Oxygen Maura Murray series: Episode 3 – After The Crash

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

Another Saturday night means another episode of The Disappearance of Maura Murray on Oxygen.

Episode three proceeded into the continuation of Kathleen Murray’s interview with Maggie. Basically Kat discusses her unhappiness with her life back in 2004. Drinking was how she functioned with her problems. Perhaps Maura knowing Kat’s slip ups with sobriety brought sadness to herself.

One interesting quote that caught my attention during this interview was that Kat sometimes dreams about Maura escaping her old life. In her dreams, Kat becomes angry with her sister for choosing the runaway scenario. Naturally this is a reaction any family member should feel for their missing loved ones. Kat, along with the remaining Murrays, would likely feel bitterness —among a host of strong emotions— towards that scenario because whatever was happening in the family unit didn’t suffice enough for Maura to intentionally leave.

Once again Bill the boyfriend is brought up. Bill chose to not correspond with Maggie but his friend, Bob McLean, spoke on camera about the disappearance. Tim and Lance from Missing Maura Murray joined Maggie for the Bob interview.

Bob doesn’t have suspicions about Bill’s potential involvement in Maura going away. Bill’s reticence seems rather normal to his friend because he eventually married and began having kids. From the many news clips I’ve seen involving the case, Bill was interviewed directly in the 20/20 and Montell Williams episodes. Back then he made proactive efforts to find Maura. Naturally through the years Bill needed to move on. He’s not the same early 20’s guy with the glasses speaking on camera. 

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Fred, Maura, and Bill

The next sit down involved Fred. The deeply personal question Maggie asked him before the commercial break left every viewer taking a deep breath.

Did he sexually assault Maura, his youngest daughter?

“Of course not,” Fred answered passionately in his defense.

The hard question was brought up because James Renner speculates this issue in True Crime Addict. This intimate issue is one of the reasons James speculates Maura wanted to escape the men in her life.

Maggie was very courageous for asking such a serious question. Fred’s response still held a level of decorum for a salacious question not worth answering. 

The speculation about abuse, the $4000, and more are conversation topics that goes to a side street leading to a dead end in Fred’s words. The white noise is “slowing us down” because people aren’t relying on facts of the case to form constructive action.

Fred’s determination in finding Maura reminds me of another forlorn father trying to bring back his own daughter: Drew Kesse. 

Jennifer Kesse was a Florida financial analyst who disappeared on January 24, 2006. From that fateful Tuesday morning when Jennifer didn’t report to work and failed to answer phone calls from her loved ones, the Kesse family reported Jennifer missing. 

Unconcluded is a podcast that focuses entirely on Jennifer’s case. I recommend Unconcluded for people interested in true crime or missing person cases. Jennifer’s parents, Drew and Joyce Kesse, have appeared on the podcast. This is a rare and special event because not many relatives will simply show for any show. 

Drew’s testimony in searching for Jennifer on Unconcluded is so powerful. Drew and Fred both contain that same determination and agony for their missing daughters. This is a club no relative wants to be included in. 

Drew has stated before that Jennifer is not an object. This is meant for the opportunists, selfish, and bored people who speculate and seek their own interest that doesn’t garner the proper attention on Jennifer’s case. 

The same should be said for Maura. 

Halfway through this episode, Art, Maggie, Tim, and Lance work through the case timeline. Art mentioned that he once operated as a dispatcher. His comment was directed towards Faith Westman’s 911 call and the narrative dispatchers are supposed to jot down. This made me rethink Faith’s description of possibly seeing a man smoking a cigarette alongside Maura. 

Now I think that Faith might not have realized or seen Maura accepting a ride and slipping into the car of the person smoking the cigarette. Faith could have confused the stranger’s car with Maura’s Saturn. 

I really think this is a telling point but I could be wrong on this account. This scenario clicked and made sense in my head when I watched the timeline sit down last night. 

In my last blog regarding episode two, I mentioned the record store employee, Roxanne, was interviewed during Tim and Lance’s Canadian trip. Roxanne was tracked down and interviewed by Maggie in episode three. Roxanne discussed the alleged meeting with Maura, then later shown age progression photos of what Maura could have looked like at around 30 years old. 

In my opinion, Maura doesn’t resemble the age progression photos. I couldn’t recognize her if it saved my life. Anyways, Roxanne now thinks she might have confused the interaction with another stranger. 

Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud, discussed on the show that the chances of planning a disappearance more likely takes years in advance. In this case, Maura would have planned the escape during her teenage years. This seems far fetched for most young girls to execute. Teenagers like myself wondered what we wanted to accomplish during and after high school. Life is unpredictable for easily impressioned individuals, especially for teenagers and young adults. 

Elizabeth isn’t the leading research expert in missing person cases involving manufacturing your own escape but I put some stock into what she had to say. Last year I read an excerpt from Playing Dead but never got around to finishing the book. Elizabeth has even appeared on the podcast Criminal this past year. 

This week on The Dr. Oz Show, Julie Murray emotionally clarified that Maura’s view of the world was narrow at 21. Maura’s reasons for fleeing UMASS to New Hampshire remains unknown but it reflects a young woman’s impulsive desire, a desire that didn’t assure her utmost street smarts and safety. 

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Oxygen Maura Murray series: Episode 2 – A Reason to Run

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

Let’s get into episode two of the Oxygen series, The Disappearance of Maura Murray. I previously covered my thoughts on episode one, ‘Everyone Has a Theory’.

As promised from the previous episode, James Renner was introduced to the series. James gave the usual rundown to Maggie Freleng and Art Roderick that I’ve already heard fifty times.

Maura ran away to escape the men in her life.

She is alive and possibly residing in Canada or Florida –on the basis of James’ boots on the ground search on potential sightings.

For newcomers though, they might be really intrigued on Maura’s reason to run.

It’s the way James says things so assuredly and upfront that makes you want to side with his theory. You want to believe. Being alive is better than being dead. Ideally I hope Maura still exists more than anything but my realist side suggests this case reeks of foul play. 

When James describes the run-of-the-mill-ran-away theory, never before seen footage from Tim and Lance’s upcoming documentary about Maura’ case was shown on screen. James, Tim, and Lance visited Montreal, Canada in December 2013. Brief clips showed them walking the streets and interviewing an employee inside an athletics club. I wonder if they took the woman’s name and other personal information. If she was interviewed today, would she back up those claims of seeing Maura? I think anyone in law enforcement would feel weary about two filmmakers and a journalist trying to track down locals who may have encountered Maura.

After James appeared, Maggie speaks with a former West Point student, Megan, who was friends with Maura. Pretty much Megan discusses how surprised she was that Maura committed the makeup theft. Since this all unfolded around her, Megan asked her upfront why she did that. This reminded me of high school. A former friend of mine had a knack for stealing items in department stores. In one case, she stole hoop earrings in my presence, while I obliviously and innocently strolled the Nordstrom aisles. It was only after we exited the store that she showed me the earrings. I was just like Megan — bewildered, disappointed, and surprised that my friend attempted this.

I don’t know what is it with young girls and women that wanna steal some cheap shit. It’s not cute. I covered the asinine earring theft in one of my first blog posts.

I may disagree completely with everything James says regarding Maura Murray but I’m still cordial with him. I forget to mention his dedication and efforts into the Amy Mihajevic’s case. Remembering all of that reminds me again James isn’t this terrible person that people paint him to be. 

Erin, another friend of Maura’s from college, was interviewed on screen. Erin attended UMASS and worked alongside her in nursing clinicals. One new detail I learned was that Maura briefed Erin on her so-called-family emergency; I assumed she only told her professors via email on the emergency. In addition, the detail about Maura turning in her homework specifically around 3AM signifies she was preparing for the trip. I know classmates who prefer to work on assignments past midnight and into the morning, so it isn’t unusual to hear Maura did that too.

Erin felt guilt for years for not opening her dorm door when Maura dropped off her nursing gear. At least she could have had that final visual and insight into Maura’s intended destination on February 9, 2004. 

Here’s what I think about the accident scene. I believe if Maura prepared and left UMASS earlier (say around noon to 2PM), she wouldn’t have crashed in Haverhill. The matter of not possibly knowing her driving route full circle, plus the utter darkness surrounding the road without street lights interfered with things. Whatever Maura intended to do in the north country was interrupted once her Saturn was damaged in New Hampshire. I would forgo my original plans and return to UMASS if I encountered the same situation on Route 112.

Nothing else matters when your transportation can no longer take you where you wanted to go.

She was stuck and under duress. Car accidents suck. You have to deal with police. You have to pay for damages. I was afraid during mine. My only train of thought was returning home and seeing my family. I didn’t care about anything else. 

My desperation would have led me to hitch a ride. Someone driving by could have cajoled Maura into their passenger seat, tricking her into thinking she’d call one of the Murray’s to pick her up. That never happened.

Speaking of the Saturn, Art and Maggie inspected the car for the first time. The Saturn is stationed somewhere outside in police property among a multitude of other cars. Little was said between Art and Maggie. The cracked windshield still remains along with miscellaneous objects inside the car, including an empty plastic soda bottle. The sight of the Saturn is something you gaze with little to lean on, other than it’s just damaged.

For people who have followed the case closely like I have, they heard Helena Murray’s bittersweet phone call with Art and Maggie. The reason I say bittersweet is because Helena passed away this past April. Helena was the family spokesperson and managed one Facebook group all regarding Maura’s case. Her recorded interaction mentioned adding Kathleen Murray, Maura’s older sister, into the mix.

According to a UMASS dorm supervisor, Maura was escorted from her Kennedy Hall side job because she broke down in tears over a phone call with Kathleen. People have wondered why Maura felt distraught days before she disappeared. 

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Maura Murray

The interview we all have been waiting for finally happened when Kathleen stepped into the hotel room. The visual of Maggie and Kathleen facing each other on opposite beds is unforgettable. You can tell Kathleen was reluctant yet friendly while opening up to Maggie’s questions. Her big green eyes were very expressive. I feel like I had that same deer in the headlights look when I was interviewed on Missing Maura Murray (no offense intended).

I like Kathleen. She seems like a warm heart person, the same person who you see in the archived news clips from 13 years ago searching for her little sister. Her distinct Boston accent hasn’t slipped away. There is this vulnerable quality about Kathleen that you see where she doesn’t want to be judged. I’m protective that way too.

Kathleen opened up about the phone call she had with Maura. Her marriage to Tim Carpenter was burdened with drugs and alcohol back then. This seems to be the issue that affected Maura into tears. When you have something that personal happening in your life, you’re going to want to protect the details while also being candid on camera.

Kathleen has no clue why Maura headed to New Hampshire. If it didn’t have to do with the Hadley accident involving Fred’s Toyota, then her next best guess is “the boyfriend.” I love how Kathleen simply put it into those words…the boyfriend. Maura’s sisters back up on camera that she may have faced trust issues with Bill. Kathleen described Maura having this “look on her face” when Bill interacted with a waitress at the dinner table with the Murray’s.

A disdained look I bet.

I think Bill has a weak factor among females. This all seems to be substantiated with reports of females coming forward to James Renner about their private interactions with Bill. But even then, I don’t believe these accusations will resolve Maura’s case in some capacity. 

In her own words Kathleen very rarely saw Maura sad. Upfront you spot how much Fred, Julie, Kurt, and Kathleen loved Maura. In episode one, a flurry of news clips are shown together including Laurie Murray crying on camera. Those few seconds of reel demonstrate the heaviness and desperation families of the missing feel.

I think this Oxygen series and Maura’s case will get the Serial treatment. Lately I’ve seen Rolling Stone, E! News, Huffington Post, and Bustle posts articles related to the program. An upcoming episode of The Dr. Oz Show will discuss Maura’s disappearance along side Art, Maggie, and Julie making their very own appearances.

This case is hitting the public sphere more than ever.

A year ago I would have only imagined Crime Watch Daily covering the investigation. Everything that is circulating today is more than we asked for. We’re gonna see more podcasts, newspapers, and television shows present the case –even after the Oxygen show concludes.

I’m eager to see the rest. I wanna see that sit down with Jeff Strezlin. On the Youtube Oxygen page, I’ve already seen sneak peaks featuring Dick Guy (Haverhill EMT), Maura’s high school friends, and Carlos Rivera (former Amherst police officer).

This show continues being promising. Everyone involved is doing a great job. This Saturday I’ll be back watching what’s new. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oxygen Maura Murray series: Episode 1 – Everyone Has A Theory

Crime, Podcasts, Television

The Oxygen series chronicling Maura Murray’s 2004 disappearance finally premiered last night. The amount of attention dedicated to people watching the premiere is something I hadn’t felt since all eyes and ears watched the Breaking Bad finale. Everybody was texting, live tweeting, and posting about the series in real time. 

Oxygen’s transition into crime programming is such a smart and impressive move. Years before Investigation Discovery, I relied on Oxygen for one of my true crime go-to’s: Snapped. Recently the channel did away with their ratchet reality shows and reruns of syndicated television shows (some were my guilty pleasures by the way).

Did you know Oprah Winfrey was one of the original founders of the Oxygen channel? Originally it was geared for female programming.

Fifteen years ago, CourtTV operated as the only crime network, which included one of my favorite shows, Forensic Files. CourtTV eventually transitioned into TruTV in 2008. 

These network reversals dictate what audiences are currently seeking in popular media. 

Before The Disappearance of Maura Murray was announced as an Oxygen docuseries at CrimeCon, I already knew this show was in the works, including that an unnamed female reporter would front the series. In my mind I could only think of Aphrodite Jones as the reporter taking on the case. There are only a few female crime journalists in mainstream media; Aphrodite’s name popped in my head has potentially the one. 

Instead it is Maggie Freleng who is leading the series. Maggie has previously worked for NPR. From what I’ve read online she’s dedicated her work towards mental health, social issues, gender and sexuality. While Maggie isn’t a primary crime reporter, she has covered far and wide for important causes. 

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Right off the bat, Tim and Lance from the Missing Maura Murray podcast are introduced to the audience. The interviews between them and Maggie appear very natural, so that’s a good thing. The second main investigator joining alongside Maggie for this series is Art Roderick. Art formally operated as an air marshal and has assisted in famous cases such as the D.C. Sniper. Between these two new faces, they seem well intentioned, rational, and respectful with their project. 

The participation of the Murray family in this show is really good to see. It’s important for people to see they care and are searching for Maura. Fred, Julie, and Kurt all looked sincere and sweet on screen. 

I’ll say it right here and now that the Murray’s have nothing to hide. The internet speculation is wack. What is much left to say about a then missing 21 year old woman? 

Nothing. 

Silence does not mean indifference. Neither does it makes the Murray’s suspicious or complicit into what happened with Maura. The amount of media interviews a loved one gives still won’t demonstrate how much of an impact this case has affected them. When a case become dormant, who are we to judge? The only people who can determine the status of the investigation are the New Hampshire state police.

They’re the real gatekeepers in this saga. 

You heard it from Julie herself that police did not contact her. 

The controversial James Renner is brought forth in the final fifteen. Jame’s inclusion in the series seems important because he’s always been upfront and transparent about his research. Before the MMM podcast there was James’ very popular blog on Maura’s case. TRUE CRIME ADDICT transpired out of his reporting, which was another success for him. James’ in person interview with Maggie will show up in episode two.

The Disappearance of Maura Murray - Season 1

Art Roderick and Maggie Freleng

Why did Maura Murray leave UMASS on the afternoon of Febuary 9, 2004? 

The spring semester began two weeks before in late January. Being back in Massachusetts meant that Maura returned from spending the holiday break with Bill and his family. She was back to being alone and taking on full time classes. Maura most likely missed him or the separation was causing a strain. Long distance relationships are a different animal, especially back in 2004, when you had even less devices to communicate with people. Cell phones, landlines, email, and instant online messaging were the main modes to talk. Today, social media and texting makes reaching someone much more accessible. 

Let’s say even if Maura vanished today in a smartphone world, I’m not sure we can know if she would have been rescued or traced. The rural and remote site of the car accident makes the case a lot more tough to unravel. 

Maura leaving UMASS for whatever reason may have been interpreted as her own self care. Facing the strict reality of school on her own –while just experiencing the first automobile accident two days before– was enough to just slip away for the meantime. Stress, anxiety, or depression Maura may have faced was put under the rug. 

The phone calls she made to the various North Country motels serve as a viable indication on her intended route. Who hasn’t called or written into work/school on a so-called-excused absence? Some people will say they’re “sick” or going to the doctor’s office. Maura’s excuse (‘family emergency’, possibly death related) happened to be the best because who is going to dispute that. 

I’m not so much the type to play hooky but I am a huge procrastinator. Wandering off and leaving my responsibilities behind means procrastination in my eyes. Doing what Maura did on that fateful February Monday signifies that I don’t want to deal with my problems or responsibilities for the moment. Missing a day or two of classes probably didn’t worry Maura because she knew she could handle the workload when she came back. When I play hooky, my lack of presence at work or school won’t be so necessary. 

Maura didn’t seem hooky enough to drink while driving, which is a great point made by Maggie on the show. Driving alongside Art on the route leading to the Haverhill crash site, Maggie mentioned Maura would have likely crashed on the sharper turned roads before the Route 112 location. In my opinion, I don’t believe Maura would be so irresponsible and inebriated to attempt those actions. 

The conversation about Maura won’t stop as the series continues for the next five weeks. 

For the newcomers who have just discovered the case, there is plenty of material to sift through between the podcast, blogs, and other miscellaneous works dedicated to Maura’s disappearance. I was featured on episode 43 of Missing Maura Murray, in case you just stumbled upon my blog for the first time. I’m planning on blogging further as the Oxygen series goes on.

I wish for resolution and peace on the Murray family. Hopefully this show grants them the answers they’ve needed for 13 years. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Joyce Kesse

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Without digging too deep into Jennifer Kesse’s disappearance, you would fully understand she was a stand up citizen. Episode 8 of Unconcluded, focused simply and solely on Jennifer’s individuality and experiences with loved ones.

Just knowing the simple fact that she moved into her first apartment at 24 years old is enough to realize her mature responsibility. I’m galaxies away from properly adulting. Times today are different though.

Jen could make a killer mac and cheese. She could recite an entire rap song after a couple of listens. Even after one of her roommate’s was experiencing a tough breakup, Jen drove an hour to deal and comfort her friend. Overall it’s understood Jennifer was genial, compassionate, and considerate.

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Again, I didn’t need to undertake these details to see Jennifer was a great person before Unconcluded came around. White noise, misinformation, and ignorance will make some people think a certain way about a missing or murdered person. Just like Drew Kesse said, Jennifer is not an object. Some of those people who view her as such do not grasp the big picture.

Besides that I’m glad Jen’s family and friends reinforce to the public that she was very conscious for her own safety. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Jen possessed a low victimology profile.

I want to discuss the episodes involving the alleged witnesses who saw Jennifer before or after she disappeared.

Lisa from Tennessee rushed out of the blue. For a moment I thought she’s a raconteur. Possibly how she could have remembered specific details from an uncomfortable encounter that occurred in 2006 or 2007? While I’m sympathize with her story, I don’t believe Lisa actually witnessed Jennifer at the jewelry store. The incident sounds stranger than fiction. Likely it’s just mistaken identity. Anyways I appreciate that Lisa contacted the Unconcluded hosts, which led down the path for her speaking to the Orlando Police Department and the FBI.

Erica’s story is the one I keep thinking about. Back in early June, after I attended the final day of CrimeCon in Indianapolis, I listened to ‘Roundabout’ in my Airbnb. Given the proximity of the Northridge Apartments to the Mosaic at Millenia, I truly believe Erica encountered that brief meeting with Jennifer. I don’t think you can mistaken Jen introducing herself by name and having a real sit down about things. The specific detail about Kesse sounding cutely like the word ‘kisses’ and Jen’s unique physical description according to Erica sounds like a dead ringer. Things became all too real when she witnessed the local news circulating Jen’s disappearance in real time.

However, Erica’s description of seeing a blonde woman being sort of subdued on January 23, 2006, sounds weird to me. While she may have witnessed the uncomfortable encounter, I do not know whether the blonde was actually Jennifer herself.

Moreover, the episode ‘HOTG’ (short for the Huntington on the Green apartments) included a resident by the name of Flo. Flo sounds just as sincere as Lisa and Erica but it’s rather weird to come across Jennifer on January 24, 2006. Jen’s Chevy Malibu was dumped at the HOTG by noon. By the time she allegedly and politely greeted, “Hey, how ya doin?” to Flo around 3PM, Jen’s family frantically arrived at the Mosiac at Millenia. I haven’t seen a picture of the prostitute who resembles Jennifer, but I’m willingly to bet the prostitute greeted Flo on that day.

It’s been repeated that the construction workers employed for the Mosiac at Millenia catcalled Jen. Some women feel flattered by catcalling while other women do not appreciate getting recognized in this detached, sexualized manner. I’m sick of men addressing women this way. While this detail is likely not too significant to the investigation, it still indicates Jen felt discomfort with unwelcomed attention by strangers. It’s rather unfortunate that the workers could not be traced. It’s very possible someone close became fixated towards Jennifer.

USA Today, Herald Tribune, and Crime Watch Daily have contributed articles in the last two weeks dedicated to Unconcluded’s efforts in vocalizing Jen’s cold case. I’ve haven’t seen an investigative podcast gather local and national attention lately besides Serial and Accused. I hope the Tampa and Orlando news affiliates that interviewed Shaun become a game changer. It’s important to show a real face bringing this case to the surface. I’m sure the person of interest who dumped the Malibu at the HOTG watched the segments. He better not forget what’s going on. He should be sweating in fear.

Somebody knows who you are.

A GoFundMe page was created recently to support the Kesse’s in bringing more awareness to Jennifer’s case. I will be donating soon. Anyone who remotely cares about this investigation should offer financial help. So far over $1000 has generated — a great lead by far.

 

Capping CrimeCon 2017

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Returning to my Airbnb from CrimeCon, my mind swirls with flashbacks about this jam packed three day weekend. So much to see and hear. Where do I begin?

My journey began by departing to Sarasota-Bradenton Airport at 4:30 AM.

This is it.

It’s really happening.

Don’t take advantage of an early bird flight. There are little to no lines clogging TSA. You’ll have a comfortable spot while waiting to board. Time to eat, sleep, or check social media in the meantime. 

For my first time traveling alone, checking in was fast and convenient. I learned flying is fun. I hadn’t boarded a flight since 2008. My fear of flying back then rested on getting motion sickness and potentially crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Your mind thinks of the screwy parts seen in the media: terrible TSA lines, people getting kicked off planes (yes you, United), and staff being rude or dismissive. Thankfully traveling from Florida –including the brief Atlanta layover — to Indiana was smooth sailing. 

Zeroing in on my Indy arrival sprang pretty quickly. I ubered straight to my Airbnb. It was go-time from there: shower, change my clothes, and finding my destination to CrimeCon. 

You can’t miss the The JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. 

Podcast Row was already in session when I stepped into the Marriott. Low and behold who do I spot at first glance? Tim and Lance from Missing Maura Murray. They just had to be first table upfront huh… 

Tim and Lance recognized me right away as we quickly greeted and hugged each other. Smiles and nervous chatter filled the air. They were very down to earth. 

I spotted True Crime Garage a few tables away. I’ve known Captain and Nic since December 2015, when I randomly stumbled upon their show from some Youtuber advertising them in the LordenARTS channel comment section. Captain was tall as heck, sporting his Rogue cap backwards and purple TCG shirt. Nic is the slimmer dude with the laid back disposition. Captain and I went in for the hugs. Interacting with Nic was interesting because we don’t speak very often with each other. The little conversation we had was cool.

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Article on Beth Andes from Accused

I was already overwhelmed with Podcast Row. 

I bounced back and forth between the MMM and TCG tables. Tim and I were chatting while Lance stopped by Starbucks for sustenance. I was really taken back by Tim’s piercing green eyes. In return, Lance was much quieter in my presence. I’m too reserved and reticent to keep a conversation flowing anyway. Eventually our MM counterpart James Renner arrived wearing his signature creme suit.

“Hi Aurelia.” Oh cool he knows me. 

Firstly, James is skinny and approachable as can be. I don’t think the haters should take him seriously. In the interim I chatted between passerby’s and podcasters including Esther (Once Upon A Crime), Robin (The Trail Went Cold), and Justin (Generation Why). 

My original plans flew out the window once I stepped onto Podcast Row. 

I hanged with the TCG crew as the session winded down. Nic had to exit CrimeCon early to later vacation in Florida. I was lending an ear while Captain smoked cigarettes through our sunny downtown trail. We settled for St. Elmo Steakhouse. 

My phone completely shutting off during this period was the shitty turn of events. 

Last minute observations:

I wanted to introduce myself to the Thin Air table. They’re like the sophisticated sounding missing people podcast narrated over such delicate voices. Almost think of Phoebe Judge from Criminal. Voices so soft spoken it’s artsy. I was shy to say hi. I did appreciate your live Facebook video from Podcast Row though. 

The Killing Season and Cropsy team, Josh Zeman and Rachel Mills. Rachel’s so little! I dived into the Long Island Serial Killer case after The Killing Season premiered. Seeing Bob Kolker was cool too. LOST GIRLS is a great book.

Keep being your suave self, Carl Marino. Nice to see you Aphrodite Jones. Nancy Grace is short statured and laidback. Her kids were nice too. Oh Ken Kratz. That’s all I gotta say. Josh Mankiewicz looks like the chillest man ever.

Day 2:

In my estimate, the demographic and median age at Crime Con was Caucasian women in their mid thirties to forties. Very rarely did I see peers, however I appreciate and prefer older crowds anyway. 

Podcast Row started much earlier at 9AM. Same ol’ thing I said my hellos to everyone. I remember Billy Jensen stopping by the TCG table. I’ve known Billy since he reported the Body Barrel murders on Crime Watch Daily. Captain and him were going over the case since TCG also covered the New Hampshire murders. I gleefully chimed in by stating I watched and appreciated the Crime Watch segment. From there I noticed Renner perched at his table. I used this opportunity for my copy of TRUE CRIME ADDICT to be signed. We made small talk about Maura Murray and my background. 

Renner originally thought I resided near UMASS, the school where Maura majored as a nurse. Up until 24 hours earlier, I had never visited another state until landing in Indiana. I don’t know what my blogging or personality says about the UMASS assumption but I will gladly accept it. People notice my level of tunefulness with Maura Murray’s disappearance.

Upon figuring out I’m a Florida native, James revealed he traveled to Tallahassee, the state capital, a month ago to find Maura. I was entertained. This is why people continue being interested in the case because new situations and possibilities always arise. The wild goose chase never ends.

I needed breakfast. Ribeye from St. Elmo’s was my last treat. 

Found my way to Lance in the long Starbucks line.

“I’ll get a coffee frap.”

This is when I found myself opening up to him. We discussed the CrimeCon whirlwind. It was just cool we were having a conversation — period. (Not to single out anyone again but Lance has the biggest blue eyes ever.) Never thought I’d see him sport magenta pants. I like it. 

Later on I attended the Golden State Killer session in the grand ballroom. 

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Crawlspace table

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My first encounter with the Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer case occurred while coming across a chilling Cold Case Files episode in my teens. I’ll never forget his scary ski mask sketch and frightening voicemail to one of his victims back in 1991.

All these years later watching the victim’s families mingle together for the first time and discuss their ordeal was personal. I believe forensic genealogy will break the case. FBI might be counting on this method for identification besides the ONS having a micro penis. No joke. 

Shout out to Mike Morford for joining the panel. I’ve been Twitter friends with Mike for awhile since he’s especially in tune with the ONS and Zodiac Killer investigations. I was too shy to say hi whenever he passed by me in the halls. 

For more on the ONS, 48 Hours recently covered the unknown assailant along with Michelle McNamara’s thorough and intriguing reporting. Michelle passed away in 2016. She placed the Golden State Killer moniker back in her 2013 ONS Los Angeles Magazine article. 

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Jon Ronson took center stage after the ONS presentation. You couldn’t miss him with his signature circular glasses and soft British voice. Tim and Lance joined alongside me. They were having a ball based on the joyous laughs I heard. Jon’s colorful speech illuminated the room. 

When everything concluded, I became the lingering lady among Tim and Lance. My nuisance of a phone died during Jon’s presentation. I just wanted to be around someone familiar for safekeeping. The MMM seminar was coming up anyway…might as well stick around. If you witnessed a long haired brunette bobbing around with her brown book bag, chances were it was me. As predicted that MMM presentation turned out enjoyable. The talk of trolls was one of the focal points. When that session was done, James, Tim and Lance recorded an Oxygen promo for the upcoming Maura Murray investigative six part series. 

Don’t worry, you guys did great. 

The calm afternoon followed with lunch at High Velocity, the restaurant serving the Marriott. I had never seen Tim and Lance congregate in a private setting before. They’ve been friends for 15 years. I couldn’t believe this was my life. Casually having a meal with popular podcasters. Maura Murray led us here.  

I’m a woman of a few words but I tried opening up the conversation. Anyways these guys are pretty funny and friendly behind the scenes. One on one, they are special in their own ways.

Did I dream of this weekend? 

We were all wiped out by lunch and led our separate ways. Back in my Bnb I worked like a mad scientist trying to figure out the damn phone. Touring the Marriott hours before weared me out. I missed out on the podcast cocktail hour because I was quarantined quite frankly by tiredness and lack of technology. Sucks that I missed it. 

Day 3:

Flitways saves the day.

If I were a podcaster, this is the part where I’d sponsor the hell outta Flitways, a car service similar to Uber and Lyft. The exception remains you can order a ride hours or days in advance. I seriously love this service for being sharp on time and taking me where I needed to be. It saved me from being deserted.

Anyways I was the driver’s 100th customer. Killing two birds with one stone.

I eventually grabbed my morning breakfast (Starbucks cookie and frap) to the grand ballroom. This was leading up to the second MMM presentation for 10AM. The big reveal for the audience was the announcement on the Oxygen Maura Murray series. The series trailer was introduced right away. Off the bat the content looks promising. I can’t believe Tim and Lance will be appearing on national television.

Life takes people you know in interesting directions.  

In hindsight, I noticed the female reporter from the trailer could serve as an investigative asset, since she roughly resembles the proximate age of what Maura would be today. That female perspective may make a difference in the public eye. 

I was not the only MMM guest who appeared at CrimeCon. Scott Reeder (Suspect Convictions), Nancy Grace (Crime Online), Justin Evans & Aaron Habel (The Generation Why), James Renner (TCA), and Erinn (Blogger @ 107degree.com) were essentially present in support. 

That must be humbling ya know. 

Overall the grand ballroom presentation was ten times better. The Happy Anniversary video was shown. People asked all kinds of questions. Good times. 

No straw hats were consumed in this event.

CrimeCon was practically done by noon. James and I said goodbye. Pictures were taken separately with Esther, Justin, Tim, and Lance. And right after I met Erinn. You likely heard Erinn’s interview in episode 33 on MMM. She’s really soft spoken and sweet.

Her blog is really analytical. I haven’t reached that level of thoroughness with my own blog. At one point last year I remember refreshing her work to see if any new posts were being made. The cool thing with the writers involved is how we display our own personality and perspective with the Maura Murray case. 

This final part is one of my favorite highlights. 

Erinn and I joined Tim and Lance for an Indianapolis Indians game at the Lucas Oil stadium. I was happy to spend my final hours with some sun, baseball, and beer. Again what is my life? 

My gratitude will never go away. 

Not long after we went our separate ways and said our final goodbyes. I hugged everyone. 

I got misty I’ll admit. 

I reminisced on my entire CrimeCon trip back in my Bnb. Food was ordered. I packed my bags and listened to the latest Unconcluded podcast.

I touched down Florida by Monday afternoon. Back to reality. 

Traveling by myself for the first time was fulfilling. Hopefully I left an overall good impression with the people I met. Attending the first ever CrimeCon makes me proud. I felt in my element. 

Fortunately twas no Fyre Fest.

Maybe I’ll relive it in Nashville. 

 

 

 

 

 

Unconcluded Episode 3 – Person of Interest

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

IMG_5601The opening of Unconcluded was reminiscent of Serial: Scott inspecting the Huntington on the Green while on call with co-host Shaun. The tone of Scott’s voice was concerning. Being stared by some unknown men, he became flustered and told Shaun to stay on the line with him. With no explanation of the location or subject matter, this opening would sound pretty tense to outsiders. Hearing a grown man feel fear comes off a little cinematic.

Between the HOTG and the Mosaic at Millenia, a contrast lies. Retails stores like Best Buy circulated near Jenn’s apartment. The spot where her Malibu was dumped shows a different picture. I’ve never been in an environment where a “no guns allowed” sign welcomed an apartment building. The fact that the HOTG pool rested near street view versus a private back entrance is weird. My advice as a lifelong Florida resident is to not live in a spot where passerby can easily spot you in a bikini.

While the Kesse’s rushed to the Mosaic circa 3PM on Monday, January 24, Joyce wouldn’t see the CCTV footage until the following Friday. I’m sure she felt an invasion of privacy seeing the man walk away from the scene. The audacity of it all. In her initial description the person of interest looked like a teenager with a tight bun. That kind of physicality never crossed my mind. The man appears to sport a bowl cut. Based on FBI’s estimation this POI stood between 5’3” to 5’5”.

Weird to imagine this guy taking on Jen at her 5’8” height.

If Jen’s case reached resolution, I could easily envision it being covered on Investigation Discovery’s See No Evil. 

The case continues being frozen even after the footage was fully released in May 2007. 

I recently watched the 48 Hours program on Jen’s disappearance called “Stolen Beauty”, which includes the recently resolved case of Tara Grinstead. While the cases possessed similar hall markings, it was alluded if both were connected. Ocilla, Georgia is nothing like Orlando. You can’t compare small town USA with a major metropolitan city that hosts a universal vacation destination by the name of Disney. Tara and Jen vanished three months apart but that means very little.

People disappear everyday. 

One of the OPD detectives who investigated Jen’s case mentioned it’s the hardest case he’s worked on in his 20 year career. The feeling’s mutual when there aren’t enough clues to determine. I believe somewhere in police files lies an important nugget of information.

Neighbors didn’t witness Ryan Duke enter Tara’s property. The same can be described for the POI in Jennifer’s investigation. Ryan had not once surfaced on police radar until his arrest in February 2017 — almost 12 years after Tara was reported missing.

It’s an unbelievable thing for people to become missing and murdered before your eyes.

Was it premeditated? I would yes. The time stamps described by Shaun on ‘Person of Interest’ indicates the man dropped off the car and walked away no less than a minute. He walked 102 feet into obscurity. Jen’s remains were hidden or buried really well to secure his alibi by noon.

Joyce corrected herself in episode 3 by stating the dog scent actually led to the bottom stairwell of the Mosaic overlooking a pond.

Seems to me her Malibu was their –POI and Jen– main mode of transportation during the commission of the crime. If he accessed his own car, I don’t think he would have utilized Jen’s to begin with.

The forensic evidence taken from her vehicle is of interest. Was there male DNA from the POI? How much gas was in the tank? 

When Logan and his friends stayed over Jen’s apartment while she vacationed in the St. Croix, did they see or experience anything vital?

Down the line I’m interested to hear about the people in Jen’s life. This will be discussed in episode 4 of the podcast. I’m expecting to hear about her supposed creepy co-worker. Somewhere on the internet I read one lengthy detailed blog about this guy. There’s also a local Hispanic man possibly pointed as the POI on Websleuths. He looks very convincing in my opinion. Before Unconcluded premiered I would think about these two separate guys from time to time. There’s a chance for a wider audience to learn about these individuals. From there we can work on offenders or killers in the vicinity, including women who have been attacked or gone missing like Jennifer. 

I think we can learn a thing or two about approaching investigations through podcasts, even coming from Up & Vanished, the podcast about Tara Grinstead’s disappearance. While Tara’s case does not immediately connect to Jennifer’s, the ways to network and discover information has become more intimate than hiring a private investigator. The city of Orlando should be aware of Unconcluded through the media. Newspapers, online articles, and interviews can broaden the podcast’s profile.

The tree shook Tara’s case this way.

More coverage means bringing even more heat. 

It’s all about cracking the killer or killer’s family and friends to speak up.  

 

 

 

 

 

Unconcluded Episode 2 – Endpoints

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Finally the two week wait was over. Episode 2 of Unconcluded arrived yesterday. A surprised awaited the audience:

Joyce Kesse.

Considering that Unconcluded recently premiered, I find Joyce’s sudden appearance unprecedented for any podcast on the scene covering an investigation of this capacity.

I did forget to mention in my last post that Joyce was acquainted with Shaun’s wife. This significant detail makes Shaun and Scott’s mission with Unconcluded much more personal.

IMG_5498Pretty much Joyce’s on board with the podcast. The discussion on Jennifer was really interesting. The particularities of her personality caught my attention such as Jenn preferably showering in the mornings, going over the latest Law & Order episodes with her mom, and checking the surroundings around her Honda vehicle.

The little things.

The misinformation in which the guys teased in the days leading up to ‘Endpoints’ actually dealt with confusion on the case timeline. The Kesse clan arrived at the Mosaic at Millenia by Tuesday afternoon at 3:15 PM — not at noon as Shaun had originally thought according to reports made on Greta Van Susteran’s former FOX NEWS show.

Meanwhile Jenn’s Honda was dumped at the Huntington on The Green Condominiums three hours before around 12:00PM. I understand why Shaun felt stumped for a moment: he assumed Jenn’s family arrived when the person of internet just barely covered their tracks around the corner.

Unfortunately the mark was missed.

An unnatural turn events occurred on January 24, 2006, so much for the Kesse family to hit the road right away. Normally one would think maybe the person fell ill, left their phone at home, etc. Jenn scheduled responsibility and tactfulness into her life. I’m confounded on how her disappearance unraveled.

 

I Google Map searched her neighborhood. Tranquility is what I sensed. Shift down to the houses on Moxie Blvd, they resemble distinctly to the ones near my former residence. As for the Huntington apartments, I can see why people say it’s “rough”. Rusty might be another way to describe the scenery. A shoddy-esque plaza sits next to these apartments. Familiar parts unknown as such existed close by where I lived.

Screenshot 2017-05-01 at 10.25.09 AM

The matter of fact way this elusive figure strolled by doesn’t surprise me. He doesn’t appear alarming or dangerous. People who might have witnessed his presence don’t recognize the significance of his role. When you think about it… people are away working or leaving for lunch break at noon. The mundane activity happening in the vicinity comes off typical for Tuesday. This person recognized the dismal neighborhood vibe besides his obliviousness to CCTV.

Confounding and serious questions come up.

Did the POI knock on Jenn’s door?

Was she snatched in the parking lot?

Did the POI break and enter in her Mosaic apartment?

When did they encounter each other?

Maybe Jenn was cajoled somehow.

The shower detail seems rather ordinary.  The damp towel found in Jenn’s home. The clothes positioned on her bed. Just sounds like Jenn rose early in preparation for work. If Jenn didn’t power off her phone as habit the night before, then I’d find that weird. Purportedly turning it off or removing the battery already sounds uncharacteristic, including Travis’ own cell phone. Given it’s 2006 and pre-smartphone days, I have no reason to think why she would attempt that.

I’m sure Jenn felt rested and rejuvenated arriving home from St. Croix. The last known hours of her life involved chatting on the phone with her boyfriend. Everything seems run of the mill until she vanished.

Families of missing or murdered loved ones encounter all kinds of people during this serious and sensitive plight. Psychics, charlatans, detectives. One remarkable detail in the Joyce phone call was hearing about the selfish people who surfaced. The woman who walked up to Joyce wanted her boyfriend to falsely take the fall as the man captured on CCTV. The level of crazy is incomprehensible. Personally I’d be shaking in my boots if any loony sized me up that way. The audacity of strangers inserting themselves is unavoidable.

Podcasts like Unconcluded provide a personal look into the case journey.

You can tell the hosts really care about progress and resolution. Anything is possible. Currently as I’m blogging this post the podcast peaks at #69 on the Itunes Chart, beating past Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace and Vice. More listeners are definitely paying attention compared to the weeks prior.

I’m predicting that a score of individuals will contact Shaun and Scott. Investigators, psychologists, and locals will likely want to lend their voices. Jennifer’s friends might even feel inclined to share their budding memories. People peripherally connected or not connected with cases commonly step forward with podcasts in the same vein.

Right now Joyce Kesse reaching out serves as a smooth indicator that Shaun and Scott are doing the right thing. I’m curious about their trip to Jennifer’s neighborhood, which will be the focus in episode 3. Besides Murder on the Space Coast, Unconcluded is the only other podcast centralized in my home state.

That’s something I really appreciate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unconcluded: The mysterious disappearance of Jennifer Kesse

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts, True Crime

I might be hooked with Unconcluded.

Unconcluded, the podcast which premiered today about the disappearance of a financial analyst, Jennifer Kesse. Those are the narrator’s words in verbatim.

I caught wind of Unconcluded leading more than a week ago. Jennifer’s case was one that fitted for potential podcast material in my mind. I wondered about compiling my own material but alas more fitting creators came around. As you listen to Episode 1, “Past, Present, Future,” you’ll understand Shaun’s narrative point of view on how and why he first encountered Jennifer’s story.

Shaun’s exact words echoed mine before I even heard the first show.

Proximity.

jennifer-kasse-350x231

Jennifer Kesse

I already became interested with the upcoming release of Unconcluded since Jennifer’s case centers in Orlando, Florida. I’m exclusively from South Florida –born and raised in Miami. While I’ve only visited Orlando once in my life, the overall vibe strikes almost the same if you drive down I-95 to Broward and Dade County. I’m a Florida native just like the creators, so I found it confounding that the word proximity popped up in our brains first thing.

I too hadn’t heard of Jennifer’s disappearance until 2015, nine years after she left without a trace. The simple fact that Shaun and Scott were longtime in the dark is astonishing as nearby natives. Beforehand I thought this was case was major news in Central Florida. I for sure didn’t hear or see anything on television further down south.

While only one episode premiered, I haven’t listened as intently to something like this since Missing Maura Murray. Again it’s proximity and the details about this puzzling case that had me all ears. When a show covers an investigation that happened essentially in your neck of the woods, you will want to know what’s up.

IMG_5373

Unconcluded the podcast

Last night I mentioned that this show seems like it’ll be special. I believe so. I hope so.

While people will probably associate Missing White Women Syndrome with Kesse’s case, I for certain wasn’t in the know for nearly a decade. How does a motivated and astute woman disappear? These are the answers the Kesse family are desperate to discover.

I’ve seen the Disappeared episode. I’ve run into Reddit and Facebook posts covering Jenn’s story. While you’re trying to uncover the utmost info, all you can do is click exist on the tab at the end of the day. I believe whole hardheartedly Jennifer was abducted. She didn’t possess a high victimology profile of living a risky lifestyle. The motivation to hunt Jenn most likely involved rape and/or robbery.

I’ve run through my head that CCTV tape, the unremarkable yet creepy figure walking away from Jenn’s Chevy Malibu, and the interim between her clocking out and being reported missing to the Orlando Police Department.

There’s just so many questions.

When the cold case officially turned 10, I reached Jenn’s age (24) when she disappeared. Being in someone’s shoes like that must be really surreal. What made her the target?

We’ll come to know when Unconcluded continues two weeks from today. I believe the podcast community will embrace this series since this case floats commonly in the TC bubble. I think her investigation deserves this kind of spotlight. Good things should come about.

Episode 1 was very well produced. The narrative is appropriately paced. The delivery was just right. I have a feeling these guys will accomplish with storytelling.

Unconcluded can be heard on Itunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and the podcast’s website.

43

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Finally back here in 2017.

And guess what? I appeared on Missing Maura Murray!

Episode 43, “Aurelia & Your Emails,” premiered last Monday. 

Firstly, Tim and Lance treated the interview process very well. Blogger, reporter, detective…they’ll make you feel worthwhile. My experience was nice overall. The episode capped at 45 minutes but we actually chatted for an hour. Some questions and answers discussed in my original interview were omitted for reasons of brevity and decorum concerning the subject matter.

Now onto the stuff everyone of my friends has been hearing about: the negative feedback.

I’m the first to admit that I’m the least interesting person interviewed on MMM. Going into the Q&A, I already knew I struggled for charisma and thought out responses. My shy and introverted personality could definitely be heard. No amount of tweaking and editing would have spruced up my timid image.

I’m very deadpan. People impulsively commenting about my dull demeanor comes at no surprise. Look I’m no Chris Hardwick. My answers won’t illuminate in animated fashion but at least I composed myself. It’s not everyday you’re invited to FaceTime with two articulate Massachusetts men.

So excuseeeeee meeeeee.

like

LA LA LA LA LA

My podcast debut appearance was stale. My blogging style doesn’t translate the same way as chatting face to face. Words and phrases stick together much more beautifully if I’m typing in pure peace. My brain operates like a Magic 8 ball: whatever I shake (type) just spits out something more viable.

Does that make sense?

The haters are correct to some degree. I couldn’t bare listening to my own voice either as I tapped the volume button lower and lower to utter muteness. Closed captions weren’t available for YouTube. Pitching my voice up next to Mickey Mouse level would have been plan B. Literally what worked was speeding the discussion at twice the level. As hilarious it kinda sounds, I seriously tolerated the interview this way.

By the way I recognize all of your fucking names and faces, so I will never forget. I’ve actually run into some of these people since I’m a member and admin of the exact crime Facebook groups they participate in. Here’s just my 2 cents: being invited on a show where the host cold calls you as a stranger is different than being asked to appear when you’re a contributor and friend. It’s not like I’m the forensic psychology professor from episode 11 (someone we never heard from again) who professionally discussed the case. Since I have personal ties, the embarrassment of being told you’re not up to par on your friend’s successful show –while they may or may not be receiving sucky emails– serves on another crappy level.

Until you’ve been invited or host your own podcast, you won’t understand the concept of putting yourself out there. Do ya really think Sarah Koenig spoke in perfectly improvised takes in Serial season 1? Would you appreciate hearing that your sister, son, or mother was criticized in the same vein as I was? One night I returned home from a tireless and thankless work shift, around 11:00 PM, to read your unfortunate comments after I mopped an entire restaurant floor, bussed tons of dirty tables, and carried heavy tubs all day.

That’s your contribution? Saying some wack stuff while you were probably shitting in the toilet.

Giving some perspective that’s all.

The public reaction was crickets. On the other hand, my friends who heard the show reassured I sounded smart, relaxed, great, etc, etc, etc. Besides my opinion, the individuals who come out to support you should count. That’s what really matters regarding my podcast appearance: the friends who stick by and believe in you should keep you grounded. Knowing people involved with their own podcasts, I totally understood their perspective even before appearing on MMM.

My pal Captain seems to receive flack every week on comments he makes on True Crime Garage. Even famous figures in the MM community –James Renner, John Smith, Tim, Lance– have experienced their own kind of wrath. At this point explaining yourself must get old.

Two sides emerged in how I felt:

YAY THEY INVITED ME EVERYTHING’S GREAT!

and

Damn ppl just don’t like me.

Everyone’s their own worst critic. Sometimes these comments make me feel like a pest for showing up on their feed. I’m not some random blogger that Tim and Lance cherry picked by the way. I’d like to believe we are like minded individuals who shared a few laughs and enjoyed our hour of company. 

As for my interview “not bringing anything to the table”…not much as been brought outside of my appearance for awhile anyways. All we gathered from “Wrangling Renner” was that James would eat his own words by consuming a straw hat. Then the recycled vitriol on his controversial reporting followed later in the comment boards.

Predictable.

I’m laying low in expectations until the documentary airs.


For listeners who don’t know me, I’ve been blogging about their show since July 2015. They always tweeted my entries after I poured over their new episodes. I’ve been in the picture even before John Smith jumped on board. We’ve been friends in the background and held many private conversations regarding the investigation. 

Maura Murray is my pet case. I think about her everyday. I think about whether resolution will ever arrive. I don’t carry the badge of reporter or private investigator but I’ve monitored this case intensely for two years.

Disappeared initially was the program where I discovered Maura’s missing person’s case in 2013. I lounged heavily during that period watching back to back captivating episodes. My immediate reaction wasn’t to scour the internet; I hadn’t even remembered her name. I was interested needless to say — enough to recall Linda Salamone speaking up about being contacted by Sharon Rausch (Billy’s mother) months after Maura disappeared. Sharon was trying to account whether Maura called for a overnight condo stay. Linda’s descriptions of things caught my eye based on how she couldn’t simply place her finger. As unremarkable a detail could be, something about Linda’s genuine and kind demeanor stayed with me. 

Of course there were the chilling car accident photos. Without that tangible body of evidence the case wouldn’t appear alive. I immediately sensed Maura was in visible danger. At that instance Maura’s investigation became critical and unique but I didn’t pry any further. 

The little things like Linda, the Not Without Peril book, and the car accident pictures served significant in my memory. The most mysterious question above all:

Where did the bright and beautiful college student end up?

My Serial mention is very important because Serial changed everything in popularizing true crime podcasts. 2014 is when I became vocal for the first time online about my lifelong interest in mysteries. Reddit and Facebook became the chambers where I explored other unknown or obscure investigations. By January 2015, I became reintroduced to Maura Murray through Reddit, Generation Why and Thinking Sideways.

I learned about Alden Olsen and James Renner for the first time. (For one year, I avoided watching the Happy Anniversary Youtube video). During this time I obsessively Google Map searched the Haverhill crash site. The aerial shot of greenery was eye opening and chilling. Literally Maura disappeared into thin air and I didn’t realize how remote the location really was.

That’s what I mean by being “a little obsessed” a few months before Missing Maura Murray premiered.


The positives.

Hearing myself laugh on the podcast made me laugh out loud.

Tim and Lance saying my name. Flattering to hear a couple of New England men pronouncing mine, even if they started mistakenly referring me by Amelia. 

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I thought my interview would turn out more along the lines of the Generation Why episode. Justin, Aaron, and the Blue Apron bros discussed their experiences hosting their own separate shows while going over famous cases that commonly float in the TC community. Annie McCann was the extent of my additional bite size case shout out. Forgot to mention I’ve written about Lori Erica Ruff, Adnan Syed, Jacob Wetterling, and much more. 

Overall brain freeze. 

Moreover, my brief story about being “missing” on MMM can be read in Under The Rug. That part of my interview was cut majorly. I stayed over someone’s home after we’d been hanging out and enjoying our company. Although not going back home wasn’t intentional, I just needed some space. (My life was super monotonous and boring during that time because of unemployment, reclusiveness, and depressing living conditions. For my age it sucked tremendously). My family noticed my absence the next morning.

In a social media dominated world and fast access to cell phones more than ever, monitoring where someone may be can make a difference.

Let’s say this is 1995. The nearest thing to contact is landlines. Alerting police about my unknown whereabouts would have seriously embarrassed me — then and now. Nobody wants to be a missing person’s poster. Nobody wants family or strangers digging through your personal items or computer history. Just how family discovered my Uber destination from the day before is something I still don’t want to know. BTW Uber displays all the former addresses you previously rode to. Pretty privy information exists there if people wanna dig even deeper.

I initially froze at the tampons question (I’m sure so did Lance). As a young woman myself, I forget where I place or hoard items. The birth control found in Maura’s car doesn’t mean anything more other than birth control was just there. Having heard MMM episode 17 about the possessions found in her Saturn, things seem ordinary that she placed stuff for her convenience and comfort. How many times do I throw in my IPhone charger, random $20 bill, and cheap lip gloss in my bag before I hurry for work? While scanning my purse the next day, I’d forget I actually carried those items around.

Females (it seems in my experience) possess an inordinate amount of items for their own convenience. We just wanna appear put together or keep things in one place when the necessary time comes.

Why did I start blogging?

When MMM first came out, there weren’t any new podcasts premiering in the TC genre; therefore, my renewed interest in the Maura Murray case colliding with Tim and Lance’s show seemed like the right fit. After publishing Missing Maura Murray — the new Serial? (my first post), I decided to stick around.

Besides producing a serialized podcast, the unique fact that Tim and Lance were already filming a documentary caught my attention. Things were already gestating long before I hit play on MMM.

One question asked during my interview (later cut in the editing room) was why hadn’t I started a podcast. The truth remains that a mother load of TC programs are already exist. Literally dozens and dozens of new podcasts premiered in the last year. This may come as a surprise but my interest in true crime and mysteries has dwindled heavily.

It has died inside me.

Why? Well I’ve been exposed with a lifetime supply. While watching a syndicated crime series, I’m no longer riveted or respond physiologically with holding my breath or goosebumps. I’m truly desensitized. As for dabbing in the podcast trenches, all the other audio programs are regurgitating the same cases anyway. I’ve already seen all the Dateline, Forensic Files, Cold Case Files, 20/20, America’s Most Wanted, and Unsolved Mysteries episodes in the world to grasp my slightest interest in the BTK Killer or Jon Benet Ramsey one more time.

Jordan from The Night Time Podcast and Captain have expressed multiple times I should start my own show. Flattering but I just don’t know guys.

Doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel. I watch the ID Channel and Justice Network almost everyday. Go monitor my Reddit history and you’ll see which cases bring my attention. I’m still interested and appreciate learning about crime in my own private way.

I’m just stuck that’s all. I’m telling everyone the deal since the guys inquired if I was working on other cases.

The men are on a roll lately. They’re reviewing books (THE SKELETON CREW), interviewing TC figures (Overacker, Todd Matthews), and getting stuck in snow trying to attend vigils for crying out loud, alongside my friend Chloe in Crawlspace. I remember stating in MMM you’d have to be a “people person” to do what Tim and Lance does (that part of the conversation was later omitted). I didn’t literally mean being personable but you have to be prepared to meet whoever and gather the story as best you can to take on this job. With the copious amounts of podcasters already available, I believe the company already subscribed on listener’s phones are superior in coming up with cooler strategies and story lines.


For a 13 year old investigation involving a missing college student, the word abduction isn’t thrown around much. Why aren’t more people besides myself not expressing the abduction theory? The investigation appears difficult for resolution because Maura disappeared on a darkened New Hampshire highway, 150 miles from the Amherst Umass campus. In my humble opinion she naively hitched a ride. I agree with Fred Jr’s statement in The Boston GlobeMaura wasn’t street smart enough to brave her surroundings. Also I co-sign with him that I’m not putting up with any conspiracy theories.

Maura’s case appears so clear cut in my eyes. I’d hate for the white noise to morph into Lochness monster status. Bigfoot type caricature level almost. The upside with mystery media is garnishing leads. We’ve seen lately with crime documentaries (Making A Murderer) and podcasts (Up And Vanished) that developments in the criminal judicial system literally happens. Results potentially leading from Tim and Lance’s documentary would be nice.

Maura’s Jansport bookbag, Samsung cell phone, and Saturn car keys have not been traced till this day. That seems suspicious as hell considering many people throw out she succumbed in the elements. Do ya really think Maura would have walked for miles in the freezing woods? I think unlikely.

Early when I first encountered MMM I didn’t believe Fred’s statement that Maura may have headed to Bartlett, Vermont. Firstly, no one knows for certain her intended destination. But as time as passed I actually think Fred is correct. He seemingly knew his youngest daughter better than anybody else. The evidence in Maura’s cell phone records solidify that especially. I def believe she wanted to lodge somewhere. Maybe work on some homework, spot the scenery, return in time for Umass classes and the Connecticut Dane Cook tour date by February 12th.

Whether she was gonna shack up with a mystery man……that begs a bigger question.

The YouTube from above doesn’t display the exact Saturn crash site but having spotted the small town feel, I don’t believe for one second Maura made it past this place. Someone knows something. The isolating and rustic feel of Haverhill is enough for me to believe otherwise. Locals definitely witnessed her presence.

Maura is dead. By stating foul play from the get go, death by murderous intentions is what I mean. Based on personal conversations I’ve had, I believe she in that slab of concrete in nearby local property. If Fred discovered the local or transient that killed Maura, he would want to rip off their head. Her killer should be afraid. Even though the dormancy of developments may keep people like Fred at bay, the avalanche of emotions will pour when her remains are finally discovered.

God forbid.

To close off my post, I want to thank Tim and Lance again for inviting me. I was so happy to finally meet them in that capacity. I’m seriously waiting with anticipation for their documentary. The footage will be especially unique because moments from podcast past will surface. Moments I remember being present for.

White Noise

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

The most striking set of images were posted on James Renner’s blog recently: digital pictures of Maura Murray. Sans the snow and winter gear, I’m pretty sure these pics took place during the spring or summer of 2003. (I could be wrong). Maura, Billy, Julie, Fred, and an unidentified male are together in a riverboat.

Smiles.

Gorgeous scenery.

Happy times.

The sight of these snaps cancels the white noise. Maura may have committed some unsavory acts, but she is still a missing person who deserves respect. She shines in these pics. You can see the gentleness in Fred’s face before everything happened. 12 years of agony and pain appears so visible in his expressions today. One friend of mine best summed it up, “His anguish is imprinted on his face.”

Fred doesn’t feel that way not just because Maura is missing but that deep down he knows she was harmed.

Recently I experienced my own car wreck. I became nervous for damaging property that wasn’t my own. The whole time I just wanted to go home. I can’t see how another young woman like Maura wouldn’t feel any nerves in a darkened street –150 miles away from UMASS– in freezing New Hampshire.

James (not the author but a separate friend) and I speak regularly about the case. James has thrown out every theory from plausible to outrageous in my direction. Lately he believes Maura could have come across a police impersonator on Route 112. He isn’t sure what to make of Witness A’s statement of seeing a police cruiser near the accident. Did Karen see a disguise?

The theory into a fake cop stumbling by doesn’t sound far fetched. James’ ex-girlfriend encountered one in upstate New York back in 2007 –back when they were coupling in college. His story goes:

She was babysitting in the Adirondack mountains up north in the wilderness off New York. She would babysit when she went up north to her parents camp summer home. And she was leaving babysitting and heading back to her parents summer home using back roads with no lines painted on them. And a police officer followed her for awhile with high beams on seeing into her car, and then put on the police car lights and pulled her over.

Claimed she was crossing the yellow line and that she needed to get out of the vehicle to take a sobriety test. There was no yellow line. So she pointed that out and argued and the policeman wrote her a ticket for reckless endangerment and left. And the next day her and her parents took the ticket to the police station. It was a fake ticket, fake information, fake officer, the ticket was not even the type of ticket that police department issued.

 
No officer by that name. The guy had full cop car, full outfit, belt, badge, everything. There was even police info and numbers on his car. 

While this account has nothing to do with Maura’s case, it still brings up an interesting possibility. If Maura stepped into a fake police vehicle, that would mean she was cooperating all along, despite many people’s beliefs she fled in fear of being caught (whatever that reason may be). Maura wasn’t afraid of owning up to her actions.

An interesting observation I hadn’t noticed before involves how small the states border New England. For one thing I was surprised to learn that Maura and her high school friends would club all the way to Rhode Island in TRUE CRIME ADDICT. In addition, I hadn’t deciphered the actual close proximity from Woodsville, NH to Vermont.

Literally minutes away!

Maura Murray is not the only female to disappear under strange and similar circumstances. Back in March 2000, Leah Roberts road tripped from North Carolina to Washington. The 1993 Jeep Cherokee belonging to the 23 year old was found damaged in a forest embankment by Mount Baker Highway. Valuable possessions such as Leah’s passport, driver’s license, and $2500 in cash were discovered near the car. Leah’s cat, Bea, was believed to have traveled with her, yet the feline was never found.

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Leah Roberts

Six years later, an amazing development happened when two detectives discovered that the Jeep’s starter relay was severed, leading them to believe the car accelerated “without anyone depressing the gas pedal, confirming early suspicions that no one had been in the car when it left the road and thus had been purposely wrecked.

Foul play much?

The Jeep’s starter relay being cut brings the same hall markings for Maura’s Saturn containing a rag in the tailpipe. While one example appears more deliberate than the other, the mysterious rag continues to be puzzling in purpose.

I’ve read in Reddit before that Maura emailing to her professors about her impending absence from class -because of a family emergency- as a red flag. That’s not a red flag. Haven’t you ever given a BS excuse before? I have missed days of school because I was “sick”. This reminds me of Annie McCann‘s case, a Virginia teen who disappeared on Halloween of 2008, later turning up dead in the ghetto. Annie transported her fate onto Baltimore with her Volvo and $1000 in cash. I can see why Maura depleted her bank account and brought alcohol along for the ride. Same with Annie. They must have had a temporary plan.

Brittanee Drexel disappeared in South Carolina after surreptitiously road tripping from New York in April 2009. The teen vanished walking out of a Marriott hotel. Brittanee, Annie, Maura, and Leah share one commonality in their cases: none of them notified to friends and family they were heading off somewhere, with the exception of Brittanee texting her teen boyfriend in real time until she literally vanished. The lack of information is the crux into crucial clues.

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Brittanee Drexel

I was the same age as Annie and Brittanee. My resources were limited in high school and college. If I had my own car and money, my outings probably wouldn’t stick strictly to my surroundings. The only difference is I remained in the dark and kept to my environment because I didn’t have much. Experiencing a sense of adventure feels important to any young woman. You pick and choose what is worth dealing with: getting yelled at, missing a few days of school, running the risk of getting lost. Trailing off like that comes at a painful cost whenever people never appear again.

The Murray’s have likely experienced an ambiguous loss. Last summer I read an article about ID’s The Vanishing Women, where in which ambiguous loss was specifically mentioned as the kind where the “trauma one experiences after a family member or close friend inexplicably goes missing.” Families cope differently with this loss when concrete answers aren’t known. Closure is suspended.

I’m no expert in psychology. How I gathered the info about ambiguous losses seems to make sense in this frame. Dr. Pauline Boss coined the term. If you are interested in learning more, Pauline was interviewed on the On Being podcast. Also, this NPR article about the missing Malaysian airliner cross references ambiguous loss.

Maura left UMASS what seems suddenly for a Monday afternoon. Next thing you know her Saturn becomes inoperable in rural New Hampshire…but she disappears. Nobody to our knowledge knows where she went from there and why. No remains have identified Maura. These haunting thoughts and what if’s perpetuate the ambiguous loss of a missing loved one.

How do you go forward?

You simply can’t…

Based on recent Renner posts, the last day to drop out of classes in UMASS -without financial penalty- was February 10. I dropped out of my college courses numerous times this way. Renner also discusses financial aid distribution; not sure if this pertains to UMASS exclusively though. Financial aid was my savior. I had always wondered whether Maura received aid. With the knowledge of impending aid coming her way, I’d find Maura’s actions even more natural for comfortably taking out $280 from her account.

Between working two jobs and picking up a full time class schedule, slacking off in the first few weeks is seemly normal for any student. Maybe Maura wanted to sign up for an online class. In the week she disappeared, Maura was supposed to see Dane Cook in Connecticut. Heading off to the north country before hand doesn’t seem weird or suspicious in my view.

When it comes to college crunch time, especially as a nursing student, I can’t see how anyone would have time off.

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Shannan Gilbert

I strongly believe Maura is not in the woods. I personally think it’s insane she would hide or die there. People speculate that theory as if she was Shannan Gilbert. Shannan was a New Jersey escort who disappeared in Long Island back in 2010. While the cops didn’t find her immediately, Shannan’s case led the catalyst into Suffolk County police discovering the graveyard of victims by the Long Island Serial Killer.  17 months after Shannan vanished, her remains were discovered in the same Gilgo beach marsh. Whether foul play was involved or not, witness accounts allege that Shannan became frantic and ran off, on the job, so to speak. Armchair sleuths speculate she became unhinged because of being drug induced or a mental psychosis. The facts remain Shannon never left Long Island when she was deceased nearby all along.

 

Can you see why Maura is just simply not in the woods?

The Rick Graves and Mark Harper episodes of Missing Maura Murray should be enough.

Everybody plays the game of twister with Maura’s case. The credit card charges, the UMASS cabin, the car accidents, her dating life, the Woodsville witnesses…these are some of the reasons that make people metaphorically extend their arms and legs from one theory onto another. People contort the facts into one giant glob of speculation.

The more Maura is discussed, the more she keeps fading and fading.

White noise.

She isn’t folklore or a figment though. She mattered. And for that I stay grounded.