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?

The Cold Show

Itunes, Podcasts, True Crime

Episode 18 of Missing Maura Murray features a sit down with the elusive yet expressive anonymous figure by the name of Cold N Holdfield. Cold is no stranger in my eyes. We first encountered each other when Undisclosed was halfway through analyzing the Adnan Syed case in a legal scope. He began a podcast called Catcher in The Lie. So moved by his raconteur approach, along with his straightforward commentary on the Baltimore case made popular by the Serial podcast, we began to privately message. Without a doubt Cold possesses very high intelligence.

Pretty soon I introduced him –if not I encouraged him to listen–to Missing Maura Murray. His blog posts on the cold case hit off right away with Lance and Tim. I was happy to hear they acquainted pretty quickly. I’m down for all eyes and ears on the mysterious disappearance.

Even though I’ve grown intolerant of Cold’s actions behind the scenes, I still think very highly of him and his appearance on the show. His point of view provides a prospective no one else envisions. Many people have shared negative sentiments towards his interview. If you’ve never had more than one conversation with Cold, the overall confused reaction of from the audience comes with the territory. Many felt the fat needed to be trimmed during the first 40 minutes. For one I liked the Come to Jesus Midlife Crisis moment.

Cold began to display himself when addressing the Westman couple. I agree the Tim Westman statement about the case never getting resolved was insensitive. Some people lack perspective if they think that way. James Renner certainly possesses open mindedness– or else he wouldn’t continually investigate for a handful of years later. The same should go for James Smith. When I first heard the audio behind the Tim encounter, I became uncomfortable with the abrasive tone John displayed by grilling the guy. Any kind of confrontation makes me nervous. As time went by I actually began to feel the case needs the directness and forcefulness John exudes.

The Cold critcism reminds me of the Ann episode of Serial Dynasty –which is now Truth & Justice– where a renowned Reddit commentator on the Adnan is Guilty Side was invited to share her thoughts on the teenage murder case. Goes to show no opinion goes unheard, even for two un-arousing hours when she explained her side of the guilty fence. I say this because the Reddit and troll talk is a popular board of discussion lately. They view Cold as a troll. They viewed this episode as baggage.

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The most popular topic remains what people believe happened to Maura.

  • She committed suicide in the woods.

I didn’t think of that conclusion before the show existed. Realistic? Sure. No one goes to Haverhill, New Hampshire to commit suicide though. Sudden car crash…lemme just succumb to the freezing elements.

No.

Robert Durst ran away to Galveston, Texas. While credit card fraud does not compare to dismemberment, there is connection in my eyes of both individuals wanting to disappear off the grid.

I have to bring up the missing alcohol she bought on February 9; $40 worth of beverages. You have to ask yourself the importance of the missing alcohol. Her priorities weren’t to call AAA or 911 if she vanished with the brew. Forget the alcohol if my own life was on the line. Why carry it? I did propose two scenarios to Lance that perhaps she either A) frantically stashed the alcohol in the woods or B) knocked on a neighbor’s door for a promise to hide it in her favor. However, there are grey areas in these scenarios.

Commentators question why Tim and Lance are still continuing the podcast despite the belief she succumbed like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Many speculate they’re doing this for entertainment. Bring buzz to their documentary. Stop listening to the show if you really think they’re being opportunistic. Others share that the material is running dry. People are disenchanted with the way they’re presenting the podcast (“endless speculation”, “non-credible”, “rambling”).

Perhaps I wasn’t paying enough attention or ruminating on the little details people point out. You have to remember certain recordings were made weeks and months in advance. Opinions change as the show goes on. Literally the podcast debuted in the summer, here we are reaching Christmas and 2016. The truth remains a unique opportunity is being presented here. I would have still watched the documentary with or without the podcast.

The entertainment factor gears me towards Cold’s criticism on listeners being true crime fan freaks, displaying the pom poms full center. While he is super philosophical, if anything the continual blog posts further indicates his growing fascination. He’s not immune from getting entrenched. You’re not any different from the rest of us, Cold. This is not an attack. This is a message to naysayers who don’t understand why true crime followers like Cold and I would seek space and discussion for outlets of this kind.

However I’ve been reading on the Reddit boards he might have doxxed someone. If so, c’mon. You’re better than that, Cold. I actually wonder at times whether an MMM or Serial listener will recognize your voice, and out your true identity. Knock on wood. I say this with love.

  • She ran away

I believe that. Maura and I are in the same age range. Let me pre-warn I don’t have serious issues. Every other day a thought does pops up on my braid to go off the grid. Billy Rausch cheating on Maura is a reason to temporarily disperse into obscurity, if not permanently. An outstanding blog post from weeks ago on Renner’s blog displayed the strain of their relationship.

When police entered her dorm at UMass they found her belongings packed neatly into boxes. On top of the boxes was an email from Bill to her which she printed out and left. The email was about Bill cheating on her.

That’s a giant Fuck You in my eyes. I could feel the inner seethe. You better believe I’d be devastated. Maybe this relationship was not meant to be. They did meet in the midst of her West Point stealing scandal. In addition the bitter tone is evident in Cecil Smith’s, former police chief of Haverhill, comment on Billy possibly fueling Maura’s motive to disappear.

“It was her scumbag boyfriend that made her want to drive up here,” he said. “He came out in the news and was all, ‘We loved her.’ Well, fuck you. He was cheating on her. If it was a suicide, it was because of what he was doing to her. But if it was a suicide, where’s the body?”

I love the uncensored angry tone, especially in Renner’s regard for Billy lying to him. Humanity is in full display. So this isn’t merely entertainment. The call sheet for Billy and Maura’s cell phones are descriptive. A volume of calls to a slew of mysterious women makes you raise an eyebrow. The most endearing but sad part was seeing Billy repeatingly calling Maura in the wake of her disappearance. That action indicates “I’m sorry. Please come back. I hope you’re okay.” You forget everything in the moment. The silence behind the unrequited calls is real. Palpable in the fear she is dead. Palpable in the fear of her never returning. Palpable in the fear of the unknown.

Here is why MMM is a success, despite the criticisms, people are listening.

  • She was murdered.

Plausible. The contents in the Saturn indicate motive for a temporary getaway. If Maura did run away, why use up your limited resources? The alcohol shouldn’t be that vital. Suspicions may be she was an alcoholic. The 20something bottles of shampoo and conditioner could really just be over packing. The shampoo amount could insinuate a female companion joining her for a girl getaway. In that “flurry of activity” surrounding the crash, vanishing before the eyes of the witnesses who claim to have seen her, it all happened so fast. The most plausible scenario is Maura hitching a ride with a stranger or tandem driver.

Who killed her? The most puzzling question is why. Very easy for dirty locals taking advantage of her. Every man on the street is a threat. A person who actually knew Maura that in fact killed her is the bigger mystery. Father of the baby?

IMG_9311

A little sock action doesn’t hurt anybody. And more notes.

In the meantime rumblings are occurring in the north country. John Smith is starting a blog on the cold case. The sheer silence from Tim and Lance as of lately might be they’re reaching ground. James continues to blog despite the recent release of his fictional book, The Great Forgetting. The inner workings of these three groups might unleash some satisfying information soon.

In the absence of the Murray family participating on the show or agreeing to talk to James, whatever they think happened to Maura, they should look into submitting their DNA. I say this in case unidentified remains link to Maura.

One final note. After that long two week hiatus, it was really good to hear Tim and Lance again. I remember thinking they’re such well speakers. Mostly they’re just curious crusaders. Even if nothing comes to fruition, listening to Missing Maura Murray has been cool.

We just want a bit of dish.

Running If You Call My Name

Amazon, Itunes, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

Let’s get on track with the Spreecast livestream, James Renner, John Smith, and Twitter.

Lately I’ve seen much buzz on new listeners just discovering Missing Maura Murray. The podcast is getting more traction, with comparisons being made to the Peabody award winning Serial podcast. I’ve been saying this since the beginning. @Gootz from Twitter expressed that MMM is Serial 1.5

I agree.

Officially the podcast has surpassed more episodes than Serial. I am always making parallels between both shows.

Recently I poured into Maura’s yearbook from senior year. I had a kick looking back through memory lane. The year 2000: best known as the millennium (or the title of a Backstreet Boys smash album). Maura makes appearances with friends, in the sport section for track and field, and in one picture where she adorably wears micro pigtails. West Point is listed as her college of choice. Seems like her college career was already planned out before she even walked the graduation podium. (I for one was clueless when I accepted my diploma onstage).

I further traced back to her freshmen, sophomore, and junior years. She participated in track and field for the 4 years she was enrolled in Whitman-Hanson high school, as evidenced by pictures and quotes she is tagged in. Maura echos Julie Murray in similar ways by both enlisting in West Point and track and field. In particular I noticed Julie thanking Fred Murray in her senior quote in the 1998 yearbook. Fred is noticeably absent from Maura’s description.

Screenshot 2015-10-22 at 1.15.14 PM

This all brings me to episode 12 which features Clint Harting speaking about Maura’s brief stint in West Point. Enrollment includes a 5 year military commitment and paid tuition. Clint expressed that being in WP would “break you down.” This is a classic case of college stress. Lance points out she may have gone through an identity issue. I can agree with that. The only criticism I’ll give to Fred is he may have been a pushover. Nothing wrong with wanting your children to excel but Maura might have assumed by following Julie’s footsteps, things would go according to plan. (As the youngest of three, I thought I’d follow the exact same replica in my siblings’ footsteps. Personally, professionally, socially.)

Fall 2002 semester at Umass she majors in chemical engineering, soon changing to the nursing program.

Skipping ahead to Maura’s friends being interviewed 10 days after her disappearance. I really liked how they didn’t sugarcoat her demeanor. They described her as being a “secretive person.” She didn’t express transferring from WP to Umass. I consider myself secretive and private too.

In my last blog I asked what were the little things she identified with. Maura’s friends stated The Onion as her favorite website. Bottle Rocket, a 1996 film starring the Wilson brothers, was her favorite movie. In ways she actually parallels the teenagers documented in Serial. Adnan Syed was a track and field athlete. Hae Min Lee played for lacrosse and field hockey. Maura, Hae and Adnan resided in the upper east coast. Their graduating classes were only a year apart. All were equally ambitious and adventurous. People continue speculating and commenting because we are transported back in time –1999 and 2004– while still trying to figure out motivations in the situations and characters behind these cases. The enigma persists.

I’m going to take pause and speak about the Spreecast livestream. Firstly, the chat was super fun. Two days before the Crime Writers of Serial podcast interviewed Tim and Lance. I learned the Alden Olsen videos were one of the reasons why L really gravitated to the case. In the Spreecast I posed the question as to why. He became obsessed and frightened upon first sight, refreshing videos every three minutes. In specific the ski resort ticket video posed a “Ken Burns effect” with the zoom buildup. Somehow the video reminded me of The Thin Blue Line, a 1988 true crime documentary that is surprisingly tolerable and progressive for it’s time. The doc possesses this The Jinx/Robert Durst feel. Anyways it was cool knowing L got deep in the weeds like us listeners do.

The live chat presented an effervescence in the room. My perspective changed when I heard it by audio only (episode 12). A void in expression was evident. The sidebar chat was omitted from viewing whatever topic the listeners were feverishly typing about. The discussion suddenly turned more intimate and revealing as if T, L, and James Renner were only having a conversation among themselves. People who missed the live stream did not see the transparency across their faces.

The laughs, wonderment, and curiosity reflected in their expressions. Actually it was the first time many viewers saw them in the proverbial flesh, me being included. murray_maura4

Since I previously referenced docs and podcasts, I’ve been meaning to recommend MISSING. The UK based podcast just concluded their season, where in which Tim Weaver covers 8 episodes on why people disappear. Meanwhile, I am reminded every now and then about a little Starz cable show called The Missing. I watched this in January of 2015. I’m not exaggerating or lying when I say it is captivating. Binge watched the whole thing. I couldn’t wait to see the next episode, buying my way all through Amazon. Even though this is scripted, I believe viewers will be moved by the plight of a missing child. In addition with seeing the spider web effect conflict a group of people from all walks of life.

IMG_8688MMM is taking a life of it’s own. I feel each new momentum when a tweet or episode comes our way. A redditor was so inspired that they created a mock poster. I was excited and hyper from seeing this beautiful creation.

Now let’s get onto episode 13. Right away I was scribbling “yesss!” to T and L saying how ridiculous it is for people to believe James Renner is investigating the case for publicity. I’m sure J.R. really relished the moment when a Swiftwater attendant threatened to bash his skull. That’s Get-Off-My-Lawn mentality. I’m reminded again about the backlash/disappointment coming from fans when he stepped down from posting the big blog reveal.

Yeah it sucks. I don’t mind J.R. silencing himself though. Naturally I’m a cynical person, so I expect these things to happen.

Episode 13 featured John Smith, a former police officer and private investigator. You can adamantly hear and see his stance for public awareness on the cold case. He is a straight talker. I personally believe John is genuine. I like that someone hasn’t stopped searching for answers. We know dormancy can make people idle and comfortable with possibly never knowing finding the truth.

I’m not going to get into the technical stuff on Maura’s crash and why she probably didn’t strike a tree. Someone far better could express that. I love hearing the humanity behind some moments though, for example when John turned down Fred’s request to investigate the case. My stomach was sensing a confrontation would happen in this story. Thankfully a scuffle didn’t occur at the Franconia supermarket.

I’m sorry if this is the 28th comparison but this scene could strike as one out of Serial.

The moment was really humanizing because John was threatened with arrest from detectives. He feared backlash and imprisonment. The issue being sensitive as it was brought disappointment to Fred’s face. Eventually they reunited for searches, dinners, and interviews. In the 11 years since grabbing this case by the bullhorns (literally quoting Fred here), John’s personal life was compromised in a few ways.

There are pits and falls. Pros and cons. Facing the music won’t always be pretty. Knocking on doors like Fred, John, and James have might sound titillating. While people vicariously wished to undertake James’ job in episode 4, we don’t wish for harassment by trolls and threat of assault by deadly weapon under our belt. Losing a long time partner because you’re so invested on a mystery like in John’s situation. Or how about a cancer stricken mother dying on her missing daughter’s birthday. Going to the grave not knowing what happened to her child.

This all really did happen.

John is one of those who wishes her disappearance won’t turn into folklore. I think developments can happen with the help of the podcast. There’s something there. We just don’t know it.

The Quiet Things No One Ever Knows

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts

I’ve been slacking. The last thing I covered was those Fred Murray letters. A host of subjects were broached in the last three episodes.

Out of curiosity I watched the Disappeared episode again. Before Missing Maura Murray, the only piece of information that served my memory was the car crash. The first time I saw Disappeared I was not aware of James Renners’ participation with the investigation, along with Maura’s legal troubles –things inevitably omitted from the ID series. The way the episode was produced possesses that campy and curious feeling that leaves you dreading for more answers as the credits roll up. Anybody not familiar with MMM would speculate Maura went on a spontaneous trip. Guesses are made from there.

I actually learned a few things from the episode.

    • Not Without Peril, a book about the New Hampshire mountain trail was found in her car.
    • Fred worked in Bridgeport, Connecticut at the time.
    • Billy and Maura dated since 2001.
    • Billy bought her a cell phone for Christmas. Paid her monthly bills too.
    • Maura had an AAA membership.
Screenshot 2015-09-25 at 9.12.44 PM

OMG BUTCH!

Years later I didn’t think a podcast would take place. MMM has become an experience. The midnight releases murmur those of Serial, which dropped around 5AM for devout east coast listeners like myself. From the melancholy piano section in the intro to the cover art of an illuminated girl running into obscurity, you are in for a story. I’ve mentioned the podcast to a few people in passing. They get the gist of the case: Maura Murray, college student, goes missing after car crash. People won’t expect inquiry absent from the Disappeared episode: Alden Olsen, the $4000 withdrawal, you-fill-in-the-blank. Speculative data that makes you go, “Oooo!”.

The cool thing about MMM is Tim and Lance are riding on the mystery roller coaster too. Their inner dialogue and sentiments are expressed: Lance getting spooked at Maura’s mugshot, tweets about the boys feeling chills during the Lori Bruno session, Tim shaking his head at Fred rebuking Renner. Also, I like their willingness to interview anyone. Due to that, the list of characters lending their voice rises. The boys are bringing texture.

I agree with Renner that people like to insinuate themselves into a case. Blog and podcasts are a part of a developing and changing narrative. Aren’t I insulating myself somehow by writing this blog? Not maliciously and taunting like Alden Olsen though. His maniacal laugh petrified me at 5AM, as Renner spoke about Olsen’s creepy involvement into the narrative. I appreciate J.R. (can I call you that?) taking a stand in his protection and safety. Alden has repeatedly engaged in classic stalking behavior, including harassing J.R. and his family. The cool thing is he wasn’t deterred from reporting the case. Personally I would have been shaking in my boots.

Speaking of insinuating, I recall that creep who put on a show for the cameras, falsely claiming involvement in the Jon Benet Ramsey case. I had just entered high school as a freshmen. 6AM wake up calls were daunting for this 14 year old, trying to eat Cherrios as the news junket flashed headlines of the day. Super tired and nourishing myself before leaving for the school bus, this creep stopped me in my tracks. I was terrified. Firstly it was weird he’d even publicly put on a parade about murdering a little girl.

This is uncommon. Any attention is good attention for weirdos. Back to the program.

Onto the psychics. I’m a skeptic. My bullshit meter is high but I’ll hear anything Tim and Lance puts on the table. The audience got a tease of their documentary with J.R. telling the story of when he cruised through a boardwalk, stopping by for a quick psychic session from an old Hungarian woman. If you visit the MMM Youtube page, you will see a dosage of reel on Lori speaking in episode 10. The Lori session appeared like a scene out of Serial, where you felt present in the room too. Right away she feverishly spewed her visions.

“Icy cold.”

“Fine snow coming down.”

“Big ass truck.”

Listening to the passion behind her voice, especially on details like the White Mountains or Franconia Notch possibly being the epicenter of Maura’s whereabouts, I just want Tim and Lance to immediately search for those areas. Even recently Brian Ladd, schizo psychic dreamer, provided new inquiry on a separate location. I liked that Lori and Brian both echoed a “Ben” being involved. Possibly to be around a 30 year old white male with law enforcement connections.

We shall see.

Screenshot 2015-09-24 at 1.31.21 PM

I’d like know more about Maura. Who was her favorite band? Where did she shop at? Simple things of that nature. She might have been a sick or conflicted person, but it’s the little things that connected her to loved ones. This could be reflected the same way as how Hae Min Lee was presented through her diary entries in Serial. A teenage girl smitten for love, the adored star student from Woodlawn High. Favorite drink: Sprite. Favorite movie: Titanic.

If Maura is alive and found, she will not surrender to her old way of life. She has assimilated to a distinct lifestyle. Living off the grid or masquerading under a false identity, Maura is not the same person from 2004. Billy is not going to propose to her. Sara and Kate will not invite her to the local pub. Maura cannot walk up the graduation podium to grab her nursing degree. The crazy and sad part is that these events cannot be reenacted. The course of events shifted everyone’s lives. I wish Billy and Maura would have married. He really seemed devoted and caring. A nursing career would have sufficed.

In the last episode, a New Hampshire professor of forensic psychology, Dr. Robert Eckstein shared his analysis. I agree she was under stresses like any regular college student. The nursing program sounds like no picnic. I relate too by having those stresses. Not only with my education, in my personal life as well. Moody and irritant I’ve wanted to leave home. Doesn’t necessarily mean I wanted to disappear but I wanted to be away from reminders that brought me down.

It is possible Maura was the problem child of the Murray family, finding herself to be a nuisance to everyone. Even before Robert mentioned the possibility of alcohol abuse, I started to think she was alcoholic. Added with the rumor of being bulimic, she certainly must have masked her problems one sip and upchuck at a time. Those are very serious things. I usually procrastinate or snack to forget about my problems.

I proposed the pregnancy theory before coming across some Renner blogs recently. They focus on internet searches about pregnancy on her UMass computer.

Now that’s something any woman in her 20s dreads. We WEB MD the hell out of Google. If she was pregnant for real, then her problems just became 5 times worse.

The possibility of Maura perishing in the woods actually seems like the most plausible. Most likely she got cold feet, ran to the woods to avoid detection, scared and feeling like a fuck up for wrecking the car. Against her fragile and limited judgment, she fell asleep in the woods. This scenario is the saddest out of all the theories floating around. Even if she Gone Girl’d her way to obscurity, I would have wanted her to recognize that her problems or stresses do not define her.

“It’s like I get her,” Lori murmurs.

Me too?

By the way…..there is buzz among the community about MMM continuing with a second season. I’m down. Out of all the crime podcasts, I’m mostly in favor of Tim and Lance investigating a new case. Especially as documentary film makers they have that added advantage. Personally I don’t view them taking lackadaisical approaches, while always appearing reciprocal with guests. You can tell they are best bros too. Eating orange chicken together like the real armchair detectives they were destined to be on Earth.

Call 872-25M-AURA or 872-256-2872 to leave your theory on the case.

Breadcrumbs

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts

1AM. I swallow my prescribed antibiotic. Turn on the living room tv. Scroll through Twitter. A notification luminescent in red in my podcast station app indicates a new episode arrived. Missing Maura Murray this early?! I dig in right away.

The discussion behind episode 8 focuses on Fred Murray’s letters to fellow former New Hampshire governors, Craig Benson and John Lynch.

The Benson letter show cases a pinball action of strong statements, shifting from one topic to the next. Fred mentions the possibility of Maura being seriously injured by the spider hole on her driver side window. With a fuzzy injury like that she was vulnerable and susceptible in succumbing to whatever measures she would settle for. Then, he turns the tables on possible police neglect. From alleged belated actions on the North Haverall force and state police to failing to interview a witness in the 24 hour window of the accident, he feverishly points out these are the reasons Maura was deterred of being found safe and alive.

I get nearly physically sick…” is the most humanizing and surreal line. In one swoop this sentence expresses the heavy sentiment of how Fred feels waking up each day, due to the failure of rescuing his daughter. Simply put it’s a hook.

Then in the Lynch letter Fred conjures up more descriptive language. Failure to contact sources related to a Murray family vacation stay made him feel like he was “struck across the face with a two-by-four.” Later he calls the force “ostriches” in not fulfilling their obligation with the investigation. He also points out the law enforcement’s potential reasoning for what might have happened: hypothermia, runaway, suicide. It is easy to suggest they would not pursue further past a car accident investigation if those were the possible circumstances.

In summary the Benson letter was a very straight forward, concerned, and compassionate take from a grieving father. The overall tone was bossy but not grossly threatening or dominating. The same could be said for the Lynch letter. Fred sounded very desperate in finding the truth.

My MMM notes.

My MMM notes.

Let’s say Maura’s real intentions were to escape. Running through the frigid temperatures, she must have felt like a maverick. Invigorated in evading the law, family, and friends. She’s a 21 year old woman leaving the past behind. There is something brash in her convictions to take that step. In the least I really hope she is alive.

Since the beginning, the community has cast suspicion on Fred. He is the Nick Dunne of this disappearance. Everyone is eyeing his next move. He is in shut down mode with the press and police because he does not want them digging into his past; not necessarily Maura’s per say. The truth may be more about him than Maura. For example, he could possibly have been a gambler or adulterer. Just like Renner finding out Maura’s legal troubles, in a way Fred shut down for not having his skeletons exposed. These troubles would not add insight or fact to the case — just speculation and data at best. On the flip side Maura’s troubles might not even be peripherally related to her disappearance; however, these facts add context to the individual known as Maura Murray.

Tim asks what Fred is doing these days, since he adamantly went as far as writing letters -twice- to New Hampshire governors. Simply put a cold case will turn anyone dormant. When you’re heartbroken by a tragedy, with no leads bringing resurgence into a case, you’re going to turn stagnant. I tweeted to Tim and Lance that I see no reason why a 60 something year old dad could fake being a torned loved one for this long. Even the baddest of fathers, Godfather style Francis Ford Coppola would not want their daughter missing.

The point of this whole entry is breadcrumbs. Last week Renner made a cheeky Facebook post. Prior to even reading it, I percolated on my own breadcrumbs. If I went missing today, people would judge on my recent activity with online dating. My participation with multiple apps might raise suspicion. Authorities will find out I am speaking with a gargantuan body of men. Persons of interest rise up. Even more damning is private diary entries on some suitors. A story is spun from here. These are my breadcrumbs if I suddenly vanished into thin air.

Being a true crime writer, especially working on the Maura Murray case, I am always aware of the bread crumbs I’m leaving in the world. Whenever I go through a toll, I hear Robert Stack’s voice in my head, saying, “At 7:05, Renner paid $2.50 at the toll booth and then exited onto I-77. He was never seen again…”

So much in finding the trail for breadcrumbs you will find yourself in a rabbit hole. The same thing occurred with investigative journalist, Clint Harting, who was interviewed in episode 7. Clint traveled to New Hampshire. He visited the massive UMASS campus. Dined at the local college grub hub. He even interviewed Maura’s former work supervisor. Clint placed himself in the same shoes in finding the truth like Sarah Koenig did in approaching the Hae Min Lee case for Serial. She interviewed former classmates of the victim, recreated the murder drive route of the prosecution’s timeline of events, and even uncovered some unsavory things Adnan Syed did in his past. Journalists place themselves in these situations to get a taste. Each new bit of information salivating their pallet.

I relate with Clint in discovering the case through Disappeared years ago. The ID series sparked traction and appeal. The case garnered more attraction with Netflix streaming the show. Picking up further internet steam, the podcasts for Thinking Sideways and Generation Why presented episodes on the disappearance.

Pretty soon MMM was born.

This is why people are interested. Tim brought up a great point. We cannot let the case turn into folklore. There is a chance for people with important information to come out of the woodworks. We have a unique opportunity with a new medium, which was not available at the time of Maura vanishing. The podcast is happening in real time. If that does not help, perhaps the 2016 releases of Renner’s book and Tim & Lance’s documentary on the case will bring truth.

Closure is underneath it all.

Gone Girl

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts

Thursday mornings are my new-found ritual in listening to the latest and dearest Missing Maura Murray. I suddenly clutched for my phone at the surprise 7AM, early release. The perks of being an unemployed, college graduate outweighs most.

James Renner, reporter and upcoming author of “True Crime Addict”, passed by as the episode’s guest. James has been investigating the Murray case for years, bringing in very interesting information to the forefront. By his words he became a “character in the case” from the beginning.  This week’s episode was very grappling and fascinating, reminding me of Serial goodness. (Another podcast I devoted waking up at 5am on Thursdays).

I love the part James highlighted about Maura not being the all American girl. I pointed this out in a previous entry. Everyone possesses skeletons in their closet. Fred, Maura’s dad, is protecting the image of his missing daughter. Tightening up against the police seems unnecessary especially when he didn’t cooperate with them for two years. In my opinion his concerns are only for law enforcement, so the focus isn’t shifted towards the Murray family’s private life. Not cooperating with journalists actually brings in more ambiguity and mystery to the case. On the surface the public’s perception is that of a Natalie Holloway: photogenic, beautiful, single white female, young and vivacious ready to grab the world by her hands.

Maura was flawed, as we are in life. She changed courses from cadet to nurse. Hearing about her stealing makeup at Fort Knox reminded me of a former best friend of mine. She and I were 16, hanging out at malls like every regular teenager does. Once in a Nordstrom store I was adamantly gazing at cheap jewelry, when suddenly my friend scurries for us to immediately leave the store. Puzzled, I asked what the hell is going on. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she reveals the chunky gold hoop earrings she stole from the store, the very section I was innocently glancing by.

I was shocked. I was disappointed she would bring herself to such low measures. The situation couldn’t be rectified, especially when suspicion might be cast upon you as a co-conspirator. Pretty soon I learned she was fired from a clothing retail store for stealing a shirt. I asked why would she do this. The simple answer was I don’t know. Then in Junior year I befriended a new girl who became my after hang out buddy. She personally expressed that she stole clothes from American Apparel. I didn’t appreciate that very much but that still didn’t stop me from getting enabled. Confession: I once stole clothes from AA too. I’m very much a goody goody, however by acquainting with her I was enabled into doing stupid shit. We did not get caught. My point about these friends will make sense later.

The 4K cash withdrawal was revealing. Making intermittent ATM breaks sounds like a nuisance. SMH LANCE SMH. Learning about James’ interactions with Maura’s friends -Kate and Sara- was revealing too. Coming from Kate her responses were rehearsed and deceptive. There are loose strings regarding Sara as well. The way James described popping up at her apartment, it very much reminded me of when Sarah Koenig ambushed Jay at his front step in episode 8 of Serial.

“How did you find me?!”

SLAMS DOOR SHUT.

I. Love. It.

The real life Amy Dunne.

James confronted these women because there were rumors of an off campus party occurring the days before Maura disappeared. I wonder why these women are lip-shut. My theory is that they all blew some coke or smoked marijuana. Perhaps, Maura cheated on Billy at the party. If any of these things were the case, who really cares? 11 years has passed. Why be secretive? These group of friends were probably enabling each other. This is why I brought up my high school friends. They weren’t sociopaths but they did things I didn’t condone in the least. One was a semi-kleptomaniac while the other learned tricks because her friends worked at AA. She knew cameras weren’t present in the stores; thus, getting away with bad behavior. Even I was enabled into stealing. I swear that is the only bad thing I have done. 17 and afraid.

Perhaps Maura already had her klepto ways before college. The scorpion seed was planted in her. When you add in young and impressionable women into the mix, some less than savory things might go down. If these women are trying to protect their image from college, I don’t really see any benefit in that. I would spill the beans if I truly cared about helping my missing friend out.

Maybe Maura was pregnant at the time. This theory naturally came up when I heard the episode. I have no explanation for it other than this could be a reason why people are being secretive. Listening to James’ reporting was enticing. He has reason to be believe Maura may very well be alive. I learned something new by the way: if you are not declared dead, you can still receive benefits from social security and taxes. Also, he was responsible for discovering Maura’s legal troubles through FOIA (Freedom of Information Act).

I think James is the person who will crack this case. He sounds so sure of himself. I’m so impressed with the lengths information is being sought out. Aside from foul play, I’m starting to believe something Gone Girl-esque is happening here.

Maura Murray Blog

James Renner Twitter

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