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Worcester, MA

#1 Feb 19, 2012
Interesting AP article on how police keep us safe from the bad guys.

Worcester, MA

#2 Feb 19, 2012
It is interesting to note that while the Murray family, in their statement released to the press by their attorney, Terrance O'Connell, characterized the initial two You Tube videos by "112dirtbag" as the work of a "seemingly clinically disturbed" person, the Murrays have said nothing about the copying of those two videos by James Renner and his posting them to his own site on You Tube.

The initial You Tube videos by "112dirtbag" were posted and removed after a few hours on February 8, 2012. Very shortly after the original videos appeared on You Tube, Renner copied them and posted them to his own You Tube site, where they remain with a far larger viewership than they ever had originally in their brief run under "112dirtbag." Renner has also posted links to his copies of the two videos in his blog, "My Search for Maura Murray," at this blogspot address:

Why did the Murray family decide that the very same videos they so vehemently objected to – the very same videos that were taken down after a few hours and a couple of hundred hits - were, when re-posted by Renner on February 9, 2012, not worthy of comment? Renner's re-posting of the original videos still survives as they near the 3,000 hit mark.

If the Murray family found the original videos so offensive, why do they not object to their re-posting by James Renner? Again, the original videos, ran only a few hours and were pulled after having garnered a couple of hundred hits at most. Rennner's re-posting of the original videos has run since February 9 and has attracted far greater viewership. Yet the Murray family is silent about the exact same videos when posted for a far greater length of time by James Renner. Why?

Worcester, MA

#3 Feb 19, 2012
John Healy, a private detective who works on the Maura Murray case, was apparently rushed to the Boston Fox News affiliate TV station for an interview on February 9, 2012. Nattily attired, Healy, a retired New Hampshire State Police detective, described on air the initial two videos posted on You Tube by "112dirtbag" as a "cruel hoax."

Webster's dictionary defines a hoax as "an act intended to trick or dupe… as something established by fraud or fabrication."

What exactly was contained in these two videos that led Healy to describe them, in essence, as an effort to deceive? What false or misleading information did the two videos contain?

Worcester, MA

#4 Feb 19, 2012
Massachusetts imposes a three-day waiting period on couples intending to get married.

Vermont and New Hampshire have no waiting period.

Massachusetts abolished its requirement for blood tests in 2005.

Worcester, MA

#5 Feb 19, 2012
Beagle wrote:
John Healy, a private detective who works on the Maura Murray case, was apparently rushed to the Boston Fox News affiliate TV station for an interview on February 9, 2012. Nattily attired, Healy, a retired New Hampshire State Police detective, described on air the initial two videos posted on You Tube by "112dirtbag" as a "cruel hoax."
Webster's dictionary defines a hoax as "an act intended to trick or dupe… as something established by fraud or fabrication."
What exactly was contained in these two videos that led Healy to describe them, in essence, as an effort to deceive? What false or misleading information did the two videos contain?
Curiously, Healy, during his TV interview, did not address the fact that the initial videos posted by "112dirtbag" were copied and re-posted almost immediately by James Renner on his blog titled "My Search for Maura Murray." Renner claims to be writing a book about the disappearance of Maura Murray. Perhaps Healy was unaware of Renner's re-posting, but isn't he a detective? Wasn't he in touch with a member of the Murray family and/or their attorney, Terrance O'Connell, before he was interviewed?

If Healy was in the dark about Renner's re-posting, and if he was in contact with O'Connell and/or a member of Maura Murray's family, then what does that say about Healy's function as an investigator as viewed by the Murrays and their attorney?

Is there an effort to spin the videos posted by "112dirtbag" as deceptive and cruel, but no similar effort to discuss or describe Renner's re-posting of the very same videos?

Worcester, MA

#6 Feb 19, 2012
From a brief article in the Nashua Telegraph, November 22, 1938.

"Drive underway to repeal state's blood test law.

"Forecasts that an attempt will be made to repeal the marriage blood test law passed by the last legislature were being made today in [New Hampshire] State House circles. The law requires that persons seeking marriage licenses secure a certificate of good health from a physician. Opponents of the law cite decrease in the number of out-of-state couples coming into New Hampshire to be married with loss of revenue for justices of the peace. The law had the backing of the State Medical Association."

Did New Hampshire have a blood test requirement for marriage in 2004?

Worcester, MA

#7 Feb 19, 2012
New Hampshire repealed its blood test requirement for marriage in 1981, according to a short paper composed as a Power Point presentation by Kasey Buckles (Notre Dame), Melanie Guldi (Mount Holyoke College), and Joe Price (Brigham Young University). The title of the paper is "Changing the Price of Marriage: Evidence from Blood Test Requirements."

In other words, in 2004, Massachusetts still had a blood test requirement while neighboring New Hampshire did not have a blood test requirement.

Worcester, MA

#8 Feb 19, 2012
Maura Murray is assumed to have been driving a Saturn, registered in her father's name, when it was found damaged and abandoned on the side of Route 112 in Haverhill NH around 7:30 PM on February 9, 2004. It is from this location that Maura Murray is believed to have disappeared.

Murray, in a police report, is also listed as the driver of her father's new Corolla when it crashed during the early morning hours of February 8, 2004 in Hadley Massachusetts, about one mile from the Southwest (SW) dorm complex in which Maura had a room.

Two accidents in two days.

The first accident, the one in Hadley with the Corolla, is a little hard to understand. If Maura was, as is widely believed, headed to her father's motel room on Russell Street in Hadley, then the normal route from SW would be down University Drive to Russell Street.

However, there is a somewhat shorter route on secondary roads, the first of which is North Hadley Road. It is at the end of North Hadley Road, where it intersects with Roosevelt Street in a "T" style intersection, that Maura ran a stop sign and crashed into a guardrail opposite the stop line at the end of North Hadley Road. This intersection is well marked and very hard to miss unless one has never taken this route before. But if the route has been driven even once before, there is virtually no reason to forget where to stop. From a half-mile away there is plainly visible a flashing red stop light, a stop sign, a shiny guardrail, two large yellow caution signs, all of which are illuminated by a street light also itself visible from a good distance.

It is hard to understand how Maura, presumably familiar with this intersection, could have crashed her father's car there unless her driving was impaired. But impaired by what? The responding officer who wrote the report attributed the crash to "driver inattention." It seems very unlikely the officer would have given Murray a break if she was drunk. There is no way he could have known what she would have done while still drunk after she left the crash site with the tow truck driver. Perhaps she would find another car to drive. Perhaps she would harm herself or someone else. Virtually no police officer is going to let a driver walk away from a crash site if he knows or even strongly suspects she has been drinking. The liability is too high. It could come back to bite him – badly.

Was Maura Murray drunk at the time she crashed the Corolla in Hadley? Or was she driving impaired due to some other factor, such as a neuro-degenerative disease?

Worcester, MA

#9 Feb 19, 2012
Tay-Sachs disease is a horrible disease, usually detected at approximately 6 months of age fatal at around age 5 or 6.

However, there is another, less frequent version of the disease called Adult Onset Tay-Sachs, or Type III Tay-Sachs.

Tay-Sachs occurs mostly in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, along with some higher than random counts in residents of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River and in the Cajun country of southern Louisiana.

Below from:

Clinical Description and Progression/Prognosis[2]
Adult form involves a wide range of neurologic symptoms and abnormal findings, with symptoms of spinocerebellar and lower motor neuron dysfunction most prominent. Tends to show progressive muscle weakness, dysarthia, psychiatric manifestations (without dementia), and fasciculations.

Inheritance pattern: autosomal recessive
Incidence: pan-ethnic, but higher frequency among Ashkenazi Jews[3]; 1 in 201,000 live births (for types I, II, and III together)[4]
Diagnosis: enzyme assay
Conditions with similar presentations: adolescent-onset spinal muscular atrophy, Friedreich ataxia, amyotrophic lateralsclerosis, adult-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis[2]
Management: no disease-specific treatment available
Other medical care: symptom management

Signs and Symptoms

Spinocerebellar and lower motor neuron dysfunction
Motor weakness
Personality changes
Normal intelligence

Worcester, MA

#10 Feb 19, 2012
According to James Renner's blog, John Healy, a New Hampshire private investigator who is apparently aligned with Camp O'Connell, harshly pummeled the reliability of the late Butch Atwood's recollection of Maura Murray's appearance at the Haverhill NH location where Murray is believed to have crashed and abandoned her 1996 Saturn. Healy described Atwood's memory as, to put it charitably, undependable.

The police description of Maura says only that she was wearing jeans and a jacket, a description that would apply to thousands and thousands of women Maura's approximate age and size. Presumably this description came from Atwood, but by itself, it's awfully vague. Men are notorious for not noticing things like hair style, clothing, eye color, and the like. And, except for a street light or two, it was dark -- around 7:30 PM -- when Atwood briefly talked with Murray. Low light at best.

However, Atwood must have been able to specifically identify something unique enough about Maura Murray's appearance in order for police to reasonably believe that Maura was in fact at the crash site. Otherwise, because Maura simply vanished, other possibilities beyond New Hampshire would have been considered, such as car-jacking. Police would have spent more time making sure it was definitely Maura Murray who drove the Saturn to its final location on Route 112.

Did police rely so strongly on Atwood's identification because he noticed Maura had some kind of facial bruise or bandage on her face?

Is that why Healy, as quoted by Renner, so viciously referred to Atwood as "that shithead?" Healy, as a retired New Hampshire state police detective, should know better. Healy, like anyone in law enforcement, knows how easily the memory plays tricks with the recollection of witnesses. It's a well-documented, very human occurrence.

Worcester, MA

#11 Feb 19, 2012
While law enforcement believes Maura Murray was at the crash site, many within law enforcement believe, as a result of their reasonably extensive search, that Maura did not enter, hide, or die in the nearby woods. Even Healy stated as much recently on Boston's Fox News.

So why would Healy, an experienced detective, strongly derogate Atwood's recollection and at the same time insist that Maura was with the Saturn? Atwood, after all, is the only eyewitness who can place Maura at the Saturn. And it seems very unlikely that Atwood could have done so unless he noticed something unique about Maura's appearance, such as a black eye or bandaged nose. Which is maybe why the ATM video of Maura has never been released?

If Atwood saw a bruised face on Maura, then that might undermine Camp O'Connell's nearly eight-year contention that Maura's disappearance is entirely unrelated to anything in the hours or days before her disappearance. It might undermine O'Connell's contention that law enforcement failed their obligation to protect the public from a criminal who may have abducted Maura. In fact, if Maura was struck in the face by someone else before she left UMass, but the attack went unreported to police in the Amherst/Northampton area, then that might explain, at least in part, why she was headed north in the first place.

Or she may have simply skipped town with a boyfriend. Maura, a high school track star and holder of a Massachusetts state track record, may have competed at UMass cross-country less vigorously because she simply could not move her legs fast enough.

If Maura was in fact reliably indentified by Atwood because she had a black eye or a bandaged nose, then that would inevitably put a different light on Maura's disappearance from the view presented by O'Connell and the Murrays.

In fact, it would seem that O'Connell, who is, according to the Cape Cod Times, an attorney, private investigator, and former Sandwich Massachusetts police officer, has a grudge match going with New Hampshire State Police -- Chuck West in particular.

Is O'Connell, who represents some of the family of the deceased Patric McCarthy, using the Murray family in order further fuel his fight with New Hampshire State Police?

Is there bad blood between Healy and other NHSP officers, active and retired? Is the same true of Frank Kelly, another New Hampshire private investigator who is also apparently in the Murray/O'Connell camp?

It would appear that these two tragic cases have become a game of hardball public relations when they should instead be entirely about the victims and the honest discovery of what happened to them.

Worcester, MA

#12 Feb 19, 2012
Did Maura Murray have a neuro-dengenerative disease? Was she the victim of a mercy killing?

Or did she run away with someone?

“"Truth Seeker"”

Since: Dec 11

Sugar Hill NH

#13 Feb 20, 2012
What Ya doing over here..?


Peoria, AZ

#14 Feb 20, 2012
Since you brought up the Hadley crash again, I'm reminded of a question I had. You've said that the route Maura apparently took was not the quickest route to get to the motel where her father was staying. My question: could her taking a longer route to that motel be due to where her Saturn was parked? In other words, maybe she took the route that was closer to where she was parked even though it was not the shortest route from the Univ to the motel.

Also, my other thought ... apparently there was some time between her leaving the dorm party and her heading toward the motel. About an hour?(don't remember offhand) So maybe she went somewhere else on campus first, and the route she then took was closer to that "somewhere else on campus"?

Peoria, AZ

#15 Feb 21, 2012
Beagle wrote:
It is interesting to note that while the Murray family, in their statement released to the press by their attorney, Terrance O'Connell, characterized the initial two You Tube videos by "112dirtbag" as the work of a "seemingly clinically disturbed" person, the Murrays have said nothing about the copying of those two videos by James Renner and his posting them to his own site on You Tube.
Wouldn't reposting without permission be a copyright violation? Works of art are automatically copyrighted upon completion whether published or not. Although, in order to best protect them, they should be registered with the Copyright Office, but that is often not done with works published online.


#16 Feb 21, 2012
Hi Beagle! Very happy to see you´re back on topix. Won´t you come back to the franconia forum? Some of us have been missing you very much!

Wouldn´t having a disease like tay-sachs be a very good reason to commit suicide before it becomes completely debilitating? I don´t know of anything pointing to Maura having it, though? It is genetically a simple recessive, so there should be close relatives having it.

Worcester, MA

#17 Feb 21, 2012
Maura crashed two motor vehicles in two days.

First crash:

If she had never taken the North Hadley Road route (the shortcut) before, then she almost certainly would have driven down University Drive to Russell St to the motel. This is by far the normal route to take by UMass students going in that direction. It doesn't matter where the Corolla was parked.

But she obviously took the shortcut.

If, however, she had taken the shortcut before, then she would not have run the stop sign at the end of North Hadley Road and crashed into the guardrail - unless her operation of the vehicle was impaired. But if it was impaired by alcohol or even by drugs, then the responding officer didn't cite her for it. He would not have simply given her a break. So she was probably fairly sober.

Therefore, it seems likely that she was impaired by something else, possibly by a degenerative neuro-muscular disease.

Which might explain why she had not run very well for a long time - longer than it takes for a pulled hamstring to heal. It seems like she just couldn't move her legs fast enough. She couldn't perform nearly as well as she did when she was in high school. Which is consistent with the onset of some kind of disease.

So… she crashed two cars in two days; plus, she could no longer run fast enough to compete well.

Second crash of Saturn on Route 112 in Haverhill NH:

Butch Atwood is the only person to have positively identified her at the crash site. But the description given by police is quite vague – a young woman wearing jeans and a jacket. This description would apply to thousands of women. Plus men are notorious for not noticing things like hair style, dress, jewelry, hair and eye color, etc. The light was very dim. Atwood spoke with her for only a minute or less. He had never seen her before. How could police be so sure Maura was actually the driver?

Therefore, there must have been something uniquely indentifying about her that Atwood couldn't help but notice reliably, such as a black eye, a bandaged nose, an arm in a sling – something he would definitely notice and which could later be compared to the ATM video.

True, all this is somewhat speculative, but not off the charts. Maura could no longer run very well. She crashed two vehicles in two days. There was something unique about her appearance, such as an injury, that Atwood would easily see in the dark and recall.

A fairly extensive although not totally exhaustive search for Maura was conducted within a day or two of her disappearance. There was no indication of her having entered the woods. There was even some impromptu searching for her right after she disappeared. Nothing.

It therefore seems reasonable to think she may have been driven away from the crash site. She may have run off with someone, perhaps to get married. NH has, unlike MA, no waiting period. She may have simply run off in order to put an old life behind her. She may have been abducted, but this seems very unlikely. She may, however, have entered a car driven by someone she knew. She may have believed that her destination was the same as what the driver had in mind, but the driver may have had another plan.

Some have, with no foundation, speculated that Maura was the victim of domestic abuse; that she ran away from, or was given safe passage from, a very destructive and horrible situation. If so, I salute her and wish her well. If she sought a new life, then that's when it began.

Phoenix, AZ

#18 Feb 21, 2012
You bring up a good point about there possibly being some specific ID feature noted by Atwood. At first that seemed a little too far out, but now adding the matter of why the ATM video has not been shown to family or to public adds some weight to the speculation about a specific feature. Possibly then not released to the public even though Atwood told LE.

Re that video, I can't quite get around the fact it was not ever shown to family at the least. Why would LE not do that? Well, for starters, if LE has good reason to believe that Maura intended to leave and start a new life -- which was her right as an adult -- there may be something on the video that pertains specifically to that and so by not showing the video to the family or public, LE is protecting her rights. Or maybe nothing stands out on the video but LE still believes she intended to start a new life and thus is protecting her privacy on that unless/until they have good reason to believe otherwise.

Don't know what I think about her having a degenerative neuro-muscular disease. Because if she did have such, enough to impair her legs, she likely should not have been driving at all. She had just gotten her license about 6 months earlier, so a disease would have had to have been diagnosed since she got the license, right? Or, maybe she didn't yet know she had a disease problem.

It's curious why the Hadley police didn't cite her in that accident. Wonder if she was crying and the officer took pity on her ... could happen, especially with a pretty girl....


Worcester, MA

#19 Feb 22, 2012
Barring really exceptional circumstances, LE is not in the business of concealing an adult runaway's identity. If Maura took off, they are not going to waste their time on court hearings, putting her on a cold case list, etc. There's a good chance that Maura had some apparent injury and LE could not rule out its source, which I doubt was domestic. An apparent injury explains both why Maura's photo from the ATM was not released and why Atwood's ID of her was relied upon (because it was specific enough, it went beyond just a jacket and jeans).

The Hadley police officer would never have let her go because he took pity on her or because she was crying. In Hadley, this does not happen even in a case of shoplifting, let alone drunk driving. The liability is too high. What if she jumped into another car and killed someone? There would be a record that the officer had let her go. The officer is not going to be that stupid or irresponsible. It's not like Maura was the sister of the police chief and so the responding officer gave her a ride home.

Neuro-muscular diseases exist on a continuum. Those with Multiple Sclerosis, for example, have good days and bad days. The side-effects of drugs can also be very episodic. Maura may have been able to drive a car properly some of the time, but not all the time. Maybe her Saturn ran fine, but she or her family said otherwise in order to conceal her inability to drive well. After all, don't most athletes, especially as teens, get their permit and license asap? Why the delay?

1. Maura got, if the story is true, her license at an unusually late date.

2. Maura did not drive the Saturn much, perhaps not because of some mechanical problem with the car but because of some problem with her arms and legs, with her reaction time.

3. Maura had two crashes in two days. She may have had three crashes in four days if she hit Vasi. She was not arrested for the only one responded to by police.

4. Maura was probably positively identified by Atwood because of something unique about her appearance.

5. The ATM video was probably withheld because of something unique about her appearance - probably the same thing Atwood noticed.

6. Maura could no longer run well competitively.

Put it all together and it looks more like a case of someone with some kind of disease who decided to get away. Maybe for good. Since there was no indication that she entered the woods, and very little likelihood of her having been the victim of an opportunistic abduction, then she probably was traveling with someone who was driving another vehicle. But why take two vehicles, especially if one doesn't run very well and isn't worth much?

I'm not trying to exclude any one possibility; after all, there are many to choose from. I am simply trying to point out some things that have not received much attention.

Phoenix, AZ

#20 Feb 22, 2012
These are really good thoughts, Beagle. It would never have occurred to me to put these factors together and come up with the idea she might have a neuromuscular (or some other) disease, but your layout makes sense if viewed that way.

Okay, so let's say she may have such a disease or condition -- it raises other questions in my mind. Such as, why would her family have allowed her to get a drivers license in the first place?

And how would her time at West Point square with her having such a disease -- the military wouldn't take her if she had an illness. Of course, it could have surfaced after she left West Point....

If her family knew about it, wouldn't they have put it out that she needed to be found urgently because she is on medication, or needs medication? Why would they conceal a medical condition if they knew about it?

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