Capping CrimeCon 2018

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

There are probably two emotions you feel by seeing the massive amount of CrimeCon posts on social media this past weekend: joy or jealousy.

Joy for attending a jam packed and exciting event; jealousy for everyone experiencing the fun without you.

Fortunately I planned months ahead and decided to give the event a second try after attending the first ever CrimeCon in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2017. Nashville is where everything took place this year but you didn’t need to even leave the city. The Gaylord Opryland Resort is seriously massive. The scenery can get you lost like The Shining maze but the structure and visuals are remarkable.

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It’s hard to describe but Google isn’t deceptive in the images you would see.

My room wasn’t ready at the check in; I wandered aimlessly around the Opryland.

Must have been 30 to 45 minutes in when I spotted a familiar looking guy with a newsboy hat in the check in aisle.

Lance. Missing Maura Murray, Crawlspace, Empty Frames…

We recognized and hugged each other after I sprinted get his attention. Justin from Generation Why and Tim Pilleri (MMM/Crawlspace) greeted me nearby. I was just happy to see someone I fucking knew.

I stood by wherever Tim and Lance went. Maggie Freleng from the Oxygen docuseries on Maura Murray’s case arrived soon after and they all headed to an outside bar. Not in a drinking mood, I awkwardly escorted myself out to get coffee. I’ll admit I partly distanced myself because I didn’t feel cool next to Maggie. She’s down to earth though. My shyness is the worst but I would have loved having a personal conversation with her.

THANKS FOR FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER 🙂

Strangely enough at the Starbucks line is where Captain from True Crime Garage appeared. We were going over our day and whatnot. He and I headed over to the MM case gang and heard them speak about whatever.

Podcast Row first kicked off things for CrimeCon. That is where I met Rabia Chaudry from the Undisclosed podcast. Serial was my biggest obsession in 2014, along with Rabia’s Twitter feed on anything Adnan Syed. She’s sorta familiar with me and I’ve written a past article on her book chronicling the case. Rabia was very friendly and we took a selfie together.

I said hi to James Renner. The True Crime Garage line was longer than the wall of China. The Golden State Killer session was a hot attraction especially with the jaw dropping news of Joe DeAngelo’s capture occurring nine days earlier. Paul Hole’s surprise appearance spread quickly on Twitter for those who missed the session including myself. Pretty much that was the most popular story all throughout CrimeCon.

#HotForHoles

The main events I attended on Day 1 were the first Missing Maura Murray panel, the Colonial Parkway Serial Killings session, and watching the part one debut of Finding Maura Murray.

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Colonial Parkway Serial Killings presentation at the Presidential CDE

This indoor bar and lounge located in the Opryland, Fuse, was the main attraction late at night. Pretty packed, you would notice familiar faces in the true crime podcast world.

Payne Lindsey, Bob Ruff, Justin Evans, Aaron Habel, Susan Simpson, Rabia Chaudry, Captain and Nic from True Crime Garage, Robin Warder, Tim and Lance. Devin from Thinking Sideways complemented my newly adorned acrylic nails and name. She was cool as well as several podcast listeners who said hi but there were a couple of other women in this bar that rubbed me the wrong way.

Day 2 brought out more of the same from the day before.

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My well adored pizza shirt on Day 2

Podcast Row was a nonstop commotion. I met John Lordan from Youtube’s Brainscratch. I mentioned my interest in the Maura Murray case and the videos he has subsequently covered over it. Off topic, Jordan stated that AFI was his favorite band or that his favorite song was made by them. I pretty much knew where he was going because AFI released a track called ‘Aurelia’ in 2016. I was super excited when they first released that track, so I appreciated hearing that Jordan really liked this obscure song.

My first session included Callahan Walsh speaking up about his life and professions connected as a criminal justice advocate. Callahan’s father is John Walsh, the star of America’s Most Wanted and The Hunt with John Walsh. Very interesting session and very nice guy. I introduced myself to Callahan after the session concluded. Last but not least I appreciated seeing Darren Kavinoky host the panel, as I have watched his ID channel shows in the past. The dude is charismatic and cool.

Kinda wish I said hi to Darren and complemented his spunky handcuff graphic styled shirt.

The Undisclosed session was another one I hit up since I’m the previously obsessed Serial fan. The basics of Adnan’s case were covered but the presentation was displayed like a literal science project. There was a biology, math, and psychological lesson weaved into their session. Nothing but respect for Susan Simpson, Colin Miller, and Rabia.

The next session I attended was the Dateline panel featuring four famous reporters from the cast: Keith, Andrea, Dennis, and Josh. This was a popular panel as you may imagine. They were awesome.

My last session of the day was Crawlspace. The discussion focused entirely on the Golden State Killer since Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes were the guest speakers next to Tim, Lance, and Maggie. Billy and Paul have researched the case for years and were friends with Michelle McNamara before she passed away.

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CrimeCon Crawlspace session

I stopped attending any CrimeCon presentations after that and crashed in bed.

Acme Seed and Feed is where I ventured later at night. My asocial self would have preferred greasy takeout food and Saturday Night Live but being a shut in was becoming too boring. I met the nicest Lyft driver who took me downtown. We bonded and related on a few things: we were both 26, we both had names starting with the letter A, and we are both Hispanic.

The rooftop area of Acme was my main destination. I caught up with Captain and made small talk with Justin and Esther from Once Upon A Crime. I first met Esther in a Sword & Scale meetup in 2016. She has seen the worst out of me: passed out drunk and puking all over the place. Tonight I was keeping it simple with one drink. Moreover my reticence was bugging me. From a distance I noticed Paul Haynes, the guest speaker from the earlier Crawlspace session. With much courage I introduced myself to Paul.

In Michelle McNamara’s L.A. magazine article on the Golden State Killer, she mentions working with a South Florida researcher –later learned to be Paul– back when he was an anonymous source. The geographic detail always stayed with me. As a South Florida native myself, I learned through him that he’s from Fort Lauderdale and used to visit the Tower Theater in Miami where indie and foreign movies are shown; I once lived in the same neighborhood where this particular theater is located.

I appreciated hearing about our shared local roots. That part of the conversation made me comfortable chatting up a stranger like him, especially since he was well spoken and smart. Our main discussion throughout the night was on Joe DeAngelo. Also, Paul introduced me to Billy Jensen, the same reporter from the earlier Crawlspace session. I’ve been a fan of Billy’s ever since he reported the Body Barrel Murders on Crime Watch Daily. 

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GSK table

Paul and I eventually Ubered to the Opryland since it was getting late. He had another GSK session to attend early the next morning. Apparently he had already consumed four drinks. I would be disappointed if he didn’t remember our encounter. Anyways let’s keep in touch if you read this.

I found James Renner waiting for coffee at Starbucks when I needed to grab a quick breakfast the following morning. We basically had the same conversation from last year’s CrimeCon: Gators, GSK, and Maura Murray. I’ll say I did a lot better striking up conversations in Nashville than in Indianapolis, even if it was repetitious in this case. Whatever the case I appreciated the small chat with James.

The major GSK panel was the one I saw on the third and final day of CrimeCon. It was my first time hearing Paul Holes discuss the case alongside the survivors Jane, Debby, and Margaret. With the recent news of Joe’s capture, it was bittersweet to see everyone reunited and rejoiced over the whole thing. Last year at CrimeCon I attended a GSK panel when everything was shrouded with mystery; Jane and Debby were there too. It’s humbling to see how things unfolded almost one year later; however, there remains many unknown questions regarding Joe’s whereabouts before, during, and after the rapes and murders he allegedly committed.

Podcast Row was still ongoing after the GSK session. There is this really adorable video I posted on Twitter featuring a bunch of podcasters posing together for a picture during this time. This is one of my favorite moments from CrimeCon.

While Podcast Row was emptying out and podcasters were parting ways to go home, Tim and Lance were still conducting interviews. Octavia Zapala just happened to be with them. Seeing her was a surprise because her podcast Missing Alissa wasn’t mentioned in the CrimeCon website. The one thing I was most curious about –which I asked– was her background. Octavia is Italian and not Hispanic like I originally thought.

Octavia stands out between her accent and reporting in a world where true crime podcasts are dominated by white men. We had a pleasant back and forth. 

For the rest of the day I hanged out with Tim and Lance.

Our conversations consisted of sharing a mutual indifference to Star Wars and some privy Maura Murray information. Even I couldn’t let go after checking into the Nashville airport and watched them hilariously circle around for food.

This is the second time they let me tag along for anything. I go with it because fuck it they’re awesome people. 

Nashville was a blast and there is more I would have wanted to explore. The convention was such a whirlwind.

New Orleans is the next big trip since the city will host CrimeCon in 2019.

 

 

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My MMM Episode: One Year Later

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

The mention of episode 43 of the Missing Maura Murray podcast probably doesn’t register with you, even if I told you I appeared in it.

Aurelia, who? Amelia? Aurora?…

Today officially marks one year since my episode premiered. Right now I can’t bring myself to listen again; I decided to scroll on Instagram instead. Here’s what I remember from the show:

Tim and Lance Facetimed with me but they couldn’t record the video because I wasn’t using Skype. Routinely their Youtube page contains video of interviews from MMM and Crawlspace but in a way I’m glad my images aren’t out there for people to nitpick me some more. 

In previous occasions Lance mentioned the possibility of getting interviewed –as early as 2016– until he formally asked me in March 2017 if I would like to go on the show. I was like heck yeah!

I still get psyched that this even happened in the first place. 

Today the podcast has recorded 73 episodes. Honestly I didn’t foresee such a gargantuan coverage on the Maura Murray case like they’ve done in this show. At most I thought the show would conclude in 2016. At some point they’ve probably wanted to throw in the towel but I’m sure the impending release of Finding Maura Murray will determine how much longer they’ll produce the podcast.

I still feel insecure with how some listeners negatively expressed their thoughts on my interview. Even if people criticize you on the internet I’m sure most to none would not say it to your face. Besides if some unknown blogger like myself was interviewed, people will always find umbrage with whatever content Tim and Lance put out. Recently they discussed about an American murderer, Israel Keyes, on his possible connection to the New Hampshire area, and if he might have abducted Maura Murray.

In my eyes I don’t see any ties with Israel being connected to Maura’s disappearance. Some listeners, including James Renner, disagreed with the podcast producing an episode on Israel because the content seemed to stretch past anything concrete about Maura. Hearing about that criticism kinda comforted me. Even though Israel possesses an interesting murder profile, making him the subject for a true crime podcast garnered some flack.

So whether Tim and Lance interview little people like me or discuss potential serial killers is apparently not enough… 🙂

I haven’t blogged since the Oxygen series concluded last year. Since then the 14 year anniversary of Maura’s disappearance has passed. One figure by the initials of J.S. decided to “step away” from the case. For reasons unknown, J.S. started to verbally insult Tim and Lance on Reddit and Facebook. It’s one thing to break away communication but it’s another thing to post their addresses on Youtube. These embarrassing actions make me believe he is one of the least credible and trustworthy people to come across the case. Tim and Lance don’t deserve that treatment, along with the other negative remarks thrown at Art and Maggie.

It’s like why are you getting jealous? They aren’t detectives. Have some decorum for once.

In the height of the Me Too Movement, James Renner communicated with two women who had trysts with Billy Rausch during his marriage. James posted their side by side interviews on his Youtube page. Hearing about the encounters was interesting but these allegations still mean nothing towards the Maura Murray disappearance. These claims seem to show that Billy is a sleaze but James is trying to persuade people that Billy may have caused harm to Maura– whether that is directly or indirectly.

Besides that no more tv specials like the Oxygen documentary has been produced. True Crime Addict was a standalone unique book on the MM case. The only other literary publication I can see happening is one focusing on the disappearance and death of Maura Murray, and the subsequent aftermath of those events if they ever came to light. Arrests, trials, you name it… I would love to read that book.

Speaking of books, I checked out of my local library the Seventeen magazine special edition book that chronicled true crime stories from their issues. Maura’s case was first presented in their July 2004 issue; her story was one of seventeen displayed for this one of a kind book. Out of all the stories, Maura’s is the only one that focused on a missing person investigation. As a former subscriber to the magazine, I loved reading every page but especially the true crime section. It was like one minute OH CUTE MAKEUP TIPS then to OOOO SERIOUS MURDER STORY.

All of the stories displayed in the book were equally fascinating. 

Finding Maura Murray will debut in CrimeCon this year. For anyone who is attending Nashville in May, you should definitely stop by for that. Incidentally the first day of CrimeCon takes place on Maura’s 36th birthday. 

The fascination persists in subtle ways but I’m getting jaded. I want resolution in this investigation. I’m sure Finding Maura Murray will rejuvenate the obsession for people who put the case in a corner.

To this day I could definitively say I made three individuals obsessed with this case and podcast: Captain from True Crime Garage, Jordan from the Night Time Podcast, and a high school classmate of mine. The details of Maura’s disappearance gravitate people for some natural reason. Hands down this is one of the most discussed cases in true crime.

You can’t argue with that.

 

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. 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogiversary

Podcasts, Uncategorized

Today my blog turns 1.

I had attempted the podcast thing but limited resources and one-too-many-Serial-case-spinoffs put me on the short end. Speaking of Hae Min Lee’s case, Generation Why brilliantly promoted Missing Maura Murray on that episode. I already knew of Maura’s case through Disappeared back in 2013. Now a podcast? Cool I’d check it out.

A few months before MMM, I actually ran into this case again and got mini-obsessed. OHHHH MAURA MURRAY. This whole time her name was indecipherable but the rural road crash detail clicked for me. It wasn’t dormant after all. Already a popular internet fixture, there were a few new things I learned: James Renner, an investigative journalist, was blogging the New England mystery; Alden Olsen, a strange middle aged man posted creepy videos; Maura’s college troubles.

One of the weird things I put together –because I was Serially obsessed– was that she vanished in New Hampshire on the same day that Hae was found deceased in a Leakin Park burial site. A morbid but fascinating fact. The events took place five years a part.

Fast forward to summer and I’m hearing the new podcast. The guys voices sounded cool, smart, and professional. I especially dig the melancholy piano piece. The artwork of the illuminating figure treading away captured that mysterious essence. Because there was more to Maura than meets the eye –and I had already been formally introduced to the case– I jump started my blog.

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OG MMM listeners like myself know that it originally premiered on Thursday mornings. My favorite highlights take place during that early run. When Renner first appeared, I remember sitting up in bed so titillated with his commentary. OMG SARA SHUT THE DOOR?? A funny moment was Tim getting spooked during The Scorpion when inspecting a photograph of Maura after she was busted with credit card fraud. These early batch of episodes always led me with dread whenever they ended. I wanted more.

Some of the terms thrown around were confusing.

  • What’s a snowbank?

I’ve never experienced or seen snow, so, that didn’t register right away.

  • Tandem driver, cylinders

I don’t drive. I don’t possess much knowledge in car models, mechanics, and basic automobile terminology.

  • White Russian, Kahlua.

Alcohol is not my vice. Sometimes I indulge, but I never before heard of these beverages.


Blogging felt arduous in the beginning; however, my writing and insight became stronger with time. Sometimes I thought my entries were weak but Tim and Lance always rewarded me with kindness. We quickly developed a rapport. Trust. Support.

Like-mindedness.

Besides Maura Murray I’ve blogged about other topics. After writing my Serial anniversary post, a reader felt so moved by my work that she personally sent me a mug. A generous and heartwarming gift. Sadly the doodles washed off. The fact that matters is people caring about your perspective. The other rewarding thing is people personally connecting with your struggles. A guy emailed me the other day because he was touched by my honesty in Under The Rug, where I briefly mentioned my depression and anxiety. These sensitive topics aren’t always the easiest in opening up to.

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Thanks Samantha!

 

The other best part about MMM is the upcoming documentary. A guaranteed hit for sure.

Like Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory….I WANT IT NOW!

Talk about genius marketing between podcasting and filmmaking. With this show John Smith, KF, Marley Davis, Karen McNamara, and some others wouldn’t have jumped on abroad. The guys probably felt their resources were scarce before premiering their show. With the added commentary from different walks of life, insight into her 2004 disappearance shines a very optimistic light, in a way of potentially being solved.

With the right and competent people, of course.

Oh yeah, before TRUE CRIME ADDICT was released I theorized people would gobble it up.

I was right.

Timing into this mystery served me right. How MMM landed on my lap. TCA being released within the coming year. Given that Renner wrote the book for around 5-6 years, waiting would have left me jaded. I’m saying that because some die hard followers have trailed his blog from the beginning. My energy and enthusiam factors greatly into projects. Time affects my attention span. You’ll know by reading my book review that I sincerely enjoyed TCA. My infused reading occurred between couches, beds, and lift recliners. This case ain’t nothing if bookstores in Massachusetts and other states sold out copies within days. Meanwhile months back while hanging with a high school friend, he casually brought up MMM. I honestly don’t expect someone who actually knows me to associate, or even recollect, my blog in any fashion. Last night another nearby friend said they read Under The Rug. In my mind I think everybody is a busybody and scrolls aimlessly past my links. Mine isn’t popular by any means, so it’s cool anyone would notice.

Blogging is fulfilling. This creative endeavor is the only activity worth my time. College didn’t work out last semester. I rather type 1000 words on why cold cases are so cool than sit with anxiety in a classroom. If my learning environment isn’t satisfactory, what is my purpose in participating? I’m not ready to be challenged unless the education is really worth trying.

Blogging on other missing or murder cases come to mind, but I just cannot participate in the serialized way that I’d like. Sometimes I think my Maura material gets rehashed and rehashed. Anybody feel like their work becomes redundant? Details of her case still capture me though. Continually I find myself jotting down notes from one notepad to the other. Late one night, during the successful run of Serial season one, I passionately expressed my admiration in a social media post. The words linger and make sense to this day. Here’s that post:

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Some vibrant analogies over there. Literally I can recall the proverbial withdrawal from that Thanksgiving break, like being strung out from lack of heroin. Show was that good people. Once in a lifetime story. Anyways my point is…this post resembles the one above. A thank you to Lance, Tim, Renner, Jordan, John, Captain. People in passerby who have complemented and read my work, thank you too. This company is the kind you want around for a lifetime. I can actually show my gratitude because I know ya.

I don’t have a background in anything. No boots in the ground digging. No journalistic or judicial experience. I just speak from within.

Like how No Doubt sings…I’m just a girl in a world.

 

 

True Crime Addict

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

The last time I passionately participated in a true crime storytelling event was Making A Murderer during Christmas break. Last August when James Renner first mentioned True Crime Addict on Missing Maura Murray, I was excited that any book remotely about Maura Murray would be released.

May 24, 2016 was ingrained in my brain.

Fast forward to Summer, TCA finally arrives. Opening day of the release I zipped through the bite sized passages. Knowing beforehand it was more about James’ descent into the case versus cold hard facts from the official investigation prepared me to not get disappointed when the answers I wanted weren’t there.

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Renner. The spiral into obsession and frailty were revealing. Behind the scenes I didn’t know he experienced abuse, addiction, and rage; these very situations have shaped the man, husband, father, and writer that James is today. Without a doubt he is a mature and talented writer.

Readers vicariously traced his footsteps onto his first visit at Haverhill, New Hampshire near the crash site. The ruggedness of driving through these rural roads could be understood in how vulnerable somebody behind the wheel can get lost. Minus the part about hijacking the universe, I like the experience behind trying to navigate his way through strange terrain, along with hitching a ride from a very old resident.

Risky but titillating.

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True Crime Addict serves an asset if you’re a true crime fan, especially if you aren’t too familiar with the details behind this cold case mystery. Many shout outs about disappearances and murders placed in the New England vicinity catch attention here. I’m already familiar with Brianna Maitland, Molly Bish and Holly Piirainen but I didn’t know a Christopher Flynn vanished near Haverhill in 2010. The Connecticut River Valley Killer is theorized as a possible perpetrator behind Maura and Brianna disappearing into thin air.

The MMM Men

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

February 9, 2016: The 12 year anniversary of Maura’s disappearance. This day was on everyone’s minds. The special two parter -episodes 23 and 24- focused on Tim and Lance’s participation in the community vigil and lodge meeting, where locals and visitors reflected on this baffling case. I always appreciate seeing their Youtube teaser clips. These particular episodes show John Smith leading passionate speeches, as scenic snow fell before the gatherers. In addition they perched comfortably in the lodge, collectively concerned and alert as if she vanished yesterday. From the old to the young the Woodsville residents were present. That was a sweet sight.

More justice was done with these clips and episodes than me just spontaneously showing up, hopping from state to state; sweltering heat to freezing temps. Vicariously you try to imagine the place as you use Google Maps searching for the blue ribbon – the creepy indicator. Googling Route 112 for the first time was actually chilling. Nothing but a gargantuan of greenery.

You couldn’t find a soul if you wanted to.

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I want to give a special thanks to James Renner for recommending my blog on his blog. He was particularly fond of my Mean Girls meme, which demonstrates the Missing Maura Murray wackadoodleness. We are two months shy of True Crime Addict‘s release. Here’s what I think: the people will gobble it up. The book will sell fast. Hate or love the guy, people will undeniably speak about it. I imagine the response will be like those Harry Potter releases, where fanatics need to know what’s next going on with Hogwarts. People have been reading his blog for five years. His research and insight won’t go unnoticed. It’s sorta like the hatch from LOST.

What is in the thing???

Speaking of fanatics, I managed to make two grown men obsessed with this case; both who respectively host their own podcasts. A simple recommendation led down a titillating path. Jordan from The Night Time Podcast was scanning my blog, so I suggested he give MMM a good listen. He was instantly hooked, so much so the case became a Night Time episode. The Tim and Lance interview served as a cool bonus. Meanwhile, as a 20/20 episode highlighted Maura and Brooke Wilberger’s disappearances on the OWN network, I called The Captain from True Crime Garage. (True story). I always bring up the podcast to whoever I speak with. I suggested 20/20 as a basic starting point. Little did I know this man became so hooked, literally to the point of us having 2-3 hour long phone calls.

A Female Perspective

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Episode 21 of Missing Maura Murray was a refresher. KF, a secret researcher, appeared on the first episode of 2016. One of the topics of conversation which stood out was the July 2004 article of Maura’s disappearance in Seventeen magazine.

Before we get into the weeds I have to say I was a formerly devoted Seventeen subscriber circa 2004 to 2007. So my first crosswalk with Maura probably didn’t first happen in the Disappeared episode. 2004 is my favorite year in pop culture. As a preteen at the time, I relished whichever pop star and movie maven appeared within the pages. I was curious on who actually appeared on the July issue. Any guesses on which young starlet? The Olsen twins appeared individually in separate covers. Vanessa Grigoriardis’ article is highlighted in the bottom right, proving even more confirmation the report existed in publication.

True crime stories did appear monthly. Seventeen was the kind of magazine I ravished right away as I read the whole thing in one sitting, fresh out of the mailbox. Anyone who knows me really well through discussion boards or commemorative posts are aware I have followed true crime since childhood. Those stories of real life cases were always gripping because they were unexpected tales in the midst of scanning beauty accessories and reading dating tips. Without a doubt I must have read the article. However it’s interesting how my memory doesn’t serve me right. During June of 2004 I vacationed to Central America. Perhaps my magazine arrived after I left the States. I suspect when flying back home weeks later I finally caught up with the July issue. Last fall when Tim and Lance were interviewed on Crime Writers On Serial, I remember hearing Lara Bricker say the case was hot in New Hampshire. On the surface the word seems to have flown pretty quickly among local media, newspapers, etc.

The reason people seem fixated on Maura is because she had the capacity as a legal adult to go off the grid. Adults have the ability to leave or escape on their own. Children do not vanish under their own volition; at least most of the time. Mostly we suspect foul play when a child goes missing. With her criminal hiccups months prior and car accidents, I always mentally sway left to right on whether she truly ran away. Her case is so unique because of the route 112 collision. Without that single piece of mysterious desertion in the middle of rural north country, armchair detectives are doing a Where’s Waldo at every turn.

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On my last MMM blog I literally stated that “every man on the street is a threat.” KF -and every other female in the planet- have encountered a brush of fear around interactions with men. It’s kinda crazy how guys do not consciously think of being in danger whenever they walk outside, however, this is the mindset for every female. A young woman as attractive as Maura, especially in a vulnerable state with freezing temperatures and darkness surrounding her, she was bait.

Based on the popularity between armchair detectives and the circumstances of this weird case, I’m kinda surprised her disappearance didn’t hit the national airwaves right away. Heck even Fred wasn’t alerted until 24 hours after the crash. Maura’s own high school friends believed her disappearance was a joke. The Away message on her AIM literally cautioned for emergency contact on the UMASS police. I appreciated hearing that as a former AOL user myself. The unforgettable, screeching dialup noise as you signed onto the internet will always stay with me. AIM was everything. Archaic compared to advanced technology, these were the few resources in reach.

Every guest until KF was a male. MMM pumped with testosterone between the appearances of John Smith, James Renner, Cold N. Holefield, Dr, Eckstein, and Clint Harding. I’m going off on a tangent but I love hearing these New England accents from Fred Murray and John. Also, I appreciate the fashion sense behind those swanky hats that Tim and Lance wore during the impromptu Tim Westman interview. Men down south simply cannot sport sophisticated New England attire.

Billy Rausch was her college boyfriend. Long distance relationships can be complicated especially considering Facebook, Skype, and Facetime didn’t exist back then. Email chains and phone calls were the main modes of communicating. It was really humbling to hear how as teenagers Adnan and Hae surreptitiously called each other in Serial. You forget how landlines operated back then due to their complete obsoleteness today. Since they were forbidden from dating, one person would call a weather hotline while the other dialed the recipient’s number so that the phone wouldn’t ring out loud–the beep hatched their plan.

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During freshmen year I’d borrow my sister’s Razor cell phone while hiding in the bathroom during private conversations. I experienced my very own college boyfriend from ages 19-21. We would ride the city bus after school. Before crashing at his place, we’d grab a bite at Taco Bell or Wendy’s. Fortunately we lived a couple of blocks away from each other. A year later I moved closer to downtown. Things got strained. I can’t imagine going through a long distance relationship. It wasn’t all roses for Maura and Billy. They didn’t share the simple daily nuances as a young couple should. With rumors of cheating between both individuals, it’s no surprise they lingered for intimacy.

This all reminds me of my Breadcrumbs entry. As a private and reticent person, I don’t share where I’m going with anyone. Maura didn’t specify where she was heading on February 9, 2004. The downfall of her disappearance is the unknown destination. The very same circumstance could happen whenever I walk out the door as I withhold identifies and places in my direction. There were many instances in 2015 where I met many strangers. I found myself in unfamiliar locations, wondering whether if I got myself in a seedy situation, where would I run for help?

Predicaments, predicaments.

Meanwhile there have been developments with Fred Murray reaching out to Unsolved. John Smith has petitioned for the FBI to get involved with the nearly turned 12 year old case. Recently I found a Youtube channel, BrainScratch, which features a soft spoken, sorta armchair detective by the name of John Logan. Maura’s case is covered in two parts. Interesting enough as I was drafting this blog, James releases a how-to-guide on reading up his investigation of the disappearance.

Podcast N Chill, right?