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Author Topic: Newspaper Articles  (Read 3038 times)


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Newspaper Articles # 30
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2019, 08:15:58 pm »

February 20, 2004

Search For Missing Woman Leads To Burlington

UMass Student Last Seen In Woodville, N.H.

Police are expanding their search for a missing woman to the Champlain Valley.

New Hampshire State Police say that before Maura Murray, 21, disappeared a week and a half ago, the missing University of Massachusetts student had been on her computer looking up directions to Burlington.

Murray was last seen in Woodsville, where she was involved in a minor car accident.

Thursday afternoon police scoured the area, as Murray's family kept their fingers crossed that they would come up empty.

"I hope they don't find anything," said Fred Murray, Maura's father. "I want them there, but I hope they're unsuccessful. I appreciate their efforts."

The search turned up nothing, and has been put on hold while investigators look into the map of Burlington found on Murray's computer.

Police say Murray also withdrew $300 from an ATM, and emailed professors saying she had to take a week off to deal with a family problem.


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Newspaper Articles # 31
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2019, 08:18:20 pm »
Boston Globe

February 21, 2004

Map clue spurs search for student in Vermont

By Peter DeMarco

Police are searching the Burlington, Vt., area for missing college student Maura Murray after a review of her personal computer revealed she used the Internet on the day she disappeared to obtain driving directions there.

Fred Murray, the missing woman's father, said University of Massachusetts at Amherst campus police discovered yesterday that the junior nursing student had used Mapquest.com to research directions to Burlington on Feb. 9. Hours later, she crashed her car into a snowbank in Woodsville, N.H., and vanished without a trace.

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 Mountain and Mount Mansfield.

New Hampshire State Police -- who are investigating Murray's disappearance, along with Haverhill, N.H., police and the FBI -- notified authorities in Vermont yesterday to be on the lookout for the slender, 5-foot-7 Hanson, Mass., woman, who was last seen nearly two weeks ago.

"We mentioned to all the officers at roll call to be on the lookout for her," said Lieutenant Scott Davidson of the Burlington police. "We have her picture. The South Burlington police are looking for her, too."

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.

Authorities used helicopters and dogs to search the area where Murray crashed last week and again on Thursday, but have found no indication that she fled into nearby woods or evidence of foul play. Nevertheless, her family and friends say they believe she was kidnapped.

What is clear is that Murray, a conscientious nursing student and former West Point cadet, was deeply troubled by something in the days preceding her disappearance.

On Thursday, Feb. 5, Murray was working at her campus job at a security desk in a UMass-Amherst dormitory when she received a phone call that made her cry, said her father and a high school friend, Andrea Connolly. She was so disturbed by the call that her supervisor had to escort her home.

Two days later, she damaged her father's car in a minor accident. Distraught over her fender-bender, she called her boyfriend, Army Lieutenant Bill Rausch, in tears the next day.

About 24 hours later, on Feb. 9, she lied to a professor and the campus art gallery where she worked, informing them through e-mails that she needed to return to her hometown of Hanson because of a death in the family, officials and family members said.

Murray then withdrew $280 from an ATM, packed all her belongings as if she were moving out, and took off with some of them in her Saturn.

A witness who offered Murray help after she crashed her car told police she appeared to be intoxicated, officials said. An open bottle of alcohol was found in the car, Rausch said.

By the time Haverhill police arrived at the accident scene, Murray, who had asked the witness not to call authorities, was gone.

Fred Murray said he had planned to talk to his daughter that night about filling out a police report in the earlier accident. In her car was a blank accident form from the Amherst police.

"I'm convinced she was going to call me Monday night and was going to make out the form," he said. "If she wasn't going to do it, why go to the Amherst police and get the form? That makes me think she was unable to make the call. That's why I think she's been physically harmed and is in danger."

New Hampshire officials, respectful of her family's concerns, caution that Murray may have simply gone away for a few days without informing anyone.

"I totally appreciate the family's frustration in not knowing where she is or what has happened," Scarinza said. "But it's also true that she was apparently leaving Massachusetts without telling her family or friends or her boyfriend. That indicates to me that perhaps she wanted to get away on her own."

Murray's family has offered a reward for information and has created a website, www.spbowers.com/mauramissing.html.


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Newspaper Articles # 32
« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2019, 08:20:42 pm »
The Patriot Ledger

February 21, 2004

‘I want to talk to the last one to see her': Missing student's mother heads to N.H. to join search

By Joe McGee

HANSON - The mother of missing college student Maura Murray of Hanson was planning to travel to New Hampshire this weekend to question witnesses in Haverhill, where her daughter disappeared Feb. 9.

‘‘I want to talk to people on my own, face to face. It's my mother's intuition,'' Lauri Murray said Friday.

Authorities Friday expanded their search into western Vermont after learning Murray looked up directions to the Burlington area before disappearing.

Though police said they are not sure where the Vermont lead may take them, they are exploring all avenues in what has become a stagnant investigation. Police were unaware of anyone Maura knew in Vermont.

Vermont State Police and Burlington police were canvassing motels in Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester and Shelburne, hoping to find clues.

Murray was last seen on Wild Ammonoosuc Road on Route 112 in Haverhill, where she crashed her car into a snowbank.

It was thought she may have wandered into nearby woods, but search and rescue efforts were officially called off Friday.

New Hampshire State Police Lt. John Scarinza said police now believe Murray got a ride from the accident scene. There was no evidence, however, to suggest there was a struggle.

‘‘From that point on, it's destination unknown,'' Scarinza said.

Nobody is able to determine why Murray, a junior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was in New Hampshire.

She left campus with some money, and had sent an E-mail saying she would be away to take care of unspecified family business.

Police said they found evidence that Murray was drinking inside her car. A witness said she appeared drunk, refused help and left the scene on her own.

But none of those clues make sense to those who know Murray. They said she is an overachieving student and athlete, and had no personal problems to the best of anyone's knowledge.

Lauri Murray has not left her home since Feb. 9. She said her emotions have changed from feeling sad and depressed, to the point that she is angry and wants to investigate her daughter's disappearance on her own.

‘‘I want to talk to the last one to see her. All the information we got was that she was walking up that road and just disappeared. Nobody just disappears like that, and as far as being picked up or that she ran away, I'm getting angry. She would not do this and she would've contacted someone. We're pushing 10 days now and somebody out there knows something,'' she said.

Lauri Murray said Pat Wilson and Lee Meehan, two of her co-workers at Samuel Marcus Nursing & Retirement Home in Weymouth, are arranging to take time off to drive her to New Hampshire. Murray is recovering from a broken ankle.

Lauri Murray's daughter Julie, an Army officer at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is taking emergency leave and is expected to arrive on Sunday to help in the search.

Leave is up for Maura Murray's boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch of Oklahoma, who is heading back to his military post. Maura Murray's father Frederick and her brothers and sisters are still handing out fliers in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Lauri Murray said she plans on doing all she can to help find her daughter.

‘‘I can't sit here and just be in the dark. I know everybody is doing the best they can but I need to be up there,'' she said.

Joe McGee may be reached at jmcgee@ledger.com


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Newspaper Articles # 33
« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2019, 08:24:19 pm »
New Hampshire Union Leader

February 21, 2004

Search for missing Mass. woman expands to Vt.

By David Tirrell-Wysocki

Authorities expanded their search for a missing Massachusetts woman to western Vermont this week after learning she looked up directions to the Burlington area before disappearing in New Hampshire last week.

Officials know of no one Maura Murray, 21, of Hanson, Mass., might know in the Burlington area, New Hampshire State Police Lt. John Scarinza said. He said for several days police have been checking motels and hotels in several Vermont communities, with no luck.

"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.

Murray was last seen after a minor accident in northern New Hampshire on Feb. 9.

Searches, including a renewed search Thursday with dogs and a helicopter, turned up no sign that the woman wandered into the snow-covered woods.

Scarinza said police believe Murray got a ride from the accident scene.

"From that point on, it's destination unknown," he said.

Family members believe she would contact them if she could, so they believe she either is being held against her will or has been harmed.

But Scarinza said searchers found no sign of a struggle at the scene or any other evidence that she has been harmed.

"I totally appreciate the family's frustration in not knowing where she is or what has happened," he said. "But it's also true that she was apparently leaving Massachusetts without telling her family or friends or her boyfriend."


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Newspaper Articles # 34
« Reply #34 on: December 10, 2019, 08:27:04 pm »
The Caledonian-Record

February 21, 2004

Search For Missing Woman Extended To Vermont Nothing Turned Up

By Gary E. Lindsley

The search for a missing 21-year-old Massachusetts woman has shifted in a different direction, at least for the moment.

New Hampshire State Police Troop F Commander Lt. John Scarinza said a search of Maura Murray's computer in her dorm room at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst revealed the missing woman had searched for directions to Burlington, Vt.

Law enforcement authorities, as well as family members and friends, scoured the Burlington, Shelburne, East Burlington and Colchester areas Friday, a day after New Hampshire State Police and New Hampshire Fish and Game suspended a one-day air and ground search in the Haverhill, N.H. area.

Murray, who is a nursing student at UMass at Amherst, left the university Feb. 9 and headed toward New Hampshire in a black 1996 Saturn.

About a mile east of Swiftwater on Route 112, Murray failed to negotiate a sharp left-hand curve and her Saturn went off the right side of the highway, striking a strand of trees.

Butch Atwood, who lives just up the road from the site, offered her help. She refused. However, he went to his house to call police and EMS.

When Haverhill police arrived about seven to nine minutes later, Murray was no where to be found.

Scarinza said police detectives with the UMass campus police department searched Murray's computer and learned she had used the Mapquest Web site to search for directions to Burlington, the day before she had her accident in Haverhill.

"We have contacted Vermont State Police and Burlington police," he said. "They have canvassed all of the hotels. She also had looked at hotel (Web) sites."

Scarinza said color photos of Murray have been distributed in the Burlington area, as well as in Colchester, Shelburne and East Burlington.

"No one has seen her," he said.

Scarinza speculated Murray had searched for directions to Burlington because she and her father, Fred, had been to the area and had hiked Mt. Mansfield and Camel's Hump.

Murray said he and his daughter had hiked Mt. Mansfield and Camel's Hump on Columbus Day weekend and had had a great time.

"She loved it," he said. "Especially the area downtown where you can walk."

The search in Vermont comes a day after police conducted and suspended a combined air and ground search for Murray, the second such search since she disappeared Feb. 9.

Although three dog search teams did not come up with any hits Thursday, a canine team did hit on Murray's scent when a search was conducted Feb. 11.

Scarinza said a canine tracked Murray for about 100 yards east of where Murray's car went off the road.

He said the trail ended in the general area of Atwood's residence.

Because the trail came to an end, Scarinza believes it is an indication she left the area in a car.

"It's very frustrating," he said, referring to the lack of any information coming in about where Murray can be.

Scarinza said UMass campus police have been interviewing people, including professors and students, since Murray left the university for unknown reasons. She'd e-mailed her professors telling them she would be away for a week because of a family emergency.

"It has become pretty clear, she hasn't told anyone she was leaving," he said. "In reality, she had planned to go (to Burlington)."

However, Murray was headed in an entirely different direction, toward Lincoln, N.H., when she had her crash. She was familiar with the New Hampshire White Mountains as well.

Anyone who has seen Murray is asked to contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333 or 603-271-1170. People also can call the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.


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Newspaper Articles # 35
« Reply #35 on: December 10, 2019, 08:29:26 pm »
The Caledonian-Record

February 21, 2004

Family, Friends Not Giving Up Efforts

Seeking Outside Help

By Gary E. Lindsley

Family and friends of Maura Murray have been in the area of the crash site conducting massive foot searches for Maura Murray since Feb. 11.

Friday, their attention turned to Vermont where they distributed more fliers to hotels and police agencies in Burlington.

Sharon Rausch and her husband, Bill, have been helping Fred Murray search for his daughter since Feb. 11.

So has the Rausch's son, Billie, who is Murray's fiance-to-be and a second lieutenant with C Battery, 119th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

They have been going non-stop in their search for Murray, including walking trails and roads, distributing fliers and knocking on doors in the area of the accident.

Family members and friends are at times upset about the lack of information or difference in information obtained by police investigators and what they have been able to glean from knocking on doors and asking questions.

Last week, they were told by investigators it was believed Murray had headed toward the Rausch's home in Marengo, Ohio, because she was having family trouble.

Sharon Rausch said although she didn't believe that, she had one of her children, who had stayed behind, put notes on the door for Murray and left the home unlocked.

However, Murray has not turned up in Ohio. Nor have signs of her surfaced in Vermont. And the only hint of a sign of her in New Hampshire was Feb. 11 when a canine tracked her scent from her car to about 100 yards east of the accident site, in the area of the Butch Atwood residence.

The 5-feet, 7-inch-tall brunette, who weighs about 120 pounds and has blue eyes, reportedly e-mailed her employer she would be gone for a week and took about $280 from her checking account.

Family members have said it was not like Murray to just up and leave the campus without telling anyone.

Rausch said a dorm mate saw her leave the campus about 4 or 4:30 p.m. Feb 9. She said Murray's father and her son went through Maura's stuff again and found an index card with the Mapquest directions for Burlington, Vt.

Rausch said the Saturn was having mechanical problems, possibly only running on three cylinders, when Murray set out for Burlington. She said, possibly, because the car was running poorly, she decided to leave Interstate 91 and pick up Route 302 and head toward the Lincoln area.

And Rausch discounts any thoughts Murray would have just walked away from her family, boyfriend and friends because she loved them too much.

She and Fred Murray said Maura wouldn't have picked up insurance forms for her father to fill out if she had not planned to return home.

"I hope we can get more help...in Vermont," Murray's father said. "We need to look elsewhere. I will take all the help I can get from anywhere."

Family members and friends are hoping the FBI will take a more thorough and active role in the search for Murray since three states are involved.


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Newspaper Articles # 36
« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2019, 08:31:48 pm »
Lowell Sun / The New Hampshire Union Leader / Foster's Sunday Citizen / Nashua Telegraph

Wednesday, February 22, 2004

Notes: The Nashua Telegraph ends where indicated below. Foster's Sunday Citizen has additional text in italics, below.

Dad of missing Mass. woman now suspects foul play

Father of missing woman frustrated with search

By Kate McCann

Associated Press Writer

CONCORD, N.H. — The father of a missing Massachusetts woman said he wants police to start treating the search like a criminal investigation.

Since 21-year-old Maura Murray vanished after a car accident in northern New Hampshire two weeks ago, police have repeatedly said they do not suspect foul play.

Searchers found no signs of struggle at the scene, and it appears Murray was planning a getaway. She lied to professors about a death in the family, and said she would be gone from class for the week and then packed her belongings as if she was moving out.

New Hampshire investigators have been working with Massachusetts law enforcement, including campus police at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where Murray is a nursing student.

Police said it appears she was leaving Massachusetts without telling anyone and wanted to get away on her own, and she may not know about the search if she’s not in New England.

But her family is starting to suspect otherwise. Her father, Frederick Murray, believes his daughter was given a ride from a person who won’t come forward since he helped her leave the scene of an accident, or a person who gave her a ride and then abducted her.

“To take a break or start a new life, she would need money,” Murray said in a telephone interview. “She hasn’t used her ATM card, she hasn’t used her cell phone, she hasn’t spent a dime.”

Searches, including a renewed search Thursday with dogs and a helicopter in northern New Hampshire, turned up no sign that the woman wandered into the snow-covered woods.

Police called off the ground search in that area. Frederick Murray said he is afraid the search is slowly grinding to a halt.

“We should think of it in term s of a criminal investigation,” Murray said. “It sounds like it would be the key to expanding it. Let’s grab the bull by the horns and call it foul play.”

Vermont state police, Burlington police and other local agencies were combing area motels yesterday, after a check of Murray’s computer found she had looked up directions to Burlington the day she disappeared.

----------------------------------------------------------End Nashua Telegraph---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Police and family members are also trying to gauge the significance of a phone call that reduced Murray to tears while working her campus job at UMass-Amherst on Feb. 5. She was so disturbed by the call her supervisor had to take her home.

Police are also investigating a message on Maura’s phone from a friend she talked to the day before she disappeared.

Authorities said Murray withdrew $280 from an ATM on Feb. 9. Around 7 o’clock that evening she crashed her car into a snow bank several miles from the Vermont border.

A witness, who told police Murray appeared intoxicated but uninjured, called authorities against Murray’s wishes. By the time emergency workers arrived, Murray had gone, leaving most of her belongings in the car.

Maura’s father and his 33-year-old son were searching along the Kancamagus highway in northern New Hampshire on Saturday, where the family goes camping every summer.

"Time’s running out. Somebody must have seen something, somewhere," Fredrick Murray said. "One tip from anybody, you could be the person who saves this girl’s life." An award fund for any information about Murray is now more than $20,000.

Sharon Rausch, the mother of Maura’s boyfriend, said Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has donated an undisclosed amount to the fund. Rausch said the coach met Maura at Madison Square Garden over the holidays. Krzyzewski’s daughter is friends with Maura and her boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch.


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Newspaper Articles # 37
« Reply #37 on: December 10, 2019, 08:34:10 pm »
Journal Opinion

February 25, 2004

(Not an article, but a copy of the missing person flier)

Page 18



Maura Murray

Age: 21

height : 5' 7" weight 120lbs.

curley brown shoulder length hair

Last seen wearing jeans & dark coat

Click to see picture with flier

Contact Haverhill Police Dept.



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Newspaper Articles # 38
« Reply #38 on: December 10, 2019, 08:36:32 pm »
Boston Globe

February 27, 2004

Footprints in the snow

By Brian McGrory

Haverhill, N.H. -- They say the hardest thing that any parent can ever be called upon to do is bury their child.

But standing amid the glorious scenery of the White Mountains this week, where an uneven layer of snow coated the meadows like vanilla frosting on a homemade cake, I had to think there might be something even worse. And Fred Murray is living it right now.

Murray is from the South Shore. His daughter, Maura, a 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, vanished into the thin air of the northern New Hampshire wilderness this month. She had a minor car accident along a pitch black stretch of rural road on Feb. 9, and in the 10 minutes it took police to respond, she was gone.

Her cellphone hasn't been used since. Her credit cards haven't registered any purchases. She left most of her clothing in a suitcase in the back of the disabled car. And her father, her sister, her brothers, her friends have no idea what they're supposed to do now.

Immediately, they descended upon this hamlet en masse. They scrambled through the dense woods nearby. They drove a hundred miles in every direction, tacking fliers to telephone polls and bulletin boards of local stores. They stopped at bus stations in hopes that someone might have seen something. "I followed footsteps through the snow," Fred Murray said this week. When he saw a set of prints, he took off after them.

This much is known: At UMass, Maura received a call on the evening of Feb. 5 that reduced her to tears. A couple of days later, she told professors she'd be gone for a week for a family emergency. On Feb. 9, she left her boyfriend of three years, an army lieutenant in Oklahoma, an e-mail and voice mail in which she indicated nothing wrong, packed her car, and headed north.

The next time she was seen was in this tiny valley town, by Butch Atwood, a 58-year-old local school bus driver who passed her car as it sat in the snowbank. He said he stopped and asked if she needed help. She declined. He drove the 100 yards to his house and called the police. When they arrived, she was gone.

Authorities sent a heat-seeking helicopter along the treetops as recently as yesterday. They used dogs to try to trace her steps away from the accident scene. They dispatched cadaver-sniffing canines into the forest, all to no avail.

Eventually, life continues, bills need to be paid, and last weekend Fred Murray had to get back home. "The worst part was driving home alone," he said. "Then I stopped in her room at UMass, and that was pretty awful."

The two were uncommonly tight since she was a young girl. Both avid runners, they trained together. They hiked regularly in New Hampshire. "I was looking for some hint that she might have left for me, something that I'd understand that would say goodbye," he said of her room search. "But there wasn't anything."

"We weren't strangers; we were very close. I can't see her not saying goodbye to me. That's why I suspect foul play."

Her father acknowledges that she was fleeing school for reasons that he said are still unclear. He also believes that once she crashed, only two scenarios remain: She was picked up on the road by someone who wanted to help her or by someone who hurt her. If it was the former, they would have already come forward to let authorities know where she went.

Butch Atwood, the last witness to see her, has been questioned several times by police. Worried that he should have helped more, he told me outside his cabin this week, "I have some sleepless nights now."

If Maura Murray is alive and well, she ought to know that hearts are broken. She should know that no mistake is insurmountable. People forgive. Time and attention heal feelings and wounds.

These days, when Fred Murray's phone rings, he jumps. Minutes drag like hours. Shady psychics and gumshoes keep offering help. "I just want to get my little girl back," he said.

Hopefully, there's a happy ending. It's just tough to see it now.

Brian McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at mcgrory@globe.com.


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Newspaper Articles # 39
« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2019, 08:38:54 pm »
The Caledonian-Record

February 27, 2004

Seeking Outside Help

Family, Friends of Maura Murray Upset With Investigation

By Gary E. Lindsley

HAVERHILL, NEW HAMPSHIRE - Family and friends of 21-year-old Maura Murray believe someone picked up the University of Massachusetts at Amherst nursing student after she was involved in a one-car accident in Haverhill, N.H., Feb. 9.

They have hired an outside investigator to find out what happened to her.

It has been more than 2-1/2 weeks since Murray's car failed to negotiate a sharp curve near The Weathered Barn on Route 112 and crashed into a stand of trees about one mile east of Swiftwater.

"With all the attention from the media, if a good person had picked her up, he would have come forward," said Sharon Rausch, mother of Bill Rausch, Murray's boyfriend. "It leads us to believe a bad guy picked her up."

"I just wish they would treat this as a criminal investigation. If they treated it as such, the FBI could become more involved."

The "they" she is referring to is New Hampshire State Police Troop F and the Haverhill Police Department.

Rausch said her son Bill, Murray's father, Fred, and Murray's siblings, Freddy, Kathleen and Julie, are all frustrated with the lack of leads and the apparent belief by law officials that Murray's disappearance is nothing more than a person not wanting anyone to know where she is.

They believe Murray would have fought anyone trying to abduct her.

Family members and friends are also frustrated with conflicting information in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Murray, who is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 120 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes, was last seen on the UMass campus between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9.

Packed Up Her Dorm Room

UMass Police Department Detective Brian Davies said Murray had packed up all her belongings in her dorm room and appeared to be moving out and not returning.

Murray also had notified her professors she was going to be gone for a week because of a family emergency.

A search of Murray's computer by UMass detectives turned up evidence she had conducted a Mapquest search on the Internet for directions to Burlington, Vt.

Murray may had been having trouble with her black 1996 Saturn.

Rausch said she understood the vehicle was not running on all of its cylinders. Believing that, Murray may have left Interstate 91 and exited onto Route 302. She then picked up Route 112 and was headed east when her accident occurred.

She reportedly is familiar with the White Mountains region because of family camping trips.

Accident Scene

After Murray's accident, Butch Atwood said he was returning from taking students skiing when he spotted Murray's car half in the road and half off the road without its flashers on at about 7:30 p.m.

Others near the scene said the car's emergency flashers were on.

Atwood, who drives a First Student school bus, stopped his school bus by the Saturn to see if he could help. Murray was still in her car.

Atwood said she looked to be about 20 and had dark hair.

"I saw no blood," he said. "She was cold and she was shivering. I told her I was going to call the police."

Murray, according to Atwood, told him not to because she had already called AAA.

Atwood said he invited the woman to wait at his house, nearby, but she declined. He said he then went home to call 911.

After about seven to nine minutes, he looked out and saw a Haverhill police cruiser by the Saturn. A short time later, Haverhill Police Department officer, Sgt. Cecil Smith, notified Atwood that when he arrived at the crash scene, Murray was no longer with her car. Between the time Atwood had left Murray and her vehicle to call for help and the time Smith arrived, Murray had vanished.

State police arrived and checked the woods in the immediate area to see if Murray had gone into the forest. There weren't any tracks.

Atwood said Murray didn't appear to be intoxicated, despite police having said a witness indicated she had appeared to be impaired due to alcohol.

He lamented the fact Murray had not accepted his offer for help. He noted school bus drivers have to go through extensive background checks.

Police Delay Search And Press Release

Family members and friends are upset because police did not issue a press release seeking people's help in locating Murray until two days after the accident.

They also are upset because a thorough search of the area wasn't conducted until two days after the accident.

On Feb. 11, a canine team tracked Murray from the crash site east for about 100 yards.

Troop F Commander Lt. John Scarinza this week said investigators are still treating Murray's disappearance as a missing person investigation.

Scarinza says there is absolutely no evidence foul play has been involved, and that people living in the area of the accident scene have been interviewed several times.

A search of nearby homes by a canine team as well as forensics experts would require a search warrant. And a search warrant would require probable cause.

Rausch said family members were told by at least one person living near the accident site a man was seen in Maura's car after the accident.

Scarinza said investigators are using all the tools they have available to them to locate Murray.

Rausch said despite the appearance of Murray's dorm room, she and family members don't believe that's the case.

She said Murray, on the day of the accident, had picked up insurance forms related to an accident she'd had on Feb. 7. Murray was going to call her father the night of Feb. 9 to have him help her fill out the insurance forms.

Those forms, according to Rausch, were found in Murray's car along with school books, clothing and expensive jewelry.

The insurance forms and school books indicated to Rausch that Murray was going to return to Massachusetts and the university and was planning to study while she was away.

Family members and friends also are upset with no information coming from someone who placed a calling card call to Bill Rausch's cell phone as he was waiting to fly out of Oklahoma Feb. 11 to come search for his girlfriend.

Calling Card Call

Bill Rausch said he heard what he believed to be whimpering and crying.

However, Scarinza said that angle has been eliminated because investigators traced the calling card to the American Red Cross officials who had been attempting to contact Bill Rausch.

There also is the mysterious phone call Murray received while working as a security person at a residence hall at the UMass Amherst campus Feb. 5.

The call reportedly reduced Murray to tears and her supervisor had to take her home because she was so distraught.

UMass Detective Davies said his department has been able to track the phone call.

"We know the location," Davies said. "We have not been able to identify to whom she was speaking. Her friends have no idea who called her."

Sharon Rausch said, "It's obvious to us something has happened to distress her."

She said Murray had called Bill Feb. 8 and was crying because of the previous Saturday accident, though he didn't feel that was it.

"He told her on a scale of 1 to 10, it was only a 3 or 4," she said. "He had to talk to her a long time to calm her down. We are convinced something happened at school and her Amherst friends know."

Rausch speculated that what happened at the college has nothing to do with what happened to Murray after the accident on Route 112 in New Hampshire.

Because family and friends have been frustrated with the way the investigation has been carried out, they have brought in a private investigator to help them find Murray.

R.C. Stevens of PSII Inc., a Northampton, Mass., private investigation agency, is digging into what has happened.

A retired state trooper of 22 years, Stevens' firm handles high profile cases.

"Hopefully, we are going to do something soon," he said.

Murray's family and friends have started a pledge for reward fund. Rausch said donations aren't being accepted. However, pledges for a reward are, in the event information is provided which leads to Murray's return.

People can make pledges to the fund by sending an e-mail to mauramissing@hotmail.com.

Rausch said Duke University Blue Devils basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and his family have pledged an unspecified amount of money to the reward fund.

Krzyzewski met Murray and Bill Rausch around Thanksgiving time and provided them with basketball tickets during the Christmas holiday basketball tourney.

Anyone who has seen Murray is asked to contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333 or 603-271-1170. People also can call the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.


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Newspaper Articles # 40
« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2019, 08:41:17 pm »
The Caldedonian-Record

Saturday February 28, 2004

Relatives May Have Found A Clue

By Gary E. Lindsley

Haverhill, New Hampshire -- Relatives of Maura Murray have found what may be a clue in her disappearance.

Kathleen Murray found a pair of white, women's underwear lying on the snow near French Pond Road in Haverhill, Thursday.

Murray said she does not know if they are connected to the disappearance of her sister, who has not been seen since the night of her car accident on Route 112, about a mile east of Swiftwater.

Maura was driving a black 1996 Saturn Feb. 9 when her car failed to negotiate a sharp, left curve past The Weathered Barn and went off the road. Maura is a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Kathleen and her brother, Freddy, have been scouring the area around the accident site every day.

"I have been making my way down (toward the French Pond Road area)," Kathleen said. "We have been tracking through quite a bit of snow."

She turned the underwear over to Haverhill Police and said it will be about two weeks before DNA results come back.

"Hopefully, they will turn out not to be hers," Kathleen said. "Maybe it was just teenagers having fun. The area is pretty secluded."

Kathleen does not believe Maura has just taken off and doesn't want to be found.

"I know my sister," she said. "We were really close. If she were in trouble, she would have called me. I am extremely worried."

Kathleen is hoping to hold some type of fund-raiser to help boost the pledge reward fund established to help find Maura. It currently stands at about $30,000. Family and friends have sought the assistance of a private investigator.

R.C. Stevens of PSII Inc., a Northampton, Mass., private investigation agency, is looking into the disappearance.

Anyone who has seen Maura or may have information, is asked to contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333 or 603-271-1170; or the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.

She is 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighs about 120 pounds, has brown hair and blue eyes, and was last seen wearing a dark coat and jeans.


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Newspaper Articles # 41
« Reply #41 on: December 10, 2019, 08:43:39 pm »
The Patriot Ledger

February 28, 2004

A family waits and wonders: What happened to Maura?

Joe McGee

WELLS RIVER, Vt. - Kathleen Murray scatters the belongings on a motel room floor like pieces of a puzzle. The bag of stuff is what her sister, Maura Murray of Hanson, left behind when she was last seen Feb. 9 in Woodsville, N.H. - clothes, CDs, makeup and a copy of Not Without Peril," journalist Nicholas Howe's story about people who died hiking New Hampshire's Presidential Mountain Range.

For Kathleen Murray, the book is unnerving because it talks about the rural region of northern New Hampshire where Murray was last seen.

My father gave it to her. I don't know what it could mean," the Hanover resident said.

The conditions couldn't have been worse for 21-year-old Murray when she disappeared. It was dark and freezing on the stretch of Route 112 that runs along the Wild Ammonoosuc River near the Vermont border. Police believe Murray was on her own. Nobody knew she left the campus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she was a junior studying nursing.

Then she crashed. The only roadside help was a 350-pound man named Butch Atwood, an imposing figure whose presence wouldn't be that welcoming to a young woman in the dead of the night, according to his wife.

Murray's family has lived in a nearby motel ever since, trying to piece together the mystery of her disappearance. After two weeks, there are few good leads. All they have are the bag of items she didn't take with her, wherever she went.

I know she was up here on her own will, but something altered her plans along the way and it could've been foul play. Nothing else makes sense," said Fred Murray of Hanson, Maura's brother.

The scene of the accident in the Woodsville section of Haverhill, N.H., is at a sharp bend of Route 112, which is marked by an old red barn that at one time was a gift shop for summer travelers visiting the White Mountains. Police believe Murray left UMass that afternoon, possibly upset over cracking up her father's car days earlier, or for some other reason nobody knows about.

It's not certain if she was going west on Route 112 toward Vermont, or east into New Hampshire, but the car went off the road into some brush at about 7 p.m.

The accident couldn't have been that bad. One little nick on a tree is all that marks the scene other than the missing" posters family and friends stapled up. Damage to the Saturn sedan was minimal, but Murray's head cracked the windshield. The front of the car was pushed in.

Bus driver Butch Atwood was coming around the bend in his school bus after dropping off a group of skiers who had been in North Conway for the day. He stopped, offered Murray help, and kept going when she said she had called AAA. Atwood parked the bus at his home, about 100 yards up Route 112, walked inside and told his wife Barbara what happened.

Another neighbor called police, who arrived within minutes. They found the bag, some bottles of alcohol, and that was it. Maura Murray was gone.

Police searched the area for days but there were no obvious clues. There were no footprints and a bloodhound lost a scent on the road near the Atwoods house. Ever since, Fred and Kathleen Murray and other family members have been staying at a motel in Wells River, a town just over the border from New Hampshire.

Police are treating the disappearance as a missing persons case, and a stagnant one at that. The only significant lead turned up in Burlington, Vt., but it went nowhere. Authorities said Murray had downloaded Internet directions to Burlington. Fred and Kathleen Murray say they're growing frustrated but won't give up.

The chapter of Howe's book titled "A Question of Life or Death" is book-marked with a Hallmark card and a photograph of Maura's brother Kurtis in a Little League uniform. Kathleen Murray got emotional looking it.

"We have to find something just to get this going again. We need every lead followed up," she said.

For the family, trying to find the clue that will escalate the search is literally like trying to find a needle in a haystack in such an open, rural area. Every morning Murray family members search snowmobile trails, snowy fields, general stores and frozen ponds to look for footprints, and people to talk to. They're looking for anything.

It's all anyone's talking about these days around the area, and everybody has a theory.

"Without fail, everybody who comes in here asks, "Have they found her yet?' One kid came in telling me, "They found her in Berlin (N.H.).' I would've known that if they did," said Bill Matteson, owner of Swiftwater Stagestop, a general store on Route 112, close to the accident scene.

"Many people who live in this part of the state are immigrants" from Massachusetts, who came here to get away from stuff like this," said Jeannette Wrigley, a Dorchester native and manager of the McDonald's in Haverhill.

"Personally, I think somebody picked her up," Wrigley said.

Butch and Barbara Atwood are from Raynham and Taunton, respectively. They consider Haverhill much safer than where they grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts.

"I might be afraid if I saw Butch. He's 350 pounds and has this mustache," Barbara Atwood said.

But she said there would have been no reason for Murray to fear anyone in an area where people know and look out for each other.

Said ice fisherman R.O. Richards of Lisbon, N.H., in his ice shanty on French Pond in Haverhill, "We have some thieves that might steal the teeth off a billy goat, but maybe that's it."

Matteson said people know not to mess with each other" in this part of rural New Hampshire. Nearly everyone has a gun, he said. Matteson said he thinks that Murray walked away on her own, and got lost in the woods. It has happened before, according to locals.

An armed society is a safe society, that's why we have no crime," Matteson said.

In my opinion, it's a numbers game. On a Monday at 7 at night, maybe three cars went by here, at best. What are the odds that one is a predator?" he said.

Locals are conditioned to deal with the weather, but wandering off could be fatal for a tourist. This week it was considered mild, even though the temperatures were below freezing and even colder with fierce winds. Without a good jacket and supplies good luck," log cabin builder Mark Hesseltine said.

Not if you're not from around here, no way you're going to survive," Hesseltine said.

New Hampshire State Police and FBI agents in Massachusetts are now focusing on Murray's reason for leaving school. Nobody is thinking harder about Murray's state of mind than her sister Kathleen, one of her closest confidantes. The Saturday before Murray left school, she and her father, Frederick Murray of Weymouth, were shopping for a new car in Amherst because her Saturn was running on three cylinders.

It is also known that Murray got a phone call the Thursday before she left that disturbed her to the point that she needed to be escorted to her dormitory room by a supervisor. Friends in Amherst told the family they don't know what the call was about. Her father didn't think she seemed upset that weekend.

Looking at her sister's personal effects, Kathleen Murray wondered what went wrong.

She always told me everything. At school she had a few friends, but the people she was closest to was her boyfriend, or me, or my sister Julie. We would've known," Kathleen Murray said.


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Newspaper Articles # 42
« Reply #42 on: December 10, 2019, 08:46:01 pm »
Boston Herald

March 2, 2004

Page 16

Missing woman's sister finds underwear near crash site

By Marie Szaniszlo

The sister of a University of Massachusetts nursing student who vanished three weeks ago after crashing her car on a New Hampshire road discovered a pair of women's underwear a few miles from the crash scene.

Kathleen Murray found the white panties lying on the snow Thursday near Fresh Pond Road in Haverhill, N.H. The spot was about four miles from the spot where her sister Maura skidded into a snowbank on Route 112, Sharon Rausch, the mother of the missing woman's boyfriend, said yesterday. Kathleen Murray turned the clothing over to Haverhill police for DNA testing.

Her sister, a 21-year-old former West Point cadet who transferred to UMass-Amherst, packed her room and e-mailed university staff Feb. 9 that she would be out for a week. As an excuse, she said there had been a death in her family.

Haverhill police waited 36 hours after the crash to begin a full-scale search, and waited more than a week to ask for the FBI's help on a limited basis. Frustrated by the delays in the investigation, the Hanson family has begun consulting with a private detective.


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Newspaper Articles # 43
« Reply #43 on: December 10, 2019, 08:48:23 pm »
The New Hampshire Union Leader / Boston Globe / Nashua Telegraph

March 2, 2004

Investigator joins search for woman

A private investigator is assisting in the search for a missing Massachusetts woman who was last seen three weeks ago following a minor car crash in northern New Hampshire. R. C. Stevens of PSII Inc., a Northampton, Mass., private investigation agency, is helping to look into the disappearance of 21-year-old Maura Murray, who was last seen the night of Feb. 9. It appears that Murray, a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was planning a getaway. She lied to professors about a death in the family, said she would be gone from class for the week, then packed her belongings as if she were moving out. Her family and friends believe she was given a ride and want police to treat her disappearance as a criminal investigation.


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Newspaper Articles # 44
« Reply #44 on: December 10, 2019, 08:50:45 pm »
Boston Globe

March 2, 2004

Where could Maura be?

By Brian McGrory

The mystery continues to deepen around Maura Murray, the nursing student who vanished in New Hampshire three weeks ago after she slammed her car into some trees on a dark, rural road.

Investigators have determined the origin of an unusual telephone call that Murray received a few nights before she fled the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The conversation upset her so much that she had to be escorted from her job to her dorm room.

The call, according to UMass police Lieutenant Robert Thrasher, came from one of Murray's two sisters. But Thrasher said police have yet to receive an explanation of what was so upsetting.

Yesterday, Fred Murray, the girls' father, said he was told that Maura's sister called her to talk about a "monstrous" fight with a boyfriend. "But I don't think that would upset her all that much," Murray said.

The more details are revealed, the more baffling the case becomes, police acknowledge. Yesterday, Thrasher said that Maura had fastidiously packed all her belongings into boxes before she left school, even removing the art from her dorm room walls. Meanwhile, one UMass friend has seemingly withheld information from police, saying she didn't want to get Maura "in trouble."

UMass investigators, who have interviewed dozens of potential witnesses and combed through Murray's computer, shared an in-depth time line that preceded the disappearance. Murray received the call on Thursday evening, Feb. 5. On Saturday, Feb. 7, Maura and a girlfriend had dinner with Fred Murray, who was visiting Amherst. Afterward, the father returned to his hotel, and the two young women attended a campus party.

At 3:30 a.m. Feb. 8, Maura crashed her father's new Toyota into a roadside post. She told her father about the accident later that morning. Just after midnight on Monday morning, Feb. 9, she conducted a Map Quest search of the Berkshires and Burlington, Vt., on her personal computer.

At 3:40 p.m. Monday, she withdrew $280 from an area ATM, then stopped at a liquor store. Surveillance cameras at the bank machine and in the store show that she was alone.

Maura was next seen at 7 p.m. in the White Mountains hamlet of Haverhill, N.H., an area where she had hiked and camped with her father. School bus driver Butch Atwood came across her car in an embankment, he said, and stopped to ask if she needed help.

When she declined, he drove the 100 yards to his cabin and summoned police. By the time authorities arrived seven to 10 minutes later, she was gone. Her bank card, credit cards, and cellphone have been dormant since.

Authorities are exploring four scenarios, all of which they say contain flaws.

Least likely is that she committed suicide. She left no note. Her grades were excellent. Her medical records showed no issues, and her relationships appeared sound. One investigator characterized her ongoing e-mail exchange with her boyfriend, an Army lieutenant in Oklahoma, as "sappy."

Second unlikeliest is that, intoxicated, she ventured into the woods and was overcome by the elements. But dogs couldn't trace her scent, there were no footprints in the fresh snow, and helicopters equipped with heat-seeking devices were no help.

Third is that in the brief window of time, she was picked up by someone who abducted or killed her. But authorities believe the odds of a violent criminal coincidentally coming across her on the rural road are as remote as the location itself.

Fourth is that she was picked up by a passerby, taken to a bus station, and fled the area, possibly with little idea of the anguish she has left behind.

This may have started innocently, with a confused young woman needing a break from the pressures of student life. But it isn't ending well. Maura, if you're alive, if you're able, come home.

And if she's not, there's someone, somewhere who has some idea of what happened that night.
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