Boston Herald

February 18, 2004

Page 12

FBI offers to help search for missing woman in N.H.

By Marie Szaniszlo

The FBI has offered to help investigate the case of a University of Massachusetts nursing student who vanished in the White Mountains nine days ago. But local New Hampshire authorities so far have declined the bureau's help, the woman's family and friends said yesterday.

Gail Marcinkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Boston, said the bureau has offered to help search for 21-year-old Maura Murray of Hanson, Mass., who disappeared after her car slid into a snowbank on Route 112 in Woodsville, N.H., on Feb. 9.

But friends who have spent the last week scouring two states for the former West Point cadet said Chief Jeffrey Williams, one of the Haverhill Police Department's two officers, said he would welcome the FBI's help - if he needed it.

"All we're asking is to find Maura," said Christine McDonald, who joined the search last week with her husband, a West Point professor. "And if the local authorities don't have the forces to work daily and with more than a couple of officers, the FBI has to get involved. It's been too long already."

Williams has not returned phone calls from reporters this week and has reprimanded Murray's family and friends for talking to the media and attempting to find her, searchers have said.

"We've been walking a tightrope not to upset these people," said one woman, who asked not to be identified.

Police waited until last Wednesday morning, 36 hours after she vanished, before launching a full-scale search. Dogs lost her scent 100 yards from her car.