Oxygen Maura Murray Series: Episode 6 – Summit

Crime, Television, True Crime

Six weeks.

Six episodes.

The Disappearance of Maura Murray concluded last night on Oxygen. 

Episode six began with Maggie and Art consulting with famed psychic, Allison Dubois. Allison has spent over 20 years covering crimes due to her “psychic” abilities, which has even earned her career as the inspiration for the one time show Medium starring Patricia Arquette. 

I was already familiar with Allison and the Medium connection beforehand. Allison’s appearance on the Oxygen series is not the first time I’ve seen her on a reality/documentary series. Circa 2010 or 2011, I mindlessly watched many reality tv shows including Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

During a dinner scene with the ensemble cast, Allison popped up. She and Kyle Richards –one of the cast members– got into an awkward argument that pissed Kyle off completely. Being the so-called psychic, Allison stated directly that Kyle’s husband would “never emotionally fulfill her.” She was kinda talking shit while smoking an electronic cigarette, which Kyle made fun of later on. 

Just petty stuff but still funny. 

I will say Allison came off entertaining and likable during her meeting with Art and Maggie. 

Allison believes Maura accepted a ride from an unassuming guy. Maura was unable to see his predatory element but later he turned on her. This person had a “rapist energy” to him. Allison said that Maura wouldn’t stay away willingly and wouldn’t not come back, if she was running away from her loved ones. 

Normally I don’t give credence to psychics but Allison’s way of describing these so-called events kept my attention like Salem psychic, Lori Bruno, in Missing Maura Murray.

I’ll side with the psychics versus police conspiracy theorists any day.

In the Facebook livestream postmortem for ‘Summit’, Maggie and Art did not reflect much on the psychic experience. 

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Tim and Lance listening in on the ‘Summit’ postmortem 

The next topic the show focused on were a series of suspicious emails that Tim and Lance from MMM have received. 

One emailed contained map coordinates where allegedly Maura’s body was hidden. The coordinates are located 48 miles away from the crash site and stand at 6,000 feet in elevation. 

Along with Dustin Cormier, a professional mountain trail guide, Art, Maggie, Tim, and Lance hiked towards the treacherous habitat. Seeing the guys we know from MMM catch their breath during the hours long hike was a funny sight. It was very boots on the ground in comparison to their casual podcast interviews done over Skype.

Spoiler alert: Maura wasn’t found. 

New Hampshire native, Alex C, and Crawlspace podcast co-host, Chloe Canter, actually hiked the mountains this year and reported the same empty findings; however, most people don’t know about their search. 

Seeing how everyone was committed to the coordinates hike in the show is important to see though. First off it proves how ridiculous and unrealistic the location serves as body dumping site. At the same time the vastness of the mountains doesn’t go unnoticed. Maura’s decision to drive through the white mountains are as mysterious as the environment that keeps fueling the folklore on her last known whereabouts. 

Another mysterious side of Maura’s case are the CCTV images kept privately by police from when she withdrew money and purchased alcohol before departing into the north country. The last known images of Maura were publicly shown for the first time during the final minutes of the finale. I braced myself for the unremarkable sight. 

I’m sure so did Fred, Kurt, and Julie Murray.

Seeing them all visually scan the black and white images of Maura is as real as it gets. Julie even said she didn’t recognize the jacket that Maura was wearing at the Bank of America ATM. This scene was the most important one out of the entire series. Their strength and determination while sticking together shows how much they love Maura and want to find her at any cost. 

If you still think the family is somewhat complicit or involved with Maura’s disappearance –after participating in the Oxygen series– I’m not sure what else will convince you to think otherwise. Maura’s family were as transparent as possible. Your conspiracies about Maura running away or dying in the woods continues the white noise that brings down her chances of receiving true justice. For the person or persons involved with Maura’s disappearance and who choose to stay silent, I hope you felt touched or at least a grain of remorse seeing her siblings and father gather the last known images of someone they loved deeply. 

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Maura Murray withdrawing money at a Bank of America ATM.

Fred, Laurie (Maura’s mother), and everyone else in the family would have wanted to see her graduate from UMASS that following June. They would have wanted her to get married. They would have wanted her to lead an independent life. Instead, their lives were disrupted on February 9, 2004. 

This is why they’re still at it today. 

Look again at the ATM photos. You probably remember the feeling from that chilly night and seeing the lost woman. She would have wanted your help. If this was your son, daughter, sister or brother stranded on some rural road, you wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. 

Think about your decision in bringing resolution to the case. Sleep on it for a few days. Don’t be afraid to call the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit at 603-223-3856. Authorities will assist and help you. 

Call the number. 

603-223-3856

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The last known images of Maura Murray, exiting a Bank of America on February 9, 2004.

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Oxygen Maura Murray Series: Episode 5 – Something Bad Happened

Crime, Television, True Crime

The penultimate episode of Oxygen’s The Disappearance of Maura Murray brought Maggie and Art together in the rustic cabin to determine the theories into Maura’s disappearance on five index cards.

Ran away.

Died in a police cover up.

Suicide.

Died in the woods.

Murder.

One by one, they crossed off the least likely scenarios until agreeing with murder.

Since I first watched the Disappeared episode in 2013, I believed Maura was murdered. Plain and simple. The most nefarious scenario conveniently comes towards the near conclusion of the Oxygen series.

The show has simply and effectively explained why the aforementioned theories don’t seem to really pan out. Just like the rag in the tailpipe experiment, the cadaver canine run down was very scientific. The freezing weather conditions on Route 112 didn’t cross my mind until I understood the case much more clearly through Missing Maura Murray. I’m oblivious to upstate winters, therefore I didn’t put the chilly weather into account. 

The snow, dropping temperatures, and freezing winds intensified Maura’s plight. Knowing how the conditions played out on February 9th, 2004 and the subsequent days after that are very important to understand.

The cadaver dogs successively tracked Maggie’s scent from the glove she was wearing in the exercise. If the canines from the original investigative search tracked Maura’s human scent down the street near Bradley Hill Road, then it’s safe to say she’s not in the nearby woods. These dogs have special capabilities in detecting scents as long as centuries old. Maura’s drivers license, bookbag, and Samsung cell phone were never traced. Think about that.

I wish I had strong olfactory senses like cadaver dogs. Finding human remains like that would be easier on everyone. The fact behind these dogs accurately finding Maura’s scent down Route 112 always impressed me.

John Smith returned to discuss the murder theory. Locals in Haverhill haven’t stopped speculating the worst. John mentioned the A-frame house, a property located near the crash site. You’re likely already familiar with this house if you’ve listened to MMM. This deserted piece of property looks like squalor. The MMM promo trailer featured visuals of abandoned furniture, objects strewn everywhere and more. Auspiciously a carving of the initials ‘M – M’ rests near a window.

Mostly though John talked about one closet that may have contained blood in the wood chippings. John stated that he submitted some of those chips to police for further testing but no official word was received if blood was detected.

I’m impressed that John saved the remaining chips. Holding this potential evidence for all this time makes him good hearted. Producers consulted with a molecular geneticist. The mystery results of the chip evidence left on a cliffhanger. 

Regardless of positive or negative results, the audience wants to see the Murray family reaction. 

The preview for the final episode is suspenseful and supposed to be directed that way. Oxygen was once a popular reality tv show network after all. The cut and edit is intended to make you anxious and impatient for answers. 

The chip evidence working as a potential breakthrough rests in the same way that another Oxygen series teased about their own breakthrough. 

The cold case of a missing Alabama teenager was featured recently on The Disappearance of Natalee Halloway.

Natalee traveled to Aruba with her fellow high school alumni during May 2005. The new minted graduating class were celebrating their new found freedom before heading to college in the fall. 

Natalee disappeared after leaving a nightclub with a young and handsome local, Joran Van Der Sloot. 

I remember when her case very vividly when it became national breaking news and I wished she would be found immediately. The public would not have imagined the case going unsolved for 12 straight years. 

Natalee’s Oxygen series premiered last summer. This time her father was front and center trying to find answers. The series depended on an informant who was roommates with a man that was friends with Joran. The informant’s roommate allegedly moved Natalee’s remains. Nat’s dad and experienced investigators worked on finding the location of these remains. 

Even before the pilot premiered, breaking news surfaced that bones were discovered in Aruba. 

In between episodes, a new update came about that the remains belonged to a European Caucasian female. 

This seemed promising but I was still apprehensive on the impending confirmation. 

Little luck would turn out that the bones did not belong to Natalee Holloway. A crushing blow. 

The way the remains were teased as a breakthrough reminds me of the wood chips potentially connected to Maura Murray. 

Wrapping up the series in a finely knit bow isn’t how cases get solved. As much as I support for positive results, I don’t believe the chips will lead to any conclusive or groundbreaking. Maura being lured to the A-Frame house is substantiated only by rumors. 

I don’t have any expectations for a resolution stemming from the Oxygen series. People should expect to be underwhelmed. Being underwhelmed is just okay. 

I’m thankful that Maura’s case has received this extended coverage. On one hand action was sprang from Making A Murderer and Serial, but other televisions shows centered on famous cases such as The Long Island Serial Killer didn’t push for concrete results. 

I’m hopeful though. 

Oxygen Maura Murray series: Episode 4 – Code of Silence

Crime, Television, True Crime

Honestly, who is even reading this?

I’m feeling like an audience of one over here.  

The Facebook boards and livestreams dedicated to Maura Murray generate a greater chorus of individuals, pressing for questions and answers after the latest episode comes off the air. 

Here’s what happened in episode four of The Disappearance of Maura Murray, ‘Code of Silence’. 

The rag in the tailpipe scenario went through it’s own Mythbusters experiment. Since a rag was discovered in the Saturn’s exhaust pipe, people have wondered whether Maura placed the rag after the accident or if an unknown party intentionally tried to stall her car for nefarious reasons. 

Using the exact model of Maura’s sedan for the experiment was helpful. The rag flew out of the exhaust within seconds as the speed revved up. So the theory of someone placing the rag for the car to stall is debunked. I always believed Maura probably handed the towel during that “flurry of activity.” Still I wonder if the towel was tested for forensics. There’s a chance an unknown party might have stuck that thing in the exhaust AFTER the crash. 

SUV 001?

The sit down with Jeff Strelzin finally happened. I’ve noticed Jeff for some time through multiple news clips. One of the most mystifying cases I’ve ever read about is The Body Barrel murders of New Hampshire. For two years I’ve been reading and watching material regarding the mass murder, which includes Jeff’s hunt in finding the identifies of the slain four females. 

Between Maura Murray and the Body Barrel cases, I’m already familiar with Jeff as the assistant attorney general. Basically in his interview with Maggie and Art, Maura’s investigation is being treated as a criminal case. Jeff didn’t disclose on a number of questions, including if police has even ruled out suspects in Maura’s disappearance. 

Being tight lipped is necessary. We don’t want to encourage false confessions or tainted statements on leaked information that could benefit Maura’s case in a court of law. 

People were really quick to judge Jeff with his non answers. He has always appeared this way in the many interviews I’ve seen through the years. My friend Captain from the podcast True Crime Garage simply put it, “he talks like a cop.” 

John Smith made his television appearance during this episode. John goes much more in depth with his involvement in Maura’s investigation in Missing Maura Murray but you get the general gist during his sit down with Maggie. 

During this interview, the story behind Witness A is brought up to the screen. Witness A was riding down route 112 when she allegedly rode past Maura’s Saturn. She noticed the strangeness of the scene. An SUV accompanied the Saturn as both vehicle parked were nose to nose with each other. At the time, Witness A did not know what was occurring or that a Massachusetts college student vanished into thin air.

Witness A wanted to help but felt unsure if she should stay or she should go. 

The SUV 001 supposedly belonged to a nearby police chief, who had a reputation of drinking and driving. John has always wanted to explore more into why this SUV was on the scene. The official police report states that another officer, Cecil Smith, responded onsite. 

Witness A was interviewed by Maggie and Art. Her real name is Karen McNamara. It recently hit me that Karen/Witness A is the Asia McClain of the Maura Murray case. 

Let me clarify that Asia McClain was the witness who saw and interacted with Adnan Syed during the time the prosecution claims Adnan murdered his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. This all stems from the popular podcast Serial. Asia initially came forward during the original investigation but she wasn’t further contacted by Adnan’s defense team. When Serial was airing their episodes, Asia learned a lot of insider details of the case. Her witness statements are very crucial because she’s the only person who has tactfully stuck by her claims. Asia has met with skepticism and disrespect through the haters for essentially sticking up for Adnan. 

In some ways I see the same parallel with Karen. James Renner doesn’t buy her story. For the most part people believe Karen saw what she saw. I believe her own claims. 

The biggest moment of the whole episode was introducing officers John Monaghan and Cecil Smith. These guys had never given interviews to the media until Maggie and Art were given special permission by Jeff Strelzen. 

One surprising reveal from Cecil himself was that he drove the SUV 001. Why has this detail been in the dark for 13 years? Why does Witness A’s statements not warrant enough action to investigate further? 

At face value I wasn’t emotional about the reveal but people online reacted very quickly to Cecil’s statements. The only question I have for Cecil is whether he saw Maura Murray on February 9th, 2004. 

His interview will continue onto episode five, coming this Saturday. 

My TV Guide already shows the episodic summary for episodes five and six. DNA evidence from the case is apparently tested and revealed to the Murray family. I’m sure this is the new information springing from the efforts of the Oxygen documentary team. 

 

 

 

 

Oxygen Maura Murray series: Episode 3 – After The Crash

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

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

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

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

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

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

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Fred, Maura, and Bill

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

Did he sexually assault Maura, his youngest daughter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same should be said for Maura. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

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

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

Maura ran away to escape the men in her life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Maura Murray

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

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

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

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

A disdained look I bet.

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

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

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

This case is hitting the public sphere more than ever.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Crime, Podcasts, Television

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing. 

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

They’re the real gatekeepers in this saga. 

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

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

The Disappearance of Maura Murray - Season 1

Art Roderick and Maggie Freleng

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

43

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Finally back here in 2017.

And guess what? I appeared on Missing Maura Murray!

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

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

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

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

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

So excuseeeeee meeeeee.

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LA LA LA LA LA

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

Does that make sense?

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

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

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

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

Giving some perspective that’s all.

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

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

Two sides emerged in how I felt:

YAY THEY INVITED ME EVERYTHING’S GREAT!

and

Damn ppl just don’t like me.

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

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

Predictable.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Where did the bright and beautiful college student end up?

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

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

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


The positives.

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

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

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

Overall brain freeze. 

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

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

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

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

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

Why did I start blogging?

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

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

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

It has died inside me.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God forbid.

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

White Noise

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

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

Smiles.

Gorgeous scenery.

Happy times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Literally minutes away!

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

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Leah Roberts

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

Foul play much?

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

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

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

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Brittanee Drexel

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

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

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

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

How do you go forward?

You simply can’t…

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

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

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

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Shannan Gilbert

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

 

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

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

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

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

White noise.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Screenshot 2016-03-01 at 12.13.30 PM

 

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.