December 31, 2015
Residents Petition FBI in Maura Murray Case
By Robert Blechl
As the 12-year mark of her disappearance nears, a Bethlehem man is circulating an on-line petition to get the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) involved in the case of Maura Murray. The petition, which was started a week ago, now has more than 400 supporters.
“There are a lot of local people who have signed this petition, and it was pleasing to know so many locals are concerned about Maura and her family,” John E. Smith, a former Littleton police officer and founder of Truth Seekers Investigations, said this week.
“A lot of people are demanding answers,” he said. “I never realized there was this many. A lot of people know something went wrong, that something happened that night.”
On Feb. 9, 2004, Murray left her University of Massachusetts-Amherst campus to drive to the White Mountains. That evening, her black 1996 Saturn was found after a single-car crash beside Route 112 in Haverhill, near the Weathered Barn corner.
Murray was not inside and to this day has not been found.
Theories abound as to what happened to her, with some believing the accident was staged and she intended to run away, and others, like Smith, believing she was abducted at her car or after she left it.
Some, too, feel the police investigation in the crucial first few hours was handled improperly and too slowly and not enough interviews were conducted.
Smith said he has been working with the Murray family for 12 years and said Fred Murray, Maura’s father, wants FBI involvement.
“I’ve been pushing for the FBI since the very first morning of the case,” said Fred Murray, of Massachusetts, said Wednesday.
Smith said, “We have been having such a hard time with the case. There have been inaccuracies and inconsistencies.”
In recent months, Smith has participated in pod casts by Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna, of Massachusetts.
“We are getting the information out there, but we really need to push for the FBI to get involved,” he said. “We don’t want the story to go away because answers need to come out.”
After Murray went missing, Smith obtained his private investigator license.
Owing to poor health, his license expired and his work has slowed, but he said his participation in the recent pod casts gave him a new-found focus on the Murray case.
“Our goal is to get the FBI involved to get new eyes on the case, because it’s sitting stagnant with the [N.H.] Cold Case Unit,” he said.
Fred Murray said that area of Route 112 was patrolled by N.H. State Police and the crash occurred on a Monday, but two days later on that Wednesday there was still no real search and to this day no state police report.
“The only one that can get the state police to talk is the FBI,” he said. “Twelve years later I’m still asking for the FBI.”
The petition can be found at change.org.
People from other states have signed it, including one from Arizona.
The ceremony marking the 12 years since Maura’s disappearance will likely take place mid-day on Feb. 9 at the tree along Route 112 where her car was found, said Smith.
Fred Murray, and his daughter Maura, in the White Mountains. Courtesy Photo