New Hampshire Sunday News

October 28, 2007

Maura Murray mystery timeline

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004: Maura and her father, Fred Murray, look for used cars to replace her balky 1996 Saturn. After dinner at a brewpub in Amherst, Mass., Maura drops Fred off at the Quality Inn in Hadley, Mass., takes his new Toyota for the night, and joins friends at a University of Massachusetts dormitory party.

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004: At about 3:30 a.m., Maura crashes the Toyota while driving back to her father's motel, causing $10,000 in damage. Police gave her a ride to the Quality Inn.

Monday, Feb. 9, 2004: Maura departs Amherst, Mass., at about 4:30 p.m., leaving behind packed belongings in her UMass dorm room. She took $280 from her personal bank account. Computer searches later show she looked up travel and lodging information for Bartlett, N.H., and Burlington, Vt., and sent e-mails to her job supervisor and a college professor saying she would be absent from work and school for a week due to a death in the family. There had been no recent death in the family, and she does not tell family or friends of her plans to leave campus.

At 7:27 p.m., Faith Westman calls Grafton County Sheriff's Department to report Maura's vehicle in a ditch on Route 112, on a sharp turn near Westman's residence. A passing motorist later says Murray refused his offer of assistance, claiming she already had called AAA on her cell phone. There is no cell-phone reception in that area, however, and AAA later says it never received a call from Murray.

At 7:43 p.m., a 911 dispatcher relays a second call on the Route 112 accident to the Grafton County Sherrif's Department, saying a woman at the scene is shaken up but not injured.

At 7:46 p.m., Haverhill Police Sgt. Cecil Smith arrives at the scene, finding a locked Saturn and no driver. Fire and rescue personnel who arrive at the scene inform all units to be on the lookout for a female accident victim, about 5 feet 7 inches tall.

At 9:26 p.m., police clear the accident scene.

May 8, 2004 -- Members of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, New England K-9 Search and Rescue, New Hampshire State Police and Haverhill Police conduct a search in the Haverhill/Landaff/Easton area of Route 112 after a man reported having seen a person matching Maura's description jogging east on 112 about 45 minutes after the accident and 4 miles east of the crash site. The search extends about 3 1/2 miles east of the reported sighting, to the height of the land at the Wildwood campground and picnic area, and for several miles north around Route 116. No evidence is found.

June 8, 2004 -- New Hampshire and Vermont State Police issue a joint press release saying there was no connection between the disappearances of Maura Murray and Brianna Maitland, 17, of Franklin, Vt. Maitland was last seen at work at the Black Lantern Inn in Montgomery, Vt., on March 19, 2004. A State Police news release summarizes the searches for Murray, saying there was about 2 feet of snow on the ground when she disappeared, limiting areas she could have wandered into the woods, and making it easy for searchers to distinguish between human and animal tracks.

July 13, 2004 -- About 90 searchers continue to look for possible clues at and around the accident site in Haverhill. The search, which again includes use of a State Police helicopter, is focused in a 1-mile radius from the accident site. Search areas include parking sites, wooded areas and roadways along Route 112 to the town of Woodstock; and Route 118, from the Junction of Route 112 south to the height of the land at the Woodstock/Warren town line. Investigators do not believe any of the items collected to be relevant.

Sources: New Hampshire State Police, Grafton County dispatch records.