New Hampshire Union Leader

February 21, 2004

Search for missing Mass. woman expands to Vt.

By David Tirrell-Wysocki

Authorities expanded their search for a missing Massachusetts woman to western Vermont this week after learning she looked up directions to the Burlington area before disappearing in New Hampshire last week.

Officials know of no one Maura Murray, 21, of Hanson, Mass., might know in the Burlington area, New Hampshire State Police Lt. John Scarinza said. He said for several days police have been checking motels and hotels in several Vermont communities, with no luck.

"Vermont State Police, Burlington police and other local agencies have canvassed motels in Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Shelburne and surrounding towns to see if she checked in anywhere around," he said.

Murray was last seen after a minor accident in northern New Hampshire on Feb. 9.

Searches, including a renewed search Thursday with dogs and a helicopter, turned up no sign that the woman wandered into the snow-covered woods.

Scarinza said police believe Murray got a ride from the accident scene.

"From that point on, it's destination unknown," he said.

Family members believe she would contact them if she could, so they believe she either is being held against her will or has been harmed.

But Scarinza said searchers found no sign of a struggle at the scene or any other evidence that she has been harmed.

"I totally appreciate the family's frustration in not knowing where she is or what has happened," he said. "But it's also true that she was apparently leaving Massachusetts without telling her family or friends or her boyfriend."