Sunday, December 29, 2013

Maura Was Thinking of Disappearing for Months

Here's something I think we forget when reviewing the facts of this case: Maura was talking about disappearing for months before she vanished. During her affair with her track coach, she sometimes talked about running away and starting a new life somewhere.

Also worth noting, she never once mentioned having a father, the whole time the two were involved.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Could Maura Have Used an Underground Railroad?

A fascinating possibility has emerged from a conversation I've had with a woman via email who has helped a number of women successfully disappear in America. This woman, a practicing social worker, believes Maura may have used a little-known battered-women's organization to aide her in her disappearance.

One outfit is the House of Ruth. And here's how it has worked in similar cases:

They can and will provide women with completely new identities, complete with drivers licenses, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, and credit cards. They provide resources, financial and otherwise, to help these women flee. 
They are also more secretive than the CIA. not all of what they do is 100% legal. Its a huge network of people worldwide that assist with whatever is needed when called upon. I can attest that these organizations are very good at what they do and aside from witness protection (which looks sloppy and careless compared to some DV organizations), this is a surefire way to disappear with little to no resources and no street sense, neither of which Maura seemed to possess. 
However, its extremely difficult to fool true victims of horrible domestic abuse. MM would have to be an excellent actress or a legit victim to fool these people. Escapes such as mauras would've been expensive and risky. They don't do that for just anyone. 
Anyway, this theory has been with me since the beginning when i learned certain facts about the case. The ssn snafu is what made me write you. 
It could be nothing, but having little knowledge of these underground organizations, certain things stick out. 
If this is what happened, you have a better chance of finding the holy grail. Tight lipped is an understatement. I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned on the blogs, forums, etc. But at the same time, not all that surprised. People involved with these types of organizations have a lot to lose and keep better secrets than the pentagon. I don't know how you could explore this further but certain things are leading me to believe this a really viable theory. Maura simply wasn't smart enough to vanish on her own. It also explains Fred's and the family's reaction. 
Food for thought. 
I'd also like to point out that we very rarely know each other. I might get a call from my contact, who got a call from hers, to provide temporary shelter, off the books, for a victim and her children. They will stay with me until I get a call to either give her a ride somewhere or put her on a train, bus, etc.

But how could she get by without using her social security number?

Hypothetical: I let them "borrow" mine. Good credit history, clean background, etc. Then, when they're where they're going, a new identity is set up and mine is returned to me. 
There is more than one group. For instance, I might get the call to pick someone up anywhere from .GA to VA. It could be another group that contacted MY contact because we are in that area of the country and my skill set is needed. 
It really is like an underground railroad. A network. And I would happily serve time in jail before giving anyone up. I would and do go to drastic measures to protect them. I'm telling you this for a variety of reasons. I think if Maura did this, she took advantage and lied and took resources from women who were severely abused.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

How You Can Help

So far, we've raised a little over $500. Not a bad start, but we have a ways to go.

Please consider a $10 donation today to push us closer to our goal.

Other ways to help:

- posting the link on your personal Facebook page
- emailing friends/family

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


We're gathering about 1% toward our goal per day, which isn't bad, but I'd like to do a little better after the holiday. Please share the donation link with your friends/family.

In other news, I have been banned from the Maura Murray Facebook page. If you're just tuning in, this is the first time in history, the family of a missing woman has turned down the offer for a fundraising campaign to help find them, as well as further publicity for the case.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let's Get This Started

The fundraising effort for the billboards on the 10th anniversary of Maura's disappearance begins, today.

CBS Outdoor is offering a great price on digital billboards in the Boston area. And the Amherst daily paper is giving us a great deal on a full-page ad.

I'm still working on NH, Canada, and Ireland. Will update soon.

Click the link to find out more (and to donate!) Every single penny (minus the 5% charged by GoFundMe) will go directly to billboards and ads asking for information about Maura's disappearance. If we exceed out goal, more billboards can be purchased. Whatever is left will go to flyers.

We're off to a great start! Please share the link!

NH Police Chief Was Sexual Predator, Avoids Prosecution

The former police chief of New London, NH, David Seastrand, resigned in April 2013, after a young Colby-Sawyer student came forward, claiming he said he'd drop her underage drinking charge if she'd pose nude for him.

Shortly thereafter, several other young women stepped forward with similar tales. One claims that Seastrand coerced her into having sex with him, the other says he got rid of a parking ticket for her after she posed in lingerie.

Last week, the NH AG decided not to file criminal charges.

This predator was on the force for 27 years. He gets to keep his nice retirement package.

New London is quite a drive from where Maura went missing (78 miles). But I thought it was worth mentioning. Of course, the Haverhill Police Chief had his own demons.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Interview with David Whalen

I heard from David Whalen earlier today and he wanted to clear up a couple things.

It seems that you came across a picture of me in college (that I believe was provided by one of Maura's family members/friends for a documentary that aired years ago) and built a narrative about my potential involvement with Maura. Reading the posts/comments from strangers that speculate about my life based on ONE photo makes me nauseous. 
One of of your recent posts states I was "often playing playing at Rockingham Park and Seabrooke Race Track, which are very close to Londonderry, NH" in 2004. Not only was I a full time college student and not yet a poker player in 2004, but a visit to the Seabrook Poker Room website tells me that both rooms didn't even exist until 2006. 

I was a friend of Maura's in high school/college. We weren't particularly close, but we did share some friends in common. This is the beginning and end of any useful information I can provide. 

The Tweets were just his dark sense of humor, he says. No harm there.

And the photo?

That was taken around the time of the New Years Eve party in Goshen, New Hampshire, about five weeks  a year before Maura disappeared. The place was owned by a relative of Maura's friend, Andrea Connolly. David says he doesn't remember any other guys being there that weekend.

It was a relatively uneventful weekend from a long ago, so there's not much that comes to mind.

Thank you to Sam Ledyard for the leads that made this interview happen. Go check out his Maura Murray blog.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Age Progression

Contributor Joan Sullivan has created this very decent age progression of what Maura might look like, 10 years later.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10th Anniversary Billboards

The plan is to put up 5-10 billboards featuring Maura's info along with information on how to contact NH authorities about the case.

- Where would you like these billboards located?

- Does anyone have connections to Clearchannel or other billboard companies?

Final Thoughts on This Week **UPDATED**

What a clustercuss, as Mr. Fox would say.

That being said, I would probably do everything the same if faced with such a situation again.

Like it or not, the era of privacy is over. And, personally, I don't agree with the fear-driven need for absolute privacy, anyway. Never have. That's why I knocked on J.D. Salinger's door a few years ago.

We live during a time when reporting is being supplemented by citizens. The Boston bombings showed how these stories will work in the future. These cases can and will be solved via Reddit or personal blogs or other websites that can serve as lightning rods for specific stories.

In journalism, we have this thing called the Writer's Den. It's where reporters can come together and shoot theories off each other, using each other's wisdom, combining their intellect to suss out a story. All that has happened is that Writer's Den has moved from inside the newsroom to the public forum. Instead of being fearful or angry about this, we should learn to accept it. Accept the fallibility of it. It's a way to get at information. In the end, the account in the newspaper, or the book, should still be held to high standards but don't be fearful of public discourse.

I believe we acted appropriately. We had a lead in a 10-year-old cold case that has few leads. A woman was connected by Maura's social security number. Her friend looked shockingly like Maura. When we asked about the similarities, this friend chose to act fearful instead of simply responding, "Hey, my name is Jane Smith, I'm not Maura, silly." I sent the lead to police. No member of law enforcement said, "Hey, dude, take it down." Everyone saw the weird similarities between Maura and this woman. When she shut down her Facebook profile and her husband put up threatening pictures, I realized we had reached a point where authorities should figure out what was going on and if anyone was in danger. I called the Hanson police. Spoke to a nice Sgt. there who decided to get a definitive answer at 2 in the morning. He called me back with the answer: it wasn't her. And he thanked me before he ended the call. Also, we never revealed her name.

I believe in this kind of journalism. Love it or hate it, it gets results (this blog was viewed 14,000 times in one day last week--many more people have learned about Maura's case because of it.) So I will defend this method of reporting, vigorously. And loudly.

 I just received a call from a man who identified himself as a father of the woman's family. He said he worked many years to make sure his family's identities were never revealed. He called me at home and threatened my children. I don't know what to make of it other than to say, no matter how bizarre these people act, the woman in question is NOT Maura Murray. There are weirdos everywhere.

Friday, December 13, 2013

More on that Quebec City sighting.

Here's a little more from the nice woman who believes she saw Maura in her record store last week:

Just let you know that the girl we have seen here in QC look like the pictures of Maura Murray but older of course! She looks like around 34... Like I said in another email. It's someone who looks like the girl but older. That's it. And I do not look for something back or visibility or anything like that. I don't care about that. I just wanted to do my citizen job. And the girl we saw her dit not have at all the look of your [strange picture woman]... NO link. The girl here was muchhhhhh look like the picture but older. Just that. 
Good luck. If I see her, I'll talk to her. You know, in QC city, in town where we live, I know a LOT of people, so I can say she's not from here.  And it is not a BIG city in that neiberhood. Anyway. :) We do not have cameras here... it is a little shop and very convivial place. I Know almost all of my clientele. 
Bye bye. :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What a Waste of Time **UPDATED AGAIN**

Here's what happened with the Maura look-alike photograph that surfaced this week and eventually led back to Hanson:

Concerned that things were escalating, I called the Hanson, PD last night to look into it. They spoke to the woman and her husband. The woman in the photograph is not Maura.

What could have ended after one simple returned phone call or email, instead resulted in getting a lot of peoples' hopes up.

I don't know that we'll ever know why Maura's SS number was mixed up with these folks, but it doesn't appear related to her disappearance.

Consider this a dead end and move on.

Thank you for your help and for listening to me when I asked you not to identify the woman in the photos. I'm proud of the way we came together. Another let down but maybe closer to the real answer...

Yes, I'm as mystified by all the weird coincidences with this lead: the social, the similarities, the reaction, etc. But the police have said it's not her. NH police have the info if they want to pursue it any further. Let's trust them.

Feel free to discuss, but I will delete any comment that contains personal info such as location or name.

Be nice.

And also, thank you for the kind words. I don't know what I could have done differently, but we all make mistakes and sometimes what looks like good info, really exciting info, just doesn't pan out.

**UPDATE 2**
I was just shown proof-positive evidence that the woman in the pictures, though strikingly similar, is not Maura Murray. It's not her. Sorry. Don't post names. The mystery isn't here. I know it's disappointing, but move on.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sighting in Quebec City **UPDATED**

We're starting to get some follow-up info on our trip across the border. Seems there was a very good sighting in Quebec City. Not sure if this is related to the photograph below but I'm going to post everything as it comes in (at least the stuff I can verify).

During our time in Quebec City, we stopped at a record store. I heard back from the manager, today. Here's what she said:

My french is not very good. 
You went her last sunday at a record store. You let me the picture... but after you have leave, i search for other pictures on the net and the ressemblance was big. I saw (if its her) on monday 2 decembre. She asked for live music. 
One of my friend was with me on that monday. I show him the pictures on the internet and he also vas on the choc of the similitudes. He speachs english: he speaks with that girl. She was on bicycle (bike) in snow. sportive girl. 
I did not want to communicate with you at that time because you did not identify. But i talk with the police. He talked wiht NH police and i thought you too beacause the police told me he gave you my number phone.

In fact, she asked for live music on monday here in Quebec. We (friend and I) told her that here, in qc, there is nothing on monday and tell her for thursay ou friday. She said she will not be there...she really want  it MONDAY.  And on saturday, i see her in bike on another street. Alone, in the snow with her bike. I notice it because she told us she would not be there and that clash me. 
She is REALLY look like the picture. We both (friend and I) have a great visual memory. She enters the record store slowly.. watching. She was discreet. We wanted to give her a map with the name of venue of artist and she refused telling she was ok. She told us that here, in QC, people do not know there town, not like another places (that supposed she travels). She speaks at " I" and not "WE". She has a suit for winter, but cheap  one, not a big "sportive". One colour suit. I know a lottt of people here so that I notice her on the street the saturday.  She did not have make up. If you have a video of her tallking and moving, we could more be "sure" if it was her. 
She stay around 15 minutes in the shop talking (english). She acts a little weird. She had a little "backpack" (dont know the word). My friend talk about music and how the city was "made" (streets)... She did not wanted to go to big show. Juste some little. 
You have some pictures on the net that are SOOOOO similar. I would never have contact police or you if my friend and I do not have a big suspicious. We were not knowing anything before you both came here sunday pm. The face was familiar to me. Juste 1 min after your left I was on the net because the face remember something to me. Really expressive with her eyes. Speaks slowly, prononciating each word really good (i could even understand some things). 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Posse

So, meet Josh, Lance, and Tim. They're filming a documentary about Maura's case and are along on this journey across Quebec with me.

As far as updates, I'm starting to get responses from my flyers. There have been credible sightings in Sherbrooke. I'll be passing that info to the police, soon.

We visited Montreal and Beauharnois today.

Quebec City tomorrow. Unless we hear from her before then.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Oh, Canada!

I am in Canada with a small group of investigators. We are handing out flyers tonight.

More soon.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Have Hope

I found a new word some weeks ago. Eucatastrophe. It was coined by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's that turn near the end of a dark tale where everything is set to right. I'd like to think we're there with this mystery. And, for the moment, I will hope I am right.

Anyway, this tale needs a little hope. And a little more adventure.

I'm getting on a plane and traveling to parts unknown to prove that Maura Murray is still alive.

And I'm on a literary bent, so let me leave you with this quote from Tolkein, on the nature of hope:

"But the 'consolation' of fairy-tales has another aspect than the imaginative satisfaction of ancient desires. Far more important is the Consolation of the Happy Ending. Almost I would venture to assert that all complete fairy-stories must have it. At least I would say that Tragedy is the true form of Drama, its highest function; but the opposite is true of Fairy-story. Since we do not appear to possess a word that expresses this opposite — I will call it Eucatastrophe. The eucatastrophic tale is the true form of fairy-tale, and its highest function.

The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous “turn” (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially 'escapist', nor 'fugitive'. In its fairy-tale—or otherworld—setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of 
dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.

It is the mark of a good fairy-story, of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the “turn” comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Maura as a Blonde

A few people have sent me their best attempts at age-progression photos. Here's one that shows what Maura may look like with blonde hair and glasses.

Keep em coming.

***UPDATED***So How, Exactly, Is Martha Nagle Related to Maura?

Last week, I told you about Martha Nagle, aka Martha Vivar, who did clinicals with Maura at UMass. When I contacted her to get some background on her trips to the hospitals with Maura, she said she didn't want to comment because she was related to Maura. When I asked her how that was possible, she said it was by marriage, then stopped replying.

As I see it, this leaves only a few possibilities. Either one of Martha's siblings married into the Murray family, her husband's siblings married into the Murray family, or... Maura married into Martha's family.

I can find no link between Martha and the Murrays. And the fact that someone in her clinicals ended up related to her is improbable. Though, not impossible.

I guess there is another possibility. That she's lying. Can anyone find a link, here?

Not lying, exactly, but the connection is quite tenuous.

Martha is related to Patty Nagle, who is the sister of Carol Dwyer, who is related to Helena Dwyer Murray, who married into the Murray family.

I think I'm more closely related to Jeremy Renner than she is to Maura Murray.

Still no comment from Martha as to whether or not she is the author of the messageboard post that first mentioned Maura alive and well in Canada.

(Thanks everyone for your help!)