The Caledonian-Record

February 21, 2004

Family, Friends Not Giving Up Efforts

Seeking Outside Help

By Gary E. Lindsley

Family and friends of Maura Murray have been in the area of the crash site conducting massive foot searches for Maura Murray since Feb. 11.

Friday, their attention turned to Vermont where they distributed more fliers to hotels and police agencies in Burlington.

Sharon Rausch and her husband, Bill, have been helping Fred Murray search for his daughter since Feb. 11.

So has the Rausch's son, Billie, who is Murray's fiance-to-be and a second lieutenant with C Battery, 119th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

They have been going non-stop in their search for Murray, including walking trails and roads, distributing fliers and knocking on doors in the area of the accident.

Family members and friends are at times upset about the lack of information or difference in information obtained by police investigators and what they have been able to glean from knocking on doors and asking questions.

Last week, they were told by investigators it was believed Murray had headed toward the Rausch's home in Marengo, Ohio, because she was having family trouble.

Sharon Rausch said although she didn't believe that, she had one of her children, who had stayed behind, put notes on the door for Murray and left the home unlocked.

However, Murray has not turned up in Ohio. Nor have signs of her surfaced in Vermont. And the only hint of a sign of her in New Hampshire was Feb. 11 when a canine tracked her scent from her car to about 100 yards east of the accident site, in the area of the Butch Atwood residence.

The 5-feet, 7-inch-tall brunette, who weighs about 120 pounds and has blue eyes, reportedly e-mailed her employer she would be gone for a week and took about $280 from her checking account.

Family members have said it was not like Murray to just up and leave the campus without telling anyone.

Rausch said a dorm mate saw her leave the campus about 4 or 4:30 p.m. Feb 9. She said Murray's father and her son went through Maura's stuff again and found an index card with the Mapquest directions for Burlington, Vt.

Rausch said the Saturn was having mechanical problems, possibly only running on three cylinders, when Murray set out for Burlington. She said, possibly, because the car was running poorly, she decided to leave Interstate 91 and pick up Route 302 and head toward the Lincoln area.

And Rausch discounts any thoughts Murray would have just walked away from her family, boyfriend and friends because she loved them too much.

She and Fred Murray said Maura wouldn't have picked up insurance forms for her father to fill out if she had not planned to return home.

"I hope we can get more Vermont," Murray's father said. "We need to look elsewhere. I will take all the help I can get from anywhere."

Family members and friends are hoping the FBI will take a more thorough and active role in the search for Murray since three states are involved.