, no, I think a little bit.

QUESTION:

Can you confirm as Detective Scarinza stated in the Disappearance episode that a circle of red liquid was found in the snow? Where was the circle in relation to Maura’s vehicle? Can the inference be made that the circle was caused by someone pouring out the contents of the bottle found under the vehicle into the snow? … liquid was found in the snow? (25:02)

ANSWER: (25:25)

There was an area of red liquid located under Maura’s vehicle. We are unable to comment on any inferences being made from this fact.

QUESTION:

Where was Maura’s vehicle towed? Could it have been driven from the scene? (25:34)

ANSWER: (25:39)

Maura’s vehicle was towed by Lavoie’s towing company to the troop released to the family and then taken in for additional processing several months later.

DISCUSSION:

This is interesting, right, because we always thought that it was towed back to Lavoie’s. Uh, but they said it was towed to the, to the troop.

Speaker 6: (25:56)
Yeah. Mike Lavoie’s personal garages. What we had gotten and what Fred had confirmed as well. So I think they might be skipping that step in this answer is my thought. Yeah, probably. And obviously to them it’s not a, a, a big detail something too that they need to talk about. Right.

QUESTION: (26:15)

The 911 log indicates that a call was placed from Hanover PD to Grafton County at 7:42 regarding the Atwood’s nine one one call. What time was the phone call made from the Atwood’s house to Hanover PD?

ANSWER: (26:31)

We have no comment other than what information is reflected in the log.

QUESTION: (26:35)

There’ve been conflicting reports regarding whether or not Maura appeared intoxicated. Can you confirm whether she did or did appear intoxicated?

ANSWER: (26:46)

We are unable to comment on her appearance, but there was evidence of open alcohol containers both at the scene and in the vehicle.

QUESTION: (26:54)

It has been reported that a canine unit tracked Maura’s scent 100 yards East of the crash site. It has also been reported that both Butch Atwood and Rick Forcier lived approximately 100 yards from the crash site. Can you confirm then that the canine scent was lost in front of their houses?

ANSWER: (27:12)

There was a dog track that was conducted from the scene of the crash.

DISCUSSION:

It’s not really an answer, but

Speaker 6: (27:18)
yeah, I I’m confused on that one. I’m wondering why they even answered at all.

Speaker 5: (27:23)
Yeah, same with the next one too actually.

Speaker 4: (27:26)
Yeah. That is interesting. It’s like, Hey, we want to answer, but here’s what we can give you.

Speaker 6: (27:31)
Just really confirming that that, that there was, there were dogs there.

Speaker 4: (27:36)
I mean maybe you know, maybe if you read it like with an emphasis on was there was a dog track that was conducted from the scene of the crash. Maybe that’s just safer than saying that’s correct. And I don’t want to get into anything else.

QUESTION: (27:48)

What is the official word on the rag in the tailpipe?

ANSWER: (27:51)

A number of reports did document finding a rag in the tailpipe of the vehicle.

DISCUSSION: (27:56)

I was a little let down by the answer of this. I was excited and then I saw that it was wrapped up in a 15 words saying yep, it was there. That’s what it was.

Speaker 6: (28:05)
Well, just like that newspapers and then, uh, media reported that they, they don’t even say that it was there.

Speaker 4: (28:12)
I know, but we happen to know that the exhaust system was removed. The entire exhaust system was removed. Yeah.

QUESTION:

Why did police request Maura’s belongings to be returned to them after being released to the family?

ANSWER: (28:27)

Investigations may often require retesting or re-examination. It is not unusual in cases that start more as a missing persons investigation which develop into more of a criminal investigation.

DISCUSSION: (28:39)

Okay. So is that, is that proof of them saying that this is what it is, it started as a missing persons investigation and developed into more of a criminal investigation? Absolutely.

Speaker 5: (28:50)
Yeah. I mean I don’t want to speak for law enforcement, but I think you know, whenever somebody is missing for 12 years, you know, at that point I think you have to start looking at it as more of a criminal investigation.

Speaker 4: (29:05)
It’s interesting that he capitalized missing M and persons P missing persons. I, I just find that interesting. What goes on in, in someone’s subconscious that makes them think that missing person investigation and needs capitalization.

QUESTION: (29:20)

Describe the state of Maura’s dorm room. What did law enforcement infer from the state of her dorm room? Has law enforcement stance change over the years regarding the state of Maura’s dorm room and whether or not it was significant in any way to her disappearance?

ANSWER: (29:39)

Maura’s room was orderly and some items appeared to be packed. Items were not in any sort of disarray.

DISCUSSION:

Well forget the second part about items being in disarray. What we really wanted to know was, was her dorm room packed up. Um, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not it was packed up. And if so, what did that mean? Um, and I think their answer is pretty, you know, sort of puts that to bed,

Speaker 4: (30:01)
does it? No, cause I’m looking at this and it says some items appeared to be packed. So what does appear to be packed? Maybe she, cause I suppose if someone looked at my place, I have things that are in boxes that are packed up, but you know, I’m not leaving. So you could say that items appeared, some items appeared to be packed, items were not in any sort of disarray.

Speaker 5: (30:24)
Right. So I mean, so, but the, I think it sort of puts to bed the idea that her entire dorm room was packed in boxes.

Speaker 4: (30:29)
Oh, absolutely. That it was the entire dorm. Yeah, yeah. That she was ready to go. And there was like boxes that were labeled kitchen living room, you know.

Speaker 5: (30:37)
Well, it doesn’t this sort of confirm that she was unpacking.

Speaker 4: (30:41)
I don’t think it confirms anything to me. He’s just, he’s literally giving the state of her room. It seemed like some items appeared to be, some items appeared to be packed, wasn’t in disarray, and it was orderly.

QUESTION:

Law enforcement made reference early on to a note left by Maura in her dorm room describing it as a possible suicide note later. Fred Murray stated publicly that the note was actually a printed copy of an old email from her boyfriend. Bill, can you confirm Fred’s statement to be true? If not, what was the content of the letter?

ANSWER: (31:15)

We have not recovered any apparent suicide note.

DISCUSSION:

KF and I were talking about this last night that we thought it was interesting that they refuted what the cops said.

Speaker 6: (31:25)
Well, they definitely don’t assume it’s a suicide note based on this. Not only did they don’t assume it, it’s sounds like they don’t even think it’s a suicide note.

Speaker 5: (31:34)
Right. But it’s interesting that it wasn’t at the, uh, the cop that initially said that it was a suicide. It was a possible. So as I know,

Speaker 4: (31:42)
I don’t know who first said that it was a possible suicide note

QUESTION: (31:44)

In the state’s response to Fred Murray’s freedom of information act lawsuit. It says quote, “there are grand jury subpoenas that are not public and which would pinpoint the focus of the investigation” withholding specific details. Can you confirm that this means that a grand jury was convened in this case

ANSWER: (32:06)

regardless of whether a grand jury was or was not convened in this matter, Superior court and ethical rules prohibit us from making any comments on any and all grand jury matters.

DISCUSSION:

And I just want to point out that this was sort of a, I mean the language that they use in their response pretty much says that there were grand jury subpoenas settled. So this was really more of a confirmation question than anything else

QUESTION: (32:33)

in the state’s response. It also States quote, there are also search warrants that are not public and quote withholding specific details. Can you confirm that searches of specific areas were conducted pursuant to a warrant? Are there any details you can discuss regarding any searches that were conducted?

ANSWER: (32:53)

Regardless of whether search warrants were or were not issued in this matter. Superior court. An ethical rules prohibit us from making any comments on any and all matters sealed by the court.

QUESTION: (33:04)

Butch Atwood’s common law wife recently told a journalist that her husband took two of the four polygraph exams alluded to in the state’s response and that he either failed the first or that it was inconclusive. Can you comment on whether this is accurate and if so, what the results of the second exam.

ANSWER: (33:25)

We are unable to comment on the results of any polygraph test.

DISCUSSION:

Do you think unable means not willing or unable means literally unable?

Speaker 5: (33:33)
I think it means unwilling. Okay. How would they, you know, they’re the ones that gave the polygraphs,

Speaker 6: (33:39)
but why would they be unwilling to tell about Butch unless he was even, you know, unless there was 1% chance that he was still a suspect.

Speaker 4: (33:48)
But I don’t think that it’s, maybe we have to start thinking about it as, um, if it’s an open investigation, it’s not so much, you know, if Butch isn’t a suspect or is a suspect, it’s a fact that they can’t release no matter what you probably right. Yeah.

QUESTION:

Have any of Maura’s missing possessions, car keys, credit, debit card, cell phone, et cetera, been located since her disappearance?

ANSWER: (34:14)

No, they have not.

DISCUSSION:

So that means that the black backpack, not Maura’s

QUESTION: (34:21)

was any forensic testing concluded inside the a frame house. It has been reported that bones were found in the a frame house by the new owners and that these bones were given to the police. Can you comment on whether these bones were found to be human? What about the carpet sample reported given to police? Has it been ruled out as having any connection to Maura at this point? Have police been able to rule out the possibility of a connection between the a frame house in general and Maura’s disappearance?

ANSWER: (34:53)

We’re familiar with the house. You’re referring to. Questions surrounding the house were generated by private investigators working on the case. We have no knowledge about any information on any bones being discovered there.

QUESTION: (35:18)

there are reports that there were areas of freshly laid concrete near the crash site in the days following the crash. Has this been reported to police and have any searches been conducted of these areas?

ANSWER: (35:31)

We are unaware of any such reports and there would be some difficulty to pouring concrete in February. However, we will investigate this based on your assertion.

DISCUSSION:

That’s probably my favorite or top three favorite, uh, answers. However we will investigate this based on your assertion. This shows that there, I mean, unless this is, you know, he’s, he’s full of hot air. This shows that they’re, they’re going to investigate something that we brought to their attention that they were unaware of. It’s pretty cool. Yeah.

Speaker 5: (36:05)
Let me ask you, why is it difficult to pour concrete in February?

Speaker 4: (36:08)
Because the ground’s frozen. You need to dig it up. You need to level it. You need to excavate. There’s probably snow. It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely difficult.

QUESTION: (36:18)

They’ll police have said the phone call to Billy was from the red cross. Billy’s mother is from in her stance that it is impossible to know that. Have you been able to definitively confirm that the phone call Billy received while on the plane to New Hampshire came from the red cross?

ANSWER: (36:36)

Yes, we did confirm that the phone call came from the red cross.

QUESTION: (36:41)

At what point did Maura having met with foul play become the prevailing theory over suicide or runaway or is it not? The prevailing theory at this point,

ANSWER: (36:50)

foul play is dominant amongst several theories. We don’t know whether her disappearance was voluntary, involuntary or whether she was the victim of a crime. Everything is still on the table, which is why we are treating this case accordingly.

QUESTION: (37:03)

Is there a reason the ATM footage has not been released to the public? Would we be able to view it?

ANSWER: (37:10)

The footage was obtained and we are willing to release it to the public in the near future.

DISCUSSION:

I like that answer. It’s among the top couple of answers that, that uh, that stood out to me. What I would like to do is just issue a plea to anybody listening. Don’t pressure them to do it. If he says that he’s willing the that they are willing to release it to the public in the near future, let it happen for years.

QUESTION:

Local rumors have circulated that Maura met with foul play and that her body was dumped in a number of locations including bodies of water under the foundations of houses, woodchippers, et cetera. At this time, do you believe any of the rumors to be more credible than others?

ANSWER: (37:51)

No. As explained above, all leads are still being investigated and almost anything is still possible.

QUESTION: (37:57)

Are there any that have been completely ruled out at this time?

ANSWER: (38:02)

Some rumors have been ruled out but we are unable to comment on the specifics of those rumors.

QUESTION: (38:07)

How tuned in is law enforcement to the internet chatter regarding this case?

ANSWER: (38:12)

We are receptive to receiving information from whatever the source

QUESTION: (38:15)

have law enforcement garnered any useful information from what’s been written online. Do you think the attention this case has gotten online has been a detriment to the investigation or has it been helpful at all?

ANSWER: (38:30)

The attention this case has garnered has generated some leads, although none have panned out when investigated. However, efforts to keep people’s attention focused on the case are not detrimental if they have the potential to generate new leads.

QUESTION: (38:43)

Is law enforcement aware of the taunting videos made by Alden Olson on YouTube? Has he been looked into as a person of interest?

ANSWER: (38:53)

We are aware of those videos.

QUESTION: (38:55)

We were hoping you could tell us your perspective on why you think this case is so popular. It seems to be very popular among the internet community slash armchair detectives. Why is this the case? People are so fascinated with

ANSWER: (39:10)

people love a mystery and Maura Murray’s disappearance is a mystery. The internet is also sometimes a forum for speculation and conspiracy theories in spite of facts to the contrary or no facts at all. The combination seems to fuel much discussion in cases like this.

DISCUSSION (39:25)

I think, uh, out of how many questions did we have, we had 40 something, 42 questions. Um, I think their answers were, were very, um, standard for written answers. I feel that they probably canceled this and felt more comfortable answering things in writing so they could properly choose their wording. They were very careful about how they approached it. And I, I completely understand it cause we don’t want to, it was disappointing to not go to them and, and, and have the cameras there and record their, their, uh, their answers. I think at some point they realized, listen, this is the, we can’t say anything that’s gonna come out. You know, even if you mess up, you’ve, even if you have a Freudian slip that could go out there to the masses and conclusions could be drawn that shouldn’t be drawn this way. They were able to control it and give us more factual, responsible answers.

Speaker 5: (40:26)
Yeah. And I also do know that the, uh, the, the questions had to be vetted. Um, and that the answers, uh, also were vetted, so vetted by home. Well, when I spoke to, uh, I think it was Strelzin when I spoke to him, he said that they were waiting to get the answers either back from somebody else or, um, that it was, that he was, they were waiting to get the answers from somebody else basically. So

Speaker 4: (40:53)
I think that this is a step in the right direction with our communication with, uh, with law enforcement. I, I’d like the, uh, relationship that’s been formed and, and the relationship that we’re currently establishing and nurturing at any time, if any of the law enforcement mentioned Strelzin, uh, Gadi if they’d like to come on and discuss the case in a, in a controlled environment, we’re more than happy to do it. The more information, and they said it in their answer there, they’ll investigate any, any leads that are given to them that are credible. They, you know, we gave them something and they’ll investigate it, uh, based on our assertion. Um, if it’s, if they come on and it’s in a controlled environment and someone hears it and they know something or they, they connect the dots, uh, that, that couldn’t be connected before for whatever reason, I think that would, that, that might go a long way to, uh, to, to help the investigation. So I’m just putting that out there. Absolutely.

Speaker 3: (41:53)
Well, great. Uh, I am, uh, thrilled that we got these answers. Um, and I know that we have an open line of communication and we can submit more questions at some point in the future. So maybe that is something that we will do. So, Marley, I really just want to thank you on behalf of myself, Lance K F the rest of the podcast listening audience, and, uh, we just want to say thank you and, uh, these answers have been very helpful. Thank you very much for coming on. Thanks for having me guys.

Search for Maura Murray: Transcription of the Oxygen interview with Todd Bogardus of New Hampshire Fish and Game who supervised the official search for Maura in 2004

The following is my transcription of the interview with Todd Bogardus from Episode 5 of Oxygen’s “The Disappearance of Maura Murray”. This post contains no additional analysis. (I am currently studying the ground search so this is a very important piece of that analysis).

Interview with Todd Bogardus from Oxygen’s The Disappearance of Maura Murray (Season 1, Episode 5, “Something Bad Happened”) – starts at 12:18

(MF: If Maura was so intoxicated she became disoriented in the woods and died is it possible the multiple search parties missed her?)

(MF: Art and I are meeting with Todd Bogardus at the crash site to find out.  A 24 year veteran with NH Fish and Game he was the supervisor in charge of the official search for Maura which commenced a day and a half after she vanished)

MF: How many search and rescue missions have you done?

TB: I’d say I’ve been participating and managing in the hundreds

MF: how many of those are still outstanding missing people?

TB: there are still 2 that are unfounded

MF: and Maura is one of them?

TB: she is

AR: what was your initial involvement in the search?

TB: … the law enforcement – they had done most of the cursory searching that evening as well as the next day

(MF: Todd’s team was brought in 36 hours after the crash on a clear cold morning)

TB: we had about a foot and a half two feet of snow there was a very thin crust on the top but if you or I were to walk off this road into the snow we would very easily leave a footprint

(MF: because the temperature remained steady and it didn’t snow again the snow on the ground had not changed since the crash – the search party used this to their advantage)

AR: did you have any helicopters?

TB: we did.  we searched the immediate area and we had them tone out and go several miles away from the area.  that helicopter is also equipped with a FLIR unit which is forward looking infrared – so had she been out there and giving off any heat signal we would have been able to pick that up.  after covering the significant area at least 112 and outlying roads over probably 10 miles distance the end result was we had no human foottracks going into the woodlands off of the roadways that were not either cleared or accounted for.  At the end of that day the consensus was she did not leave the roadway

(MF: 10 miles of roadway checked just on that first official search and not a single footprint that could have been Maura’s)

(MF: in case they missed something a second search was organized 10 days after the crash to inspect the woods – this time with three cadaver dogs who were trained specifically to find human remains)

MF: so at that point you could have been looking for a deceased person

TB: yes – those dog teams went into the woodlines and searched (in) different segments on both sides of route 112 within the half mile radius … any time we’re searching we’re looking for people yes but more importantly we’re looking for clues

AR: in clues you mean like clothing or a backpack or a cell phone …

TB: Anything any human object

MF: did you ever find any?

TB: no clues to my knowledge that were directly related to Maura

(MF: Todd’s team went on to conduct 3 more searches one with 7 dog teams.  In the end they searched 12 miles of roadway, 1-2 miles into the woods with dogs and even places up to 50 miles away that they knew Maura loved to visit.  They never found a single thing related to Maura. With her missing for 6 months the official search was called off.)

MF: we’ve heard from people we’ve interviewed that it’s hard to find a body in these woods because they are so thick.  Do you agree with that?

TB: I do agree it’s hard but I can tell you I’m not a big believer in people levitating and going long distances.  So she had to have left the track for us if she went into the woodlands. I’m fairly confident to say she did not go into the woods when she left the area

MF: where do you believe she went?

TB: There’s a NH state police bloodhound that was brought in on our first day of searching.  That dog did run a track off the crash site. He actually did it twice. And each time he ran a track from the crash site it ended at the intersection of Bradley Hill Road which is just within sight of the crash site.  It’s possible she may have been picked up by a vehicle there.


The red truck in the Maura Murray case part 2: finding the truck

I previously wrote my “top 10 misconceptions” about the red truck which focused on overall timeline in relation to Maura’s disappearance. However, there seems to be a great deal of interest in identifying the truck, so this is my attempt to look further into the truck and its characteristics. My friend “fulkstop” has been focused on this aspect so in many cases I defer to his research.

I will add that I am “agnostic” about the importance of the red truck. I tend to doubt that the people in the truck were searching for Maura or had anything to do with her disappearance. I do think the testimony gives us important insights about the timetable. That said, I do think it would be helpful to find the truck if possible in case they noted anything unusual that night – and to eliminate one ongoing uncertainty in the case.

RO’s DESCRIPTION OF THE TRUCK AND ITS FEATURES


I have previously discussed the issue of the Massachusetts plate. To reiterate, she was extremely consistent about the state on the plate with a single exception from 2007 where she indicates that the police told her she might be wrong.

All of these are verbatim from RO. Although there might be other attributions in the community, I am staying with those I can attribute directly to RO.

THE FRONT OF THE TRUCK

When she saw a side view she did indicate it was a bit too long, but getting close.

The following collages expand the years in both directions to illustrate truck design from 1970-1989 for Chevy and Ford

THE TRUCK BED

In other words, RO identified a REPLACED truck bed. The following describes truck bed modifications and reasons for making modifications to a truck bed.

However, RO did not see slats on top of a regular bed. She emphasizes that what she saw most closely resembles the photo shown with the replaced bed and the wood slats.

THE BACK WINDOW

WHAT CAN WE LEARN BY TIME, LOCATION, DIRECTION?

WHAT ARE POSSIBLE NEXT STEPS?