Boston Globe

May 7, 2004

New lead is reported in search for student - Woman was seen along N.H. road

By David Abel

A new witness recently came forward, providing a lead for investigators in the disappearance of a 22-year-old nursing student from Hanson, police have told the family.

New Hampshire State Police told the parents of Maura Murray, who disappeared in February after abruptly leaving her dorm at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, that a motorist recalled seeing a woman fitting their daughter's description jogging along Route 112 on the night she vanished.

The motorist, apparently a local contractor who commutes along the route every day, told police he saw the woman turn down a dirt road as he approached, said Laurie Murray, the missing student's mother.

"I hope this helps and at least keeps it in the news to help find my daughter," said Murray.

State Police Lieutenant John Scarinza said the man reported seeing someone fitting Maura Murray's description along the road in Haverhill, N.H., the Associated Press reported. The spot was 4 or 5 miles from where Murray had a minor car accident that disabled her vehicle just before her disappearance.

Police said they will search that area this weekend.

The witness said he saw Murray around 7 p.m. on Feb. 9, around the time she disappeared, police told the Murrays.

"I am encouraged by the lead," said Fred Murray, Maura's father, who added that he plans to hold a news conference tomorrow morning in Woodsville, N.H., to release more details. "All I can say now is we've got her alive and moving at a particular place at a particular time. I believe it's my daughter, based on the description."

Police told the family the man did not come forward earlier because he didn't connect reports of Murray's disappearance with the woman he saw.