February 5, 2010
Network highlights mysterious case of Maura Murray
By Kristin Palpini
University of Massachusetts student Maura Murray's disappearance along Route 112 six years ago will be the subject of an Investigation Discovery television program set to air Monday night.
Murray, then a 21-year-old UMass honors student and athlete studying for her nursing degree, went missing Feb. 9, 2004, after her car swerved off a windy road in Haverhill, N.H., 140 miles from her Amherst dorm.
She was never found, and an investigation by the New Hampshire State Police remains open. Her family has hired private investigators to find Murray and, in an attempt to aid the private search, fought with state officials to release more information surrounding the police investigation.
Murray's story will be featured in an episode of "Disappeared," a program that features missing person cases, on the Investigation Discovery channel Feb. 8 at 10 p.m. The show focuses on Murray's last known whereabouts and actions just prior to her vanishing. Filming was done on the UMass campus and the surrounding area for the episode.
Series executive producer Elizabeth Fischer, of NBC's Peacock Productions, said "Disappeared" was drawn to Murray's story by the compelling mystery it presents and the conviction of her family, which is still searching for her.
"How could a young woman be at the site of a car crash one moment and simply vanish the next?" Fischer said. "We were also moved by the devotion her family and friends showed right after she disappeared and still to this day. Her father, in particular, has been through so much. The way he expresses his despair is so relatable for any parent watching."
Murray, a Hanson native, disappeared after crashing into a snowbank at around 7 p.m. near the Vermont border. A witness offered help, but Murray refused it and told the witness not to call 911, according to investigators cited in Gazette articles. The witness called anyway, but by the time police arrived, Murray was gone along with her cell phone and credit cards. Many other personal items were still in the locked vehicle, according to "Disappeared" producers.
Earlier that day, she had emailed professors saying she wouldn't be in class all week because of a family problem, Gazette articles said. She withdrew $280 from an ATM and headed north to the White Mountains where her family had regularly vacationed.
In the days following Murray's disappearance a police dog tracked her scent for 100 yards before losing it. A police helicopter search also turned up no evidence. Her boyfriend received strange telephone messages he thought were from Murray.
According to "Disappeared" producers there were several potential sightings of Murray shortly after her vanishing. Moments after and nearby the crash site, a local resident said he saw a young person run onto a dirt road and another person claimed to have seen Murray at a store in Hillsboro, N.H., with an older man. She was silently mouthing the words, "Help me," the person said.