December 11, 2009

A Cold Case Unit, newly created by the New Hampshire Department of Justice, now lists the name of a college student from the South Shore on its Web site.

By Ron Sanders

Maura Murray, 21, was studying nursing at UMass Amherst when she disappeared February 9, 2004.

She had asked for a leave of absence from school saying there'd been a death in her family. But there had been no such death.

"Based on what I know, I believe Maura was killed," says Helena Murray of Weymouth, who is married to a cousin of Maura. Helena has been trying for nearly six years to find out what happened to the Hanson woman whose car was involved in minor accident on Route 112 in Haverhill, New Hampshire. When police arrived on scene, Maura was gone.

"Somebody knows something. Whether Maura's alive and got a ride or whether Maura is dead, somebody knows something," says Helena who wrote Governor John Lynch in 2005 asking Maura's name to be listed along with other cases that had gone cold.

"The state of New Hampshire needed to list these cases," she says. Finally, it has created a Cold Case Unit and has included Maura's name on its Web site. "I was very pleased to see her name on the list," says Helena who maintains a web site called Maura is Missing. She says some of Maura's friends have been cold-called by a man and woman who've visited the site and are interested in the case which makes her uncomfortable.

Maura had attended West Point before deciding to go to UMass Amherst and worked in security job which leads Helena to believe she could have taken care of herself after the car crash. "She would have had an edge over many girls in self-protection certainly but you just don't know," says Helena.

After almost six years of sadness, this season of hope brings a little light in the darkness for Maura Murray's family as every time her story is told, they believe there's a chance they'll learn what really happened.

Maura was last seen in a dark coat and dark jeans with a dark backpack. Her credit cards and cell phone have not registered any activity since she disappeared.