Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Personal Note on the Maura Murray Mystery


I made a decision about a year ago to step away from this case and spend time doing things that I find more rewarding - writing fiction, being with my family, etc. But after the Oxygen documentary aired I was contacted by a number of women who had run-ins with Maura's former boyfriend, Bill Rausch and they wanted someone to tell their story. So two weeks ago, I flew out to D.C. and got their interviews on tape so there would be no debate over their intentions or words.

Their stories have affected me and caused me to take another look at this case.

We always assumed Bill Rausch had an air-tight alibi. And he does, for the disappearance. But I have always believed that Maura was traveling with a tandem driver the night she vanished. It is the only explanation that makes sense to me. And if she did just that, perhaps she made it to her cabin in the woods after all. If she did, nobody's alibis matter anymore.

When I took another look at Maura's phone records I discovered a missing page. That missing page was taken from the portion of the bill that may have shown us Maura's roaming calls while she was in New Hampshire. These records were given to the Murray family by Bill's mother (Maura's phone was being paid for by the Rausch family).

Additionally, I found that on the Sunday after Maura vanished, Bill made a roaming call to her phone that lasted between 3 and 4 minutes. After that call, Bill does not make another phone call for four days.

I don't know what happened in New Hampshire. But here's what we do know: the boyfriend of a missing woman has been accused of sex assault in DC. Of pushing a woman down the stairs in the Metro. Of grabbing a woman by the neck and saying "I'll kill you like I killed Maura." During the search for his would-be fiance, he stops making calls and checking his voicemail on his cell phone for four days.

This case has taken a turn. If you have info that would help, please come forward.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sexual Harassment Claims Against Bill Rausch Continued at IAVA, Say Former Employees

After Bill Rausch was forced to resign at Ray Group following allegations of a sexual assault in 2011, he moved to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America nonprofit. Once there, according to coworkers, the improper and alarming behavior continued.

Two sources describe a night in the winter of 2015 where Rausch led a small group of coworkers to the bar after work. Once there, he ordered oysters and champagne and picked up the tab for the expensive dinner. This is very reminiscent of the stories a former girlfriend from Fort Sill tells of how he and his friends would slum the area bars, flashing cash to pick up women. (the photo below is taken from a blog run by an acquaintance during his time there).

During this dinner in 2015, there was Bill, another man, and two women who worked with them (one was a director-level employee, the other was the assistant to IAVA's CEO Paul Riekhoff.) Midway through the night, the other man realized that Bill was texting both women, trying to pick them up. The other director eventually shut him down (he was married, she was not interested).

From there, a couple of them went to a karaoke bar and had more drinks without Bill. Still, the texts continued.

At the end of the night, the other man walked the assistant back to her hotel. Bill was there, already, waiting for her to return. According to these sources he was very aggressive and manic, asking to be let into her room. One witness describes it becoming an argument in the street.

In the following weeks and months Bill allegedly asked his coworker to not tell anybody what happened that night.

Why is this important enough to warrant a post on this blog?

At the very least, this is another story that shows a pattern of behavior by Bill Rausch against women, especially women he has some power over and gives context and reason for Maura wanting to run away.

But also, I strongly believe Maura was traveling with a tandem driver the night she went missing and possibly even made it to her destination - a cabin in the woods. If she did, everybody's alibi on February 9 is worthless.

Bill maintains his innocence. Through his lawyer today he claims there is no truth to any of these claims. Each of these women must be lying.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Clarifications Following Oxygen Series

Here are some answers to confounding questions some have had since the Oxygen series ended.

1. Could Maura have struck Petrit Vasi with her car and wrecked it in NH to cover her tracks?
Answer: No. The series ruled this out behind the scenes, after examining the black box in Maura's car. They were able to determine that the car did not strike anyone or anything the night Petrit Vasi was hit.

2. Different Coordinates
Some viewers noticed the coordinates shown in the TV show were different than the ones found on this site. Apparently, the series editor changed them to discourage more people from going to the site, which is quite dangerous.

3. The Missing Page
Last week it was discovered that Maura and Bill Rausch's cell phone bills, which were provided to the Murrays by Bill's mother, were missing a page, specifically Page 9, which would be where Maura's roaming calls would be logged. This could be very important evidence if it showed any call made from her phone after February 9th.

Former US Marshal Art Roderick is said to have spoken directly to Chuck West about this issue (West is essentially the head of the investigation). Roderick reported back to the podcast guys that the entire phone bill was accounted for and that they had probably gotten a subpoena for the original records. However, it appears to me that Art was not clear in his request and West was vague in his reply regarding page 9 specifically.

I tried to get clarification on this issue. My first contact was to the Cold Case unit, whose spokesman told me nobody there had any recollection of this conversation. This morning AG Jeffery Strelzin explained that his office and detectives would have no comment on the phone records at all.

Personally, I don't think they could have easily obtained a subpoena for these records, as there is no evidence of a crime and the records do not exist in New Hampshire. My hunch is the records they have came from Sharon Rausch as well. I hope they noticed before we did that a page was missing.

In any event, it would be great to know for sure. But that would require a quote from West or an official statement from the cold case unit. Until then, it does seem suspicious.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

New Reward

I am offering a personal reward for the following information:

$1,000 reward for proof that Maura did not travel alone to New Hampshire and/or proof that she was alive beyond February 9, 2004.

$5,000 reward for the location of her body or information that would lead to closure of this case.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can use my Globaleaks server to send information and retrieve reward money.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"I Would Help You Bury a Body."

Today I spoke with a former employee of Ray Group International, the company Bill worked for in 2011, when he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in the office.

This man has asked to remain anonymous but will speak to New Hampshire police.

He said at the time, Bill seemed to be in a very dark place and would go drinking practically every night after work at a place called The Bottom Line. His favorite drink, gin & tonic. This coworker got to know him well and considered him a friend. One day, after some drinks, he says Bill turned to him and said, "We're good friends, aren't we? Like best friends?" He said, sure. Then he claims Bill said, "I would help you bury a body. Really. I'd help you bury a body. That's how good of friends we are."

"I took it as a sincere moment," this man says. "At the time I brushed it off because he'd been in the military. I figured he'd seen casualties."

He says another time Bill told him how he'd go on the news to talk about Maura so that he could use it to pick up women. That he could play the depressed former boyfriend part and it worked very well.

He was there the day Bill was forced to resign his job at Ray Group after a woman said he sexually assaulted her in the office. They allowed him to resign instead of being fired. The executives agreed that they would leave it up to the woman to go to police. This woman can still go to police, actually, as the statue of limitation has not expired. I believe she is currently weighing that option.

In a related note, I just received a massive amount of information and names through a Globaleaks contact. There are more women with claims against Bill.

Monday, November 6, 2017

"I'm Going to Kill You Like I Killed Maura"

Three women have come forward to ask police to investigate Bill Rausch in relation to the disappearance of his girlfriend, Maura Murray, in 2004. Two of them have come forward in an audio interview. The third wishes to conceal her identity as much as possible, except for interviews with the police.

Lawton, OK, 2004

Two weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman who lived in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 2004. She knew Bill a few months after Maura Murray disappeared in 2004. He visited the people who lived in her house, often, as some had ties to Fort Sill, where Bill was working at the time. He was friends with the man she was seeing at the time, who warned her that Bill "had gone off the deep end" and that his girlfriend was missing.

One day, Bill found out that her guy was not home for a while and he texted her, asked if he could come over. There was a party at the house that night and so she didn't see the harm. Once he arrived, though, he took her outside and grabbed her and started kissing her. He suggested they go to a hotel. She agreed and went with him in the car.

At a stoplight, she says, Bill reached over and grabbed her by the neck and said, "I'm going to kill you like I killed Maura." She reached over and dug her nails into him. "I'll rip your crotch off," she said.

Immediately, Bill's demeanor changed and he became gentle again. He said he was just joking and they continued on to the hotel. However, at the hotel she decided not to have sex. Later, she says, Bill explained that he was glad she never slept with him because "the only people I care about that I have sex with die." He mentioned how a girl he slept with before Maura had died in an accident (something to do with horse back riding, she believes). I have not been able to track back this incident.

Bill told her he was working on a book, titled "You'll Never Be Happy Until You Realize That You Will Never Be Happy."

She remembers the day he came back to town after his sister died and how he responded by being flippant, "I was home and she shot her face off -- so that's awesome."

Washington D.C., 2011

Please listen to the interview (click YouTube link above) with these two women to hear the story in their own voices. Below is a summary.

Two years ago, I learned that Bill lost his job at Ray Group International in 2011 after a woman alleged that he sexually assaulted her in the office one night. This woman says his aggression toward her began before that, when she was going up the escalators on the Metro one morning. Someone jogged up beside her and pushed her down. Luckily fellow commuters caught her before she could tumble to the bottom. But her dressed was ripped. She looked up and saw Bill at the top of the escalators. Later, when he assaulted her, he began by saying that it was him who pushed her down that day as (in her words) the humanity in his eyes went away and he became robotic in the attack.

Insert: Here's a photo of the woman inside the "man trap" at Ray Group with Bill behind her.

Last month, another woman contacted me about her encounter with Bill in the fall of 2011. She was working as a bartender at the time. She hooked up with Bill one night. The sex started consensual but quickly progressed to choking. He wanted to hear her gasp for breath. She too described the lack of emotion in his eyes. After it was over, she says he was threatening. "This never happened."



When I asked Bill about the second woman, he said it wasn't true. That he never knew her. When I told her that he denied it, she sent me a picture of the napkin they used to communicate at the bar that night. It contains his cell phone in his hand writing.


What the Phone Bill Tells Us


Bill has an alibi for the time of Maura's disappearance. However, if there was a tandem driver (as I believe), then the Monday alibis may not be so important.

We can track some of Bill's movements during the search for Maura Murray by looking at his phone bills. At the time, both Maura and Bill's phone bills were consolidated into a single bill that went to Sharon Rausch (Bill's mother) in Marengo, Ohio. After the disappearance, Sharon provided a copy of the bill to Helena Murray. John Smith then obtained these documents. Sharon threatened to sue John (he says) if he ever made them public. Two years ago, he gave them to me.

Maura disappeared on Monday, February 9, 2004.

When Bill arrived in New Hampshire on Wednesday night, his cell phone went on roaming. The roaming charges are at the end of each individual bill and listed by location. This gives us a rough look into where he was traveling as they searched for Maura. Below are those rough locations by date:

Wednesday, Feb. 11
4:55 - Rutland, Vermont
7:02 - Burlington, Vermont

Thursday, Feb 12
10 a.m. - noon - Lebanon, New Hampshire
3:24 - Streaked Mountain, Maine
4 p.m. - 4:20 - Concord, New Hampshire
4:40 - 5:30 - Lebanon, New Hampshire

Friday, Feb 13
10:30 - Rutland, Vermont
10:40 - Burlington, Vermont

Saturday, Feb 14
No calls

Sunday, February 15
4 p.m. - Concord, New Hampshire
4:53 - Lebanon, New Hampshire


Now, during these days Bill was calling Maura's cell phone, each call lasting a minute as it was likely going to voicemail. But that last call, at 4:53 was to Maura's phone, too. And that one lasted from 3 - 4 minutes. And after that call, Bill makes no further calls on his cell phone for four days. There are no further calls from his cell phone until Thursday, February 19.

Was it a really long voicemail?

Is it possible Maura answered?

Where was Bill in the four days he didn't make a single call?

If Maura answered her phone - and she was in the area - her call would have been logged in her "roaming" section of her bill, which would come directly after her in-service calls, but before Bill's section begins. The copies Sharon provided are 25 pages long. One page is missing. It's the page at the end of Maura's bill, Page 9.

Heather

In 2007, Bill's sister Heather committed suicide in the home of their parents in Marengo, Ohio. A gun.

When I contacted the medical examiner of Morrow County, William Lee, he told me that in the days leading up to the suicide, Heather had wanted to speak to the police about a crime she knew about. However, her suicide note makes no mention of any crime and the Sheriff's department has no record of her trying to contact them.

Sharon was interviewed by the New Hampshire Union Leader in 2007. Here's what she said about their trip to New Hampshire to search for Maura:
"We arrived Wednesday around 7 p.m. They interviewed Billy. He was a prime suspect. He was totally distraught. I'll never forget the look on his face. He said 'I feel as dirty as Scott Peterson. They think I've got something to do with it.'"
Bill refused to be interviewed by the journalists behind the recent Oxygen series.

He has not spoken about Maura in many years and was never a major part of the search for her after 2004.

Note by the Author

These are serious allegations against Bill Rausch, who is now a public figure, Executive Director for Got Your 6, and a married father. It was a very difficult decision to write this piece. Bill has suggested he would commit suicide if more was made public. He has threatened to sue me. And he may, though the women he wronged are no longer afraid to speak up. These women have a voice, too. They believe Bill is capable of violence because they have seen it firsthand. And as someone with a daughter, I'd want others to know what Bill is capable of if I were the next woman's father.

If you have any information that could help in solving this case please contact the New Hampshire Cold Case Unit at coldcaseunit@dos.nh.gov

You can also contact me directly at jameswrenner@gmail.com

If you have specific evidence and wish to remain 100% anonymous you can also submit tips through Globaleaks. 

***UPDATED***

A 4th Woman

Another woman came forward yesterday. She and Bill had a brief relationship in 2006. "I'm not surprised to hear all this," she said. "He was a pathological liar."

He spoke about Maura Murray only once, by saying he had a girlfriend who had "passed" but that they were broken up at the time.

She describes Bill as being extremely pushy, obsessive, arrogant, and controlling. She said even his friends at Fort Sill called him, "Billy Liar."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

If There Was a Tandem Driver, Nobody Has an Alibi

The only thing I'm sure of, in my heart of hearts, is that Maura was traveling with a tandem driver the night she disappeared.

Lately, though, I've started to wonder if the goal that week really was to just get away for a while to clear her head. Have some drinks, regroup.

Perhaps the tandem driver had to get back to school, leaving Maura alone (without a car) until later in the week, at the Outing Club Cabin or some nearby retreat. But when they came back, Maura was gone. And the tandem driver has never come forward because there remains the possibility that Maura left on her own and doesn't want to be found.

Whatever the case, I really hope she made it out, and that she is alive someplace.

But...

What if someone else found Maura before the police did? What if someone found her and was so overcome with rage they did something to her? They would have an alibi for the disappearance but not what happened to her next.

I think police should take a close look at the days immediately after the disappearance, at least until Friday that week. Where exactly was everyone during the search for Maura in the White Mountains that week?

Perhaps Maura is dead. But maybe we were way wrong about the location and timing of it all.

If there was a tandem driver they should come forward with what they know, unless they know without a doubt that Maura is safe (which is looking increasingly unlikely).