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He doesn't agree with any one thing Troop F had to say about Maura, O'Connell said, echoing Fred Murray's sentiments about how the case has been handled by New Hampshire State Police. The rag that was stuffed in the tail pipe of Maura's car, the fact that her car had a full tank of gas, and other elements of basic police work have been ignored, he said.
"They (New Hampshire State Police) never did it right. The rag stuffed in the tailpipe of the car, he (the first state police officer to respond to the accident scene) never photographed the scene, never searched the scene. He never bothered to call the father, the registered owner of the car. He knew a female was operating the vehicle that night because Butch Atwood just called," O'Connell stated.
O'Connell has not held the state police in high regard ever since a meeting he had with Scarinza and New Hampshire State Police Detective Sergeant Chuck West on May 27, 2004. At the time O'Connell had just finished his investigation into the death Patric McCarthy, another case he worked on before Maura's. West and Scarinza were the lead investigators on McCarthy's case for the state police and were initially also the leads on Maura's case. The New Hampshire State Police determined Patric had died an accidental death. However, O'Connell and his team determined Patric was in fact murdered.
From O'Connell's recollection, what happened at the meeting is an example of the attitude the New Hampshire State Police had about Patric McCarthy's death and Maura's disappearance.
O 'Connell wanted to get the FBI to persuade the state police to reopen Patric's case, in the hopes that it would officially be determined that he was murdered. On May 27, 2004 he arranged a meeting at the FBI office in Bedford, N.H., with four FBI agents, one US attorney, and West. Upon concluding a three hour presentation on his findings about Parric's death, O'Connell was told by FBI agent Jay Fallon, "You've convinced the FBI this case stinks of foul play." O'Connell recalled looking over at West, who said, "I told you before, Terry, unless you've come up with substantial evidence we are not going to reopen this case."
O'Connell also recalled that before the meeting, he introduced himself to West in the hallway outside the room where the meeting took place. He said West had a smirk on his face when he spoke. "You Massachusetts people keep getting lost up here," West said. O'Connell said he responded, "Patric didn't get lost up here, buddy."
This attitude of "Oh, Patric just got lost" or "Maura just ran away or maybe she committed suicide" is unfortunately how the state police approached both cases, O 'Connell said, almost as if they didn't care.
"Scarinza said there was no evidence of foul play. The problem with his erroneous conclusion is that it tends to lead to tunnel vision. It precludes you from investigating a case with an open mind," O'Connell said.
Now, in April 2011 , O'Connell and his team are in recovery mode on this case and are looking for Maura Murray's body.
"We're certain she is within a five-mile radius. She was murdered. We're looking for her body," O 'Connell said. "We've searched around one pond in Haverhill with a Quincy, Mass., dive team. We plan to search the pond again shortly."
Through the past seven years some unconfirmed sightings have been reported, Helena Murray recalled. In June 2006 someone reported seeing a girl who looked like Maura, accompanied by an older male, at a Cumberland Farms convenience store in Hillsborough, N.H. The person said the girl was apparently mouthing "help me." The sighting was not reported until a few months later after the person saw photos of Maura on a television program.
Another sighting was on the day of her disappearance, between 8 and 8:30 p.m. A resident of Swiftwater, N.H., reported seeing a young person moving on foot along Route 112 about four to five miles cast of where Maura's car went off the road. The witness said the person was wearing jeans, a dark coat, and a light-colored hood. When the witness approached, the young person ran off quickly.
The Murray Family also dismissed a claim by a psychic in 2004 that Maura had been murdered. While it has been more than a rocky road for Maura's family and friends, the police, and the private investigators who've worked on this case, the bottom line is answers are needed.
At the time of her disappearance Maura was described as 5'7" tall, weighing 120 pounds, with shoulder-length brown hair. She was last seen wearing a dark-colored coat and jeans and carrying a backpack. To find more in information about Maura, to find news about her disappearance or offer support, visit www.mauramurraymissing.com, www.myspace.com/mauramurraymissing2, or the Maura Murray Missing Group page at www.facebook.com.
Witnesses or persons with information should contact Cold Case Unit, N.H. Scare Police Major Crime Unit in person at 33 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. 03305, by phone at 603-271-2663 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.