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.

A Female Perspective

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Episode 21 of Missing Maura Murray was a refresher. KF, a secret researcher, appeared on the first episode of 2016. One of the topics of conversation which stood out was the July 2004 article of Maura’s disappearance in Seventeen magazine.

Before we get into the weeds I have to say I was a formerly devoted Seventeen subscriber circa 2004 to 2007. So my first crosswalk with Maura probably didn’t first happen in the Disappeared episode. 2004 is my favorite year in pop culture. As a preteen at the time, I relished whichever pop star and movie maven appeared within the pages. I was curious on who actually appeared on the July issue. Any guesses on which young starlet? The Olsen twins appeared individually in separate covers. Vanessa Grigoriardis’ article is highlighted in the bottom right, proving even more confirmation the report existed in publication.

True crime stories did appear monthly. Seventeen was the kind of magazine I ravished right away as I read the whole thing in one sitting, fresh out of the mailbox. Anyone who knows me really well through discussion boards or commemorative posts are aware I have followed true crime since childhood. Those stories of real life cases were always gripping because they were unexpected tales in the midst of scanning beauty accessories and reading dating tips. Without a doubt I must have read the article. However it’s interesting how my memory doesn’t serve me right. During June of 2004 I vacationed to Central America. Perhaps my magazine arrived after I left the States. I suspect when flying back home weeks later I finally caught up with the July issue. Last fall when Tim and Lance were interviewed on Crime Writers On Serial, I remember hearing Lara Bricker say the case was hot in New Hampshire. On the surface the word seems to have flown pretty quickly among local media, newspapers, etc.

The reason people seem fixated on Maura is because she had the capacity as a legal adult to go off the grid. Adults have the ability to leave or escape on their own. Children do not vanish under their own volition; at least most of the time. Mostly we suspect foul play when a child goes missing. With her criminal hiccups months prior and car accidents, I always mentally sway left to right on whether she truly ran away. Her case is so unique because of the route 112 collision. Without that single piece of mysterious desertion in the middle of rural north country, armchair detectives are doing a Where’s Waldo at every turn.

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On my last MMM blog I literally stated that “every man on the street is a threat.” KF -and every other female in the planet- have encountered a brush of fear around interactions with men. It’s kinda crazy how guys do not consciously think of being in danger whenever they walk outside, however, this is the mindset for every female. A young woman as attractive as Maura, especially in a vulnerable state with freezing temperatures and darkness surrounding her, she was bait.

Based on the popularity between armchair detectives and the circumstances of this weird case, I’m kinda surprised her disappearance didn’t hit the national airwaves right away. Heck even Fred wasn’t alerted until 24 hours after the crash. Maura’s own high school friends believed her disappearance was a joke. The Away message on her AIM literally cautioned for emergency contact on the UMASS police. I appreciated hearing that as a former AOL user myself. The unforgettable, screeching dialup noise as you signed onto the internet will always stay with me. AIM was everything. Archaic compared to advanced technology, these were the few resources in reach.

Every guest until KF was a male. MMM pumped with testosterone between the appearances of John Smith, James Renner, Cold N. Holefield, Dr, Eckstein, and Clint Harding. I’m going off on a tangent but I love hearing these New England accents from Fred Murray and John. Also, I appreciate the fashion sense behind those swanky hats that Tim and Lance wore during the impromptu Tim Westman interview. Men down south simply cannot sport sophisticated New England attire.

Billy Rausch was her college boyfriend. Long distance relationships can be complicated especially considering Facebook, Skype, and Facetime didn’t exist back then. Email chains and phone calls were the main modes of communicating. It was really humbling to hear how as teenagers Adnan and Hae surreptitiously called each other in Serial. You forget how landlines operated back then due to their complete obsoleteness today. Since they were forbidden from dating, one person would call a weather hotline while the other dialed the recipient’s number so that the phone wouldn’t ring out loud–the beep hatched their plan.

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During freshmen year I’d borrow my sister’s Razor cell phone while hiding in the bathroom during private conversations. I experienced my very own college boyfriend from ages 19-21. We would ride the city bus after school. Before crashing at his place, we’d grab a bite at Taco Bell or Wendy’s. Fortunately we lived a couple of blocks away from each other. A year later I moved closer to downtown. Things got strained. I can’t imagine going through a long distance relationship. It wasn’t all roses for Maura and Billy. They didn’t share the simple daily nuances as a young couple should. With rumors of cheating between both individuals, it’s no surprise they lingered for intimacy.

This all reminds me of my Breadcrumbs entry. As a private and reticent person, I don’t share where I’m going with anyone. Maura didn’t specify where she was heading on February 9, 2004. The downfall of her disappearance is the unknown destination. The very same circumstance could happen whenever I walk out the door as I withhold identifies and places in my direction. There were many instances in 2015 where I met many strangers. I found myself in unfamiliar locations, wondering whether if I got myself in a seedy situation, where would I run for help?

Predicaments, predicaments.

Meanwhile there have been developments with Fred Murray reaching out to Unsolved. John Smith has petitioned for the FBI to get involved with the nearly turned 12 year old case. Recently I found a Youtube channel, BrainScratch, which features a soft spoken, sorta armchair detective by the name of John Logan. Maura’s case is covered in two parts. Interesting enough as I was drafting this blog, James releases a how-to-guide on reading up his investigation of the disappearance.

Podcast N Chill, right?

The Cold Show

Itunes, Podcasts, True Crime

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • She committed suicide in the woods.

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

No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • She ran away

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • She was murdered.

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

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

IMG_9311

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

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

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

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

We just want a bit of dish.

Running If You Call My Name

Amazon, Itunes, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

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

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

I agree.

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

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

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

Screenshot 2015-10-22 at 1.15.14 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This all really did happen.

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