Fred Murray's Letter to Governor Benson
May 26, 2004
Mr. Frederick Murray
Governor Craig Benson
Office of the Governor
107 North Main Street
Concord NH 03301
My daughter, Maura Murray, went missing after a one car accident on February 9, 2004 at approximately 7:00 PM while she was heading east on Route 112 near North Haverhill, New Hampshire. Eye witnesses place her at the crash site at one (1) to two (2) minutes before the local police arrived and no one was seen to stop and pick her up in a vehicle. This means that when the police reached the scene Maura could have been no further than a couple of hundred yards up the road around the first corner walking away. Another witness who stopped and talked with her reported to the police upon their arrival that the driver of the car was a young woman of approximately twenty (20) years of age. He added that he thought she had been drinking. There was an empty beer bottle found in the car and in addition, there was a spider hole in the driver’s side of the windshield indicating that she had struck her head at impact. The temperature that evening was twelve (12) degrees.
Given these known facts it was grossly negligent of the police to not dispatch a cruiser in active pursuit in a spirited effort to retrieve an unsuspecting and vulnerable girl with a possible head injury and subject to hypothermia because of alcohol and frigid temperature before she wandered into the pitch black of the national forest looming just ahead.
The police had full knowledge that if she were to encounter someone with ill intent that she would have no place to hide, no place to run and absolutely no help available.
Furthermore, duty as well as common sense obligates the police to call ahead to the next town in the direction they had to assume she was heading. They knew they had not passed her as they drove east to the accident site during their response to the “911” call. The Woodstock police were not notified nor asked to send an officer to intercept her by driving west in the direction in which she was approaching.
She was figuratively and nearly literally “right there” readily available to be rescued and saved from whatever fate has befallen her. All that the police had to do was to expend minimal mental and physical effort and my daughter, Maura would be safely here with me today. But, unfortunately, the police neglected to make even the most basic effort to find her, and I remain without her now and perhaps forever.
The onus of this irresponsible and possibly fatal lack of action lies not only with the North Haverhill force, but also with the New Hampshire State Police who responded to the “911” calls from the neighbors as well.
Recently, nearly three (3) months after the accident, a motorist who was driving west on Route 112 at about 8:00 PM on February 9 reported seeing a young person acting furtively heading very fast in an easterly direction at a point about four (4) to five (5) miles away from the scene of the crash. The time line and description of the individual’s appearance and clothing fits perfectly for this person to have been Maura.
This witness lives within just yards of the accident site, but said he had been confused about the exact date and time of that event because the state police had not interviewed him until 10 days had passed. As hard as this is to believe, it is actually true since an investigator helping the family questioned him on Sunday, February 15 and he said the police hadn’t been there to talk to him yet. At this point I appealed directly to the state police to pay attention to rudimentary procedure and turned our notes over to them. This apparently prompted a belated response which led to the questioning of this witness on Thursday, February 19.
That this nearly immediately located neighbor who could have been a prime source of critical information should have been questioned in a timely fashion on the very evening of the accident or, at the latest, on the following day is a fully reasonable expectation of adequate investigative policy. If this had occurred this person would have had immediate recollection of the sighting of my daughter and a “hot lead” would have ensued.
Statistics, which are very well known by state police agencies, indicate that cases get solved from tips received in the first two or three days or they can go cold forever. To wait ten days to speak to such an obvious source of potentially crucial information based on his proximity to the event will be hard to explain even for those adept at this skill. It is no wonder that the state police are reluctant to release to me their accident report to which I am probably legally entitled.
I get nearly physically sick when I wake up each morning and the thought of how really little effort it would have taken to rescue my daughter automatically flashes through my mind.
It has been over three months since her disappearance and the only leads developed have been handed to the state police by others. Yet still these guys maintain that they don’t need any help. The FBI offered its assistance during the opening week of this case but have only been utilized in a very minor way such as interviewing family members and high school friends in Maura’s hometown of Hanson, MA, and also a couple of college acquaintances.
These state police officers are great people personally, and I like them and respect them. They are the type of men and women that both you and I would be very pleased to have living in our own neighborhoods, but the inescapable reality remains that they clearly need help in finding Maura.
The finest resource in the world is available and you, sir, should direct Lieutenant John Scarinza and Troop F to accept its offer. There are corollary cases in Vermont also and this entire situation begs for central co-ordination and investigation by an agency which is not bound by the confines of the configuration of Grafton County and the Connecticut River.
The young women in the northern region of your state are not safe and it is clearly imperative that you act decisively before you lose another. Deep within themselves, your citizens are nervously apprehensive and anxiously awaiting your response to this threat.