The Caledonian-Record

February 18, 2004

Missing Woman

Police Chasing Regionwide Leads

By Gary E. Lindsley

HAVERHILL NEW HAMPSHIRE - Haverhill police officers and detectives from New Hampshire State Police Troop F are receiving leads from all points in New England regarding a missing 21-year-old Massachusetts woman.

"This search has gone nationwide," Haverhill Police Chief Jeffery Williams said in a phone conversation late Tuesday afternoon.

Williams' four-person police department, which includes himself, has been investigating the disappearance of Maura Murray of Hanson, Mass. They, along with detectives from Troop F, have been receiving leads from all over New England.

Murray is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 120 pounds and has long dark brown hair and blue eyes, She was involved in a one-car accident about 7 p.m. Feb. 9.

Her car failed to negotiate a sharp curve and went off the road. Her father, Fred Murray, said it was a minor accident.

A resident who lives near the accident scene told police Murray was asked if she wanted police or emergency medical services called. She reportedly said no. That was the last time anyone has seen the young woman, who reportedly crashed her father's vehicle two days before she crashed her own car, a black 1996 Saturn bearing Massachusetts plates.

According to police, Murray was not injured in the accident. However, she was reportedly impaired due to alcohol consumption when she was seen by her car after her accident.

Williams said his department has received a number of calls in connection with Murray's disappearance, but he will not comment on them because of the ongoing investigation.

The person who saw Murray after the accident also was at the scene when officers arrived.

Williams wouldn't comment concerning what the witness had said about Murray's disappearance between the time of the accident and the time officers arrived.

"We don't know if someone picked her up," Williams said. "We are certainly concerned about that (possibility). We are getting leads from all over New England. It's a national investigation at this point."

Maura's father and her fiance, Bill Rausch, who is a second lieutenant with C Battery, 119th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., have been joined by relatives and friends in their search for the 21-year-old woman. She is a student in the University of Massachusetts nursing program at Amherst.

They have been scouring areas on both sides of the Connecticut River, hoping to find someone who may have seen Maura or have information as to what happened to her after the accident.

Williams said although a search for her was called off last week, the investigation is continuing. He said New Hampshire Fish and Game is in charge of searches. "I don't see a need for a search until we have a (solid) lead," Williams said.

In addition to officers from his department, and detectives, including Sgt. Bob Bruno from Troop F, Vermont State Police also are playing a part in the investigation.

Williams said information about Murray as been entered into the National Crime Information Center computer systems.

Anyone who has seen Murray is asked to contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333 or 603-271-1170. People also can call the Haverhill Police Department at 603-787-2222.