Boston Globe

April 11, 2004

Missing student's kin skeptical of psychic

By Peter DeMarco

Maura Murray's parents have reacted with skepticism to a nationally known psychic profiler who believes the missing college student was abducted and murdered after vanishing from a rural New Hampshire road on Feb. 9.

"I don't believe her," said Laurie Murray, of Hanson, whose daughter disappeared without a trace after crashing her car into a snowbank in Woodsville, N.H. "I don't believe in [psychics] at all."

Murray's father, Fred Murray, of Weymouth, said he was not sure whether to believe California profiler Carla Baron, who said she has had psychic visions of his daughter's abduction and death.

But with law enforcement officials at a loss to explain his 21-year-old daughter's disappearance, Fred Murray said he is willing to listen to anyone offering help.

"About five or six psychics have contacted me. I have no idea whether they know what they're talking about or not," he said. "If they're wrong, they're wrong. It's worth a try, [as] the police seem to be out of ideas and there's no information coming forward."

Murray, who believes his daughter was abducted, said he contacted Baron a few weeks ago after being told of her strong track record with missing persons cases. The California psychic said she has helped dozens of police departments with homicide and missing persons cases over the past 20 years.

Baron said yesterday that after speaking with Fred Murray on the phone, she saw visions of Maura Murray and received messages from her in the form of thoughts.

Baron said she believes Murray hitched a ride with "a clean-cut looking man" in a truck following her car accident the night of Feb. 9. The man then sexually assaulted her and buried her body in a sparsely wooded area that may be a construction site, Baron said.

Her assailant, Baron added, has killed at least one other woman whose body is buried close to Murray's. "He happened to be driving by her. It was an opportunity. That's the thrill for him -- he never knows where the thrill will be," Baron said.

Baron equated her visions to snippets of a movie film, in which she perceives some details but not others. She could not say where Murray was picked up by her assailant, or whether Murray had hitched previous rides.

The psychic said she also was not sure why Murray, a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and former college track star, abruptly packed her belongings the day she disappeared and drove to New Hampshire without telling any friends or family members of her plans.

Fred Murray said he met with New Hampshire State Police on Friday to inform them about Baron's psychic reading. At his urging, Baron said, she left her contact information with investigators.

Baron, who was featured with psychic John Edwards on the 2003 Court TV program "Psychic Detectives," and has made several television and radio appearances, acknowledged that her readings are often met with skepticism.

While in some instances she has led invesigators directly to victims, she said, on other occasions her input is merely a starting point for an investigation.

"Hopefully we can start talking," she said. "Even if there is one little piece of information I have that can assist them in finding where she is, it's [worth it]."

New Hampshire State Police have said they have yet to find evidence of foul play in Murray's disappearance. The lead investigator on the case, John Scarinza, could not be reached yesterday.