The Patriot Ledger
February 21, 2004
‘I want to talk to the last one to see her': Missing student's mother heads to N.H. to join search
By Joe McGee
HANSON - The mother of missing college student Maura Murray of Hanson was planning to travel to New Hampshire this weekend to question witnesses in Haverhill, where her daughter disappeared Feb. 9.
‘‘I want to talk to people on my own, face to face. It's my mother's intuition,'' Lauri Murray said Friday.
Authorities Friday expanded their search into western Vermont after learning Murray looked up directions to the Burlington area before disappearing.
Though police said they are not sure where the Vermont lead may take them, they are exploring all avenues in what has become a stagnant investigation. Police were unaware of anyone Maura knew in Vermont.
Vermont State Police and Burlington police were canvassing motels in Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester and Shelburne, hoping to find clues.
Murray was last seen on Wild Ammonoosuc Road on Route 112 in Haverhill, where she crashed her car into a snowbank.
It was thought she may have wandered into nearby woods, but search and rescue efforts were officially called off Friday.
New Hampshire State Police Lt. John Scarinza said police now believe Murray got a ride from the accident scene. There was no evidence, however, to suggest there was a struggle.
‘‘From that point on, it's destination unknown,'' Scarinza said.
Nobody is able to determine why Murray, a junior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was in New Hampshire.
She left campus with some money, and had sent an E-mail saying she would be away to take care of unspecified family business.
Police said they found evidence that Murray was drinking inside her car. A witness said she appeared drunk, refused help and left the scene on her own.
But none of those clues make sense to those who know Murray. They said she is an overachieving student and athlete, and had no personal problems to the best of anyone's knowledge.
Lauri Murray has not left her home since Feb. 9. She said her emotions have changed from feeling sad and depressed, to the point that she is angry and wants to investigate her daughter's disappearance on her own.
‘‘I want to talk to the last one to see her. All the information we got was that she was walking up that road and just disappeared. Nobody just disappears like that, and as far as being picked up or that she ran away, I'm getting angry. She would not do this and she would've contacted someone. We're pushing 10 days now and somebody out there knows something,'' she said.
Lauri Murray said Pat Wilson and Lee Meehan, two of her co-workers at Samuel Marcus Nursing & Retirement Home in Weymouth, are arranging to take time off to drive her to New Hampshire. Murray is recovering from a broken ankle.
Lauri Murray's daughter Julie, an Army officer at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is taking emergency leave and is expected to arrive on Sunday to help in the search.
Leave is up for Maura Murray's boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch of Oklahoma, who is heading back to his military post. Maura Murray's father Frederick and her brothers and sisters are still handing out fliers in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Lauri Murray said she plans on doing all she can to help find her daughter.
‘‘I can't sit here and just be in the dark. I know everybody is doing the best they can but I need to be up there,'' she said.
Joe McGee may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org