Friday, October 30, 2015

CNN Profile

CNN has an article and video today about my work using social media to prompt new clues in cold cases, and focusses primarily on the Amy Mihaljevic mystery.

Renner is one of a growing cult of sleuths who see potential in the Internet to solve cold cases. The term "crowdsourced" gets kicked around, but Renner calls is "open sourcing" because his investigations combine a mix of approaches - shoe leather journalism, Web searches, long conversation threads - that he puts out for the world to see.

Check out the full article, here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New 'Missing Maura Murray' podcast is up.

The podcast continues.

This week, Lance and Tim interview New Hampshire resident, John Smith, who claims to have the inside scoop.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You Can Now Pre-Order True Crime Addict

All your questions will be answered May 24, 2016.

Pre-order a copy of True Crime Addict, the definitive book on the Maura Murray disappearance, today.

Welcome, New Visitors

This frustrating mystery has gotten renewed attention, lately, thanks to the new podcast, Missing Maura Murray.

If you're new to the case, you may want to check out the extensive police records and documents I have gathered over the years. There's also a cast of characters. And a list of new info uncovered since this blog began.

I am taking some time off from regularly updating this blog to support my novel, The Great Forgetting, which will be published November 10. It's a love letter to conspiracy theories. If you like the X-Files, you'll dig it, I think. It's the novels that let me get away with spending so much time and money on these unsolved cases in my spare time.

Unless there's a major break in the case, I'll return in the Spring!

James Renner

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Did You Miss the Live Show?

Last night, the Missing Maura Murray podcast went live. Lance, Tim, and I answered many of your questions. Check it out here.

I mentioned on the show that the new information about this case may be posted on Friday. But it might not happen until next week. I know everyone is interested in this new info but I want to make sure we've done our due diligence with the story, first.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kathleen Murray Gave Reason for Maura's Trip to New Hampshire in Early Interview

Below is an excerpt from New Hampshire Sunday News (Oct, 2007)

The source of her distress, Maura told the supervisor, was a phone conversation with Murray's sister.  
Since married, Kathleen Carpenter remembers finishing a phone call with Maura at about 10:20 the night of Feb. 5, but doesn't recall talking with her sister in the early-morning hours. Kathleen, who said she had talked about troubles with her husband-to-be during the nighttime conversation with Maura, said her sister didn't seem upset.  
But, she added, Maura and Billy were having relationship troubles at the time. Kathleen said she takes sleeping pills at night and didn't remember a later call.  
She believes her sister went to the White Mountains to sort out her troubles with Billy.  
"I think it was stress. I don't know what her and her boyfriend were going through," Carpenter said. "I kind of think that might have triggered it. They weren't getting along at that time. 
Also in the article is this quote from Sharon Rausch:

She said Billy was upset after arriving from Fort Sill, Okla., where he was stationed. 
"Fred arrived in Haverhill early Wednesday. We arrived Wednesday around 7 p.m. They interviewed Billy. He was a prime suspect. He was totally distraught. I'll never forget the look on his face. He said 'I feel as dirty as Scott Peterson. They think I've got something to do with it.'" Rausch said.

And this:

Maura picked up the accident report forms from the Hadley crash and was going to go over them with her father the night she disappeared. Two copies were left behind in the Saturn. 
"She was supposed to call me at 8 that night so I could help her go over them on the phone. She did pick up the accident reports. She had every intention of calling me," Murray said. Murray doesn't believe his daughter could have been pregnant. "No, she was on birth control pills," he said. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Long Lost Articles Provide Fresh Perspective

Kudos to Clint Harting for digging up some old articles from the Patriot-Ledger from the first weeks after Maura Murray disappeared. I don't think I can upload the entire article but here are a few snippets I found most interesting:

About Maura's mother:

Lauri Murray has not left her home since Feb 9. She said her emotions have changed from feeling sad and depressed, to the point she is angry and wants to investigate her daughter’s disappearance on her own. 
“I want to talk to the last one to see her. All the information we got was that she was walking up that road and just disappeared. Nobody just disappears like that and as far as being picked up or that she ran away … I’m getting angry. She would not do this and she would’ve contacted someone. We’re pushing 10 days now and somebody knows something,” Lauri Murray said.

About a possible second vehicle:

New Hampshire State Police Lt. John Scarinza said police now believe Murray got a ride from the accident scene. There was no evidence, however, to suggest there was a struggle.
“From that point on, it’s destination unknown,” Scarinza said.

From childhood friend Katie Jones:

Katie Jones, Murray's childhood friend and a student at Western New England College in Springfield, said although they've lived a few miles apart, they never visited each other at school. 
“She was a very secretive person,'' Jones said. 
“She never even told us about transferring to UMass until after it happened. Sometimes we think there might be more to that story than we know,'' she said

From Sara Alfieri:

At about 1 a.m., Alfieri said she was passed out from drinking. Markopoulos was still up with Murray and they were talking about going home at about 2:30 a.m. But Murray wanted to go to her father's hotel, according to Markopoulos. 
“I told her just to go back to her room and meet him in the morning, but she wouldn't listen,'' she said.

From Kate Markopoulos

Their birthdays are 11 days apart. Their friendship blossomed last year when they turned 21. Then a new Murray came out - someone who could be “somewhat flirtatious'' when she drank. 
All along, however, she was focused on settling down with Rausch and starting a career, said Markopoulos. She held two jobs so she could fly to Oklahoma, where Rausch is stationed at Fort Sill. She planned to move there after graduation.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Rag in the Tailpipe, Revisited

I have a theory about the rag that was found in the tailpipe of Maura's car. But if it's true, it most certainly means that Maura Murray is no longer alive. I don't want to believe that's true. I want to believe she ran away from her life and her family and found a better place and a new name.

Recently, I discovered some new information about the case that calls everything into question. I will share this shortly. But it's causing me to rethink everything I understood about Maura's disappearance.

The one thing I still feel certain about is that there was a tandem driver. It's the only thing that explains how she disappeared so quickly. It also explains why she may have taken so much from her car -- backpack, booze, and who knows what else. Was she going to carry all that down the road with her or was she going to transfer it into a car? Or perhaps she'd already left it somewhere, else...

I think it's possible Maura had already arrived at a rendezvous point, a rental that was under the tandem driver's name. There is an extra 45 minutes that remains unaccounted for during her journey from Amherst to Haverhill, after all. When she got into the accident, maybe she was driving away from this person after an argument. Or a fight.

So, the rag.

There is only one rational explanation. Whoever put the rag there intended the car to stall. And perhaps it did. Maybe that explains the accident. Maybe she stalled near the turn by the weathered barn and clipped the corner. Whoever she was driving away from caught up and, given the choice of going back with them or explaining what happened to a cop, she went back with them.

I hope Maura is alive.

But if she's not, she was most certainly killed by someone she knew.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New "Missing Maura Murray" Episode Is Up!

Lance and Tim interview journalist Clint Harting again this week.

Harting and I disagree about some of the finer points of this case. He's a firm believer in the "suicide" theory. And I think he is too quick to believe the statements from the Murray family. But he raises some interesting questions and uncovers some interesting new clues.

Check it out.