The Hew Hampshire Union Leader / Lowell Sun / Nashua Telegraph

September 4, 2006

Note: The Nashua Telegraph has a different headline and additional information in italics below.

Goffstown teenager apologizes

Mackenzie says shes sorry on site dedicated to missing Mass. woman

Teen apologizes on site dedicated to missing Mass. woman

GOFFSTOWN, N.H . (AP) — A Goffstown teen found in Florida last month after a five-month search is apologizing — on a Web site set up to help find a young Massachusetts woman who disappeared in New Hampshire two and a half years ago.

Laura Mackenzie does not say why she left New Hampshire in March, but she asks for forgiveness in a message posted on a Web site dedicated to the search for Maura Murray, the Hanson, Mass., woman who disappeared in northern New Hampshire after a minor car crash in February 2004.

“I am sorry, and I need to ask everyone to forgive me for what I did, putting them through the hardships and pain of five long months where I was missing,” Mackenzie wrote.

Mackenzie disappeared from Goffstown in March 8, the same day she was scheduled to appear in on shoplifting charges. As authorities began a nationwide search and her anxious family pleaded for information on her whereabouts, Mackenzie moved to Florida, where she was found on August 7.

Mackenzie’s message says she did not realize authorities were engaged in an all-out search for her for five months as she tried to avoid detection by not using her bank card or checking e-mail and keeping her driving to a minimum.

“I never knew there was a search for me going on, and I had never dreamed of something to the extent that there was,” she wrote online.

Mackenzie is entering New Hampshire Community Technical College in Manchester this fall, focusing on business and marketing.

Mackenzie said she heard about Murray, a University of Massachusetts student, from a friend and had been reading articles about other missing people from New Hampshire. “I just wanted to give them a little hope because I was found,” Mackenzie said of Murray’s family. “There are a lot of different ways that could be looked at. I just thought that I might have a different perspective.”

Mackenzie said people should realize that, like herself, Murray could turn up anywhere.

Mackenzie also said she regretted the effort and expense Goffstown Police put into the search. The department has asked that the Superior Court to consider making reimbursement part of any sentencing on the shoplifting charge.

“I know they’ve spent a lot of money they shouldn’t have spent because it was a stupid mistake,” she said. If her parents end up compensating police, Mackenzie said she will pay them back after she graduates from college and has a job.