The New Hampshire Union Leader
February 13, 2004
Family members, including her brothers and sister, as well as her boyfriend, Bill Rausch, who flew in from Oklahoma when she was reported missing, fanned out from Haverhill to Lincoln, across the Kancamagus Highway to Conway and Bartlett, putting up flyers along the way, in the hope that someone may have seen her in the days since Monday.
Their search has been concentrated in the White Mountains, since Murray and her family have vacationed in the Lincoln and Conway areas for years.
"We went to every spot we thought she might go to hotels and motels and put up flyers," Bill Rausch said.
But so far, their efforts have come up empty.
The only thing they do have to go on is a call Bill Rausch received on cell phone after he flew back to Massachusetts late Tuesday.
There was just someone breathing on the other end, and the number was unknown, said Bill Rausch, who is planning to ask Murray to marry him. “I tried calling the number back, but it turned out to be a (number for a) phone card."
Police were attempting to track down from where the card may have come, he said.
Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise / New Hampshire Union Leader / Lowell Sun / Nashua Telegraph / Boston Globe
February 13/14, 2004
Murray’s family along with her boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch, and his family have flown into the state to help. The family has been passing out fliers with her picture on both sides of the border, hoping someone might have seen her.
Sharon Rausch, the boyfriend’s mother who flew in with her husband, Bill, from Marengo, Ohio, to help said she had been told Murray “had made arrangements to be away from work for a week.”
She worked at an art gallery while going to nursing school at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where she is a junior, Rausch said.
She said Murray crashed her car two days after wrecking her father’s car in a crash.
“She’s extremely responsible, an extremely frugal girl. I think she wanted to get away and get her head on straight,” Rausch said.
“We have no reason to believe she was running away.”
“She’s a jewel of a girl,” she said.
She said Murray left an e-mail message with her son on Monday afternoon that said she wanted to talk to him.
Murray and her son met at the US Military Academy at West Point, where both were students, Rausch said. She left after 1 1/2 years. Rausch said Murray is an outstanding athlete who ran in high school and college.
February 15, 2004
The day after the accident, she called her boyfriend, Army Lieutenant Bill Rausch, who is stationed in Oklahoma, in tears. A day later, on Monday, she got into her Saturn and headed north.
Rausch, who got a leave of absence from the Army, arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday. Joined by his parents, who drove from Ohio, and by Murray's father and some of her siblings, Rausch has spent the past few days driving across both New Hampshire and Vermont, stopping at local gas stations, bus stations, and police headquarters, asking whether anyone has seen Murray.
Yesterday morning, Rausch and his father were told that Murray might have been at a McDonald's in St. Johnsbury, Vt. They drove there, but no one had seen her.
"Obviously, we're hoping for the best. If I just got some news, although I guess no news is good news," Rausch said.
Rausch said Murray fled with a backpack, but left many of the other items she'd packed, including the stuffed monkey he gave her and her favorite book, "Without Peril," behind in her car.
A witness told local police Murray appeared to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, and Rausch said that there was an open bottle of alcohol in the car. However, he said he'd never known Murray to drink and drive, and guessed she might have fled out of fear she'd broken the law.
February 16, 2004
Maura Murray's boyfriend, Bill Rausch, was also searching again Monday. Her family and friends said they don't know what else to do. They've covered a 50-mile radius from Woodsville with posters, but police said there is still no sign of her. Her father believes she's no longer in the area.
The Patriot Ledger
February 16, 2004
Murray's father, Frederick; her brothers, Frederick and Kurtis; her sister, Kathleen; and her boyfriend, Army Lt. William Rausch of Oklahoma, are distributing fliers in New Hampshire near the Vermont border.
CNN - American Morning
February 17, 2004
Joining us this morning from a motel in Wells River, Vermont, which has now become a home base for the searchers, Maura's father, Fred Murray, and her boyfriend, Army Lieutenant Bill Rausch.
Lieutenant Rausch, I'd like to start with you. The details are bizarre. Maura disappeared on Monday under very strange circumstances. Why don't you describe what you know about what happened?
LT. BILL RAUSCH, U.S. ARMY, MISSING WOMAN'S BOYFRIEND: Well, as far as we know, we are not exactly sure what did happen. However, I did receive a phone call from Maura as well as an e-mail Monday afternoon that said that she wanted to talk with me and for me to call her back.
I received Tuesday morning last week right after the accident another voice mail, a chilling voice mail that was what I believed to be Maura whimpering and crying in the background.
O'BRIEN: Did she say anything in that message, anything specific? Or was it only what you can hear was crying?
RAUSCH: I could only hear breathing, and then towards the end of the voice mail I heard what was apparent to be crying and then a whimper, which I'm certain was Maura.
O'BRIEN: She called you on a voice mail, Lieutenant Rausch, after this accident, and a local person stopped to help her, and she kind of waved them off. They say maybe she had been drinking even, but waved them off and said, no, no, no, I'm fine, I'm fine. She had sort of plowed into a little bit of a snow bank. Give me a sense of what the locals have been able to tell you about what happened after that, the last person who saw her, because other people saw her around the car, isn't that right?
RAUSCH: Yes. In fact, according to the local authorities, as well as eyewitnesses, Maura was seen at the vehicle not more than a minute before the authorities arrived at the scene, which leads us to believe that she was either picked up by an individual immediately after eyewitnesses saw her, or she walked up the road and was picked up then. The police themselves conducted a very thorough search with the Fish and Game folks here in the area, and with a dog scent leading only a few hundred feet from the accident and abruptly stopping, which again suggests that someone did, in fact, pick her up.
O'BRIEN: So, with her professor saying that nursing students are notoriously reliable young people, what do you think has happened? Do you think that there has been foul play at all? Do you think, especially in light of this phone message that you have of crying and whimpering, do you have any theories on what might have happened to Maura?
RAUSCH: Well, we're uncertain obviously of exactly did happen. But as Fred said, this is completely out of character in regard to her not being able to contact us. She had planned to call Fred that evening, her father. She had planned on calling me, wanted me to return her phone call. And if she were able to do so, we are 100 percent certain that she would have done exactly that.
RAUSCH: Thank you.
Massachusetts Daily Collegian
February 17, 2004
The email to the nursing community also stated that Murray called her boyfriend, Army Lieutenant Bill Rausch, Tuesday morning. At the Friday meeting police said that Rausch only heard someone breathing on the other line. The police were unable to trace the call.
According to Sharon Rausch, the boyfriend’s mother, Murray had e-mailed her boyfriend on Monday afternoon, saying she needed to speak with him.
Murray’s family, including Rausch, and his parents, have flown to New England and are passing out fliers along the New Hampshire-Vermont state boarder, hoping someone will recognize Murray.
Murray and Rausch met at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. As of yesterday afternoon, the Haverhill police have had no leads in the case and hope that Murray will try to contact a friend or family member.
February 17, 2004
As best they can determine, Murray got a ride from someone in a car shortly before police arrived at the accident scene on Wild Ammonoosuc Road, said her boyfriend, US Army Lieutenant William Rausch.
No one saw her do so, but residents on the street saw her standing on the road before police arrived, and search dogs lost her scent less than 100 yards from her wrecked car, Rausch said.
"It seems apparent that she most certainly jumped in a vehicle," Rausch said. "An older couple who lives here put her at [the Saturn] one minute before the police arrived."
February 18, 2004
Maura's father and her fiance, Bill Rausch, who is a second lieutenant with C Battery, 119th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., have been joined by relatives and friends in their search for the 21-year-old woman. She is a student in the University of Massachusetts nursing program at Amherst.
They have been scouring areas on both sides of the Connecticut River, hoping to find someone who may have seen Maura or have information as to what happened to her after the accident.
February 18, 2004
Family Members from Massachusetts, Murray's boyfriend, Bill Rausch, from Oklahoma, and his parents from Ohio have searched the length of the Kancamagus highway in hopes of finding her.
They have posted fliers with Murray's picture at hotels and stores throughout the area. Family members are hoping that she took a ride with someone as there were few footprints near the car.
The father of the missing girl, Fred Murray, said he was concerned that the girl is troubled and possibly suicidal. A phone call to Rausch, on Feb. 10, is the only possible lead. When Rausch answered the call there was only breathing on the other end. The call made to Rausch's cell phone was dialed using a phone card. Police are attempting to track the origin of the card.
February 19, 2004
"The way we're getting through is the same way we want Maura to get through, just not giving up. We're not giving up and we don't want her to give up," says Bill Rausch, Maura's boyfriend.
February 20, 2004
Sharon Rausch, the mother of Bill Rausch, who is Murray's fiance-to-be and a second lieutenant with C Battery, 119th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., was present at the press conference.
"It's been a long, long 10 days," Rausch said. "We are very worried. We believe she is somewhere and someone is preventing her from contacting us.
"She loved her family and there is no way she would put her father and my son through this."
Rausch, who is from Marengo, Ohio, wanted to send a message to Murray.
"Maura, we love you," she said. "Don't you give up. We will never give up. We will find you."
The Brockton Enterprise
February 20, 2004
"She definitely was very responsible," said her boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch, a West Point graduate who has been in New Hampshire since last week with his parents and Murray's family.
Rausch said he cannot explain Murray's disappearance in the rural area where she has climbed mountains and vacationed with her family.
Her father, Fred, of South Weymouth, and older brother, Freddy, also searched the woods along Route 112 in the past week and have not found any footsteps to indicate she had been there, Rausch said.
"She has that intense radiant smile in every photo," Rausch said. "She's such a radiant, happy girl that you just can't help falling in love with her."
He said his parents, who drove from Ohio to join the search, feel the same way.
Rausch said Murray was excited about the challenges she faced in a new semester at school after they spent the holidays together. Her desire to follow her parents into the medical field prompted her transfer from West Point to UMass, he said.
Although they are separated because of his military assignment in the South, Rausch said he and Murray spoke regularly, sharing a cell phone account.
"We talked about marriage quite a bit, when we were going to be engaged," Rausch said.
He said he received a voice mail from Murray on the afternoon of Feb. 9.
"Regardless of why she went up here, I'm certain that she wanted me to know," he said in a telephone interview from the Vermont motel. "She told me she missed me, she loved me."
She also asked him to call her or, if she did not hear from him, she would call him again, he said. The call never came.
Now, Rausch and Murray's family call her cell phone many times each day, but she does not answer. The calls go to voice mail. They also access the voicemail, but he said, there are no messages related to her disappearance or her whereabouts.
"If Maura is not contacting us because she's unable to, we most certainly don't want her to give up," Rausch said. "We won't give up. Our mission right now is to find her."
New Hampshire Union Leader
February 20, 2004
"She loved her family and friends, and there is no way she would put the two most important people in her life -- her father and my son -- through this nightmare," said Sharon Rausch, the mother of Murray's boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch.
Her son must report back for duty in Oklahoma tomorrow, she said, and other family members who have put their lives on hold must also return to their homes. But, she said, that does not mean they are giving up trying to find her.
"There are countless friends clamoring to help," Rausch said.
After more than a week of heartbreaking days, Rausch said the family can only conclude that Murray is unable to contact them.
"It's been a very long 10 days, and we are very worried," she said. "We are all convinced in our hearts that she is somewhere and someone is preventing her from contacting us."
Rausch and her husband must return to their Ohio home on Monday, but she said their efforts would continue to find Murray.
"Maura, we love you," she said. "We are never going to give up hope and don't you give up hope. We'll bring you home."
Rausch said Murray was in contact with her son during the day on Monday, leaving him a telephone message that said, "I love you, call me," she said.
The Patriot Ledger
February 21, 2004
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.
February 21, 2004
Sharon Rausch and her husband, Bill, have been helping Fred Murray search for his daughter since Feb. 11.
So has the Rausch's son, Billie, who is Murray's fiance-to-be and a second lieutenant with C Battery, 119th Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.
They have been going non-stop in their search for Murray, including walking trails and roads, distributing fliers and knocking on doors in the area of the accident.
Family members and friends are at times upset about the lack of information or difference in information obtained by police investigators and what they have been able to glean from knocking on doors and asking questions.
Last week, they were told by investigators it was believed Murray had headed toward the Rausch's home in Marengo, Ohio, because she was having family trouble.
Sharon Rausch said although she didn't believe that, she had one of her children, who had stayed behind, put notes on the door for Murray and left the home unlocked.
However, Murray has not turned up in Ohio. Nor have signs of her surfaced in Vermont. And the only hint of a sign of her in New Hampshire was Feb. 11 when a canine tracked her scent from her car to about 100 yards east of the accident site, in the area of the Butch Atwood residence.
Rausch said a dorm mate saw her leave the campus about 4 or 4:30 p.m. Feb 9. She said Murray's father and her son went through Maura's stuff again and found an index card with the Mapquest directions for Burlington, Vt.
Rausch said the Saturn was having mechanical problems, possibly only running on three cylinders, when Murray set out for Burlington. She said, possibly, because the car was running poorly, she decided to leave Interstate 91 and pick up Route 302 and head toward the Lincoln area.
And Rausch discounts any thoughts Murray would have just walked away from her family, boyfriend and friends because she loved them too much.
She and Fred Murray said Maura wouldn't have picked up insurance forms for her father to fill out if she had not planned to return home.
Lowell Sun / The New Hampshire Union Leader / Foster's Sunday Citizen / Nashua Telegraph
February 22, 2004
Sharon Rausch, the mother of Maura’s boyfriend, said Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has donated an undisclosed amount to the fund. Rausch said the coach met Maura at Madison Square Garden over the holidays. Krzyzewski’s daughter is friends with Maura and her boyfriend, Army Lt. Bill Rausch.
February 27, 2004
"With all the attention from the media, if a good person had picked her up, he would have come forward," said Sharon Rausch, mother of Bill Rausch, Murray's boyfriend. "It leads us to believe a bad guy picked her up.
"I just wish they would treat this as a criminal investigation. If they treated it as such, the FBI could become more involved."
Rausch said her son Bill, Murray's father, Fred, and Murray's siblings, Freddy, Kathleen and Julie, are all frustrated with the lack of leads and the apparent belief by law officials that Murray's disappearance is nothing more than a person not wanting anyone to know where she is.
They believe Murray would have fought anyone trying to abduct her.
Rausch said she understood the vehicle was not running on all of its cylinders. Believing that, Murray may have left Interstate 91 and exited onto Route 302. She then picked up Route 112 and was headed east when her accident occurred.
Rausch said family members were told by at least one person living near the accident site a man was seen in Maura's car after the accident.
Rausch said despite the appearance of Murray's dorm room, she and family members don't believe that's the case.
She said Murray, on the day of the accident, had picked up insurance forms related to an accident she'd had on Feb. 7. Murray was going to call her father the night of Feb. 9 to have him help her fill out the insurance forms.
Those forms, according to Rausch, were found in Murray's car along with school books, clothing and expensive jewelry.
The insurance forms and school books indicated to Rausch that Murray was going to return to Massachusetts and the university and was planning to study while she was away.
Family members and friends also are upset with no information coming from someone who placed a calling card call to Bill Rausch's cell phone as he was waiting to fly out of Oklahoma Feb. 11 to come search for his girlfriend.
Calling Card Call
Bill Rausch said he heard what he believed to be whimpering and crying.
However, Scarinza said that angle has been eliminated because investigators traced the calling card to the American Red Cross officials who had been attempting to contact Bill Rausch.
Sharon Rausch said, "It's obvious to us something has happened to distress her."
She said Murray had called Bill Feb. 8 and was crying because of the previous Saturday accident, though he didn't feel that was it.
"He told her on a scale of 1 to 10, it was only a 3 or 4," she said. "He had to talk to her a long time to calm her down. We are convinced something happened at school and her Amherst friends know."
Rausch speculated that what happened at the college has nothing to do with what happened to Murray after the accident on Route 112 in New Hampshire.
Murray's family and friends have started a pledge for reward fund. Rausch said donations aren't being accepted. However, pledges for a reward are, in the event information is provided which leads to Murray's return.
People can make pledges to the fund by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Rausch said Duke University Blue Devils basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and his family have pledged an unspecified amount of money to the reward fund.
Krzyzewski met Murray and Bill Rausch around Thanksgiving time and provided them with basketball tickets during the Christmas holiday basketball tourney.