1AM. I swallow my prescribed antibiotic. Turn on the living room tv. Scroll through Twitter. A notification luminescent in red in my podcast station app indicates a new episode arrived. Missing Maura Murray this early?! I dig in right away.
The discussion behind episode 8 focuses on Fred Murray’s letters to fellow former New Hampshire governors, Craig Benson and John Lynch.
The Benson letter show cases a pinball action of strong statements, shifting from one topic to the next. Fred mentions the possibility of Maura being seriously injured by the spider hole on her driver side window. With a fuzzy injury like that she was vulnerable and susceptible in succumbing to whatever measures she would settle for. Then, he turns the tables on possible police neglect. From alleged belated actions on the North Haverall force and state police to failing to interview a witness in the 24 hour window of the accident, he feverishly points out these are the reasons Maura was deterred of being found safe and alive.
“I get nearly physically sick…” is the most humanizing and surreal line. In one swoop this sentence expresses the heavy sentiment of how Fred feels waking up each day, due to the failure of rescuing his daughter. Simply put it’s a hook.
Then in the Lynch letter Fred conjures up more descriptive language. Failure to contact sources related to a Murray family vacation stay made him feel like he was “struck across the face with a two-by-four.” Later he calls the force “ostriches” in not fulfilling their obligation with the investigation. He also points out the law enforcement’s potential reasoning for what might have happened: hypothermia, runaway, suicide. It is easy to suggest they would not pursue further past a car accident investigation if those were the possible circumstances.
In summary the Benson letter was a very straight forward, concerned, and compassionate take from a grieving father. The overall tone was bossy but not grossly threatening or dominating. The same could be said for the Lynch letter. Fred sounded very desperate in finding the truth.
Let’s say Maura’s real intentions were to escape. Running through the frigid temperatures, she must have felt like a maverick. Invigorated in evading the law, family, and friends. She’s a 21 year old woman leaving the past behind. There is something brash in her convictions to take that step. In the least I really hope she is alive.
Since the beginning, the community has cast suspicion on Fred. He is the Nick Dunne of this disappearance. Everyone is eyeing his next move. He is in shut down mode with the press and police because he does not want them digging into his past; not necessarily Maura’s per say. The truth may be more about him than Maura. For example, he could possibly have been a gambler or adulterer. Just like Renner finding out Maura’s legal troubles, in a way Fred shut down for not having his skeletons exposed. These troubles would not add insight or fact to the case — just speculation and data at best. On the flip side Maura’s troubles might not even be peripherally related to her disappearance; however, these facts add context to the individual known as Maura Murray.
Tim asks what Fred is doing these days, since he adamantly went as far as writing letters -twice- to New Hampshire governors. Simply put a cold case will turn anyone dormant. When you’re heartbroken by a tragedy, with no leads bringing resurgence into a case, you’re going to turn stagnant. I tweeted to Tim and Lance that I see no reason why a 60 something year old dad could fake being a torned loved one for this long. Even the baddest of fathers, Godfather style Francis Ford Coppola would not want their daughter missing.
The point of this whole entry is breadcrumbs. Last week Renner made a cheeky Facebook post. Prior to even reading it, I percolated on my own breadcrumbs. If I went missing today, people would judge on my recent activity with online dating. My participation with multiple apps might raise suspicion. Authorities will find out I am speaking with a gargantuan body of men. Persons of interest rise up. Even more damning is private diary entries on some suitors. A story is spun from here. These are my breadcrumbs if I suddenly vanished into thin air.
Being a true crime writer, especially working on the Maura Murray case, I am always aware of the bread crumbs I’m leaving in the world. Whenever I go through a toll, I hear Robert Stack’s voice in my head, saying, “At 7:05, Renner paid $2.50 at the toll booth and then exited onto I-77. He was never seen again…”
So much in finding the trail for breadcrumbs you will find yourself in a rabbit hole. The same thing occurred with investigative journalist, Clint Harting, who was interviewed in episode 7. Clint traveled to New Hampshire. He visited the massive UMASS campus. Dined at the local college grub hub. He even interviewed Maura’s former work supervisor. Clint placed himself in the same shoes in finding the truth like Sarah Koenig did in approaching the Hae Min Lee case for Serial. She interviewed former classmates of the victim, recreated the murder drive route of the prosecution’s timeline of events, and even uncovered some unsavory things Adnan Syed did in his past. Journalists place themselves in these situations to get a taste. Each new bit of information salivating their pallet.
I relate with Clint in discovering the case through Disappeared years ago. The ID series sparked traction and appeal. The case garnered more attraction with Netflix streaming the show. Picking up further internet steam, the podcasts for Thinking Sideways and Generation Why presented episodes on the disappearance.
Pretty soon MMM was born.
This is why people are interested. Tim brought up a great point. We cannot let the case turn into folklore. There is a chance for people with important information to come out of the woodworks. We have a unique opportunity with a new medium, which was not available at the time of Maura vanishing. The podcast is happening in real time. If that does not help, perhaps the 2016 releases of Renner’s book and Tim & Lance’s documentary on the case will bring truth.
Closure is underneath it all.