Saturday, December 27, 2014

Maura's Friend Was Uncooperative With Police

I spent some time this week tracking back the source of the comment that one of Maura's friends would not answer questions about what happened to Maura up in New Hampshire because she didn't want her friend to "get in trouble."

This quote has appeared in a few different places, often attributed to Sara Alfieri, as a quote given to a reporter. That is not the case, it appears.

This quote tracks back to a March 2, 2004 article that appeared in the Boston Globe. Here is the passage:

The more details are revealed, the more baffling the case becomes, police acknowledge. Yesterday, [Lt. Robert] 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."

This changes a couple things:

1. The friend may not be Sara Alfieri. In fact, it's much more likely that it was Kate Markopoulos.

2. A month after the disappearance, this friend was acting as if Maura was still alive, somewhere. Her friend is missing. As far as anyone knows she was abducted. But this friend is more worried about getting her in trouble than helping the police. That is not normal behavior.

While Sara Alfieri may not be the friend referenced by Thrasher, she, too apparently has more information about Maura Murray that could be helpful in the investigation. She is terrified of reporters and family spokesperson Helena Dwyer-Murray has said she would only tell the "real story" to Fred Murray.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What The Family's Response to This Sighting Means **UPDATED**

The sighting of Maura Murray (with friends) by the cashier at Butson's is a wild new development, but consider what it says about the way Fred Murray (and the people who run Maura's official websites) conducts the search for his daughter.

This was info Fred had early on. He tried to get the video from the supermarket himself. And this sighting was never shared publicly.

This was info Helena Dwyer-Murray had for a long time. And she never shared it on the Facebook page or official website.

Instead of asking for more people to come forward, they have tried to discredit this cashier by saying the sighting occurred the day after Maura disappeared. This is not true.

The father of a missing woman kept this important tip, which may (at the very least), provide new leads in the cold case, from the public.

And they continue to keep secret the "real story" Maura's friend Sara Alfieri told them about Maura's last weekend.

There is some ulterior motive here.

*** UPDATED ***

Helena has just admitted the sighting occurred the day Maura disappeared:

"I stand corrected. Back in February, I received a message from someone telling me about the other two women in the store and it mentioned (though I somehow missed it) that it had happened on Feb 9. The only reason I can think that I totally forgot and misread this email is that I was in the middle of some rather extreme family issues.
There were two points in the descriptions of the other two that would make me dismiss either Kate or Sara or for that matter Maura's sisters. Based on my answer to that message, I also believe that I thought both Fred and the police had looked into it." 

But she's lying again about the descriptions. We call this a "misinformation campaign" in the newsroom, folks.

Also, should this info be important to the conclusion of any criminal case, what the family has done here is considered "withholding," a felony in most states.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Helena Dwyer-Murray Confirms Sighting, Changes Her Story

Above is a screen grab from the MM Facebook page, today.

On the page, Helena addresses the Butson's sighting, acknowledging that it did occur and the family did know about it. She also confirms that Sara Alfieri told "the real story" to Fred.

But she is now peddling back on what she told me in our original conversation: that Fred asked Sara never to repeat it.

Make of all this what you will.

Fred Murray Knew About Woodsville Sighting and Tried to Get Video Before Police

According to the new witness who came forward this week, saying she saw Maura with two friends at Butson's Supermarket an hour before she disappeared, Fred Murray has known about the sighting from the beginning. And he tried to get the video before the authorities could properly track it down.

I remember **** talking in the break room about Fred on how Fred was demanding camera footage of the store. **** told him there was none. Butson's didn't own cameras at that time. Fred totally flipped out, not sure if Fred was escorted out or left on his own. **** told us if anyone questions us while we were on clock to have them talk to him ****.
While Butson's did not have cameras, the bank branch inside the store did, and one of their cameras captured the aisle Maura and her friends walked down.

Fred took this tip very seriously. So why is it the first time anyone else has heard of it?

I think back to one of the first conversations I had with the woman who runs the Facebook page devoted to Maura's disappearance, Helena Dwyer-Murray. At the time I was trying to find a contact number for Sara Alfieri, one of Maura's friends, who partied with her the weekend before her disappearance. She told me that Sara would never talk to me or any other reporter, that she'd told the real story to Fred and was asked never to repeat it.

True to her word, when I finally did find Sara in Boston, the first thing she said to me was, "How did you find me?" before promptly slamming the door.

Kate Markopoulos, a NY resident, was also close to Maura and has been less than forthcoming about the details of those last few days. Members of the track team at UMass said she disappeared for several days around the time Maura went missing.

The cashier has also provided an important detail about the identity of one of the girls but I'll leave the cold case unit to use that as they will.

** One little fix. Sara did talk to a reporter. Once, shortly after the incident. When pressed for answers, she replied: "I don't want to get my friend in trouble."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cashier Says Women Had Out-of State Licenses

I can share a few more details from the cashier from Butson's in Woodsville who claims she saw Maura with two friends an hour before her disappearance. She personally checked their ID as they purchased alcohol. She says all the women had out-of-state ID. 

They were all out of state. Two were Mass, the third CT or NY. This is why I reported the sighting to the store manager.

I can also verify that the Cold Case Unit has this new lead and are very interested. I find this witness to be highly credible. The Murray family has known about this lead from week 1. More on that soon.

Friday, December 12, 2014

BREAKING: Woodsville resident says Maura was traveling with two women.

About an hour before Maura Murray vanished, she stopped in at Butson's Supermarket in Woodsville (now a Shaw's), with two other women, according to the woman who ran up her purchase.

I was a cashier. That day, I was running late on getting out on time. It was probably 5:45-6 p.m. when I was supposed to have gone off register. My last customers were three attractive ladies. They had picked up some alcoholic drinks, as I recall the blue wine coolers cus that's what I drank. They also picked up smokes. I ID'ed the three of them, and they were all 21-23. My supervisor was helping me to bag up their order.

I hear your skepticism. I was skeptical, too. But her story held up the closer I looked. Here's why:

1. She isn't just remembering this, now. She reported this as soon as she heard Maura went missing because she believed it was her. But she didn't report to police. She reported to her supervisor. The supervisor then told a random cop, who more than likely never filed the report. She has provided the name of the supervisor for verification.

2. She describes the young women who were with Maura in enough detail that she, without prior knowledge, described the person I believe was with Maura that night.

3. She told a member of the Murray family early on. She thought they could verify it by checking the cameras inside Buston's. Fred checked on it, himself, but was told there were no cameras. However, the cashier meant the cameras at the small bank branch inside the store. One of the cams pointed down the aisles.

4. Again, we have Maura purchasing alcohol with friends. This is well-established pattern. And the drinks she purchased are the exact kind of beverages Maura, Kate Markopoulos and Sara Alfieri were drinking that weekend.

She says Woodsville residents saw Maura and friends visit the McDonalds across the street (might there be credit card receipts?) after this. This completes the timeline, putting Maura and company at the scene of the accident right on time. The tandem car then turned around and picked Maura up.

When asked for more details, she goes on to say:

The actions of the three...nothing stands out now. Just one that I say was maura kept nervously looking behind her. The other two just seemed normal shoppers that weren't upset I ided them. At time, I wasn't much older than them. I'm 37 now.

This goes to the cold case unit, now.

It's time for her friends to come forward with the rest of the story.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


I'm still gathering info on this, but it's the best lead I've seen for months, and all but confirms my suspicion that Maura was traveling in tandem with another driver the day she disappeared. The witness is credible and has reason to remember her.

More very soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Did UMass Police Use Maura Murray as Confidential Informant?

UMass police are currently caught up in a unbelievable scandal, according to the Boston Globe. Seems the university cops were in the habit of cutting deals with students they caught doing illegal things, if they would narc on their peers. It all came out when one of their confidential informants (whom they could have helped by notifying therapists and parents) overdosed and died.

At the time Maura disappeared, she had cut a deal with a local judge after UMass police caught her in a credit card fraud sting.

I wonder. Was she providing them with the names of other students involved in identity theft?

Monday, September 29, 2014

An overdue update

A lot of people are wondering about the status of the book and my investigation into Maura's disappearance.

A couple quick updates:

- I've spoken to Lance recently and he's hard at work on the documentary.

- I am actively editing the book with my agent. It will be published in 2015, possibly under a new title.

- There have been some more sightings of Maura (or people who look and act like Maura).

- I have spoken several times with the prosecutor in Hadley, Mass. as Alden Olson continues to threaten my kids.

Hopefully I'll have some solid news soon.

As always, if you have a tip, feel free to send it here:

James Renner

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ed Lanpher Speaks Out

I just got off the phone with retired chemist, Ed Lanpher. His name showed up in documents related to Maura's case as he was the only other person to FOIA Fred's Murray's case against the state of NH before me. I also wondered if he may be the man who calls himself "Pomkik," who has threatened my family.

Happy to report that Ed Lanpher is not Pomkik.

The 90 year old NH resident tells me he was interested in the Murray V. State of NH documents only because the decision in that case might help him gain access to public records in his home town (the judge's decision made public records more accessible.)

Lanpher was quite polite and believes he's anything but enigmatic.

Kevin Race Disappearance Mimics Maura Murray's Case

In 2007, Kevin Race told his girlfriend that he was going hiking and then drove away from her place in Portsmouth, NH. When he didn't return, they found a note he left behind, in which he talked about going to Mount Washington to find his final resting place. On the surface, it looked like a suicide.

But detectives quickly learned that Race was in trouble for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars and may have faced 10 years in prison if convicted.

Volunteers combed the woods. No body was ever found.

The first thing Fred suggested to the police when they called him was that Maura may have gone to the mountains to commit suicide. Only later did we learn she was in trouble for credit card fraud.

Many still believe Race is out there, laying low. Is it possible Maura did the same? Or have two bodies disappeared in the gulleys around Mount Washington? What's the most probable answer?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nate Kibby

Having had a front-row seat for the craziness that was the Amanda Berry/Gina DeJesus/Michelle Knight story, I figured we'd never see such a thing again. And now comes this story of Nate Kibby, who has just been arraigned for kidnapping Abigail Hernandez. Whenever a boogeyman pops up in New Hampshire, everyone wants to know if he could be connected to the disappearance of Maura Murray.

I dunno.

We have yet to hear Abby's story. The way NH prosecutors are playing it, we probably won't know the details for weeks. There's a lot about this, the moves everyone's making (from Abby to the prosecutors to the FBI) that I simply don't understand. Did she know Kibby? Did she know where she was at? How did she return?

He was in Conway, though, which is a straight shot down Rt. 112 from where Maura was last seen, in 2004. Kibby would have been 24 at the time. It's interesting to note that he was in trouble last March for rear-ending a vehicle and then assaulting the driver.

If that's what happened in Maura's case, why didn't she head to a neighbor? Or accept Butch Atwood's ride? Certainly she would not have gone with the man who'd just bumped into her, forcing her off the road. If he put the rag in the tailpipe of her car, again we have to wonder why she would go with him and not Atwood.

I'd like to know where Kibby was in 2004. Where was he living? Where was he working?

If she crossed paths with this guy, Maura had astronomically bad luck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sex and Power

Maura Murray was a troubled young woman. And as I've learned more about her, I've noticed how males in positions of authority around her repeatedly took advantage of her. When she needed help, they asked for sex. Her track coach (not the first time for him, as I've learned). These three upperclassmen who passed her around one night. And there were others.

I believe Maura is alive. I want to believe. I hope she turned the tables on these men and made a clean break and is living somewhere in anonymity.

But if she was murdered, it wouldn't have been some random stranger on the side of the road. It would have been a male she knew with some manner of authority over her.

Lt. Scarinza believes Maura was pregnant when she disappeared. That's a good motive.

If I were law enforcement, I would take another hard look at the men in positions of power around her. Teachers. Doctors. Others more close.

She was often drawn to this type and they never missed the opportunity to take advantage of her.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Possible Explanation for Maura's Last Weekend

Finishing up a new draft of the book, a thought occurred to me that might explain some of the clues in this case.

Is it possible Fred came to Amherst that weekend to move Maura back home?

It would explain a few things: the packed boxes, for one. And the party at Sara Alfieri's. Was it a farewell party. Is that why they won't tell anybody else who was there?

Was the plan to take Maura home to Hanson on Sunday?

But when Maura wrecked her dad's car on the way to his motel, plans changed. They couldn't leave. His car was in a shop. And she needed to pick up accident reports. It made more sense at that time for her to stay another day or two, long enough for Fred to come back and get his car.

It also explains the email to professors. She was done with school but she needed another day or two in the dorms.

What do you think?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Commenter Notices Something About Fred's Interview with Montel Williams

I've watched Fred's interview with Montel Williams a couple times but I never realized how odd this statement from Fred sounds.

Frequent commenter chefsgirl lays it out:

I just read the following lines that Fred Murray said on the show: 
[Fred]: Yes which is uh what frustrates me so much now because that means that when the police got there she was no more than 200 yards down the street, all they had to do was drive down around the corner, they coulda grabbed her and Maura would be here with me now. But they didn’t do that and she is not here with me now 
There are a few things alarming about this to me. The first is he said the Police "could have grabbed her". Interesting choice of words for someone who believed his daughter was in distress and needed help. Why not say they "could have helped her or found her?" Instead he says grabbed, which is an aggressive word used to describe an attempt at reaching something that is fleeing or moving swiftly. Also, he said that "she would be here with me now" . He actually used this twice. It is a very possessive statement. Perhaps not if coupled by a concern also for her well being and wishes, but when stated only by itself, it is very selfish and possessive and testifies to how he views her infraction on him. There is a lot to be said about word choice because our brains and our mouths do not operate at the same speed. And Freud said there are no such things as accidents :)

Clearly, this story from Fred contradicts his theory that she was taken by some dirtbag and implies that she believed she was running away. And it sounds like she was running away from him.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Check out the teaser for the Maura Murray documentary

Lance Reenstierna has put together a cool website and teaser trailer for his upcoming documentary on the people who are fascinated with Maura's disappearance.

If you have info about the case, he is still collecting interviews. His email is on the site.

Maura Murray Documentary Teaser from Lance Reenstierna on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Professional Analyst Says Fred's Statement to Police is Deceptive

I've been communicating with a professional forensic statement analyst for a while about Fred Murray's statement to police about the events leading up to his daughter's disappearance. Since some of this has come to light on other messageboards, I figured I would take the time to share what he discovered.

Peter Hyatt is an expert at finding the hidden subtext behind a person's words. Check out his analysis of a statement related to the Amanda Knox case.

Back in January, we exchanged messages about Fred's official statement to police. Here is what he said:
It is going to take considerable time to dig into it, but something is very wrong.    
Note the dropped pronoun "I" in the first paragraph, and then its appearance later. 
Note that in 29 lines, he takes 25 to introduce his daughter going missing.  The overwhelming number of deceptive statements have lengthy introductions. 
There is something very bothersome about it.   
Do police suspect him?  Is he just a lousy father, or is there more? 
They should suspect him. 
It may be that he is deceptive due to purchasing alcohol, driving under the influence, etc, but the focus of that statement is he, himself, and not his missing daughter. 

At the Quality Inn, he wishes "not" to be there.  Was there anything untoward about their relationship? 

Hyatt shared Fred's statement on a blog devoted to analysis.

Here's what other investigators picked up on:
Missing pronouns.
Pronoun changes from "We" to "I" to "They"
No social introductions.
"Asked" then Told"
"A couple of beers"
Jumps in time.
Yeah missing pronouns all over the place and out of order time line...sounds like 3/4 fabrication and an argiment took place...I told..she told...etc 
Ok.. I have re-read the statement twice and it is truly hard to follow. The "tale" he tells is so out of order that it makes no sense. This is the first I've heard of this case and I think it makes it even more difficult to follow. 
Although, maybe I would be assuming as I read through the statement if I did have some knowledge or background. I'm going to read the other comments now and see if I can piece it together : 
"at first he stated no" ahhh -- is he talking about himself in third person briefly? 
who was driving throughout all of this?? was he having her drive his car? why would he need to ask her to take him back to the hotel if it was his car? 
why does he call his hotel room "the" room instead of his room. is it because he always intended to share it with his daughter? 
why did she have a friend accompany them?? did she not want to be alone wit her father? 
why does he remember to clearly her slumped over walking back to her dorm???? after spending night in his hotel room with him. why did he know so clearly that she was still asleep when he woke up? 
The one thing that really stood out to me from this statement was the sensitivity surrounding drinking and the time he spent with his daughter and her friend. He is precise of about the number of drinks everyone had (says he had 2, which Peter has indicated is the usual number given by those who have had more than 2 (though it would also be given by those who had 2). His uncertainty about going to the liquor store with the girls and when that occurred, suggests possibly he had way more than 2 and forgot, and/or confirms the sensitivity concerning alcohol and his time with his daughter and her friend and a need to be evasive or not forthcoming about it. I also see this to some extent in the statement "that is why I came up that weekend" -- that he feels a need to give a reason why he was visiting his daughter may indicate his intent in going there is questionable (though not necessarily in the context of explaining to the police his reasons for visiting) 
Another thing that jumped out at me is his desire to suggest repeatedly that he wanted to be taken back to the hotel, but the girls wanted to stay/go out. This happens twice in the statement. First when he asks to be taken back to the motel but his daughter had him go pick up her friend and then end up at the restaurant (bar?) and again when he says he asked to be taken back to the motel and he told them it was too late to go out. This looks a little like victim blaming but also just doesn't make sense -- a parent might be talked out of going back to the hotel by his college age daughter, but for this to come up twice to me suggests he's aware that he needs to explain why he's hanging out partying with college girls (going to the restaurant, out then back again, then to the liquor store??? Good grief). 
Missing pronouns. 
**that** is why I came up that weekend
Justifies why he was there. Akin to alibi building.
An astute analyst also noted something that about that interview with Fred on Montel:

Past tense used a few times. One time when he went to say “we were buddies, he stopped and switched to “we’re buddies”. This is at 3:15 in the video if anyone else wants to list to this part.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is Ed Lanpher "Pomkik"?

Yesterday, I told you a bit about a retired chemist from Hampstead, NH, named Ed Lanpher.

Prior to my reporting, he was the only other person to request details about Maura's case via public records requests with the state of New Hampshire.

As some of you know, a popular messageboard related to Maura's disappearance was taken down by a web anarchist known as "Pomkik". Pomkik spammed a Topix board until the mod was forced to delete it altogether. Pomkik has threatened several people who have reported on this case.

Recently, Pomkik posted a photograph of my wife, claiming she was Maura in disguise. Wouldn't that be a twist?

Strange name, Pomkik. Does is mean something?

One reader pointed out that "Pom" is short for a thermoplastic, Polyoxymethylene. Lanpher has a patent on a specific type of polymerized rubber and worked in thermoplastics until he blew up his lab.

"Kik" is the company abbreviation for Kunststoffen Industrie, a plastics company in the Netherlands, founded in 1968.

Given Pomkik's fascination with my family, I assumed it was Alden Olson. Now I'm not so sure.

UPDATE: Ed Lanpher is not Pomkik!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Enigmatic Ed Lanpher

Oh, the interesting characters this mystery attracts...

Here's another one.

Amid the voluminous records I received from the state of New Hampshire concerning Maura Murray, I discovered the only other person to request the records before me was "Ed Lanpher" from New Hampshire. Reader "Sarah H." eventually figured out who he was.

Lanpher is a graduate of MIT, a chemist who worked in organomettalics and has license for storing hazardous waste. His career ended a few years ago when the lab behind his house exploded. He would have died in the blast but had stepped out to use the bathroom.

Here's a couple interesting quotes from his official bio via MIT's website:

As a result, I experimented with most of the easily made explosives, but I never had much luck with black powder, and I never tried nitroglycerin. 
The late Professor Stockmayer (Stocky) while on a trip to France many years later, gave a talk to French chemists and pronounced my name as L’enfer, meaning fire or hell, which I thought was apt.
After destroying my rented gasoline station, I was no longer welcome in Newburyport.  Fortunately, two chemists I knew offered me space in Gloucester where I worked for a few months.  Out of the blue, I got a call from a man in Ipswich whose wife and partner had both died in a double suicide, a double murder, or a murder and suicide, and he promised to erect a good building for me that I could let as soon as his wife’s estate was settled! 

UPDATE: Ed Lanpher speaks!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Do you Reddit?

I'm doing an AMA about the unsolved mysteries I've investigated, Sunday at 2pm at 

Please join us at that time to ask any questions you have about Maura Murray's case.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another Thought Concerning Petrit Vasi

A reader brought up an intriguing idea.

I've never liked the theory that Maura hit Petrit Vasi with her car the night she had the breakdown at work. I just don't see how she could have snuck out and back so quickly, without being seen.

But what if it was a friend who borrowed her car? And that friend hit Vasi.

Was that why they were traveling in tandem into New Hampshire? Was the plan to get rid of or damage Maura's car, and return to Amherst together? Did the accident then change their plan?

It would explain a lot of things, not to mention the amount of alcohol and the interest in lodgings with two bedrooms.

What do you think?

Monday, April 14, 2014

**UPDATED** Coordinates

This got caught in my spam folder for a couple days but someone using a program to obscure their true IP and email address sent me coordinates for a location in the White Mountains.

Depending on how you interpret the info, the coordinates lead to a small section off a hiking path, or half-way up the face of a mountain.

Probably a hoax, but, again, worth checking. Whoever sent this would like us to believe this is where Maura's body is located. So, it's either someone with knowledge of her death or a person with a sick and twisted agenda.

In the future, if you have a tip like this, please provide a photograph for verification.

** Editor's Note: It is still, as the locals say, "Winter in the Whites". Lots of snow left on the mountains. Only experienced hikers should venture there.**

Here's a report from a reader who volunteered to check out the coordinates over the weekend:

Sorry to take so long to get back to you, but the post hike beers won't drink themselves. Here's what I can tell you about the day. 
I enlisted three friends of mine from the Boston area, all of whom are experienced technical climbers, and a close work associate with a decade experience in digital topography. The three grads headed directly for the Sawyer River Road, to make the 7+ mile accent to the top of Carrigain, while my colleague and I headed for the closed Bear Notch Pass, to make a far less technical one and a half mile snowshoe trek to the second possible waypoint. 
The two of us were able to locate the Bear Notch Pass waypoint at about 10:40am and spent nearly two hours in the immediate area investigating any and all possible anomalies. The area is a logging area, and fairly open, but unfortunately we were hampered by the 24 to 36 inches of snow still remaining in the pass. We were able to locate nothing unusual. If there's something there, and it's not three or more feet in the air, it may take several weeks until we can find it with the current amount of snow on the ground. 
The Carrigain team had similar luck. They reached their waypoint at just after 12:30pm, and spent over an hour in the area. They reported snow at that elevation of between 36 and 48 inches, with some drifts even higher. Like us, nothing was evidently visible, and the ground has 100% snow coverage.
Everyone returned to the southern end of Crawford Notch safely by 7pm. 
We voted unanimously over dinner at the Truant Tavern in Woodstock, to come back in a few weeks, ideally with increased numbers, but until the snow melts I'm afraid there isn't much more we can do for you. It may be mid spring in the rest of the country, but the mountains have their own calendar. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Maura Murray Documentary Gains Momentum

These guys are talented filmmakers from greater Boston. I'm not sure what they're doing, exactly, or who all they've spoken to, but I think this is going to be superb.

Follow them on Twitter:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Urgent! Need feet on ground in the White Mountains

I need an experienced hiker who is proficient with GPS and geocaching.

Email me asap:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Sightings Keep Coming

Here's another decent sighting (in my opinion) from a reader:

I live in ChestertownMD.  It’s a very small, rural community. on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  I grew up in a big city so  life in Chestertown is very different for me.  Although my practical sense is telling me the following was “just one of those things”….I was in the local grocery store approximately 8 or 9 weeks ago.  An elderly woman in the check out lane next to mine addressed someone behind me.  I heard her greet this person and ask, “How’s your little girl doing?  She’s 4 right?”  I honestly was bored waiting in line and instinctively turned around as the woman behind me smiled and said, “Yes.  Good.”  I met her gaze and my instant thought was “I am looking at Maura Murray.”   I don’t go looking for missing peoples’ faces in the crowds, mind you.  I am 36 and this woman appeared not much younger than me.  She had very light brown hair and her face appeared to have the same facial structures/smile.  This woman was easily 150-160 lbs.  She wore jeans and a gray zip up hoodie sweatshirt.  The reaction of her eyes made me freeze.  I’m sure everyone one in the world has stared at someone in a grocery store line, etc.  I can only say her eyes looked at me, I don’t even know how to describe it…but, it wasn’t a look of “Ok, weirdo, quit looking at me.”  She nodded a few times to the elderly woman, but did not speak again while I was in earshot, anyway. I stayed partially turned around gazing at items on the end caps while intermittently gazing back at her again.  She only spoke those two words to the elderly woman.  It was too quick for me to detect a heavy Boston accent.  My Dad grew up in CranstonRI and we have family in MA…I’m familiar with that region’s accents.  I had to force myself to turn back around.  I came home and told my husband about it and brushed it off as “just one of those things.”  I have often thought about it since then and wished I would’ve taken a phone pic, with discretion of course, or engaged this woman in conversation.  The reason I chose to tell you of this incident is because I read your latest post about the possibility of Maura having been in Virginia.  Chestertown is a small, private town.  Tons of farmland and generally large property acreage, putting neighbors pretty far apart.  I am a RN x almost 14 years, spending the last 12 years in the E.D.  I simply have this acquired ability to recognize faces even with some physical changes.  Unfortunately, drug users are frequent flyers and will try almost anything to alter their appearance to score narcotic medication.  The point of this being…. I didn’t have to think about it, when I turned around, I thought I was staring at Maura Murray.  I have not seen this woman since.  This most likely is just a clever coincidence, but I haven’t seemed to shake the mental image.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

**UPDATED** Best Sighting Yet!

I was contacted today by a former employee of the Red Rock Casino in Vegas, who believes the young woman known as "Joanna," dealing cards there in late 2005/early 2006 was Maura Murray. I am cautiously optimistic about this sighting for a few reasons. Most importantly, this man who called is not the typically crazy psychic tipster who normally calls in about this sort of thing. But also because of these details:

- she often hiked out at Red Rock park
- she was quiet-spoken (everyone who met Maura uses this exact phrase)
- when she left she talked about possibly "getting back into nursing"

Also, this sighting isn't from some person who saw a look-alike on the street. This is from an older man who worked side-by-side with her for several months.

The number he had for Joanna is now located in Virginia.

Does anyone have more info on Red Rock Casino or this mysterious "Joanna?"

A manager at Red Rock sexually harassed Joanna in front of several witnesses, leading to the manager being fired. Joanna left shortly thereafter.

I don't want to try to connect too many different leads, but the homeless woman in Georgia also talked about being sexually harassed and assaulted by men in her past.

Monday, March 24, 2014

When Did Kate and Sara Know Maura Was Missing?

Maura had made two good friends at UMass: Kate Markopoulos and Sara Alfieri. I'd like to know when they knew Maura was missing.

According to Fred, he didn't know Maura was missing until early evening, Tuesday. Unless Maura spoke to Kate and Sara about her plans, whatever they were, two days have gone by with Maura flying under the radar. Why didn't Kate or Sara start looking for her before Fred? They would have known that Maura had disappeared by then. She wouldn't have been answering her phone or door. Wouldn't her two closest friends wonder where the hell she was?

I can't ever get a straight answer out of Kate. And the only time I have managed to speak to Sara, her only question was "How the hell did you find me?"

Early on, Helena Dwyer, the woman who runs the Facebook group, explained that Sara gave Fred important details about Maura but would not ever tell them to a reporter. I wonder if Sara ever gave those details to investigators.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

What's on that ATM video?

Last month, when the 10th anniversary of Maura's disappearance came around, I asked the authorities to release the ATM footage of Maura taken from the bank in Amherst when she withdrew money right before driving into the North Country. It went up the chain of command. Strelzin declined.

Over the years, there have been rumors about what that footage may show. Some have suggested Maura had a black eye.

It's possible they are keeping it secret because it shows exactly what she was wearing at the time of her disappearance and may be used to identify a body or even a suspect.

But... 10 years, man. After a decade, I'm not sure what it would hurt.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Note to Commenters **UPDATED**

Lately, the tone in the comments section has grown increasingly angry and threatening. I am trying to keep the comments "open". I would like to. And, I don't personally mind when you're critical of me or my writing. That's actually one of the main reasons for this blog. I need the constructive criticism.

However, there will be no "outing" of victims of sex crimes, here. Or posting of suspects without any evidence cited.

If you don't want to be civil in my sandbox, you can play somewhere else.

Well, that didn't work.

I'll be approving all comments for a while. I had to do this back when the blog started, for about four months. Until the vitriol calms down, this is the way it goes.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

***UPDATED! JEAN FOUND ALIVE!*** Claude Moulton Asked to Take Lie Detector Test

Those who have followed Maura's case for years recall the story from the Murray family about the "A-frame house" and the "bloody knife". A man named Larry Moulton came forward after Maura's disappearance, claiming that his brother, Claude, killed her. He gave the Murray family a knife that he said was used in the crime.

Lately, the Moulton brothers theory has reappeared on a number of blogs. I still do not see any evidence that Maura's disappearance was an abduction/murder and so was not too interested in this Claude character. But then an internet sleuth over on Websleuths dug up the story of Jean Caccavaro and I was struck by the resemblance between Maura and Jean.

Caccavaro disappeared in 1977 after she was dropped off at the intersection of Rt. 112 and Rt. 116, just a couple miles east of the site of Maura's accident. In 1978, Claude Moulton married Caccavaro's daughter.

I spoke to a member of Claude's extended family, this weekend. Here's what I learned.

At the time of Maura's disappearance, Claude was living with a woman he met when she was 14 and he was 34. Started sleeping with her at 17. They lived in the A-frame house on Valley Rd. about a mile from where Maura was last seen. He drove truck for Lin-Cor Environmental.

Claude told family members that Larry made up the story about him snatching Maura in order to get reward money. Larry had a history of drug use and was not an altogether likeable guy, himself.

After Larry came forward, Claude was asked to sit for a lie detector test at the Havehill Police Department.

Claude has a long history of domestic violence and a thing for very young women.

Days after Larry talked to detectives, Claude hurriedly scrapped his red volvo car. For his part, Claude tells family he had nothing to do with Maura's disappearance.

Just got off the phone with James Caccavaro. Guess what? Jean is alive and well. She ran away, started a new life, and came back in 1984.

James says Claude "is a good guy. Smart guy." Maura Murray, he says, "was obviously an alcoholic young lady. She ain't dead. No one abducted her. She'll come back one day. That girl, she's a fuckin' ho. A drunken ho. And her father? A fuckin perv. You know what I mean?"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

How You Can Help

This recent sighting in Georgia got me thinking. It could definitely help to post flyers about Maura's disappearance in area homeless shelters across the country. At the very least, it might drum up a few new leads.

If all of us took a little time to post flyers at our local homeless shelter this week, it might go a long way to either finding her, or ruling out the possibility that she's living in one of these camps.

Feel free to use this one.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Homeless Woman Found in Georgia...

It's a long shot but worth a look.

A young homeless woman was found living in a tent in Georgia, off I-75, recently. Follow this link for the full story and more pictures.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

List of Agencies Shows Focus of Investigation

Among the documents given to Fred during his court battles with New Hampshire was a list of agencies that have furnished reports related to the investigation into Maura's disappearance. Here is the list, along with my thoughts on each.

New Hampshire State Police (lead agency)

Haverhill PD (first responders)

NH Fish and Game (helped coordinate ground and air searches)

Exeter, MA PD (this is presumably a typo. there is an Exeter in NH and Maine, but not Mass -- I do not have a theory about why this jurisdiction was contacted)

Oxford County Sheriffs ME (this county borders Quebec)

FBI (contrary to Fred's claims, the FBI have been involved since the beginning)

Grafton County Sheriffs (this is county Haverhill, NH is located in)

Vermont State Police (reasons to contact VSP include links to Brianna Maitland case and/or criminal history on Kathleen Murray)

UMASS PD (investigation of credit fraud, disappearance)

Amherst MA PD (credit fraud)

Hadley MA PD (reports related to accident of Fred's car)

Rochester PD (this is interesting. This is where Kate Markopoulos has been working)

Sullivan County Department of Corrections (no idea)

Can you help me fill in some of these holes?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Who Took the Other Two Lie Detector Tests?

When Fred Murray sued the state of New Hampshire, it was revealed that police had given four lie detector tests related to Maura's disappearance.

I discovered a few weeks ago that Butch Atwood had taken two.

So who took the other two?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chronicle Documentary Gets it Right

Click here to watch the Chronicle Documentary on Maura's disappearance.

Top Commenter on Family Forum is Suspect in Another Murder

The Murray family blocked me from the official Maura Murray Facebook page about a month ago after I corrected some false statements about the case, there. However, they're totally cool giving space to Jim Vittum, who was one of the last people to see Stacey Burns alive.

Since her murder, in Wolfeboro, NH, in 2009, Vittum has been considered a suspect, according to the family.  Burns had just broken up with Vittum and he had been with her the night before her children found her dead.

The logger has had several run-ins with the law since the murder, accused of stalking Burns' children and ex-husband. NH recently denied him a concealed carry permit.

It is becoming quite a circus over there.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Murray Family Threatens Violence After Chronicle Episode Airs

Last night, WCVB's Chronicle devoted a half hour to the disappearance of Maura Murray. I was interviewed on camera for this, sharing reasons Maura had to run away, things like credit card fraud. Some uncomfortable questions were put to Fred, finally.

The extended Murray clan took to Facebook immediately following the airing of the program in the Greater Boston area to hurl insults, which eventually escalated to out-right threats.

From Jerry Thomes:

he should keep his fuckin mouth shut and off of fb. god forbid this idiots son goes missing.

Followed by this, from Maureen Gillis Fantasia:

he dont like it?how does it feel

From Tammy Abbott:

the people who know her know the truth... like you would hopefully know if something happened to your family or someone you know inside and out...

Most relatives simply settled on name calling.

Mike Abbott:

you're nothing but a fame seeking a hole

Vicky Antonowicz

you sick sad fucker !

Matt Casey:

Renner is just a bottom feeder looking to line his pockets by writing a book

Mark Manuel:

has the police looked in to this James Renner Journalist from Akron Ohio?

No wonder Maura wanted to run away.

As soon as the Chronicle episode is posted on YouTube, I'll share it here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Open Question

Fred still insists the reason he came to UMass with $4,000 cash the weekend before Maura vanished was because he was going to buy her a car. Of course, they never did buy the car.

One thing he's never mentioned is what his plans were for the car Maura was driving, which was in his name. Neither he nor Maura had made an effort to put it up for sale. There was no For Sale sign in the window. He couldn't have used it for much of a trade-in, as, in his words it was "running on three cylinders." What was the plan, there, exactly?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Murray Family Shuts Down Messageboard After People Grow Suspicious of Fred

Once upon a time, the official Maura Murray page, run by the family, had its own sanctioned messageboard. It was shut down when the community started to realize that Fred was lying to police and the media. The suspicion is addressed in this post, by "Mason" which appeared on a separate blog that has also been deleted. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, the old post was found earlier today:

According to Google Maps, it's 231 miles from Bridgeport, CT to Haverhill, NH, a three-hour-and fifty-six minute drive. Let's call it four hours.
On January 5, 2006, 23-months after Maura disappeared, Holly Angelo of reported that Lieutenant John Scarinza said, "It is also crystal clear the family's initial impression was she [Maura] was in distress and was maybe considering suicide."
Therefore, despite Fred Murray's denial that he told the police he thought Maura might have driven to New Hampshire to commit suicide, Lieutenant Scarinza knew that wasn't true.
What did Fred Murray think about during his solo four-hour drive to Haverhill?
Put yourself in his situation for a moment.
Would you try to call Maura? Would you take a 15-30 minute detour off I-91 to go to Kennedy Hall at UMass to see if your daughter was there? Would you call campus security and ask them to let you into her room? If you didn't have time to stop, would you ask campus security to check her room to see if she was there? Would you call her friends? Would you call Billy Rausch?
We have no evidence that he did any of these things and I find that incomprehensible and extremely troubling. The police were still trying to identify the young woman the SBD saw behind the wheel of the Saturn. Kathleen had emailed them a photograph of Maura, but the SBD wasn't certain that the steak in the photograph was Maura. Fred Murray's conduct tells us he knew that young woman was Maura.
How did he know that unless he picked her up on Route 112?
He doesn't have an alibi.
He had 36 hours to worry about the possibility that someone saw him pick-up Maura. That's a lot of time to strategize. I think he decided to press the suicide theory at first merely to test the waters while pretending to be distraught. If the cops brushed it aside and confronted him telling him that they had a witness who saw him pick-up Maura, he could admit it and claim that he drove a short distance before he realized she was intoxicated and pulled over and stopped. They argued about her drinking problem (which she denied) and her second accident within 48 hours. He told her enough was enough and ordered her to get out of the car and walk back to the accident to face the music and accept responsibility for her "problem." He watched her walk in that direction and then he drove away. He would have added that she was crying, drunk, and depressed and probably walked off into the woods after he drove away.
Notice that this clever lie allows for the possibility of later claiming, after searchers failed to find her body in the area, that a "dirt-bag" must have intercepted her or offered a ride that she accepted to avoid arrest for DUI. When Fred Murray realized that no one saw him or the vehicle he was driving, he switched immediately to some dirt-bag got her and began insisting to all who would listen that his remarks were taken out of context.
By rejecting suicide, wrapping himself in the cloak of the quintessential suffering distraught father, packaging Maura as the innocent All American steak Next Door With The Perfect Life And Everything To Live For, shamelessly promoting and selling this false image, insisting that everything in the past was irrelevant, planting smokescreens and red herrings aplenty to confuse everyone, and constantly berating the NH cops as incompetent, Fred Murray has almost pulled off the perfect crime.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Maura Ad Appears in Sherbooke, Quebec Newspaper

A full-page ad appears in today's newspaper in Sherbrooke. Another full page ad appears in tomorrow's Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Thank you for all your help. I'm extremely proud of the way we came together as an online community to make this happen. Hopefully these will generate some new leads.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NH Trooper Says Murray Has Lied for Years

From the Trooper's comments about the WMUR vid last night:

I am a retired NH Trooper that was involved in one of the extensive searches for Maura. I don't recall all of the details but I remember the day after a huge search was conducted in the summer of 2004, hearingMr. Murray being interviewed by the news media. Prior to our commencing the search we were briefed, and informed Maura's family had met with the Commanders the previous day and were thoroughly informed ofour planned search. We were told Mr. Murray had offered information hethought useful. The media learned of the search and covered it as it progressed. The day after the search I heard on Boston radio Mr. Murraywas furious he had not been notified a search was being conducted. I was so shocked in hearing his comments on the radio the following morning that I called one of the Commanders at home and reported what I heard, partially out of frustration that approximately 100 Troopers and Conservation Officers had searched aggressively in rugged terrain, for approximately eight hours in ninety degree heat, to try to find out whathappened to his daughter. To remember that day, in such detail, almost ten years later demonstrates it's significance. From that time on I always wondered why a Father would lie about anything concerning the disappearance of his daughter... Read into that as much as you want, but my skin crawled when I watched the segment tonight...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WMUR piece

Just watched the WMUR piece on the 10th anniversary of Maura's disappearance. A couple things worth noting: they reported on Maura's credit card fraud and a few other points that have been swept under the rug before.

They gave Fred a lot of air time. And filmed him, again, looking around fields up there, as if he'd find evidence on snow covered ground he's already searched 10 years later.

Fred said he "initially" told police his daughter must be taken by a dirtbag. Not true. More of Fred's histrionics. The first thing he said to police was that she might have gone up there to kill herself. That's a big red flag because it suggests Fred would know a reason why Maura would want to take her own life. He's been trying to take that back from the beginning.

It ended on an odd note. Fred seemed to address Maura. Or at least the possibility that she had run away and was still living out there. Though, he said, if she were alive, he would expect her to call him. Or her family. Or at least a close friend.

From what I know about Fred Murray, I would never expect her to call him if she were alive.

Whatever happened after that crash, she was running away. From school, from her life, from most of her family (the exception being her kid brother and aunt), but mostly from Fred, himself. It was long overdue, in my opinion.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Revelations of West Point

"What something tragic happens, you don't really want to say anything bad about the person. But everyone has skeletons in the closet."

That's how Megan Sawyer began the conversation.

Megan was one of Maura's friends at West Point, a fellow runner, another young woman trying to hoof it through the military academy's tough regimen. She thinks it's time for people to know a little more about the troubles Maura was having there. Perhaps it can provide a few pieces to the puzzle and move us closer to some resolution.

Megan was standing beside Maura when Maura got busted for stealing makeup from the commissary at Fort Knox during a training trip. Later, Maura confided in her about the ordeal. "It was so stupid," she said. "I only took five dollars worth of stuff."

Maura was quiet, says Megan. "But you could tell there were some inner demons. She seemed sad." She was also "insanely smart." So smart, she says, Maura helped her older sister, Julie with homework.

The daily routine was harsh. Everyone had chores and duties. Most days, you woke up around 4:30 a.m. Clean bathrooms, take out the trash. Every day you had to read the newspaper and you could be quizzed on current events by older cadets. Outside of class (and conditioning for the track team) there was not much extra time.

The dorms, at the time, were co-ed. Two or three women would share a room, next to a room full of men. In such close quarters, Maura's bulimia was well-known. "She had issues with loving herself."

Some of that stress came from Julie, who, Megan says, was "unusually hard on her. Julie would harp on her about studying and running, and then Maura would get down on herself about it."

Some of these things Megan has told police and the Murrays, already. She says that Helena Murray, who runs the Facebook group, told her to keep quiet about it, "Don't say these negative things. Watch what you tell people."

Megan says Maura was not on the hook to reimburse West Point for the schooling she received before transferring to UMass. Cadets sign a contract during their Junior year but if they leave before that, they can do so without penalty.

During her time at West Point, Maura went through basic military training, including survival skills. She could operate a machine gun on top a tank.

Based on what she knows of Maura, Megan believes she had what it takes to start a new life.

"If she wanted to make up another life, she could do it," says Megan. "If she wanted to disappear, she could. She never wanted to look bad in front of people. After she crashed her father's car, and this trouble with the credit cards, I think she probably thought, if I just disappeared, they wouldn't think badly of me. I believe she's alive. It's just a feeling I've always had."

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Who is Alexa Taylor? **UPDATE**

A nurse at Rhode Island Hospital is using a photo of Maura Murray in her Facebook profile.

The account has been active since 2012.

There are no other photos of this woman in her profile.

Is this a cry for help or just a troll?

There is no Alexa Taylor at RI Hospital.

The photo of her dog is fake, too.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New to this Mystery? Here's the Top Ten Most Important Facts This Blog Has Uncovered:

10. Maura was facing charges of credit card fraud.

9. The strange call Billy got on his phone after Maura's disappearance was not Maura.

8. Maura's best friend at college can't recall any details and comes from a dangerous family.

7. Maura visited Goshen, NH shortly before she disappeared.

6. Someone called Maura's cell phone from New Hampshire the day she disappeared.

5. Photos of high school-aged cousins were found inside an adult magazine at Fred's house.

4. Fred lied to police about the events leading up to her disappearance.

3. Fred refused an interview with state police for two years and when he finally sat down with them, he brought two lawyers.

2. The rentals Maura was researching were for more than 1 person.

1. Maura had cheated on Billy with her track coach, and had talked about a plan to disappear.

Boston Magazine Tackles Maura Murray Case

Journalist Bill Jensen contacted me several months ago to go over the finer details of Maura's disappearance. His piece for Boston Magazine, which focuses mostly on internet sleuths and the upcoming 10th anniversary of the case, is out today.

He managed to score an interview with Fred, who gives new explanations for both the rag in the tailpipe and Maura's clean dorm room which differ from both the facts of the case and his previous statements.

Here's an excerpt:

After hearing about numerous accusatory posts on Renner’s blog, Fred refused to cooperate for the book. He believes his daughter was abducted by “a local dirtbag” and rejects the notion that she was running away. “She didn’t have any reason,” Fred says. “She had things going for her. She was going to be a nurse. She was getting a new car—a three-year-old car—the very next Saturday. She was getting married soon. She was getting great marks.” 
The feud between Renner and Murray has become personal.“What I think he’s trying to do is create characters for a screenplay,” Fred says of Renner. 

FYI: Fred is excellent at manipulating timelines and facts. As I've pointed out before, he said he didn't want any book published about his daughter's disappearance. And he made that statement 9 months before I began posting about this case. So the excuse that he didn't cooperate because of this blog doesn't wash.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Maura Murray Documentary Needs Your Help

Lance Reenstierna's upcoming documentary on the mystery of Maura Murray's disappearance is shaping up to be very interesting. I'm not entirely sure what he's up to or who he's interviewed so far but he's got quite a lot of footage in the vault.

Lance says he would still like to interview people who were captivated by Maura's case, the sort of person who checks this blog, daily. If that's you, please contact Lance at this email:

Also, if you knew Maura or had any involvement with searches, etc. feel free to contact him.

Monday, January 20, 2014


We raised over $2,000 in donations!

Thank you so much, everyone. This is enough to buy full-page ads in Mass, NH, and Canada!!

Although we fell short of our goal for Boston-area billboards, I know there are some efforts by the media in that region which will remind people there about Maura's disappearance on the upcoming 10th anniversary.

Lots more to come in the next couple weeks!

You guys rock!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

24 Hours Left to Donate!

The fundraising ends Monday at noon. Please consider a $10 donation, today. A little more will go a long way.

You guys are awesome!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Last Chance to Donate!

If we can raise another $250, we can buy a full-page ad in the Haverhill, NH newspaper!

Thanks to your support, we have already raised enough money to put full-page ads in newspapers in Amherst, Mass and Canada. You guys rock!!

This fundraising effort ends Monday, Jan 20 at noon. Please share the link, today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

6 Days Left to Donate

Some large contributions have come in the last couple days. But we still have a couple hundred to go if we want to run this ad in Canada.

I will close the account on January 20 and mail checks to the newspapers at that time (and will, of course, post invoices here as they come in).

Please share the link on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you to everyone who has donated so far!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Just a few days left!

Just a few days left to contribute to the fundraising campaign.

The good news is we have enough to buy a full-page ad in the largest newspaper in Amherst, Mass.

So what to do with the remainder?

If we raise another $250, we can buy an ad in the Haverhill, NH newspaper.

If we can raise another $700, we can buy a full-page ad in the Sherbrooke, Quebec newspaper.

There will be a large article in a prominent publication in the Boston/Hanson area. More on that soon.

Please consider a $10 donation today and help us reach our new goals!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fundraising Update

Good news!

Thanks to your contributions, we're getting the full-page ad in Amherst.

And if we can raise just another $300 we'll be able to buy a full-pager in the area of New Hampshire where Maura disappeared.

Keep it up! Almost there!

Share the link, please.

Monday, January 6, 2014

**UPDATED** Where should we run the ad?

**UPDATE** Since it is so close, I'm going to keep with Amherst. It's what we planned going into this, what people spent their money on, and honestly I think it will get us the biggest bang for our buck. There may still be people there with info about Maura and this can serve as a gentle reminder to come forward with info. I will check into the cost of running a full-page ad in Quebec City, in the meantime.**

Yesterday, we reached one of our goals in the fundraising campaign to bring awareness to Maura's disappearance and now have enough to purchase a full-page newspaper ad. Originally, I had planned to put this in the daily paper of Amherst, Mass, which serves the community around UMass, where Maura went to school.

Is that the best use of your contributions? Take a minute to answer the poll (found to the left).

We still have a ways to go to reach our next goal, which is to purchase billboards in the Boston area for the 10th anniversary. Please consider a contribution of $10 today.