SOCO Magazine

April 2011

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Belanger said he also doesn't understand why Murray is upset about the first New Hampshire Stale Police officer who responded. He said there wasn't anything out of the ordinary about it.

"It wasn't long before police were there and more came shortly thereafter" Belanger said.

Initially, Belanger continued, it wasn't immediately assumed that Maura was a missing person. The first action of police was to start with her car being off the road. He recalled similar incidents he's been involved with where a person is drinking and driving, their car goes off the road, and they leave the scene to avoid getting a DUI and usually call police the next day to report it. Belanger said this is a scenario police often consider when a vehicle is found abandoned and off the road.

"Initially, the mood was that she had an accident, went away on her own. Not knowing that she disappeared into thin air that doesn't come to light until sometime later," Belanger said. "If they want to disappear, they will."

When the search for Maura starred, Murray recalled that a group of private investigators were called in to assist. The leader of the group, he said, was a retired New Hampshire Stare Police officer, which didn't bring him much comfort. The investigators used search dogs to help comb the area, including sniffing out a nearby A-frame house where apparently the dogs went crazy as if they got the scent of a dead body.

Murray recalls that carpet samples were taken from rhe house and were supposed to be tested for DNA. The samples were never tested, he said, and the leader of the private investigative group didn't tell the state police about the samples until two and a half years later.

Champy said around the time Maura went missing the A-frame house was being rented by a local man and his girlfriend. The man, she said, was known to have a violent temper and was allegedly a sex addict. She added that it was rumored there were bones and dead dogs at the house, which may have been what the search dogs smelled.

The local man and one of his male friends did snow plowing in the area at the time, Champy added, recalling that while plowing they drove along Route 112 frequently. Strangely, she continued, neither has been seen in the Haverhill area since Maura disappeared. Champy also recalled that the local man was friendly with someone in the Haverhill area court system, which further fueled rumors this man could have had something To do with Maura's disappearance.

"He used to brag about it," Champy recalled.

More speculation has ensued about a rusty, reddish-brown stained knife that a man (who is now deceased) gave to Fred Murray later in 2004, Helena Murray recalled. The knife belonged to the man's brother. The brother had a criminal past and lived less than a mile from where Maura's car was discovered, she said. The brother and his girlfriend reportedly acted strangely after Maura's disappearance.

According to Champy, the man mailed the knife to the Haverhill Police Department, but nothing was ever done with it. "lt's been kicked to the curb," Champy said.

Will Delker, a senior assistant New Hampshire attorney general assigned to the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit, said because the case is still being actively investigated he is unable to comment on the status of the knife and whether the man who handed it over or his brother were ever questioned by police, Delker said he also can't comment on the carpet samples from the A-frame house.

Another unconfirmed story has circulated about Maura having another boyfriend in the Haverhill area, whom she may have been going to see. A rumor went around that Maura was linked to a young man who worked at the Loon Mountain Club (where Champy also worked at me time).

The young man apparently had a girlfriend who lived in Manchester, N.H., and the girlfriend turned up missing or dead at the time of Maura's disappearance, according to Champy.

Both Conway and Champy emphasized that this story is pure rumor. Champy, said this story, surfaced a few months after Maura disappeared.

"I think it's just one of those rumors, I asked family and friends and no one had any information to back up the rumors," Conway wrote in her e-mail.

Two more mysteries about this case involve a rag that was stuffed into the tailpipe of Maura's car and a phone call Billy Rausch received on his way to help with the search.