The New Hampshire Union Leader

May 9, 2004

Skeletal remains found are too old to be missing Mass. woman


Union Leader Staff

A hiker out on a scavenger hunt Friday discovered human skeletal remains in a rugged and remote region of Mount Kancamagus east of Lincoln, state police said last night.

Police quickly ruled out that the remains belonged to Maura Murray, the Massachusetts woman who disappeared from Haverhill on Feb. 9. The remains are believed to be at least several years old.

We're looking into any missing persons/hikers reported missing from that area, and I'm aware of one and maybe two from the last decade who were in fact missing and not found," State Police Lt. John Scarinza told the Sunday News last night.

Authorities hadn't determined whether the remains were of a man or woman.

We're going to send the remains to the medical examiner for identification and cause of death," he said.

A jacket and sneaker were found at the site. Scarinza said the items appeared to have been out in the elements for quite a long time." No further details were available.

The hiker reported his discovery to State Police Friday and authorities waited for sufficient light before heading out with the hiker yesterday to find and recover the remains in an area more than 3,000 feet in elevation, he said.

It's certainly safe to say he was bushwacking off the trail, which is probably why he had located the remains and others have not through some pretty rugged terrain up there," Scarinza said.

He said the hiker, whose name wasn't available, was participating in a treasure hunt.

Hikers frequently compete in such games using global position satellite equipment to find items hidden in water-tight containers left in challenging locations.

Members from State Police, the New Hampshire Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service removed the remains from the mountain, which is located south of Route 112 in the town of Livermore, about 8 miles from the center of Lincoln. Authorities took approximately nine hours to reach the site and return with the remains.

The skeletal remains were found about 25 miles east from where Murray was last seen.

The discovery isn't unprecedented.

In my career in the past 25 years, I know of at least several occasions where skeletal remains have been found in northern New Hampshire," Scarinza said.

Meanwhile, the families of two missing women came together in Haverhill yesterday to plead for help from the public and federal authorities.

Fred Murray's daughter, Maura, 21, disappeared on Feb. 9 in Haverhill after a car accident.

The Weymouth, Mass., man was joined by Bruce and Kellie Maitland of East Franklin, Vt., whose daughter, Brianna, 17, was last seen on March 19.

Also lending their support were Charlotte and Michael Riley of Chester, parents of 20-year-old Amie Riley, who was last seen leaving a Manchester bar in August. Her body was found last month in a marsh.