A new look at one of the North Country's Coldest Cases
I look forward to reading the book. Hopefully it answers some of the questions readers have about Maura Murray's case. I had a question that I wondered about. Maura crashes her father's car two days before she crashes her own car. On the day of her disappearance she is scheduled to talk by phone with her father sometime around 8pm that Monday night. The call never happens and the accident forms(to be filled out in triplicate for police insurance, etc.) are left sitting in her car.That week was also the week for Valentine's Day, and since one of the theories put forth is that she was traveling with someone else, maybe someone she met who lived up in New Hampshire or someone she knew from UMASS, I thought there might have been some type of written communication between them.Since Maura knows she is going to have to fill out the accident forms at her destination, and since her father is going to want those forms sent in immediately when they are completed I wondered whether she remembered to bring stamps and envelopes. On Valentine's Day, did she usually send her boyfriend a card in the mail?If a person is going to send something in the mail don't they need a stamp and an envelope? Maybe the stamps and envelopes were in the bookbag she took with her, but that seems rather odd to leave the major correspondence they would be used for. In the dorm, the car, how many stamps and envelopes did the police find?
Well, you have done a tremendous amount of research. Certain things are proof positive. Maura was not as clean as the driven snow. Between the credit cards, drinking and cheating she had a lot of problems. Fred Murray was drunk the night she cracked up his car. He could not drive her back to the dorm. Fred Murray knows a great many additional facts as do some of the members of his family. Fred Murray's behavior, in regard to Maura, was simply inexplicable. He knew all of what happened at West Point and what she had done at Amherst. He was paying the bills including the legal fees. Billy Rausch was aware of most of Maura's problems. Marriage with Maura was probably never going to happen. His mother was also aware of the problems that they were having. She was crafty in protecting her son.Now, what happened the night that she disappeared? She was under the influence as she had been when she cracked up her father's car. Was she being followed? Highly unlikely as none of the evidence points directly to that fact. She was young, in trouble, and saw her career, relationship, education goals and reputation completely falling apart. Did she kill herself? With all those facts in mind, she had every excuse to take that route. Was she abducted while trying to escape the scene and killed? I fully believe that is a much more reasonable possibility. Is she alive? Positively not. She would have gotten drunk enough some night to call someone. It does not appear that ever happened. Will what happened to Maura Murray ever be known. I fully believe that it will and the information will come from an unexpected source. MDW
One last import fact that slipped my mind. Before I became a long time teacher, I worked as a salesman and became a general manager of a Ford Mercury Delearship. The sales staff would refer to a father and daughter shopping together as the "ultimate buying package." Your chance of selling them a car is fabulous. After watching the film clip of Fred on Montel and Fred saying that he and Maura spent Saturday looking for a new car for her, I knew that he was lieing. The dealership would have gotten a name and license for any test drive. They would practically force them to take a car of their choice for that test drive. They absolutely would have had the salesman get a name phone number, model and a date for as standard proceedure. That is the cardinal rule of the business. The money that the deaaalesrship spends on advertising is to get the people on the lot and inside the dealership.They would have been absolutely "gated" by the sales manager which is where the dealership would work almost any numbers they needed in order to sell the car. He would have that salesman call Maura or Fred that afternoon abd the following day. Fred actually said that they had chosen the car that she wanted. As a father of a 23 year old daughter, I can tell you that I would only spend one day buying a car if I believed that her current car was in such bad shape. Fred was not telling the truth plain and simple. The question is why? Where did they spend the day? MDW
I see a lot of strange conjecture and confirmation bias on this blog. It's unbelievable that a middle aged man would know how to deal with pushy car salesmen?
Not so fast. I went father/daughter car shopping a few times, and we weren't cooperative with salesmen who wanted to take down our info or give us a test drive. We just blew them off, even if we had to be rude about it. I've also been car shopping on my own a few times, and again, I refuse to deal with salesmen unless and until I'm ready to test drive or buy. Having said that, I do think the car shopping story was just camouflage for the real reason Fred withdrew $4,000 cash from the bank shortly before Maura disappeared. Normal people pay $4,000 for a used car with a cashier's check.
You've confirmed a number of my suspicions. I'd like to interview you about this if you're still working as a salesman. Can you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
No One sees what really happened. The damage to the car, The first hand eye witness reports (The Whitman - Hanson Express is a good source), the grafton county dispatch log and the police report say it all indirectly. These 4 sourcs alone tell most of what happened. Put together a timeline, look at the car and what do you see? First off she DID NOT hit a tree. The BUMPER is intact so it is not possible to hit a tree after a snow bank and not damage the bumper. Visualize it... try it....Science does not allow it. So what did she hit? Take a look at the photos. Take one piece at a time. There is a chain of events when it comes to the damage and it all starts with her hitting the rear end of another vehicle that has a ball mount attached to a trailer hitch. That is correct. She hits a trailer hitch and to be exact it is about a 4" drop mount. I can also tell you that it was a pickup and not an SUV that she hit. How do I know that? It is what happens to the hood that tells me. It's a shame that no one analyzed the damage in time. They would have clearly seen that this was not a run away or suicidal person but someone that was taken against her will.Then again there is one person that sees it as that right from the start. There is so much more to tell but then I would need to start a book.Time To Tell
Det. Columbo would agree with you!
If she hit the back of, say, a serial killer's truck, where was the truck when the bus driver came along?And how do you explain the bus driver finding her alone, just sitting on the side of the road, and refusing his offer to call for help? Or are you saying the bus driver was involved with the serial killer in the truck that she hit? This was one unlucky girl if she stumbled on a PAIR of serial killers in the middle of New Hampshire.Whether we're talking about one serial killer or a pair of them, they'd have to have b*lls of steel to try that maneuver right in front of several homes. The woman who initially called the police about the accident was within spitting distance of Maura's car. You can use Google Maps to see how close Maura was to her house.
One more item that I want to share. Sometimes it is what is not said that is as important as what is. Why does Cecil Smith, the officer at the scene request a BOLO - Be on te look out for a female abt 5'7" at 1954 just 8 minutes after he arrives? Keep in mind that is Maura exact height. Remember that he is dispatched to the scene of a car in a ditch with a man smoking a cigarette according to dispatch. If you put the timeline together you will also see that the only person that sees a female at the scene is the bus driver and the timeline says that it is impossible for Cecil Smith to have spoken to him yet. So why the BOLO? Part of it comes from dispatch but the most important part comes from what is left at the scene. The police officer knows her height. How? What do we have that indicates our height? Unless you have a pistol permit the only other item is a license and that is what he has. He has her license which ties into the liquor receipt and other items. One thing leads to another but it's all there.Time To Tell
I did not see this comment before. These are really good questions. I would love to hear James' thoughts on these, or anyone else's.~ John Green
I thought I read elsewhere on the site that the "ABT 507" from the BOLO was referring to police code--everything I've found says that "507" is police code for "public nuisance", and is sandwiched between other vehicle-related codes like "reckless driving" and "illegal parking." Curiously, Wikipedia begins its entry on public nuisance with: "The nuisance action began in twelfth century England as a criminal writ, belonging only to the Crown. It was used in cases that involved encroachments upon the King’s land or the blocking of public roads or waterways." (Emphasis mine.) Probably "507" is in relation to the abandoned vehicle and nothing to do with her height.
If the police officer had her driver's license (and I don't remember if he did or not), her height would have been on there.
You get nothing for $4,000 dollars in a car.It is a deposit. Do not forget the trade which, if in bad shape, probably would have overallowed upon for any type of loan. Fred said that all car dealers were closed on Sunday. His car probably would be towed to a dealership. Seeing it was new, it probably would have been brought to a Toyota dealership as it was a new corolla. There are three toyota dealerships within 20 miles of Amherst. There are over 20 other types of dealerships within that twenty miles. Fred said "the car places" were not open on Sunday" on the Montel Show. That simply is not true. The major dealerships are always open on Sunday. I checked all of this information and those are the facts. Was it a deliberate lie? If he is talking about auto body shops, no they are not open one Sunday. Most of the Toyota dealerships have a body shop and Fred probably would have had it towed to one as they have the parts and would repair it correctly which you would want for a new car. As far as ""the father, daughter packages," they are a salesman's dream. (I guess one of the previous bloggers is not one of those types of customers)Trust me, I spoke to my best friend who is the GM of one of the largest dealerships in the Boston Area and he completely agrees with me. As a former automotive grneral manager and sales manager myself, I guarantee that s good salesmen gets information on this type of customer. I assume that Fred's job may include some type of sales and salesmen are renown for being easy to sell. Why waste a day looking with her car in that kind of shape? If they went looking for a car, they were buyers. As far as dealerships following up, they are relentless. Many use "Company Retention Managers" which keep track on the salesmans followup. Sales managers always review each salesman's follow up sheet on every potetnial customer. They sometimes pay specialized salespeople for getting a customer who left the dealership to return and buy. Sales managers, many times, follow up good potential customers on their own in order to give a potential sale their best shot. Almost all dealerships advertise with the manufacturers on a co-op basis. Each customer who comes on their lot costs them money in applied advertising fees.Fred said that they had decided on the type of car that day that they looked for cars when he was on the Montel Show. He would have had to have test driven some makes and models, otherwise how could he possibly have made up his mind. In oder to get a trade in value a dealership has to appraise the trade to get a real figure. Most will not appraise a car until you have test driven the potential car. Some dealers will not negotiate price until the salesman has taken the customer on the test drive. To test drive a car the customer has to give pertinent information, most importantly the customers license. Bottom line... some things simply did not happen the way they were stated.MDW
What really bothers me a lot about this story about buying Maura a new car is Fred's comments on what type of car they had settled on. That sent up huge red flags for me. I am just an old grandma from Iowa but know better than what he was saying/claiming...I have seen video and read stories of Fred stating that he and Maura had shopped around for a used car for her that day. They had finally settled on one and he intended on coming back the next weekend to pay for it. The car they both wanted was a "3 year old Geo Prizm." Fred certainly emphasizes the make and model when listening to him on the video. In fact, if you even check this forum, others here had heard/read the same comment on the web. The problem with Fred's story (and a big problem) is that the last Geo Prizm rolled off the assembly line in 1997. Fred and Maura went car shopping in 2004, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do that math. Prizms were still made until 2002 but were given the Chevrolet name. I just don't buy the obvious argument that Fred would mistakenly say he was going to buy a Geo, an obscure subsidiary that was only around for 8 years instead of correctly saying the much more widely known name of Chevrolet--which had been around for nearly 100 years at that time. Just doesn't make sense to me. To me anyway, Fred made that whole car buying story up on the fly--what caught him (with me anyway) was the erroneous make of the car. No one, especially his age, is going to plunk down $4000.00 on a used car and not know what type of car they are buying.BTW like one other poster on here, I too sold cars before becoming a school teacher. The points made by other posters here are valid. Only once did I see someone pay in cash--and that was a known drug dealer. No one else walked around with that kind of money on their person. It is also true that Fred and Maura would have taken "the care they settled on" for a test drive. There would have been photo copies of their DLs on file. All valid points made by others.
A Geo Prism was nothing more than a Toyota Carolla with a different name. When Chevy changed the name, they must have started making this model themselves. Secondly, if he really was coming back for the car he would have had to place a deposit down especially if he was not going to pick it up for a week. In New England you have got to place a reasonably subsantial deposit. Believe me, the dealer would have all the documentation on that. He also would have needed a binder from the insurance company in order to get the car registered. None of this ever happend. The car story cannot be true as I have allready stated. MDW