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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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.

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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.

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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.

meangirls08

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.

Screenshot 2015-12-03 at 7.03.19 PM

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

  • She committed suicide in the woods.

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

No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • She ran away

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • She was murdered.

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

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

IMG_9311

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

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

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

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

We just want a bit of dish.

The Quiet Things No One Ever Knows

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts

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

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

I actually learned a few things from the episode.

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

OMG BUTCH!

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Icy cold.”

“Fine snow coming down.”

“Big ass truck.”

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

We shall see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s like I get her,” Lori murmurs.

Me too?

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

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

Breadcrumbs

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

My MMM notes.

My MMM notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty soon MMM was born.

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

Closure is underneath it all.

Gone Girl

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How did you find me?!”

SLAMS DOOR SHUT.

I. Love. It.

The real life Amy Dunne.

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

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

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

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

Maura Murray Blog

James Renner Twitter

Itunes MMMYoutubeStitcher MMM

Poof

Crime, Itunes, Podcasts, Stitcher

I threw in my last entry the possibility of Maura’s disappearance involving suicide. I strongly believe she met foul play, ever since I saw Disappeared. Suicide is not a strong enough motive, which is why I indicate the theory as a possibility (very meager in my eyes).

Drunk. Car crash. No cell reception. Tipsy/disoriented. Walking alone in cold weather. Asks/accepts ride from a transient. Gone.

That’s the most plausible scenario.

Lance kinda feverishly points out a “local dirt bag” should have surfaced in the investigation- a calling card of sorts that may be hidden from the public. Immediately it made me strongly believe a transient is maliciously involved with Maura vanishing.

If she had called a friend prior to meeting at this mysterious and sudden drive, they would have come forward with information. Things don’t really seem to be suspicious; therefore I am to believe she wanted a solo trip, or was intending to call friends once she got to her destination.

Considering her activity before and during the road trip (gas, calling her boyfriend, emailing work staff), she was doing normal, responsible things to prepare for a big day ahead. I’ve done the same (minus buying alcohol) to let family know ahead I’m leaving for a road trip and stopping for sustenance.

I believe if Maura encountered a car crash, lost in foreign territory hundreds of miles away, she would have wanted to make her way back home. You’re not going to abandon your wrecked car then hitch a ride straight to paradise. The right thing is intending to contact the most important people in her life. Once during a three hour trip on I-75 -bordering Naples to Broward County- I was riding in the passenger seat of my sister’s purple Scion, along with my 2 year old niece in the back. In the middle of the day with storm clouds approaching, we noticed a small red entity ahead in our lane. We thought it was those nothings you drive over every so often (dead animal, bags, etc).

Seconds later the entity grew larger in close up and became intertwined with the bottom of the car. Pulling quickly to the curb we couldn’t drive any longer with this gas tank stuck beneath.

I was scared. This was in 2013, btw. I immediately texted my brother to let him know we were deserted –at least 2 hours away with very little cell reception. My sister and I became frustrated that some idiot intentionally or mistakenly dropped a tank in the middle of the highway. I suggested calling the police. My sweet niece in the back noticed the disturbance and began to cry for mommy, which made me even more nervous. Meanwhile not many cars were passing by. Luckily my sister rigorously poked the tank out with an umbrella. We were able to safely drive again.

This is the culprit right here.

We almost encountered a dangerous accident; Maura on the other hand did. There is no way she would have gone MIA under the conditions without calling family and friends. We are vulnerable young women capable of being hurt in the middle of these tricky circumstances. In 2004, people weren’t whipped with phones. Understandably I get why Maura would conceivably hitch a ride with a stranger.

The details regarding the alleged witnesses remain murky. A bus driver and neighbor remain as the only people who supposedly viewed the aftermath. Faith Westmen witnessed a flurry of activity from her kitchen window pertaining to a mysterious man smoking in the car, and other things happening with the trunk. She later recanted. Butch the bus driver wanted to help Maura but she supposedly rebuked the offer. Eyewitness testimony is deem worthy of being faulty. Faith retracting her statement brings in even more ambiguous insight. In my opinion, the most interesting activity was the BOLO alert sent out at 7:54 pm. In addition the guys point out a Red SUV was seen in the vicinity. Whatever happened on February 9 remains to be a mystery.

Accident crumbles down to disappearance.

The James Renner teaser reminds me of the Sarah Koenig psychopath dig in the final seconds of episode 10 of Serial. As any journalist, they try to undercover clues in their research. Going as far as attempting to decipher personality disorders. I’m not surprised that Renner “believes” Maura was a sociopath. He’s just trying to get into the mindset of a missing girl. I’m very eager to hear his reporting on the case.