Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Allen and Patricia Prue Allegedly Stalked, Murdered Melissa Jenkins Together

Just when you think you've heard it's the sick story of Allen Prue and his wife, Patricia.

From ABC News:

Prue told police he wanted to "get a girl" on Sunday night, and after he was confronted with evidence, confessed to the murder, documents stated.
The documents depict a grisly scenario, stating that Prue told police he began to strangle Jenkins after she got out of her car to help him, and that Patricia Prue jumped in and assisted in the strangulation.

Police were able to trace a call made to Jenkins back to a prepaid cell phone purchased by the Prues.

I don't know. Is this the Prues only murder or are they practiced stalkers?

Allen Prue ran a tow truck biz and once plowed Jenkins' drive.

It's at least worth taking a look to see if he was in the Swiftwater/Bath area on the days Maura Murray and Brianna Maitland went missing. We'll see how this plays out.

Kudos to the Vermont police for the quick resolution in this case!

***UPDATED*** BREAKING: Arrest made in Melissa Jenkins case.

Details are scarce, but last night Vermont police arrested Allen and Patricia Prue and the arrests appear to be related to Melissa Jenkins' murder. Police plan to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. 


The Prues have been charged with the murder of Melissa Jenkins. They apparently knew her from plowing her driveway years ago. No motive yet given. Watch the presser here.

There probably is no connection between Melissa Jenkins murder and the disappearance of Maura Murray. The fact that Beagle posted on the Barnet messageboard seems to be yet another strange coincidence for this sick individual.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beagle posted on Barnet, Vermont messageboard before Melissa Jenkins was murdered there.

A young teacher named Melissa Jenkins was abducted on the side of the road in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, two days ago. Her body was discovered yesterday in nearby Barnet.

An astute reader pointed me toward the Barnet, VT "Topix" messageboard. On February 22, a creep using the familiar handle, "Beagle," posted a new topic about Maura Murray's disappearance, a month before Jenkins' body was found there.

Beginning in February, on the anniversary of Maura's disappearance, Beagle posted a series of sick and disturbing videos on YouTube glorifying the event. He also posted a picture of himself in what appears to be a "road crew" outfit. 

Is this another strange coincidence? Or was Beagle familiar with the location where Jenkins' body was found?

The Red Truck

Lots of talk on other boards concerning this rumored "red truck with Massachusetts plates" that was seen near the accident the night of Maura's disappearance. I have been unable to verify this, other than a passing mention in the police logs that night that is not directly connected.

If anyone saw the red truck that night (or knows the name of someone who saw it) please contact me.


Silence from Fred Murray

Long before I learned anything about Fred Murray--other than he was a father who was searching for his daughter--he made it well known that he didn't want a book written about Maura. Immediately, he asked Maura's closest friends to not speak with me. I thought this behavior was quite odd at the time and still do, actually. What father wouldn't want information out there that could help find their missing daughter?

Unfortunately, there has been no direct response from Fred, himself, after emails, letters, and phone calls to his direct line. Which, I suppose, isn't too surprising. I've spoken to a number of other journalists and TV news crews. In the past, he has demanded total control over the content of the program or article and he probably knows he can't get that from me.

Last week, I spoke to his lawyer. I proposed a sit-down in the lawyer's office and an interview on camera, so that there would be no twisting of words or spin of any kind about what he has to say.

It's been a week and I've not heard back.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Is Melissa Jenkins Murder Connected to Maura Murray's disappearance?

Sad story from Vermont tonight. A young mother, Melissa Jenkins, was apparently abducted from the side of the road in St. Johnsbury, VT, yesterday. Her body was reportedly discovered this evening in nearby Barnet, about 20 miles from where Maura Murray was last seen. This case also brings to mind the strange case of Brianna Maitland, who vanished from Montgomery, VT, a month after Maura's disappearance. In each of these cases, the young woman's vehicle was later found abandoned beside the road.

It's tempting to blame one man for all these tragedies, and there are certain commonalities in these crimes. Has a serial killer "reactivated" or are each of these tragedies a sad story of their own?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rest in Peace

There are certain aspects of what I do that I don't particularly enjoy. When delving into a missing persons case--or homicide, as I believe this is--my chief concern is finding the victim and what happened to them. That means ruling out as many scenarios as I can so that the possibilities of what led to the victim's death slowly get parceled down to the truth. A lot of what I do in these cases is put to rest the rumors that muddy the water and keep good leads from being taken seriously. Without help from Maura's friends and family, it is hard to determine what is germane to this search and so I've cast the net very wide.

Which leads me to Heather Rausch's suicide. Obviously, it was something that needed explored, as is apparent by taking the time to read the forums where rumors about this first popped up.

Today, I read Rausch's suicide letter. I won't go into detail other than to say this woman was deeply sad and that she cared for her parents a great deal. The note makes no mention whatsoever of Maura Murray or her disappearance.

I'm always troubled by the idea that those who have already suffered tragedy sometimes seem to be the first to suffer again. The Kennedy family is one example. My sympathies go out to the Rausch's.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Phone Records Conflict With Fred Murray's Version of Events

Sprint provided law enforcement with Fred Murray's cell phone records Feb 20, two days before Fred's signed statement about his recollection of the events of the two days leading up to Maura's disappearance.

In his statement, Fred says he didn't learn of Maura's accident until after she got out of bed in his motel room at 10:30 Sunday morning. But according to this page of the cell reports, someone made three outgoing phone calls from his cell phone at five in the morning that day.

So are we to believe Maura returns to his room after two a.m. Makes phone calls from his cellphone. Sleeps in the bed. And he either doesn't know she's there or is unconcerned with why his daughter came back to his motel room in the middle of the night instead of sleeping in her dorm? Something about this is not adding up.

Police Obtained Fred Murray's Cell Phone Records, Murray Statement Gives New Details on Last Weekend

Records obtained through a public records request reveal some new information about this unsolved disappearance.

I have a lot of questions about the purpose of Fred's trip to UMass that weekend. In earlier interviews, he has said that Maura had a car picked out. As we see here, that doesn't seem to be the case. Again, there's no direct evidence the purpose of Fred's trip was to purchase a car. Even Kate, who was with them that weekend, cannot recall the topic coming up.

According to this statement (which Fred provided on Feb 22) Maura slept in the bed in his hotel room the night of her first accident. Fred didn't formally sit down to be interviewed by homicide detectives for another two years and when he did, he brought two lawyers with him.

It also seems like Fred accompanied Maura and Kate to the liquor store, though it's unclear if this was when/where Maura purchased her liquor that was found in the car after she disappeared. In fact, he changes his statement about this while dictating it.

You will also see cell phone reports obtained by law enforcement from Sprint for Fred Murray's phone. It's very telling that these reports came from Sprint and not Fred, himself. The numbers listed to the side of the call correspond to towers but I have been unable to yet uncover exact locations.

(click to embiggen)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Morrow County withholds information related to suicide that occurred at Rausch residence.

Troubling news from Morrow County, Ohio.

According to neighbors, in April, 2007, Heather Rausch (Billy's adult sister) committed suicide in the Rausch's Marengo residence. A terrible tragedy for a family already suffering loss-- Maura was close to the extended Rausch family and even stayed in the home during the Christmas holiday before she disappeared.

In an attempt to verify details about this tragedy, though, I've received some very odd pushback from local authorities. During a visit to the Morrow County Sheriff's office last week, I was given a report by police in which the scene was described. In the report, the officer mentions that a note had been tucked into her waistband. When I requested further information, including statements and details about the note's contents, I was told the case was still open and the office could not release any information because detectives were still investigating it for possible criminal charges.

This is the first time, as a journalist, that I've ever heard of an "open" suicide investigation.

Before you begin spinning conspiracy theories, my hunch is that I was told the case was "open" so that they would not have to provide the records. I am going through other channels to see if the case is actually being worked on. However, I spoke to Morrow County prosecutor Charles Howland (no fan of the First Amendment) today and was told in no uncertain terms not to expect the records anytime soon.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Details Remain Unproven

Here are a few details about Maura's case that I am still trying to find some kind of evidence to support. As of this moment, I cannot prove these things are true. I cannot find support documentation or unbiased sources to support these clues. If you can help, let me know. I will continue digging.

1. Was Maura's car really unreliable? Did it run on "three cylinders?"
2. Did Fred visit UMass the weekend before her disappearance to look for a new car for Maura?
3. Was Fred Murray working February 9, 2004?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Shadow of Death

In 1993, journalist Philip Ginsburg released a book on the Connecticut River Valley Murders, a series of up to 13 homicides--all stabbings--that occurred near the town of Claremont between 1968 and 1988. The book is titled, The Shadow of Death, and I found a first edition hardcover on Amazon for next to nothing.

The narrative Ginsburg pulls together is great. It's simply one of the best true crime books I've ever read, if not THE best. He takes great care to introduce us to a variety of strange characters, from junk yard creeps to the detectives trying to catch a serial killer.

Over the course of 20 years, police and profiler John Philpin came up with many theories about the predator. Some thought there might be a connection to local hospitals, as three of the murdered women worked in the medical field: Bernice Courtemanche, Ellen Fried, and Barbara Agnew. Agnew's boyfriend at the time distributed X-ray equipment to hospitals.

Of course, they never did catch the killer, though a number of suspects are discussed (Ginsburg uses fake names for them). The murders appeared to end abruptly in 1988, after Jane Boroski managed to escape her attack. She's the one who provided the sketch of the bad guy. It's assumed the serial killer either stopped or moved away.

The cases have appeared in the news again recently. A few years ago, a PI and a reporter tried to make a case for Michael Nicholau, a Vietnam vet with a violent streak who lived in Mass. But for many reasons that doesn't shake out. I also learned that one of the suspects in Ginsburg's book--Paul Oakes--committed suicide just last year as he was about to faces charges for sexual misconduct.

Those close to the case, though, suspect the real serial killer has yet to be named.