Here is a very interesting article via topix posted by Whitewash (thanks to swansong for pointing this out). We have added this to the newspaper archives.
Journal Opinion - (Title of article unknown -- but I will call it) "Four Years Have Now Passed"
Date Unknown - Approximately 4 years after February 9, 2004
Edit: 2/13/08 by Kelly A. White
Though four years have now passed, the location and date of Maura Murray's disappearance are still etched in the memory of North Country residents: Route 112 in Haverhill on Feb. 9, 2004.
It is a mystery what happened to Murray after the 21-year-old woman crashed her car and disappeared. And four years of searches, investigations and speculation have seen leads turn to dead ends and a family and small New Hampshire town get caught in the middle of a tragic mystery. After four years of speculation about the Maura Murray case, the law enforcement agencies involved want to speak out about the investigation and assure the public that procedures and policies that are used for any investigation were followed in the Maura Murray case.
Haverhill Police Chief Jeff Williams always strives to get the focus back to what is the most important question in this case, "Where is Maura Murray?"
In an interview, Williams took the opportunity to remind the public of the facts from the original case. For Williams, it is important to note that the Haverhill Police Department as well as all the law enforcement involved, handled the investigation according to regular procedure and protocol from day one. And he says that the investigation has been handled properly since Haverhill Police Department responded to the initial calls about a car accident in Swiftwater.
Williams said that Haverhill Police Department did all they could the night of the accident. Standard procedures were followed and photographs and documentation were made of everything that they found that night. The only thing he said he wished was different that night was that they could have made contact with the Murray family the night of the accident.
Lt. John Scarinza of the New Hampshire State Police added that the combined law enforcement agencies have put in thousands of man hours on this case with no cost spared to find Maura Murray and he added that all agencies have worked well together and within standard policies and procedures expected of them.
As part of an interview with Williams, the Haverhill Police Department provided the following timeline of the early stages of the investigation into the car accident:
On Feb. 9 at 7:29p.m., a 911 call was placed by residents on Wild Ammonoosuc Road about a motor vehicle accident. At 7:46 p.m., Grafton County Dispatch received a call that Sgt. Cecil Smith arrived at the scene. Smith found the vehicle locked and without a driver. He had dispatch run the license plate for the black 1996 Saturn 4-door. He was informed that the car was owned by Fred Murray of Weymouth, MA.
During the first stages of the investigation into the accident, photographs were taken of tire tracks in the snow leading into a stand of trees on the side of the road and showed that the vehicle struck the trees with enough impact to deploy both airbags. Williams noted that taking photographic evidence and documentation at the scene of an accident are standard operating procedure.
Smith later began to question neighbors about the accident. After questioning a school bus driver who stopped to inquire if Maura needed assistance, Smith learned that a woman in her 20's had been seen at the vehicle. According to a statement given the police, the witness stated the woman's speech was slurred and she had to hold on to something while she stood. "She begged me not to call police," according to the witness' statement.
While still on scene, Smith requested that Grafton County Dispatch call the residence listed with the car's registration and to inform local hospitals to be on the lookout for a young woman with a description supplied by one of the witnesses. This broadcast was put out to responding units and the dispatch center called Fred Murray's residence in Massachusetts and left a message. At 7:57 p.m., according to Grafton County Dispatch, Woodsville's Fire Rescue Pumper Truck arrived with the department's officers. They were holding a monthly meeting when they received a call about a car accident in Swiftwater.
They first cleared the car of any leaking fluids. Woodsville Fire Chief Brad Kennedy said that it is standard procedure with any vehicle accident called in to 911 that fire rescue are dispatched autimatically. There is only one person authorized to turn around a fire department responding to a call-the fire chief.
Once it was ascertained that the driver of the vehicle was not at the scene, Haverhill Police Department, New Hampshire State Police, fire and EMS personnel along with several neighbors began a brief search of the area surrounding Route 112 and Bradley Hill Road.
A local towing company was called in to remove the vehicle, which according to Williams is part of police policy to impound and store in locked facilities any and all evidence. Upon removal of the vehicle from the accident scene, Smith retrieved a Coca-Cola soda bottle with a strong odor of alcohol which was filed as evidence.
At 9:26 p.m., Smith was dispatched to Pike and left the area. Later that evening, at 11 p.m., Smith made a second attempt to phone the residence of Fred Murray, owner of the vehicle, listed on the Department of Motor Vehicle records. He left a second message that the Haverhill Police Department needed to speak with the car's owner.
About the same time, at 11 p.m., Cpl. Byron Charles and Officer Mac Cashin assisted Smith in the accident investigation as well as working on securing a search warrant for the black 1996 Saturn that was now impounded.
The following day on Feb 10, at 9:30 a.m., a search warrant was issued by Judge Timothy McKenna of Haverhill District Court to search the impounded black 1996 Saturn. Charles and Cashin then completed a search of the vehicle.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., a be-on-the-lookout (BOL) communique was issued throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts for Maura Murray.
At 3:30 p.m., Smith returned to duty and called Weymouth Police Department requesting they check the residence listed on the DMV information. They still had not heard from Fred Murray. Weymouth PD instead directed Smith to contact Laurie Murray's phone number.
At 3:40 p.m., Smith spoke to Laurie Murray who informed him that the black Saturn belonged to her ex-husband Fred Murray but is driven by their daughter Maura. Laurie gave Smith the number to Maura's cell phone and to her dorm at the University of Massachusetts. Right after that conversation, Smith again tried Fred Murray's phone number and left another message. He also spoke with Hanson Police Department again at 3:51 p.m.
Smith called Maura Murray's sister, Kathleen Murray at 4:40 p.m. requesting a photo of Maura. Kathleen said she would email one to Haverhill Police Department.
At 6 p.m., Grafton County Dispatch was contacted by Fred Murray. And at 7 p.m., Smith called the University of Massachusetts (UM) campus security and requested that they check Maura Murray's dorm room.
Smith was able to speak to Fred Murray at 8 p.m. on Feb. 10. In the initial, official police statement, Fred Murray stated that his daughter, Maura, was depressed and he was fearful for her safety. He informed Smith that she had an accident in Hadley, MA on Feb.7, 2004, wrecking another vehicle of his and totaling thousands of dollar's worth of damage.
Murray told Smith that he hoped Maura wasn't doing the "old squaw walk" which Murray explained was something the two of them often joked about. The squaw walk referred to when it came time for the old Indians to die, they would walk off into the woods and die. Fred Murray requested that HPD call in the FBI, state police and a search began immediately for his daughter.
At 8.25 p.m., Haverhill Police called fish and game authorities to advise of them of a missing person situation and possible search as it had just become apparent that they may have an endangered/missing person.
Haverhill Police Department received a call at 8:40 p.m. from UM campus security to report Maura Murray's belongings were all packed in her dorm room. Campus security had evidence that she was last seen Sunday morning by a fellow student and that she was carrying a backpack, box of wine and a large hockey bag of beer. Fish and game informed the HPD at 9 p.m. that if the driver was not located by the morning of Feb 11, they would begin a search at daylight.
The next day on Feb 11, fish and game officers, state police, local police, along with family and friends of Maura Murray began one of the first of many searches at the Wild Ammonoosuc Road accident site.
Williams said he contacted the FBI early on and he, the FBI, New Hampshire State Police and UM campus security all met in Keene to confer about the investigation.
After four years of searches and heartache, no answers have been found. It is heart-wrenching for family members, friends and the community where the accident occurred that Maura's whereabouts are not known.
Still, the investigation continues and it will remain open until Maura Murray is found. Scarinza said that there is still the possibility that someday this could possibly become a criminal case.
"If that is where the evidence leads us," he said. "There has been such a push by some to have the case become open to the public. This would totally jeopardize any good investigation done by all agencies involved and who, in reality, would that serve justice to? Certainly not Miss Maura Murray." If you have any information about Maura Murray or the night of the accident, please contact NHSP Troop F at xxxxxxx or the Haverhill Police Department at XXXXXXX
Note: Transcriber does not have possession of the original. This is a copy of posts made at Topix and archived here.