Oxygen Maura Murray series: Episode 3 – After The Crash

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

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

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

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

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

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

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Fred, Maura, and Bill

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

Did he sexually assault Maura, his youngest daughter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same should be said for Maura. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

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

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

Maura ran away to escape the men in her life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Maura Murray

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

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

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

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

A disdained look I bet.

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

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

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

This case is hitting the public sphere more than ever.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Crime, Podcasts, Television

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing. 

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

They’re the real gatekeepers in this saga. 

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

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

The Disappearance of Maura Murray - Season 1

Art Roderick and Maggie Freleng

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

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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.

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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.