The Caledonian-Record

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Family, Friends No Closer To Finding Maura Murray

By Gary E. Lindsley

Maura Murray's friends and family are no closer to finding out what has happened to the 22-year-old nursing student than they were six months ago after learning she disappeared the frigid night of Feb. 9.

Murray, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst student, has not been seen since she was involved in a minor car accident after failing to negotiate a sharp left-hand curve on very rural Route 112 in Haverhill, N.H.

Her father, Fred, still travels to New Hampshire every weekend to search for his daughter.

Maura left her dorm room the afternoon of Feb. 9.

She had researched destinations in Vermont and New Hampshire on her computer before leaving in her father's black 1996 Saturn.

Maura had some of her semester's books with her as well as expensive diamond jewelry and other items. She also had alcohol in the vehicle.

An area contractor, months after the accident, told investigators with New Hampshire State Police he may have seen her running along Route 112 toward the North Woodstock area, about four to five miles from the accident scene.

Maura has not been heard from or seen since - except for a reported sighting in a bar in Rochester in early July.

Although two women have stated they believed the woman was Maura, state police have discounted the alleged sighting without saying why.

Since Maura disappeared, she has not accessed her bank accounts nor used her ATM card.

State police are treating Maura's disappearance as a missing person case and have not brought the FBI into the case.

Fred Murray has spent nearly every weekend searching for her.

Monday marks six months since Maura disappeared and family and friends are asking people around the nation to pray for her.

Sharon Rausch, whose son, Billy, is Maura's boyfriend, said Maura's friends, family and loved ones have been praying for Maura's safe return.

Now, they are asking for others to join with them in the hopes Maura will be safely returned to them.

"I am also asking that you request your church to have a moment of prayer for Maura in your worship service on Sunday, Aug. 8, and to request that each member make it a priority to pray throughout the week that God will comfort, strengthen and provide answers to all of the people that love Maura as they deal with her being missing for six months," Rausch said. "Most importantly, please pray that God will bring Maura home.

"We fear that Maura is no longer with us, but we need her home," she continued. "Please help us."

Rausch said she has sent out 350 e-mails to churches in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and across the country.

She said she has received between 75 and 100 responses, including two from churches in Haverhill, Mass., stating people will be praying for Maura as Monday marks the sixth month since she was last seen.