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 3 – After The Crash

Crime, Podcasts, Television, True Crime

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

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

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

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

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

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Fred, Maura, and Bill

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

Did he sexually assault Maura, his youngest daughter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same should be said for Maura. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crime, Podcasts, Television

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing. 

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

They’re the real gatekeepers in this saga. 

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

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

The Disappearance of Maura Murray - Season 1

Art Roderick and Maggie Freleng

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

43

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

Finally back here in 2017.

And guess what? I appeared on Missing Maura Murray!

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

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

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

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

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

So excuseeeeee meeeeee.

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.

Blogiversary

Podcasts, Uncategorized

Today my blog turns 1.

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the terms thrown around were confusing.

  • What’s a snowbank?

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

  • Tandem driver, cylinders

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

  • White Russian, Kahlua.

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


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

Like-mindedness.

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

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Thanks Samantha!

 

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

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

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

With the right and competent people, of course.

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

I was right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

True Crime Addict

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

The last time I passionately participated in a true crime storytelling event was Making A Murderer during Christmas break. Last August when James Renner first mentioned True Crime Addict on Missing Maura Murray, I was excited that any book remotely about Maura Murray would be released.

May 24, 2016 was ingrained in my brain.

Fast forward to Summer, TCA finally arrives. Opening day of the release I zipped through the bite sized passages. Knowing beforehand it was more about James’ descent into the case versus cold hard facts from the official investigation prepared me to not get disappointed when the answers I wanted weren’t there.

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Renner. The spiral into obsession and frailty were revealing. Behind the scenes I didn’t know he experienced abuse, addiction, and rage; these very situations have shaped the man, husband, father, and writer that James is today. Without a doubt he is a mature and talented writer.

Readers vicariously traced his footsteps onto his first visit at Haverhill, New Hampshire near the crash site. The ruggedness of driving through these rural roads could be understood in how vulnerable somebody behind the wheel can get lost. Minus the part about hijacking the universe, I like the experience behind trying to navigate his way through strange terrain, along with hitching a ride from a very old resident.

Risky but titillating.

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True Crime Addict serves an asset if you’re a true crime fan, especially if you aren’t too familiar with the details behind this cold case mystery. Many shout outs about disappearances and murders placed in the New England vicinity catch attention here. I’m already familiar with Brianna Maitland, Molly Bish and Holly Piirainen but I didn’t know a Christopher Flynn vanished near Haverhill in 2010. The Connecticut River Valley Killer is theorized as a possible perpetrator behind Maura and Brianna disappearing into thin air.

The MMM Men

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

February 9, 2016: The 12 year anniversary of Maura’s disappearance. This day was on everyone’s minds. The special two parter -episodes 23 and 24- focused on Tim and Lance’s participation in the community vigil and lodge meeting, where locals and visitors reflected on this baffling case. I always appreciate seeing their Youtube teaser clips. These particular episodes show John Smith leading passionate speeches, as scenic snow fell before the gatherers. In addition they perched comfortably in the lodge, collectively concerned and alert as if she vanished yesterday. From the old to the young the Woodsville residents were present. That was a sweet sight.

More justice was done with these clips and episodes than me just spontaneously showing up, hopping from state to state; sweltering heat to freezing temps. Vicariously you try to imagine the place as you use Google Maps searching for the blue ribbon – the creepy indicator. Googling Route 112 for the first time was actually chilling. Nothing but a gargantuan of greenery.

You couldn’t find a soul if you wanted to.

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I want to give a special thanks to James Renner for recommending my blog on his blog. He was particularly fond of my Mean Girls meme, which demonstrates the Missing Maura Murray wackadoodleness. We are two months shy of True Crime Addict‘s release. Here’s what I think: the people will gobble it up. The book will sell fast. Hate or love the guy, people will undeniably speak about it. I imagine the response will be like those Harry Potter releases, where fanatics need to know what’s next going on with Hogwarts. People have been reading his blog for five years. His research and insight won’t go unnoticed. It’s sorta like the hatch from LOST.

What is in the thing???

Speaking of fanatics, I managed to make two grown men obsessed with this case; both who respectively host their own podcasts. A simple recommendation led down a titillating path. Jordan from The Night Time Podcast was scanning my blog, so I suggested he give MMM a good listen. He was instantly hooked, so much so the case became a Night Time episode. The Tim and Lance interview served as a cool bonus. Meanwhile, as a 20/20 episode highlighted Maura and Brooke Wilberger’s disappearances on the OWN network, I called The Captain from True Crime Garage. (True story). I always bring up the podcast to whoever I speak with. I suggested 20/20 as a basic starting point. Little did I know this man became so hooked, literally to the point of us having 2-3 hour long phone calls.

A Female Perspective

Crime, Podcasts, True Crime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Predicaments, predicaments.

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

Podcast N Chill, right?