Worcester Telegram & Gazette AP State News


About November 14, 2006

Missing woman's father in court seeking police records.

Concord, N.H.-- The father of a missing Massachusetts college student asked the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Tuesday to release police records and evidence in her disappearance.

Maura Murray, 21, was last seen shortly after crashing her car in a snowbank off Route 112 in Haverhill on Feb. 9, 2004.

That was nearly three years ago, and her father, Fred Murray, of Weymouth, Mass., said he is frustrated at the apparent lack of progress in the police investigation - and the state's refusal to share any information with him or private investigators.

"I'm a little angry that it has to come to this, that you have a missing persons case that can remain under investigation for 50 years," he said before the hearing. "It's absolute stonewalling."

Murray's lawyer, Timothy Ervin, argued that while exemptions to the state Right-to-Know Law and the federal Freedom of Information Act allow police to withhold evidence in open investigations, they cannot withhold all 2,500 records indefinitely. He asked that a judge review the records to determine whether some should be released.

"The court has to make a specific showing that disclosure would interfere with the ongoing investigation," he said.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Nancy Smith argued the records, including witness interviews, phone records and police reports, could become critical evidence in a criminal prosecution.

"We empathize and sympathize with Mr. Murray's concern over the disappearance of his daughter," she said.