The Patriot Ledger

September 4, 2006

New Hampshire teen offers apology to searchers; Laura Mackenzie’s message on Web site for Hanson woman

By Patriot Ledger News Services

The Web site set up to help find Maura Murray, the Hanson woman who disappeared in northern New Hampshire after a minor car crash in February 2004, contains an apology from a Goffstown, N.H., teen found in Florida last month after a five-month search.

Laura Mackenzie does not say why she left New Hampshire in March, but she asks for forgiveness in the message.

‘‘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 on March 8, the same day she was scheduled to appear in court 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 Aug. 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 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.