North Country News
November 2, 2006
(1 of 2)
By Bryan Flagg
The Webster’s Dictionary defines “Closure” as: an act of closing: the condition of being closed - a simple word that the family and friends of Maura Murray desperately want, certainly need and well deserve.
This coming February will mark the 3rd year anniversary of the disappearance of Maura Murray. Maura disappeared on Monday, February 9, 2004 at approximately 7:30 pm following a minor accident on Route 112 near Woodsville, NH. A witness stopped and spoke with Maura then called police from their nearby home and when police arrived about 10 minutes later Maura was missing and remains a missing person to this day.
The Northcountry News was sent a media package and were notified of a search to be held on October 21st and 22nd that would be lead by the NH League of Investigators.
In continuation of this non-stop effort, the NH League of Investigators, in conjunction with the Molly Bish Foundation, the Murray Family, and volunteer K9 search teams- searched various areas in the towns of Woodsville and Haverhill over the weekend.
The K9s, known as cadaver dogs, are trained in finding human remains among a wide variety of other areas of search & rescue. It was stated that some of the dogs can even sniff out and find a human body in water which could be up to 200’ deep.
The NH League of Investigators stated, “The difficult part of this project is realizing that we are not only looking for evidence, but that we are also looking for Maura’s remains. Although it is not the ultimate outcome we all wish for, we would be remiss to not include that possibility and spend a great deal of our time toward this potential outcome. Many qualified people have had input into the current project search area. One major motivating force has been from input received from Dr. Maurice Godwin of Godwin Trial and Forensic Consultancy, Inc., www.investigativepsych.com. Dr. Godwin has been successful in the past in determining geological profiles for deceased missing persons and we are grateful for his input in this case. Please view Dr. Godwin’s website outlining his services and history for more information.”
Aside from the many man hours that the NH State Police, Fish & Game and Haverhill PD have previously spent on the case, volunteers from the NH League of Investigators have spent countless hours working leads and interviewing witnesses as well, turning over all information gathered to the NH State Police Major Crimes Unit.
My wife and I arrived at the Lodge at Mountain Lakes at about 8am on a cold Saturday morning of October 21st. Members from the NH League of Investigators and the volunteer K9 units from The Connecticut Canine Search & Rescue and Duke’s Country Search & Rescue of Martha’s Vineyard were already on site preparing for a busy schedule ahead.
The media was not invited into the lodge right away. Briefings were to be held for members of the search teams first -and security into the building was pretty tight at that point. However, after the briefings had been held and K9 search teams were off to several undisclosed locations, media outlets were very welcomed to go into the Lodge, talk to family members and enjoy a hot coffee or tea and some breakfast.
We have spoken several times to Helena Murray over the past, either via email or on the phone. She has been our initial contact for information in the past. She was the first family member we met Saturday, sat down with several times, and became instant friends with. Helena has basically taken finding Maura on as a full time job at this point and is the driving force behind the “MauraMurray.com” website. She is a fantastic lady who has put her heart and soul into this entire ongoing project.
Helena wrote a wonderful letter about Maura which was published in the Northcountry News back in August of this year. To this day I remember one of the sentences - she wrote, “Maura is so much more than a missing person, Maura is a missed person. She is a daughter, a sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend.” No one has said it any better than that.
We met and talked with several other family members including cousins, friends and Maura’s sister, Kathleen. All of whom were very pleasant and willing to share stories with us about Maura - some funny, some sad and some very moving.
We also met and spent some time with Maura’s father, Fred on Saturday. A person who has been stated in the past as being very hard and negative on the investigation of state and local authorities throughout the searches and investigation.
We found Fred to be a very caring and concerned individual, who is certainly not afraid to state what’s on his mind at the time. “There are simply a lot of questions which have yet to be answered,” he states. “Right from the beginning, things have seemingly been fouled up, this is a missing person, a person who may have met with foul play, and there are so many questions which have not been answered,” he continues. As we are talking, you can see that this is a man who is genuinely frustrated. “All I want is to find my daughter, it’s been over two years now, I just want to find my daughter.”
He is also frustrated with the politics of trying to get records released from the initial investigation, stating that there could be items that the police have under wraps in which family members might just have some insight on, a computer system that may give family members a clue to what may have happened or who she may have been in contact with prior to her disappearance. “Wouldn’t that help the investigation, not hinder it,” he asks. “I simply want some answers,” he states.“ I try to have a positive attitude, I wake up and put one foot in front of the other, in hopes they just might lead me in the right direction.”
His next attempt at getting records released through the NH Court system is set for some time in November.
It remains a missing person case at this point in time, basically due to the fact that there has been no evidence to support foul play. The state and local authorities have been adamant in stating that it is definitely an on-going investigation. Yet, Fred points out that Maura’s vehicle, a black Saturn sits in plain view, unprotected outside of the State Police Troop F facilities in Twin Mountain.