The Caledonian-Record

February 10, 2005

Fred Murray Meets With N.H. Governor - Lynch Says He Will Help If He Can

By Gary E. Lindsley

HAVERHILL, N.H. -- Fred Murray went to Concord, N.H., Wednesday morning to meet with Gov. John Lynch to get help in finding his daughter, Maura Murray.

He also asked the governor for help in obtaining the state police report on his daughter and any other investigative records to assist him in his own investigation.

Maura Murray was a 22-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst when she disappeared after a one-car accident on Route 112 in Haverhill, N.H., Feb. 9, 2004.

Murray said he was able to meet with Lynch for about five to 10 minutes Wednesday. He said he hopes the governor wasn't just listening to get him out of the office.

"He said he would look into it," Murray said. "He asked what he could do for me. I said, 1Get the information released so I can stop wasting my time and get some direction.' There's no sense police sitting on (information) if they aren't doing anything with it."

Murray said he also asked Lynch to have state police ask for help from the FBI to help with the investigation to find his daughter.

"If the state police can't do it, get people in who are willing," he said. "Get it listed as a criminal investigation to get manpower on it. Also, if it is listed as a criminal investigation, the FBI does not need to be asked by the state police to become involved."

State Police Lt. John Scarinza has maintained from the beginning Maura's disappearance is a missing-person case.

"I think the state police have done an excellent job with the investigation," New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin said Wednesday.

Strelzin said he believes the information Murray is seeking is "withholdable" under the Freedom of Information Act. And he does not believe his boss, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, will call in the FBI.

"If the state police feel they need assistance, they will ask for it," said Strelzin. "Overall, I believe the state police have handled it appropriately."

In reference to the state police delay for nine months in contacting the owner of a condominium in Bartlett, to whom Maura had placed one of her last two cell phone calls, he said, "I am not going to comment on specific parts of the investigation."

Murray said Wednesday he will wait a reasonable amount of time to see if Lynch is able to get the records on his daughter's case released. If they are not released, he said he may go to court to try to obtain them.

"I'm not willing to quit," he said.

Murray filed a freedom of information request last year to get the records released and was denied by the state police.

Officials from the Haverhill Police Department, which initially handled the case, deferred comment on it Wednesday to the state police.

Scarinza hasn't return numerous calls to his office over the past few days.