The Hanson Express

November 24, 2004

Missing Phone Call

By Justin Graeber

Hanson - In what is becoming a long list of frustrations for the family and friends of Maura Murray, it appears that the New Hampshire State Police did not even investigate the final phone call Murray made from her cell phone the day she disappeared.

On February 9, Hanson native and Whitman-Hanson high school graduate Maura Murray slid off the road on a remote highway in New Hampshire near the Vermont border. An eye witness watched her get out of the car and went to call the police, but when he returned Murray was gone. She has not been seen or heard from since.

Members of her family have long been frustrated with the investigation into her disappearance, feeling that the police did not act quickly enough in the hours following her disappearance. The police still maintain that the most likely scenario is that Murray left of her own volition, while the family has always felt she was abducted.

According to Sharon Rausch, the mother of Maura's fiance' Billy Rausch, the last two calls made from Maura's cell phone were to a UMass number and to a couple who is part of a condo association in the area of New Hampshire where Murray appeared headed.

The UMass number is pretty much a dead end for investigators, since the person who lived in the room Maura called in February has most likely moved on.

But the other number is more troubling in its omission from the investigation. The number Maura called belonged to a Wakefield couple, Linda and Domenic Salamone. When Rausch called them, she learned that they rent a condo in the same New Hampshire complex where Murray and her family had often stayed.

Although the call to the Salamones was one of the last Maura Murray made before she went missing, the Salamones only learned of their part in the story when they were contacted by Rausch, nearly eight months later. According to Rausch, they were appalled" by the lack of action by the police and were willing to talk to the press to get the word out that they were never contacted.

Rausch came upon the Salamones' phone number while looking over Maura's phone bills for the month of Feburary. The phone was a gift from Billy Rausch to Maura and was still listed under Sharon Rausch's name.

The reason this recent revelation is so explosive is that it shoots a hole in the State Police's theory that Maura committed suicide or ran away. If Maura was running away for good, it is unlikely that she would be looking to rent a condo in New Hampshire. Before she left the UMass campus, where she was a nursing student, Murray sent a letter to her professors stating that there had been a death in the family and she would need some time off from school. It was later determined that there was no death, and many believe that Murray was simply seeking to get away for a few days to deal with the stress of a recent car crash. But if she was simply seeking a few days' respite, the car crash on that snowy road may have changed the plans.

The Express attempted to contact the state police for this story, but the detective working on the case could not be reached by press time. In the past, the spokesperson for the police has only said that that case was ongoing.

Maura's family has also released a website, Interested persons can read the latest news, view pictures of Maura, or share information.