A few summers ago we took a family trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. To get there we drove up Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula and then ultimately back down Michigan. There were some favorites: Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Pictured Rocks on the Upper Peninsula, Mackinac heading back to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Sometimes if we get sentimental we google Sheboygan or Grand Marais or Sault Ste Marie or even Kalamazoo – places that are hundreds of miles apart. But the linkage: they are sites on a memorable trip.
In October 2003, Fred and Maura took a trip to climb four “4,000 foot” peaks.
So likewise, I would suggest that if we look at the totality of Maura’s calls and internet searches leading up to her departure on 2/9/04, they seem to closely match the trip taken with her father Fred in October 2003. Specifically, at approximately 4AM on the day of her disappearance (2/9/04), Maura did a computer search for directions and overnight accommodations for Bartlett, NH and Burlington, VT. That afternoon she called two numbers to inquire about lodging: Bartlett, NH (1PM) and Stowe, VT (2:05PM) although neither resulted in a reservation. In her car she had mapquest directions for Burlington, VT which we now understand to be transcribed directions on a note card.
What does this mean? To me it suggests that she didn’t have a specific destination or purpose. In other words, I would conclude that she wasn’t meeting up with someone in Middlebury or Montpelier or Plymouth (examples) – no job interview, no doctor’s appointment. I would suggest that she was thinking of places she remembered or liked from the October trip – just as I might look at hotel rates in Sheboygan along with Sault Ste Marie.
The October 2003 trip could also show us something about her familiarity with some of these areas. According to Julie, Maura and Fred came up 93 from the South Shore (MA) and stayed in Bartlett. They visited in the order 1) Owl’s Head; 2) Mount Mansfield; 3) Camel’s Hump and 4) West Bond – Fred’s 48th 4,000 foot peak. [The blue route is map generated – to follow this sequence they likely went back up 93 after Owl’s Head]. We also learn from a newspaper article that they visited the town of Burlington that weekend: “Murray’s father said he also discovered a note card that mentioned Burlington among many personal belongings she had packed in her car. The two last visited the Northern Vermont city on Columbus Day Weekend when they hiked nearby Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield.” Boston Globe 2/21/04
To add to this, we can include other favorite sites or places of some importance: Mount Tripyramid – a childhood favorite, Mount Washington – said to be her all time favorite – along with Mount Carrigain – the site of the infamous coordinates (covered later), and Mount Madison – the specific place where MacDonald Barr perished from the chapter of Not Without Peril.
So this might tell us something about Maura’s destination and familiarity with the areas. Does any of this give us any plausible leads to find Maura? To start, Burlington has, in effect, been searched:
New Hampshire State Police Lieutenant John Scarinza said yesterday that for several days police have been checking motels and hotels in several Vermont communities. Investigators know of no one Murray might know in the Burlington area, he said.
“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,” he said. Boston Glove 2/21/04
The site of the coordinates emailed to Tim and Lance was first searched by two community members 6/30/17 before it was covered again by the Oxygen cast and crew.
The same hiker commented on the four sites from the October 2003 trip:
All of the peaks listed (Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, West Bond, and Owl’s Head) are all on the New England 4000 Footers list, which is probably why they were a destination for her and her father at all. While I have no idea if they were ever searched specifically in relation to Maura’s disappearance, they are extremely popular due to peakbagging and are some of (if not) the most visited wilderness areas in all of New England, despite the remoteness implied by some of these areas. Even Owl’s Head sees multiple peakbaggers every day (I see it in the Facebook groups), and that’s a 20 mile hike. I’m doubting there’s anything in any of these locations myself (being at least familiar with all of NH’s 4000 footers myself and having already gone on a wild goose chase to one of them), but YMMV, as the hikers say. u/BreathingPermafrost
A dog handler who contributes to the reddit sub describes some potential techniques for approaches large scale areas:
Not sure what kind of searches have taken place before but my gut tells me, bring some well trained HR dogs to search these areas. There are so many K9 handlers out there that would do it for free- professional SAR teams are almost always entirely volunteer. We have a passion for this. If someone put a team together I’d come up in a heartbeat. I made the offer to organize some time ago but wasn’t taken up on it.
Most SAR dogs wear a GPS collar. SAR people also carry a GPS. You take a dog to an area, think of the human searchers as words on a page, and dogs as the highlighter around it. We don’t have to go dig around in the woods as much because the dogs are doing for it us. Anyway, all that information from the GPS can be downloaded and tracks are mapped. You can see where the dog went, areas missed, etc. and calculate probability of detection. This is what I’d like to do in these areas.
Besides what most people normally think of HR dogs finding (a decaying corpse), they can find bones. They can find objects that were in contact with decay (although in MM’s case, not sure if too much time has passed), for exp. one of our dogs trains with pieces of a rocking chair someone committed suicide in. u/kristin1441
Do we have to be sure of a theory before we search? As one searcher commented:
I think the needle in a haystack applies to the pros too. It’s been proven before. There’s a lot of ground and it’s so uneven. There’s also tons of fallen rocks and trees, steep drop-offs, and the rocky river bed. This amounts to lots of opportnuities for both peril and shelter. Being confident means nothing without results though…
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, and dog teams rather than, say, property searches executed by law enforcement or other investigative work.
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.
– 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.
– Boots on the Ground has been conducting annual searches since 2017.
– Many other searchers have been going out formally or informally, individually or in teams or groups to search for Maura.
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.” (ID Disappeared)
There were still some efforts to locate the driver of the Saturn by police (Cecil Smith), a NHSP officer (the aforementioned Lt. John Monaghan), local neighbors and some members of the Fire Department and Emergency 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.
Resident Butch Atwood took his personal vehicle and drove a loop to Mountain Lakes 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 8:02-5PM 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 9:26PM. 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, the case shifted to one of missing endangered and a search effort was organized. The large scale search effort began about 36 hours after her disappearance on Wednesday, February 11th.
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.
Wednesday, February 11th
Official Search 1: Wednesday, February 11th (36 hours after Maura’s disappearance)
Personnel: Supervisor: Todd Bogardus of NH Fish and Game; NHSP bloodhound, helicopter equipped with FLIR, local and state police, state Fish & Game officials
Range: The NHSP bloodhound ran the track from the Saturn twice; helicopter covered 10 miles of roadway
On the morning of Wednesday, February 11th, the NHSP began its search supervised by Todd Bogardus of New Hampshire Fish and Game. 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 at least 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 gloves 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 map). 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 clear that at the end of the first day of searching, the predominant theory was that Maura was picked up by a vehicle.
Could Maura have been missed by the helicopter and the additional search efforts? On Oxygen 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)
Personnel: Supervisor: Todd Bogardus of NH Fish and Game; 3 canine teams (2 New England K-9 Search and Rescue Group; 1 New Hampshire State Police); state police, fish and game officiers, helicopter
Range: 2 square mile area along the Wild Ammonoosuc River and Route 112; searched both sides of 112 within a half mile radius
(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)
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
Around the same time, police examined Maura’s computer and discovered that she had searched for directions to Burlington on her computer. On 2.20.04, “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,” he said.”
April 2, 2004
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.” Rausch said one of the teams is Marilyn Greene, a team trainer and private investigator, and her K-9, Buddy, from Guilderland, N.Y. “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)
Personnel: Supervisor: Todd Bogardus of NH Fish and Game; 15 fish and game officers with 6 dogs from,New England Canine and Upper Valley Wilderness Response team; a helicopter
Range: Searched woods about miles east of accident site on Route 112 (this followed the CW sighting)
On May 8, 2004, Mike Recht from the Associated Press reported, “About 15 Fish and Game officers, joined by the New England Canine and the Upper Valley Wilderness Response team with six dogs, searched the woods for Maura Murray, a University of Massachusetts student, about five miles east of the accident site on Route 112.[This search was conducted in response to the construction worker’s report that he saw a hooded figure running along Route 112 near the location where it intersects with Route 116.]
“As a result of this new information, a search was conducted on May 8. Canine teams with six dogs and 15 Fish and Game officers searched the area where Forcier may have seen Maura running. No new leads were reported.” 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.
Official Search 4: May 17th (98 days missing)
Official Search 5: July 13th (156 days missing)
Personnel: Supervisor Todd Bogardus; 100 searchers including state police trooper ans conservation officers
Range: One mile radius of the accident with “line searches”
Nearly 100 people, including 60 state troopers from as far away as Exeter, conservation officers, and volunteers from search-and-rescue organizations, spent the day on line searches
“Another ground search was initiated on July 13. More than 100 searchers, including state police troop-ers and conservation officers, spread out across a one-mile radius of where Maura’s car was found. No reason was given for why this search was conducted except to say 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.”
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. In total they conducted three large searches.
NHLI Search 1 of 3 – 10.21.06
The first NHLI search was a two day search (Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22, 2006). They searched “within a few miles of the site of (the accident).”. They used dog teams from the Connecticut Canine Search and Dukes County Search and Rescue out of Martha’s Vineyard.
They selected six areas including a wooded area near the search site, gravel pits, and the Mountain Lakes area. One site was a sand pit not far from Maura went missing (I am not sure if this is the same as the gravel pit). It was noted that some of the site selection was based on “information Fred Murray and other people (had) provided.” The A-frame was searched at this time, presumably as one of the six sites.
NHLI Search 2 of 3 July 2008
In July 2008, volunteers led another two-day search through wooded areas in Haverhill. The group consisted of dog teams and licensed private investigators
Additional Details Learned about the NHLI Searches
In 2018, Guy Paradee of the interview 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 of the AG’s office responded, they dug and found some things, notably human clothing and some sort of rubber/latex square.
We further learn from the interview that they did a grid search of the 5 mile radius. He describes that they “took tape, did grids of the whole five mile area we were going to search. The teams consisted of the dog handler and dog, one of (NHLI member who was armed), and each team had a video camera and still camera.
IIt was noted in 2019 by Maggie Freleng that:
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.
Fred Murray Team
Every weekend for the first year searching with Fred consistently. Did a circle, moved out. Estimated searched about 15-20 miles perimeter around the crash site. About 4-6 people including distant cousins/relatives who would go out to support. “beat the hell out of those woods – gravel pits, etc.”.
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.
His daughters and Maura’s boyfriend, who is in the military, were able to help at first, and occasionally some volunteers join him. Last weekend, a couple from Vermont, the Maitlands, whose own daughter disappeared in March, searched with him.
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.”
Since February night, Murray has been searching fir 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.
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
What time did Maura send the email to her professors? (21:56)
Maura Murray sent the email to her professors the day of her disappearance.
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.
Which ATM did she use and which liquor store did she visit? (22:33)
Maura left the liquor store at 3:43 PM we are unable to comment on which store she visited.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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?
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?
There was a dog track that was conducted from the scene of the crash.
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.
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.
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?
Maura’s room was orderly and some items appeared to be packed. Items were not in any sort of disarray.
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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?
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.
We are unable to comment on the results of any polygraph test.
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.
Have any of Maura’s missing possessions, car keys, credit, debit card, cell phone, et cetera, been located since her disappearance?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
The footage was obtained and we are willing to release it to the public in the near future.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
This post will compile information on the red truck seen by witness robinsonordway (RO) on 2/9/04. It will start with direct quotes from RO, followed by clarifications from RO in 2019. This is background only and does not contain any analysis or commentary.
RO narrative 1 (date unknown)
“I wish I could give an exact description of the truck but I can not. I was walking that night about 7 p.m to the local store. As I was walking up the hill, a truck passed me and slowed down. When it got to the middle of the hill it stopped in the road. I immediately looked at the plate and noticed it was from Massachusetts. There is only 1 street light there and I could not tell how many people were in the vehicle. As I got closer to the truck it took off up the hill. When I rounded the corner to the store, I could see the truck in the driveway of the store. As I walked into the parking lot, which is well lit, the truck took off toward the crash site,(of course at that time I did not know there was a crash).
As for the red truck, it slowed, then stopped and waited for me to get closer, then took off up the hill. He did not leave the store parking lot in any sort of hurry.
When I entered the store I asked if she saw the people in that truck and she said no, no one had come in. I told her about them stopping in the hill. Then we just forgot about it. I stood in the store a while and was there when the police and ambulance went by. I never saw that truck again. The only way I can describe it is that it looked like someone who delivered wood. That was my first thought about it……..red, MA plates and delivered wood. Either having a wood body or even just slats in the body. It was not a king cab or extra cab. Just a regular truck. That is all I can tell you.
I was in the Swiftwater store for 1/2 hour – 45 minutes. It was about 20-30 minutes after I was there that the police went by. I am not at all Maura’s size and in fact I was bundled up that night. I believe I caught the truck off guard as I was walking well off the road and as they passed I walked back on, which is why I believe they stopped completely. They could not see me without any street lights and maybe went to the store and waited for me to get up there to get a better look??? I don’t know. That is just how it seemed to me.
The truck didn’t scare me. My thought is that they/he/she thought I was someone else. That is what I was thinking that night. When I saw them sitting at the store, I again thought, they really think I am someone else. And as I got closer and I could see the driver moving around – I was thinking, there, I am not the person you are looking for, and he drove off. I wish to God I could remember what I was wearing that night, but I can’t.
Someone asked about the truck and whether it was 4 wheel drive. I believe it was. I have been looking at trucks and have determined that it was definitely a four wheel drive or at least it was a 3/4 ton pick up, because it sat up high. The other thing I remember is that the window in the back was hard to see in….it wasn’t very large…..which tells me it was an older truck maybe???”
RO narrative 2 (Renner’s blog – April 26, 2013 at 5:39 PM
“The red truck was going in the direction of the accident when it stopped in the middle of the hill in front of my house as I was walking…the lighting was poor there, and I thought to myself that maybe they either 1) thought I needed a ride or 2) that I was someone else. As I approached the stagestop, the truck was in the stagestop parking lot. I could tell there was someone watching me and as I got in the light of the pumps, the red truck pulled away, again, towards the accident. When I went into the store, I asked Wini if some people came in the store just now and she said no and I said well, there was a red truck that stopped in the hill with MA plates and then took off and was in your parking lot as I approached. We both shrugged it off as someone looking for someone else. Twenty minutes or so later, the PD went flying by. I continued to visit with Wini until she closed up at 8 and then started walking home. As I was approaching my driveway – in the middle of the hill again where it was dark – the ambulance went by – going towards 302/10 as if it was leaving the accident scene. It slammed on its brakes when it saw me and pulled into the Bunga Road (which is on the other side of my house). Then a state police officer pulled up and rolled down his window…..I said hello and he said oh, its you…and I said yep, just me…he asked if I had seen anyone else walking and I said no, and he left and the ambulance followed him. At that point I did not know of the accident and in fact, I didn’t hear of it for a couple of days later when Wini called and told me and reminded me of the truck. Her and I spent numerous times looking for this truck to no avail. Now, the reason I was sure it was MA plates is because when it stopped in the hill, I looked at the plate and tried to memorize it (thinking to myself, oh great, I am going to get kidnapped or something). Obviously, a few days later the only thing I could remember was the MA plates. Hope this helps clarify things for you. Whether it had anything to do with Maura disappearing, I have no idea. WS Robinson”
New: follow ups from Renner’s blog (after RO posted the statement above she made responses to a few questions – April 28, 2013
Anonymous April 28, 2013 at 11:09 PM No one ever asked me to not discuss the red truck. My memory is that they were normal plates. I did not see if it was a him or her…I know I did state that I thought there was more than one person in the truck.
Anonymous April 28, 2013 at 10:56 PM I have brown hair, I am short, and far from thin..lol 🙂
RO narrative 3 (MM forum 10/12/07)
“I am sorry guys my counts went down and I haven’t felt well enough to get out and get a picture. Let’s see if I can explain it. At first I thought it had a little window and then I saw the truck. It was the body on the truck that had the smaller window if that makes sense. The sides were wood slats. It was not diesel. I would have remembered that for sure. But please remember, I could have been wrong about the plates – according to the pd. You guys really got to see this truck…I will try and find it and take a picture. It was exactly the same, it was incredible. It was definitely a work truck.”
RO narrative 4 (11/13/07) – this does not add much but I am trying to be complete
“Update from 11-13-07 on Pg 421 of New Forum: by RobinsonOrdway who checked with Monahan and reported this to the forum:”
He went to the call only to make sure that the accident did not occur in his jurisdiction, which it did not. He then proceeded down 112 – towards my house – and told HPD that he would look on the way. That is when he saw me and stopped. He was actually on his way to another call for a suicidal boy in Pike.
He does not fill out a statement because it is not required according to Section 106-B:15.
He investigated nothing and saw nothing.
(end of paste).
In 2019, RO responded to questions from reddit user fulkstop
fulkstop: I thought of a way to clarify RO’s report: send her a document with hundreds of red trucks (from a Used Car Site, models no newer than 2004) , number them, and ask her to choose the one that looks most like the truck that she saw. I decided to create a second document with numbered pictures of wooden truck beds, and ask her to do the same, this time looking only at the beds for a match.
The results: RO responded by successfully finding a matching Bed.
And although she couldn’t find a matching truck, she did offer this additional information:
” There was a back window in the truck where I could see the passenger turn around and look at me. I remember it to be oval shaped but I could be wrong. The truck was red. Have no idea the make. Square. Not rounded truck. I noticed it to be Massachusetts plates. “
In response to multiple requests, I asked RO if the truck had an eagle decal. She just responded:
“No I did not see a decal .”
After reading this thread , RO wanted to add some information:
“Just to clarify something. The truck had a wooden body as in wooden sides. Not the whole body. So it wasn’t cut out for the window. “
I want to thank RO, on behalf of all of us, for her willingness to help and enrich our knowledge of her important observations.
i thiink, whatever your theory is about Maura’s disappearance, the red truck is important. At the very least, because RO saw the truck driving in the direction of the crash site, the occupant(s) of the truck are likely witnesses.
Here is some more information that RO just provided:
” From what I recall and mind you this was a while ago, the truck was a regular truck bed with wooden slats. Like we haul firewood in. Or did back then. Please also note that that picture [see above] is the type of body I was recalling. Square. “
” Also for those curious as to why I know it was mass plates is because they stopped in the hill – which freaked me out and I tried to remember the plate # in case something happened to me. Since I was walking alone in the dark. “
” If that night when the state cop stopped me and he had told me someone was missing I probably could have given him the plate number. I still kick myself for forgetting but he never told me what was going on. “
I then said: ” Another thing that has come up; you mentioned a ‘passenger’ in one of your statements and ‘people’ in another. Did it appear that there was more than one person in the truck? “
” Yes. Two people. The passenger looked out that window at me when they stopped in the hill .”
” By the way, I searched weeks for that truck in the local area. Never found anything close. “
I and finn141414 created some additional questions for RO, which I sent to RO and which she answered today. I will set out each question individually, followed by RO’s corresponding answer. Questions are italicized .
A couple of interesting questions have cropped up on the Reddit discussion about the Red Truck. I hope you might take a few moments to weigh in. On your way to the store, other than the red truck, do you recall whether any other cars or people passed by you?
I do not recall anyone else going by me as I went up the hill to the store. It was never that busy on that road that time of year.
You have noted that you were at Swiftwater when the police drove past the store and to the scene. Do you recall whether the police vehicle was using its lights and sirens as it passed by? Do you recall whether it was a sedan or an SUV?
When I was in the store we heard sirens and saw lights from the police and then the ambulance. I did not notice what cop it was or which car.
You have noted that you continued to visit with Wini until she closed up at 8:00 PM. Was it her habit to close up at 8 on the dot, or was she flexible (sometimes closing up earlier or later)? The night Maura disappeared, do you know whether she closed up at 8 (or alternatively, before or after 8)? Did you stick around after the store closed, (for example while she was closing out), or did you leave when the store closed?
Wini usually closed at 8 and it was common that I would stand there while she did that and walked out with her when she locked up which I did that night. I remember we both noted that she had no other customers that night. The people in the truck did not come in the store. She didn’t even notice they were in the driveway when I walked up. They only pulled in there to see me in the light I believe. Hence why it stuck out to me.
Also it was quite common for Wini and I to talk until 8:30 or later sometimes and I do not recall if that was one of those times.
On your way home, other than the state police officer who you spoke with, do you recall whether any other cars or people passed by you?
On my way home which would have been 8:15 or so no one else passed me except the ambulance which pulled over when they saw me. They were in front of the trooper.
Was the ambulance that you saw travelling with the state police officer? I am a bit unclear on that point.
Not when they went up to the scene but when I was walking home the ambulance was traveling down the road in front of the trooper. They had left the scene and was looking for the driver.
Oh, I see. So they were travelling away from the scene together?
After speaking with police about the red truck, did they follow up? Did they seem interested in the tip? Did they ever show you pictures to try to identify the truck?
I spoke to the police on the phone afterwards (a week later) and only because I called them. They didn’t really ask any questions and I can’t remember who I spoke with. They weren’t interested in what I had to say. But neither was Fred when I told him. He dismissed me quite quickly which never set right with me to be honest.
More responses from questions via fulkstop 2019
I hope you are well. One quick question — prior to me, has anyone ever asked you to look at pictures in an attempt to identify the truck that you saw (or any part of the truck?). Thanks, and God Bless.
— Yes. John Smith.
Besides your additional conversation with the police, have you spoken with any other private detectives or amateur sleuths besides John Smith prior to me?