Would you ever pick up a hitchhiker on the side of the road, and alternately, would you ever be a hitchhiker, if you felt you had to?
This question ties in to this week’s case of perhaps one of the most baffling, and widely speculated missing persons cases that I’ve ever come across. And that is the disappearance of Maura Murray. I originally thought this case would be a shorter one for our Patreon members, but the more I researched about her disappearance and theories surrounding it, I realized just how much there was to it. And like many others who have discovered, researched, and read about Maura’s disappearance, I became immersed in a whirlwind of ideas and speculations, not only my own, but the countless opinions of authors, other podcasters, cybersleuths, and those directly connected to the case. You would think that for the number of people who have scrutinized over every little detail of information, or crumb of evidence, that has been located or released by law enforcement to the public over the course of 19 years, it would have yielded something concrete about her location, whether she is alive or dead, or what happened during a period of less than 10 minutes to change hers, her family & friends life forever.
Instead there are more questions than answers, and due to the prevalence of internet messaging boards, especially Reddit, people have tried to put together details, fill in the blanks, dig for details, to try to solve Maura Murray’s disappearance. Thus far it has been to no avail, but much like Maura’s dedicated family members, internet detectives and podcasters, like myself, we don’t give up. Humans like answers or reasons why, and although we might not have that in Maura’s case to date, I would like to revisit her life leading up to her disappearance, the day she went missing, and dispel some of the irrational, or inaccurate speculations that have been made over the years by different people, using different platforms. And for those that are either not familiar with the case or have not watched The Disappearance of Maura Murray on the Oxygen Network, I highly suggest making the time to watch it. It is a 6 part docuseries, each ep being about 40-ish minutes in length. I binged it overnight because I just couldn’t stop myself. I paid for it the next day, but I’m like that with some shows, books, or stories that draw me in. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, or what piece of the puzzle they might discover. It was done in a very concise fashion, despite it being 6 episodes, and really does help to make sense of a lot of the theories out there, many of which are just sensationalized or scandalous.
Bottom line, if you haven’t seen it, and want to find out more about Maura’s disappearance, watch it, you won’t regret it. If you have access to the NBC Peacock streaming service, you can find the Oxygen Network there, you can purchase it on Amazon, or if you have Hulu Live, you can also stream it there. Another option is going to Oxygen.com and using your cable provider log-in to access it there for free. Now that I’ve given you all the options I can think of, go watch it! Well, not right now, listen to us first, then go watch it.
Without further adieu, let’s start diving into the mysterious disappearance of Maura Murray.
- Born on May 4th, 1982 in Brockton, Massachusetts to Fred & Laurie Murray. Fred was a Medical Technician and Laurie was a Nurse.
- She has 4 siblings: Fred Jr., Kathleen, Julie, all older than her. And a younger brother, named Kurtis.
- Fred & Laurie Divorced when Maura was 6, and Maura lived primarily with her mother after the divorce.
- Despite the divorce, Maura performed well in school, both with her academics & also in athletics. She was a member of the NHS, and according to her family competed in many different sports.
- After High School, and a nearly perfect score on her SAT’s, Maura decided to follow her sister, Julie to West Point. The 2 sisters were always very competitive with one another, in sports & academically. So making the decision to attend West Point did not come as a surprise to those around her.
- Maura decided to study chemical engineering at West Point and was doing well during her freshman year. She & Julie were competing in track & field and cross-country competitions side by side. Outwardly, the physical nature of the military didn’t seem to affect Maura, as she continued to succeed in everything she did.
- That’s why it came as a total surprise when Maura was caught stealing some cosmetics <$5 worth from the Fort Knox Commissary, in August of 2001. This was a violation of the Military Academy’s Honor Code, and her commanding officer recommended an Honorary Investigative Hearing be called to review the evidence against her. They determined there was enough evidence for her to then appear before the Cadet Advisory Committee. The Council of Honor, after reviewing all the evidence, made the recommendation to expel Maura from the Cadet Corps. And, since this is the military, and there are many layers of investigation, review, and discipline, the Council of Honor’s recommendation was then forwarded to the Superintendent. A final decision was set to be made in January of 2002.
- Before a final decision was rendered regarding how she would be disciplined, Maura decided to transfer from West Point to enter into the Nursing Program at Univ. of Mass, in Amherst on January 2nd, 2002.
Highlights from her time at UMass prior to her disappearance
- Maura worked part-time as a school security guard, checking ids as people entered Melville Hall. She also had another part-time job at the campus art gallery as security as well.
- In November of 2003, this is 3 months before her disappearance, Maura was arrested for unauthorized use of a stolen credit card. She was able to obtain a fellow student’s cc info from a receipt that individual had thrown into the trash. Maura used the card info to order pizza delivery that amounted to just under $80. The police were able to track her down because she had the food delivered to her dorm room. In December of 2003, the court decided they would dismiss the charges if Maura didn’t have any additional bad behavior over the course of 3 months.
- Following a mysterious phone conversation the night of Thursday, February 5th, 2004, while on duty at her campus security job, around 10:30 pm, Maura was visibly upset. Her supervisor, Karen Mayotte, while doing her normal rounds around campus, saw the state Maura was in and tried to console her. She was described as looking almost “catatonic” and like she was staring out into the abyss. Unable to complete her shift, her supervisor walked her back to her dorm around 1:20am. When asked what was wrong, Maura only spoke the words “My sister”.
- In a 2017 interview, Kathleen revealed she was the person Maura had talked to that evening. She also said that Maura was likely upset because although she had just been released from rehab for alcohol addiction, her then fiance had taken her to a liquor store, and she drank that evening. Kathleen also said in the interview that she was having relationship issues with her fiance, and had confided to her sister about them. Makes sense as to why Maura said the words, “My sister” to her supervisor.
- 2 days later, on Saturday, February 7th, 2004, now 4 days before her disappearance, Maura’s father, Fred came to visit & take her car shopping. Maura’s Saturn was not in good shape, and had a bad cylinder. After looking at used cars, Fred determined he would need more cash than what he had brought with him, so they returned without purchasing anything.
- That same night, after getting dinner, Fred lent Maura his brand new Toyota Corolla, and after dropping her father off at his hotel, she drove to a party on campus. At approximately 3:30am, the early hours of February 8th, 2004, after the party was over and while driving back to her father’s hotel, Maura crashed the Corolla into a guardrail causing approx. $10,000 in damage. Police came to the scene, made a report of the accident, no record of any field sobriety or breathalyzer tests were included in the report, so it is unknown whether she was under the influence or not. The officer on scene drove Maura back to her father’s hotel.
- Fred then drives Maura back to her dorm. He says Maura was upset about the accident, but he didn’t have to yell at her for Maura to know he was disappointed in her. After getting out of the car to walk into the dorm, Fred said his last words to Maura that morning were something along the lines of ‘Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out, it’s just a car’, but he doesn’t believe Maura heard him before she went inside her dorm building.
- After renting a car some hours later, this is still Sunday, February 8th, Fred drives back home to Connecticut.
- Maura calls her boyfriend, Bill Rausch, who she at met while at West Point. At this time, he is still in the Army, and currently stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma.
- After this phone call, and based on her online search history, Maura begins looking up rental places near the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
- At approx. 11:30 Sunday night, Fred calls to remind Maura to get the accident forms from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
February 9th, 2004 – The Day of Maura’s Disappearance:
- In the early morning hours of February 9th, 2004, Maura searches MapQuest for directions to Burlington, VT and the Berkshires. These directions would be found in her car after her disappearance.
- Maura electronically submits a completed homework assignment for one of her nursing classes.
- About 1pm in the afternoon, Maura sends her boyfriend, Bill, an email that she didn’t feel like talking to anyone, but assured him she would call him later.
- After the email to her boyfriend, at about 1:10pm, Maura made a phone call to Linda Salamone, owner of a condo in Bartlett, NH. The Murray’s spent a lot of time in Bartlett when Maura was younger. They would hike, swim, camp, etc. So Maura would have been very familiar with this area of NH. Maura did not make a reservation.
- Right after calling the condo owner, Maura called a fellow nursing student at the college. The nature of their conversation is unknown. This is about 1:13pm.
- Shortly after that, around 1:24pm, Maura emails a nursing supervisor that there has been a death in the family, so she will be out of town for a week. This was a lie according to her family. They have repeatedly confirmed that no one in their family had died.
- Approx. 2:05 pm a phone call is made by Maura to a pre-recorded message providing information about reserving a hotels in Stowe, VT. This call lasted nearly 5 minutes. Once again, no reservation is made.. This time b/c it was just a recorded message.
- 8 mins later, about 2:08 pm, Maura leaves her boyfriend, Bill Rausch, a voicemail message, lasting 1 minute, and told him she would talk to him later.
- Maura then packed some toiletries, make-up, school books, several days worth of clothes, and birth control pills.
- At approximately 3pm, Maura drives her black, 1996 Saturn off the campus of UMass, and begins her trip. But to where exactly, no one thus far seems to know definitively. Or, that information has not been made public by police. Much speculation has been made about this.
- The next sighting of Maura after she leaves the UMass campus is at an ATM, located off campus, where footage released by the Mass. State Police in 2017, shows Maura enter the ATM lobby, withdraw what has been confirmed as $280 from her acct, almost all the money she had in there, and then leaves the lobby, walking presumably back to her car.
- The next recorded moment of Maura is when she stopped at Liquors 44 in Hadley, Mass and made a purchase of $38.31 worth of alcohol. Based on what would be found in her car later, those items included: a box of Franzia wine, vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, and a dozen of some type of carbonated canned or bottled beverages. This is based on the .05 “deposit” she had to pay on each of those items, as is required under the MA Bottle Bill, which is shown on the receipt as “.60”. This was determined to be bottles of Skyy Blue Malt beverages.
- Also shown on her receipt, is a credit amount of $3.95 that was applied to her purchase. Once again, using the “.05” per can or bottle redeemed at this location, it suggests she “redeemed” 79 containers of this type. Liquors 44 is a full redemption site. This also fits into the timeline as Maura left the ATM at 3:16pm, and made her purchase, at 3:43pm, 27 mins after leaving the ATM. It is also confirmed she was alone, based on security video footage at the liquor store. Maura is on a limited budget especially if she is redeeming cans/bottles @ .05/ea.
- Between 4 and 5pm, Maura departs from the Amherst/Hadley area and drives north toward New Hampshire.
- The next reported sighting of Maura is not until approx. 7:27pm.
*****END OF PART ONE*****
Accessed July, 2022. FBI VICAP Missing Persons – Maura Murray https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/vicap/missing-persons/maura-murray—haverhill-new-hampshire
Accessed July, 2022. The Disappearance of Maura Murray https://www.peacocktv.com/watch/asset/tv/the-disappearance-of-maura-murray/9048221013710564112?orig_ref=https://www.google.com/
Accessed July, 2022. Maura Murray https://www.mauramurraymissing.org/about.html
Accessed July, 2022. The Unsolved Disappearance Of Maura Murray And The 5 Biggest Theories https://owwlogy.com/disappearance-of-maura-murray-and-5-theories/
Accessed July, 2022. The Most Debated Mystery Of Our Time: The Disappearance Of Maura Murray https://thoughtcatalog.com/jordan-windnagle/2020/03/the-most-debated-mystery-of-our-time-the-disappearance-of-maura-murray/#:~:text=During%20her%20freshman%20year%2C%20Maura,the%20University%20of%20Massachusetts%20Amherst.
Accessed July, 2022. Maura Murray disappearance: what happened to missing UMass student? https://en.as.com/en/2021/11/01/latest_news/1635783090_027882.html
Accessed July, 2022. Laura Murray Podcast – 107 Degree https://www.the107degree.com/
Accessed July, 2022. Maura Murray Missing https://www.tiktok.com/@mauramurraymissing?lang=en
Accessed July, 2022. Investigators conclude search in connection with Maura Murray’s disappearance https://www.wmur.com/article/maura-murray-search-new-hampshire-71422/40613277#
Accessed July, 2022. Investigators conducting ground search off Route 112 in connection with Maura Murray’s disappearance https://www.wmur.com/article/maura-murray-search-new-hampshire-71322/40601257
Accessed July, 2022. Police search New Hampshire towns for evidence in 2004 disappearance of Maura Murray https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/maura-murray-disappearance-new-hampshire-umass-landaff-easton-search/
Accessed July, 2022. New developments in Maura Murray case almost 18 years after her disappearance https://www.wmur.com/article/new-developments-in-maura-murray-case-almost-18-years-after-her-nh-disappearance/38786821
Accessed July, 2022. Chilling Crimes: Maura Murray https://www.chillingcrimes.com/blogs/news/maura-murray
Accessed July, 2022. Wikipedia – Maura Murray https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/5722279
Accessed July, 2022. New Hampshire unsolved case file: Where is Maura Murray? https://www.wmur.com/article/new-hampshire-unsolved-case-file-where-is-maura-murray/16760962
Accessed July, 2022. The Disappearance of Maura Murray: Everything You Need to Know About the Baffling Unsolved Case https://www.eonline.com/news/883921/the-disappearance-of-maura-murray-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-baffling-unsolved-case
Accessed July, 2022. ‘Is she being held captive against her will? That terrifies me’: Missing Maura Murray’s sister speaks after new search https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/maura-murray-cold-case-new-hampshire-b2130233.html
Accessed July, 2022. Kathleen Murray Carpenter Obituary https://www.sullivanfuneralhome.com/obituaries/print?o_id=7750176
Accessed July, 2022. Maura Murray ATM Footage Released https://www.docdroid.net/4NsQeki/maura-murray-atm-footage-released-pdf
Accessed July, 2022. The Mysterious Disappearance Of Maura Murray, The Nursing Student Who Vanished Without A Trace https://allthatsinteresting.com/maura-murray
Accessed July, 2022. Inflation Calculator https://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/2003?amount=80
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