The Boston Channel

March 4, 2004

Family, Friends Pray For Woman's Safe Return

Maura Murray Last Seen Feb. 9

DUXBURY, Mass. -- Family and friends of a missing Hanson woman say they will not give up the search for the college student.

University of Massachusetts student Maura Murray, 21, disappeared in New Hampshire nearly one month ago.

NewsCenter 5's Pam Cross reported that Murray's family, frustrated by police efforts to find her, say they plan to search on their own in northern New Hampshire.

In Duxbury Thursday, a small group of Murray's mother's friends held a Mass to pray for her safe return.

The simple service, led by a priest, was small, prayerful and emotional. Murray's mother and grandmother sat in front.

Murray was last seen Feb. 9. After she left her UMass dorm, she had a car accident in Haverhill, N.H. But before police arrived to help, she disappeared, leaving her car behind.

With no evidence of foul play, authorities say it's a missing person case, but her family disagrees.

"She was abducted. She would have called. She would have called. She didn't run away. She was abducted," said Murray's mother, Laurie.

A week ago, Murray's sister found women's underwear a few miles from where Murray's car was left. The underwear is being tested for DNA. This weekend, Murray's brother and sister will search again.

"I don't like them taking the investigation in their own hands, that scares me, too. Because my daughter was out walking in the woods by herself," said Laurie Murray of her other children.

Friends say there is little they can do, except offer support to the family.

"We have no idea. We are not giving up hope. We hope Maura is found and we are praying for her safe return," said family friend Maureen Walsh.

Murray's mother feels strongly that her daughter has not stayed away of her own free will. But with few clues to go on, she said she found comfort and hope in Thursday's service.