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Author Topic: Newspaper Articles  (Read 1144 times)

MauraMurrayEvidence

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Newspaper Articles # 22
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2019, 07:56:57 pm »
Valley News

February 19, 2004

Family Searches for College Student Missing Since Feb. 9

Bob Hookway, Valley News Staff Writer

North Haverhill -- Fred Murray sat in his room at the Wells River Motel yesterday morning and recalled when his 21-year-old daughter, Maura, was a little girl in third grade, and he'd teach her and her friends to play basketball.

“I'd say, ‘Run over there and stop!' and she would. Then I'd say, ‘OK, now run back over here and stop on this mark!' and they all would,” he said, laughing as he remembered the little girls being so eager to do everything just right and learn the game properly.

Murray, a nuclear medical technician from Hanson, Mass., is trim and well groomed. It's easy to see the father of four usually doesn't look anywhere near his 61 years. But that’s not true this week. As the days pass with no word from his daughter -- a University of Massachusetts nursing student who vanished from Route 112 in North Haverhill on the night of Feb. 9 -- Murray is a very worried man. His face shows the strain. He's worried that Maura Murray got into the wrong car after she plowed her black, 1996 Saturn into a snowbank on a sharp curve and apparently decided not to stick around until police showed up to investigate the crash.

He's worried because police are virtually certain that she left the area in a vehicle. Haverhill Police Chief Jeff Williams said Tuesday there were no tracks in the snow around the crash site, and a state police search dog lost Maura Murray's scent quickly.

“It seems likely she got in a car. It could've been a good guy. It could've been a bad guy,” said Fred Murray, who is worried primarily that something bad has happened to his daughter to prevent the normally reliable former West Point cadet from contacting him, her boyfriend, her friends or any of the people she usually keeps in touch with regularly.

Two days before the North Haverhill accident, Maura Murray had smashed up her father's new car in an accident in Hadley, Mass., not far from the University of Massachusetts campus in Amherst where she's a junior.

Fred Murray said yesterday that he and his daughter's boyfriend, Bill Rausch of Marengo, Ohio, as well as her friends and siblings have been trying to figure out if her stress over the first accident would have been enough to cause her to withdraw $280 from her bank account and tell her employers at an art gallery that she'd be away for a week.

“She was upset because of the accident in my car. She felt she had disappointed me, let me down like any kid would. I don't think it was anything serious.”

He said Maura headed for the North Country because it was familiar territory for her.

The family had vacationed for years in the Lincoln, N.H., and Conway, N.H., area, he said, and liked to climb 10,000-foot peaks. Asked if there was one special place she might have headed for, her father said “Yes,” in Bartlett, N.H.

“I've checked. Nobody's been there,” he said.

He and his son, Fred Jr., 33, also of Hanson, Mass., have hit all the campgrounds they could find that their family used over the years. They were all locked down and snowed in.

Maura's boyfriend, Bill Rauch, 23, is an Army lieutenant stationed at Ft. Sill, Okla. He's in another room at the Wells River Motel.

Last night, he dropped in on his parents, Bill and Sharon Rauch of Marengo, Ohio, in their room there, and said he's dreading reporting back for duty some 2,000 miles away if Maura hasn't turned up by the weekend.

“We were just talking about the future the other day,” he said, during one of the regular phone calls he had with Maura.

Though not officially engaged yet, he said it was clear to everyone the couple planned to marry, and he was going to get out of the service so they could start a family.

New Hampshire State Police let family members retrieve Maura's belongings from the Saturn.

Bill Rauch is holding on to her favorite stuffed animal, “Joseph,” a monkey that she had in the car with her.

The Rauches said they're doing their best to remain upbeat and positive.

Sharon Rauch said she thinks often of Elizabeth Smart, the Utah girl who was kidnapped and was missing for months before police found her and brought her home.

“He misses her terribly,” she said of her son. “It's strange, but when I see her picture on the television, it's hard to believe we’re in the middle of this. Is this just a really bad dream, or is it real?” she asked.

Fred Murray and his son returned to the motel last night after spending much of the day combing the snowy woods in the White Mountains National Forest not far from the Haverhill site where Maura was last seen. Her father said he followed boot prints over about a half-mile of rugged terrain before he saw a clear enough print to determine that they had been made by boots larger that his daughter's size 8(e?) shoes.

Murray said his and Rauch's family members had, in the past week, papered the area with posters bearing his daughter's photos, from central Vermont to Fryeburg, Maine. and searched behind miles of roadside snowbanks.

No one could fail to see the “missing person” notices at the Swiftwater Stage Stop, a log-cabin style convenience store not far from the spot where Maura Murray vanished.

Owner Wini Matteson has them posted on her front door and at the checkout counter. She said yesterday that the disappearance has been a major topic of conversation among customers.

“Everybody has an opinion. There just isn't anything concrete. But the more time that goes by, the worse it looks,” she said.

Meanwhile yesterday, a school bus driver, Butch Atwood, whose home is within sight of the crash scene, said he was just about to park his bus on that Monday night at about 8 p.m. when he spotted a car nearly sideways on the road. He rushed down to see if he could help.

“She spun on the curve. She had no lights on, and it was a dark car. I could just about see it. I put my flashlight in the window. She was behind the airbag. All I could see was from her mouth up,” Atwood said yesterday as he stood in his driveway and pointed to the accident spot.

“I yelled in, and she said she was OK. She was shaking, as anyone would be if they'd just been in an accident,” the 57-year-old Atwood said. He described Murray's struggle to squeeze her way out through the driver’s door of the car that he said had sustained considerable front-end damage.

“I told her I was going to run up to the house and call the police. She said, ‘No, no, no, please don't! I already called triple A.' Well, under my breath, I said, that’s a lie. You can’t make a cell call from here,” Atwood said. Cellular reception is poor throughout the area.

Despite the young woman's protests, Atwood said he did summon police, but when he went back outside, she was gone.

“I guess I was the last one to see her. I heard a couple of cars go by when I was on the phone. But I didn't see her get in a car, and I don't know which way she went. We’re all just dumbfounded by this,” Atwood said.

A couple of drivers along Route 112 yesterday afternoon got a surprise when they took a curve then had to hit the brakes quickly as they encountered one tall police chief and two state troopers walking toward them in the roadway.

Williams and Lt. John Scarinza, the Twin Mountain troop commander, plus his second-in-command, Sgt. Tom Yorke, examined the crash scene and the surrounding area once again.

The Haverhill chief declined to say exactly what the three were doing.

But he did say, although there were no new developments yesterday, he was not ready just yet to go along with the fears of family members that Maura Murray has been the victim of foul play.

“If any Good Samaritan picked her up, please call us. If that's all it is, that person hasn't done anything wrong. She’s an adult, and if she wants to be missing, that's fine. We’d just like to know what happened,” Williams said.

 

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