February 9, 2005

Father Of Missing Woman Meets With Lynch - Police Don't Believe Foul Play Involved

CONCORD, N.H. -- The father of a Massachusetts woman who disappeared a year ago met with Gov. John Lynch on Wednesday to ask for his help in getting records of the investigation.

Fred Murray, whose daughter Maura vanished after a minor car accident in Haverhill, wants state police to release their records so he can pursue leads himself.

"I asked, failing that, to have it declared a criminal investigation rather than a missing person investigation, and, if he didn't want to do that, I asked him to accept the offer of the FBI to come in," Murray said after the meeting with Lynch.

Lynch made no commitments on the specific requests.

"I told Mr. Murray that I will look into the situation, and I promised to get back to him as soon as I possibly can and that's how we left it," he said.

Maura, a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, was last seen on Feb. 9, 2004, walking away from her car on Route 112 in Haverhill. Police said they have no evidence of foul play and have searched the area repeatedly.

"Literally thousand and thousands of hours have been invested in the search for Maura Murray," said state police Lt. John Scarinza of Troop F, which is handling the investigation.

Murray was highly critical of state police and said he's heard nothing from the investigators in six months.

"I am the investigation. That's why I want the information," he said.

Scarinza said his troopers talk with Murray on a regular basis when new leads appear. Murray's claim he hadn't heard from them in six months is "absolutely inaccurate," he said.

Scarinza said the investigation continues. "We work on it, we talk about it every day as miscellaneous leads come in."

Murray's family believes someone picked her up on the road. They have searched the area many times and called in a psychic who said she believes Murray was murdered by a serial killer.

Murray said he and some supporters would return to the site of Maura's disappearance after leaving the Statehouse.

Murray said he planned to tie a new ribbon on a tree near the accident site and a clergyman would say a prayer. He said the hardest part of marking the anniversary would be listening to a song composed by a friend of Maura's.

But he was optimistic after his meeting with Lynch.

"At least I have more hope than I had before and that's why I came," he said.