Missing Monday – Maura Murray

Well hello there, it’s been a while hasn’t it?

It seems like every month I am having to apologise for my lack of content but I’ve really been struggling with staying on top of my blog. But this month I am determined to get back on track, even if that might be hard.

So today is Monday and that means that it’s time for a Missing Monday post.

These are definitely the hardest posts to write and yet they are also the most rewarding. They also tend to be the most popular.

Anyway today I am going to be looking at a case that is very famous and yet still remains unsolved, 13 years later.

This post will look at the disappearance of Maura Murray.

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Who is Maura Murray?

On the 4th of May 1982, Maura Murry was born, she had a sister and her parents later divorced.

She was around 5ft7 and weighed 120 pounds, Maura was very athletic and could be described as an all American girl.

At the time she went missing, Maura was a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Alongside her studies, Maura also worked 2 jobs and was on the dean’s list. She had even manged to find a job in Oklahoma for after her graduation.

At the time she went missing Maura was also in a relationship with William Rausch, a serving army lieutenant. However, it has been suggested that there were ongoing issues in this relationship. There is even speculation that Maura was seeing somebody else.

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To outsiders it looked as if Maura had everything together, however behind the surface things were not as they seemed.

In November 2003 Maura had been in trouble with the law, after using a stolen card to purchase food. However in December 2003 these charges had been dropped.

She was around 5ft7 and weighed 12 pounds, Maura was very athletic and has often been described as an “all American girl”.

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(Image credit)

Her disappearance

On the 9th of February 2004, Maura Murray disappeared from Haverill, New Hampshire, after becoming involved in a one-car accident. The incident took place between 7am and 7.30am on route 112 in the Woodsville area of Haverhill.

A local bus driver witnessed the accident and called the police, despite Maura begging him not to do so. She initially told him that she had already called triple A but the man knew that wasn’t possible due to poor cell service.

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A number of people witnessed the aftermath of the incident and stated that Maura did not appear to be injured and most reported that she was alone. One witness claimed to have seen someone else with her, however this is not supported by anyone else. A number of people said that it was possible she was drunk. This would make sense as it is known that Maura did purchase alcohol in the hours leading up to her disappearance. When the car was found some of this alcohol was there but some of it was missing. There was evidence that she might have been drinking at the time of the accident. This could therefore be the reason she did not want the bus driver to call the police.

Around 10 minutes later the authorities arrived but Maura had already left.

At the scene cops determined that her black Saturn 1996 had failed to navigate a bend and as a result it careered of the road, hitting a tree. The car was badly damaged and Maura would not have been able to drive away.

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The car had been locked and most of Maura’s personal belongings were also left behind, however her phone and cards were missing.

The area was surrounded by dense forest and there had been snow in the days prior to the incident. Yet despite the fact that Maura had obviously left the scene, there was no sign of a struggle and there were no footprints leading away from the car. Police tracker dogs were able to trace her scent for 100 yards along the road, however it then went cold suggesting that perhaps she had got into a vehicle. This theory is also supported by a construction worker who came forward a few months later. In his statement he said that he had seen a young person walking along the road a few miles east of the accident location.

On the 10th of February the police issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) for Maura and attempted to contact her father. He was out of state but Maura’s sister told police that she would inform him. At 5pm that day he contacts the Haverhill police and suggests that if she is not found by the following day, they should start a search.

On the 11th of February at 8am Maura’s father arrived in Haverhill and they start a search.

At the time she went missing Maura was wearing a dark coloured coat and a pair of jeans.

The days leading up to her disappearance

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Most missing person cases are solved by examining the hours leading up to their disappearance and Maura certainly left a lot of clues. However, these have not yet solved the case but they do help paint a picture of what was going on in her life.

A few days before her disappearance – 5th February 2004 – Maura had left her on-campus security job early on the advice of her supervisor. The supervisor told police that Maura had taken a call from her sister  earlier in the evening, during which they had chatted about her sister’s relationship. After this call Maura appeared to be staring in to space, she was upset and “zoned out”. The supervisor suggested that she go home early ash she seemed unable to work. It was out of character and no explanation was given. Maura’s sister can’t pin point anything in the conversation that might have made her feel this way.

The weekend before she went missing, Maura’s father was visiting her as he often did. Many people have raised eyebrows at his version of events and some questions remain over what actually happened.

On the 7th of February Maura dropped her father at a motel, having spent the morning shopping for a new car for Maura. She had plans to go for a party in the evening and asked to take his new car, he agreed. At 3.30am in a separate incident, Maura crashed her father’s car.

Many people have questioned this and wondered why he allowed her to take his car when he knew that she would probably be drinking.

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The police attended the scene and took Maura back to the motel where her father was staying. It is stated online that a call was placed from the hotel phone at 4.49am and that this call was to Maura’s boyfriend. Neither the father or the boyfriend have disclosed the reason for this call and online sources suggest that the father failed to mention it when interviewed.

It has also been reported that three calls were made from her father’s phone at 5am that morning, again the nature of these calls remains a mystery.

In the hours and days leading up to the incident with her car Maura had exhibited behaviours that caused police to question whether she had left of her own accord. In fact, the police found a lot of evidence to suggest that Maura had planned to go away for a few days.

A search of her computer revealed that Maura had been looking at hotels in the Burlington area of Vermont. It was an area that she had hiked previously. She had also placed a call to a condo in New Hampshire.

Lake Champlain Burlington, Vermont.
Lake Champlain Burlington, Vermont.

In the early hours of the morning of her disappearance Maura had emailed her professors and told them that she would be absent for a few days because of a family bereavement. This was a lie and Maura had not had such news. In the emails she stated that she would email them when she returned. Yet despite her email suggesting that she planned to return, investigators found that her dorm room to have been packed up. There was also a letter for William. This led investigators to question if Maura had planned a more permanent departure.

During the hours immediately before she went missing, Maura had also emailed William telling him that she wanted to talk and had withdrawn $280 at a cash machine. After this withdrawal, Maura then visits the liquor store and spent $40.00 on alcohol – Baileys, Kahlua, vodka and a box of red wine. When her car was found the Kahlua was missing, a bottle of diet coke was found near the car that appeared to have had red wine inside and the red wine box had been damaged. Police also noticed red marks on the ceiling above the driver’s seat and the dashboard, it appeared to be splash marks from the red wine. This suggested to police that she might have been drinking when the accident happened.

At 4.37pm Maura called her voicemail, this is the last call that she ever made, her phone was turned off around this time.

Theories

Run away // The evidence from the scene, her computer and activities in the hours leading up to her disappearance, suggest that Maura might have been planning a few days away. Some of suspected that perhaps this was more long-term than was initially thought.

Although it seems unlikely that she intended to disappear forever, it has to be considered that perhaps a short vacation ended up becoming a permanent thing. It is possible that Maura is still out there, happy and living her own life.

Yet despite this Maura has not accessed her bank account since her last withdrawal of $280. This casts doubt on this theory to some extent, as $240 is not a substantial amount to run away with.

The father // Naturally everyone always suspects the people closest to the victim because that is usually the case. Many have raised doubts over the timeline set out by Maura’s father in the days leading up to her disappearance. This was not helped by the fact that Maura’s father refused to talk to homicide police for 2 years after she went missing. When he did talk to them he turned up with 2 solicitors.

The fiancé // Similarly to the father people have suspected William due to the tense nature of their relationship prior to her disappearance. However, police interrogated him and do not believe that he is involved.

Took a lift of someone // It is reasonable to assume that Maura was picked up by someone as she fled the scene of the accident as there is evidence to suggest this. The person giving her a lift might have committed a crime of opportunity or perhaps it is much more innocent and she was dropped off somewhere unknown.

The police do not believe that there is foul play involved as they have no evidence to support this.

Other cases

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Brianna Maitland // In March 2004 Brianna Maitland disappeared from Vermont in alarmingly similar circumstances to Maura. In this case Brianna’s car was found crashed in to the side of an abandoned barn, an incident that police believe was staged. Also similarly to Maura, Brianna was a beautiful young women and she had also left a number of personal belongings in her car. Although the FBI have previously met to discuss this possibility and they were unable to find any connection between the two women. While they have not entirely ruled it out, they do believe that it is unlikely that they are connected.

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