December 21, 2005
TV Program To Highlight Missing Woman's Case - New Efforts Mounted To Find Maura Murray
By Gary E. Lindsley
A network television program is going to highlight the case of a young Massachusetts woman who disappeared nearly two years ago in Haverhill, N.H., after she was involved in a minor car crash.
Maura Murray, a 22-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was last seen by a school bus driver after her black Saturn crashed on a sharp left hand curve on Route 112 near the Weathered Barn, Feb. 9, 2004. She disappeared before police arrived.
The television program "20/20," which airs on ABC, will highlight Murray's disappearance on its Jan. 6 show, according to Sharon Rausch, the mother of Billy Rausch, Murray's fiance.
Rausch said she and her son were flown to ABC headquarters in New York, Dec. 7 for two days. They were interviewed from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. She said Fred Murray, Maura's father, was interviewed in Wells River, Vt., and at the site of the crash.
Donna Hunter, an assistant producer for "20/20," told Rausch "20/20" staff have been following Murray's case for awhile, according to Rausch.
The TV show's interest in Murray's case has been welcomed by Rausch, her son and Murray's family.
"My greatest hope is she is living and we will find out," said Rausch.
ABC News could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Rausch is encouraged that John Healy of Warner, N.H., and other retired law enforcement officers are going to investigate Murray's disappearance.
Healy, who retired as a lieutenant after 19 years with the New Hampshire State Police, said he has 10 volunteers from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont who will be taking part in the investigation.
Those volunteers include retired police chiefs and detectives who now are licensed private detectives.
"We want to make sure these cases never die," said Healy.
Healy met Murray's relatives at a training session put on by the Molly Bish Foundation. Molly Bish was abducted on June 27, 2000, from Comins Pond in Warren, Mass., where she worked as a lifeguard. Molly was 16 years old. The search ended June 9, 2003, when Molly's body was found just five miles from the family's home.
The foundation helps with cases involving missing children.
"We don't have a game plan yet," Healy said. "First thing is to nail down the time [she disappeared]. Right now, we are just trying to separate fact from fiction."
Statistics, he said, will play a large part in the way they will conduct their investigation.
Healy said nationally, statistics show if someone is harmed, their body is usually left within five miles of where they disappeared.
He and his team will utilize topographical maps and compasses to conduct a search within five miles of the crash scene.
They will visit Haverhill in January and February and drive along the area's roads to learn where someone might feel safe while dropping off a body. That information will be entered into a GPS system. Then, during warmer weather, searches will be conducted using search dogs.
The team will also look at Murray's cell phone bill and the last 20 to 30 calls in an attempt to determine what was going on in Murray's life before her disappearance.
According to Healy, STALK Inc., a team of profiling professionals, has also offered its services to help find Murray.
"Our hearts won't let her go," Rausch said. "That is where my greatest hope is ... if she is alive, she is well. If she has run away, let us know she is well."