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 1 – Everyone Has A Theory

Crime, Podcasts, Television

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing. 

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

They’re the real gatekeepers in this saga. 

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

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

The Disappearance of Maura Murray - Season 1

Art Roderick and Maggie Freleng

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capping CrimeCon 2017

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Returning to my Airbnb from CrimeCon, my mind swirls with flashbacks about this jam packed three day weekend. So much to see and hear. Where do I begin?

My journey began by departing to Sarasota-Bradenton Airport at 4:30 AM.

This is it.

It’s really happening.

Don’t take advantage of an early bird flight. There are little to no lines clogging TSA. You’ll have a comfortable spot while waiting to board. Time to eat, sleep, or check social media in the meantime. 

For my first time traveling alone, checking in was fast and convenient. I learned flying is fun. I hadn’t boarded a flight since 2008. My fear of flying back then rested on getting motion sickness and potentially crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Your mind thinks of the screwy parts seen in the media: terrible TSA lines, people getting kicked off planes (yes you, United), and staff being rude or dismissive. Thankfully traveling from Florida –including the brief Atlanta layover — to Indiana was smooth sailing. 

Zeroing in on my Indy arrival sprang pretty quickly. I ubered straight to my Airbnb. It was go-time from there: shower, change my clothes, and finding my destination to CrimeCon. 

You can’t miss the The JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. 

Podcast Row was already in session when I stepped into the Marriott. Low and behold who do I spot at first glance? Tim and Lance from Missing Maura Murray. They just had to be first table upfront huh… 

Tim and Lance recognized me right away as we quickly greeted and hugged each other. Smiles and nervous chatter filled the air. They were very down to earth. 

I spotted True Crime Garage a few tables away. I’ve known Captain and Nic since December 2015, when I randomly stumbled upon their show from some Youtuber advertising them in the LordenARTS channel comment section. Captain was tall as heck, sporting his Rogue cap backwards and purple TCG shirt. Nic is the slimmer dude with the laid back disposition. Captain and I went in for the hugs. Interacting with Nic was interesting because we don’t speak very often with each other. The little conversation we had was cool.

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Article on Beth Andes from Accused

I was already overwhelmed with Podcast Row. 

I bounced back and forth between the MMM and TCG tables. Tim and I were chatting while Lance stopped by Starbucks for sustenance. I was really taken back by Tim’s piercing green eyes. In return, Lance was much quieter in my presence. I’m too reserved and reticent to keep a conversation flowing anyway. Eventually our MM counterpart James Renner arrived wearing his signature creme suit.

“Hi Aurelia.” Oh cool he knows me. 

Firstly, James is skinny and approachable as can be. I don’t think the haters should take him seriously. In the interim I chatted between passerby’s and podcasters including Esther (Once Upon A Crime), Robin (The Trail Went Cold), and Justin (Generation Why). 

My original plans flew out the window once I stepped onto Podcast Row. 

I hanged with the TCG crew as the session winded down. Nic had to exit CrimeCon early to later vacation in Florida. I was lending an ear while Captain smoked cigarettes through our sunny downtown trail. We settled for St. Elmo Steakhouse. 

My phone completely shutting off during this period was the shitty turn of events. 

Last minute observations:

I wanted to introduce myself to the Thin Air table. They’re like the sophisticated sounding missing people podcast narrated over such delicate voices. Almost think of Phoebe Judge from Criminal. Voices so soft spoken it’s artsy. I was shy to say hi. I did appreciate your live Facebook video from Podcast Row though. 

The Killing Season and Cropsy team, Josh Zeman and Rachel Mills. Rachel’s so little! I dived into the Long Island Serial Killer case after The Killing Season premiered. Seeing Bob Kolker was cool too. LOST GIRLS is a great book.

Keep being your suave self, Carl Marino. Nice to see you Aphrodite Jones. Nancy Grace is short statured and laidback. Her kids were nice too. Oh Ken Kratz. That’s all I gotta say. Josh Mankiewicz looks like the chillest man ever.

Day 2:

In my estimate, the demographic and median age at Crime Con was Caucasian women in their mid thirties to forties. Very rarely did I see peers, however I appreciate and prefer older crowds anyway. 

Podcast Row started much earlier at 9AM. Same ol’ thing I said my hellos to everyone. I remember Billy Jensen stopping by the TCG table. I’ve known Billy since he reported the Body Barrel murders on Crime Watch Daily. Captain and him were going over the case since TCG also covered the New Hampshire murders. I gleefully chimed in by stating I watched and appreciated the Crime Watch segment. From there I noticed Renner perched at his table. I used this opportunity for my copy of TRUE CRIME ADDICT to be signed. We made small talk about Maura Murray and my background. 

Renner originally thought I resided near UMASS, the school where Maura majored as a nurse. Up until 24 hours earlier, I had never visited another state until landing in Indiana. I don’t know what my blogging or personality says about the UMASS assumption but I will gladly accept it. People notice my level of tunefulness with Maura Murray’s disappearance.

Upon figuring out I’m a Florida native, James revealed he traveled to Tallahassee, the state capital, a month ago to find Maura. I was entertained. This is why people continue being interested in the case because new situations and possibilities always arise. The wild goose chase never ends.

I needed breakfast. Ribeye from St. Elmo’s was my last treat. 

Found my way to Lance in the long Starbucks line.

“I’ll get a coffee frap.”

This is when I found myself opening up to him. We discussed the CrimeCon whirlwind. It was just cool we were having a conversation — period. (Not to single out anyone again but Lance has the biggest blue eyes ever.) Never thought I’d see him sport magenta pants. I like it. 

Later on I attended the Golden State Killer session in the grand ballroom. 

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Crawlspace table

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My first encounter with the Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer case occurred while coming across a chilling Cold Case Files episode in my teens. I’ll never forget his scary ski mask sketch and frightening voicemail to one of his victims back in 1991.

All these years later watching the victim’s families mingle together for the first time and discuss their ordeal was personal. I believe forensic genealogy will break the case. FBI might be counting on this method for identification besides the ONS having a micro penis. No joke. 

Shout out to Mike Morford for joining the panel. I’ve been Twitter friends with Mike for awhile since he’s especially in tune with the ONS and Zodiac Killer investigations. I was too shy to say hi whenever he passed by me in the halls. 

For more on the ONS, 48 Hours recently covered the unknown assailant along with Michelle McNamara’s thorough and intriguing reporting. Michelle passed away in 2016. She placed the Golden State Killer moniker back in her 2013 ONS Los Angeles Magazine article. 

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Jon Ronson took center stage after the ONS presentation. You couldn’t miss him with his signature circular glasses and soft British voice. Tim and Lance joined alongside me. They were having a ball based on the joyous laughs I heard. Jon’s colorful speech illuminated the room. 

When everything concluded, I became the lingering lady among Tim and Lance. My nuisance of a phone died during Jon’s presentation. I just wanted to be around someone familiar for safekeeping. The MMM seminar was coming up anyway…might as well stick around. If you witnessed a long haired brunette bobbing around with her brown book bag, chances were it was me. As predicted that MMM presentation turned out enjoyable. The talk of trolls was one of the focal points. When that session was done, James, Tim and Lance recorded an Oxygen promo for the upcoming Maura Murray investigative six part series. 

Don’t worry, you guys did great. 

The calm afternoon followed with lunch at High Velocity, the restaurant serving the Marriott. I had never seen Tim and Lance congregate in a private setting before. They’ve been friends for 15 years. I couldn’t believe this was my life. Casually having a meal with popular podcasters. Maura Murray led us here.  

I’m a woman of a few words but I tried opening up the conversation. Anyways these guys are pretty funny and friendly behind the scenes. One on one, they are special in their own ways.

Did I dream of this weekend? 

We were all wiped out by lunch and led our separate ways. Back in my Bnb I worked like a mad scientist trying to figure out the damn phone. Touring the Marriott hours before weared me out. I missed out on the podcast cocktail hour because I was quarantined quite frankly by tiredness and lack of technology. Sucks that I missed it. 

Day 3:

Flitways saves the day.

If I were a podcaster, this is the part where I’d sponsor the hell outta Flitways, a car service similar to Uber and Lyft. The exception remains you can order a ride hours or days in advance. I seriously love this service for being sharp on time and taking me where I needed to be. It saved me from being deserted.

Anyways I was the driver’s 100th customer. Killing two birds with one stone.

I eventually grabbed my morning breakfast (Starbucks cookie and frap) to the grand ballroom. This was leading up to the second MMM presentation for 10AM. The big reveal for the audience was the announcement on the Oxygen Maura Murray series. The series trailer was introduced right away. Off the bat the content looks promising. I can’t believe Tim and Lance will be appearing on national television.

Life takes people you know in interesting directions.  

In hindsight, I noticed the female reporter from the trailer could serve as an investigative asset, since she roughly resembles the proximate age of what Maura would be today. That female perspective may make a difference in the public eye. 

I was not the only MMM guest who appeared at CrimeCon. Scott Reeder (Suspect Convictions), Nancy Grace (Crime Online), Justin Evans & Aaron Habel (The Generation Why), James Renner (TCA), and Erinn (Blogger @ 107degree.com) were essentially present in support. 

That must be humbling ya know. 

Overall the grand ballroom presentation was ten times better. The Happy Anniversary video was shown. People asked all kinds of questions. Good times. 

No straw hats were consumed in this event.

CrimeCon was practically done by noon. James and I said goodbye. Pictures were taken separately with Esther, Justin, Tim, and Lance. And right after I met Erinn. You likely heard Erinn’s interview in episode 33 on MMM. She’s really soft spoken and sweet.

Her blog is really analytical. I haven’t reached that level of thoroughness with my own blog. At one point last year I remember refreshing her work to see if any new posts were being made. The cool thing with the writers involved is how we display our own personality and perspective with the Maura Murray case. 

This final part is one of my favorite highlights. 

Erinn and I joined Tim and Lance for an Indianapolis Indians game at the Lucas Oil stadium. I was happy to spend my final hours with some sun, baseball, and beer. Again what is my life? 

My gratitude will never go away. 

Not long after we went our separate ways and said our final goodbyes. I hugged everyone. 

I got misty I’ll admit. 

I reminisced on my entire CrimeCon trip back in my Bnb. Food was ordered. I packed my bags and listened to the latest Unconcluded podcast.

I touched down Florida by Monday afternoon. Back to reality. 

Traveling by myself for the first time was fulfilling. Hopefully I left an overall good impression with the people I met. Attending the first ever CrimeCon makes me proud. I felt in my element. 

Fortunately twas no Fyre Fest.

Maybe I’ll relive it in Nashville. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

like

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogiversary

Podcasts, Uncategorized

Today my blog turns 1.

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the terms thrown around were confusing.

  • What’s a snowbank?

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

  • Tandem driver, cylinders

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

  • White Russian, Kahlua.

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


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

Like-mindedness.

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

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Thanks Samantha!

 

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

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

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

With the right and competent people, of course.

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

I was right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Sword & Scale Florida Meetup

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Sword & Scale remains as one of the most successful crime podcasts, queuing up 70 episodes to date. The man responsible for bringing engrossing true crime stories to our ears is Mike Boudet. Something to note is Serial was the first podcast -relating to a real life crime tale- I had ever heard. During the run of Serial’s juggernaut success, numerous articles began recommending other podcasts within the true crime genre. That’s when I first came across S&S, Criminal, Generation Why, Thinking Sideways, and a few more.

An exciting world was brought before me.

I remember the first episode I heard was a Canadian case where a teenager was beheaded by a severely mentally ill Asian man on a Greyhound bus. A few notable others cases covered by Mike include Luke Magnotta, a reality show reject and narcissistic who killed a guy during coitus, all the while live streaming the tortuous sex. Ricardo Lopez serves as another interesting mix. Taking place right here in sunny South Florida, a stalker obsessed fan of Bjork filmed 22 hours of sickening reel. He professed his deranged thoughts about his favorite singer and lonely life. The crazy part is the suicide tape. (I too used to lurk r/MorbidReality).

Besides the long list of episodes, I was stunned to learn Mike is a S.Fla native and resident like yours truly. That fact made him ten times cooler. The mention of Casey Anthony’s verdict while driving on Bird Road in the podcast hit the light bulb switch in my head.

Fast forward to the announcement of a local meetup, along with Justin from Generation Why set to appear. How could I not go?


Destination: Burlock Coast.

A fancy eatery and bar in Ft. Lauderdale beach.

I’m familiar with this city. My dad used to work there. While the restaurant is now closed, I briefly waitressed during the summer of ’09. Later the majority of rock concerts I attended took place at Revolution and Culture Room. Seeing the likes of Minus The Bear and Circa Survive always led me to carpool from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale many a high school and college nights. Basically my entire Youtube channel consists of amateur videos where I filmed scores of alternative/post-hardcore bands in these venues.

Driving through the streets of Ft. Lauderdale –especially the very touristy side– reminded me of Miami Beach, my hometown. The beach side looks a lot like Ocean Drive.

So I’m dropped off. Walk inside Burlock. The feeling of being lost sets in motion right when someone notices my presence. Immediately my attention snaps to Justin -hollering for me to join him. Seated at a dinner table is Justin, Mike and a few other men in their 30s. I felt like Lindsey Lohan in Means Girls joining the Regina George lunch table.

Oh me?? I’m flattered.

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The Sword & Scale Squad

I was introduced to everyone. Mostly I just made small talk about my blog and Missing Maura Murray with Justin. He pointed out to a married couple seated nearby at a lounge because they flew from San Jose, California for this very meeting.

Dedication. I like that.

5 minutes later everyone gathered around for the meetup. I’d say around 50 people appeared. Mostly the hosts their divided attention whoever stopped by. A couple of times Mike and I personally chit chatted. We watch the same batch of true crime shows, I noticed. This heavily tattooed dude brought up True Crime Garage and Missing Maura Murray, in specific how he prefers shows where there is a resolution (MM is a certified rabbit hole). One of the things I’ve noticed about S&S is the picking and choosing of obscure cases. Mike agreed that’s why he doesn’t discuss unsolved cases. You can guess a million crazy theories before finding the truth.

I’m insanely reticent. I managed to make conversation with a couple of people: Hannah (an Indiana transplant living in Delray Beach) and Esther (the woman who flew in from Cali).

Mostly I stuck around with Esther. Soon I learned she actually hosts Once Upon A Crime. I was just yip yapping about true crime all night. O.J. Simpson, Making A Murderer, you name it. We find it to be so cool how casual and inviting podcasters are with their listeners. The podcast medium is unique. Anyone can start their own show, grab a gargantuan amount of listeners, and premiere their episodes whenever. There are no rules.

I wouldn’t be here without Serial. As I typed halfway through today’s entry, news surprised the podcast community with Adnan Syed getting a new trial. What a long way we’ve come since Serial premiered in October of 2014. Without that show, x, y, z wouldn’t have occurred. Discovering new content, befriending podcast peeps, starting this blog. I really have come across wonderful people.

Nothing tops Serial.


As the Saturday night was winding down people were leaving. I was monkey in the middle between Esther and Justin as we chatted around an hour. She was recounting how she has followed TC since the Ann Rule days. Unsolved Mysteries was my idolization. Nearby a young couple struck up a conversation with us. The male was mostly drunk but very chatty and friendly. I’d really like to hear that discussion because Esther spontaneously decided to record that exchange. I remember Richard Ramirez being brought up as a fixture in TC history, one of the reasons Justin became personally interested in the genre.

A momentary pause in the discussion led the guy to mention my pink toe nail polish; somewhere in his curious drunken state he was fascinated with that observation. Later, a premium episode of Gen Why came up about a Oregon 911 call where a helpless woman was rejected from getting protected by her abusive ex, reasons being that Josephine County cut their budget with police personnel. Here’s the episode.

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Oh hey

As I was sitting there I understood why Justin and Mike host their shows. They’re capable of prolonging with promising content, all the while vocalizing without running out of material. There’s a reason both men were chatting up a storm with everyone. They possess opinions that scores of people are very keen in hearing.

By the time the couple left, I was chewing the same piece of gum for hours. No food in my stomach. Esther’s husband generously offered me drinks. I wasn’t sure how the night would turn out. Not eating before leaving home was a premature decision that would later cost me. Sustenance was needed even if a milkshake or buckets of ice were handed.

I joined Mike and his friends. He was recounting a hilarious massage story as I was sipping my rum. Everyone was roaring. Downing the second glass my functions became foggy but my memory was still serving me right. Mind you I’m not a regular drink. Here I am home away home. My first meetup was going well. I became impaired.

I passed out.

My bathroom break led to a welfare check. Without Esther I probably would have slept on that hotel tile. When I finally walked out everyone was gone. No goodbye hugs to the guys.

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Things took an embarrassing toll. My blurry vision was in great effect. Meanwhile Esther was trying to request Uber. Thankfully my inebriated side isn’t aggressive. I’m upbeat and chatty but mostly nurturing is needed if things go south. Upchucking while slumped outside was as close to Snooki-from-Jersey Shore-drunk as I got. Mostly I’m cool.

My ride arrives. A white guy around 21 was in the Uber pool; immediately he was concerned with my visible inebriation. We shook hands. At his drop off he told the driver to text him when I arrived safely at home. That was sweet. During my drunken state my thought was there is true kindness in this world, even among strangers. Good people can look after you.

Maybe Mystery Show can dedicate an episode on the identity of this mysterious passenger.

Mike and Justin were really cool. To sum it all up, in a state where they can comfortably quit their jobs to podcast full time is a reality many wish to fulfill. If you aren’t kind to listeners, then it’s really not worth attempting this line of work. The online sleuths are here to stay. I hope to experience more meetups. The podcast peeps at the top of the list know who they are.

I’m shy greet me first.

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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.