The Republican

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Parents still seek missing daughter

By Holly Angelo

A year ago today, University of Massachusetts-Amherst nursing student Maura Murray of Hanson, Mass., crashed her car into a tree on a rural road in Haverhill, N.H. and disappeared.

Her family will mark the sad anniversary with a vigil at the accident site on Route 112 and a Mass later in the day. Murray's father, Fred J. Murray of Weymouth, Mass., will start the day in Concord, N.H., asking Gov. John Lynch to assist in releasing to him state police records regarding the investigation. The state police say those records should remain in their hands so the investigation is not jeopardized.

"If the police aren't looking for my daughter and I'm the only one looking for her I need that information," Murray said yesterday during a phone interview from Haverhill. "I'm asking the governor to either release the records to me or have the state police declare it a criminal investigation. Or, I'd like the governor to ask the attorney general to accept the help the FBI offered."

Lt. John K. Scarinza, commander of State Police Troop F in Twin Mountain, N.H., said the case is very much open and the FBI has been used during the investigation.

"I certainly understand the family's frustrations, but it's not for any lack of effort on our part," Scarinza said yesterday. "It is absolutely an open investigation. We work on it every day."

Scarinza said there are no new leads on where Murray might be. He said it is technically a missing person case because police have not been able to develop leads that point to a criminal case. However, the case is being investigated like a criminal case, he said.

Murray was 21 when she disappeared. A witness to the car accident, which left Murray's 1996 Saturn undrivable, said Murray was unharmed. The witness left the accident scene to call police. When the witness returned, Murray was gone.

Before leaving UMass, Murray e-mailed her professors to tell them she was heading home for the week because of a death in the family, but there was no death in the family. She also packed up her dorm room.

"What is hard to understand at this point in time is why Maura left UMass essentially without telling anyone why she was leaving," Scarinza said. "That is sometimes to me the bigger mystery. No one seems to understand what was going on in her life that she decided to pick up, pack up and leave."

Scarinza asks anyone with any type of information about Murray to call (603) 846-5517.