Friday, November 29, 2013

Age Progression: A crowd-sourcing request.

I'm about to print out several hundred flyers for distribution in a mid-sized town. It would be great if I could include an age-progression picture of what Maura might look like today.

Does anyone have the computer skills to give it a try?

Send your best to me at jameswrenner@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

For Maura

I feel like I'm getting close to an answer that will lead to resolution in a matter of weeks.

I believe you are alive. And I believe I know where you went. Who you traveled with. And how you got there.

The only reason I have to find you, personally, is to show this community of concerned people that you are alive and well and they should focus on other mysteries. Frankly, I don't care about the hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money that have been spent trying to find you. I don't care about the charges you face in Mass.

I don't see any reason to invade your privacy any more that it already has been. I do not care to share your location with the family and friends you have written out of your life (for good reason).

All we ask is for proof of life. You can send it anonymously. If we can see that you are alive and well, the search can end here and the well-meaning internet armchair sleuths can move on to cases of real missing people whom they can actually help.

I truly hope you've found a better life.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

***UPDATED*** Let's See What the Victim Has to Say

Here's one loose end: the woman who had her credit card number stolen by Maura Murray. I could use a little help locating her or her name. Here's what we know:

She was a student at UMass in the Spring of 2004. From Gloucester City, NJ. She worked in Salem, NH.

I would very much like to talk to her.

**UPDATE**
Upon closer review, it appears the victim was from North Andover, Mass.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How Can We Crowdsource the Investigation?

So this blog gets about 3,000 views on any given day. There are still many people interested in this case and helping to bring it to some kind of resolution. What's the best way we can work together?

Is there an aspect of this search for Maura that we could use this site to "crowdsource" the way we did when searching through pics of Canadian marathons?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Was Maura in Boston Just Before She Went Missing?

A couple weeks ago a tip came in that, on the surface, sounded crazy but has since gained some steam.

A man was photographing the area outside Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant, in Boston, a couple days before Maura disappeared. He was doing research into notorious mobster Whitey Bulger, who killed a guy there back in the day. There were two vehicles parked in the lot and he didn't really think much about them until later.

See, one of the vehicles was Maura's Saturn, he says. He knows because the license plate is clear in the photo and it matches to her plates that are in the public record. Only, he won't scan the pics into a computer. He wanted to send them through the mail to a different source. But then the photos never came.

I know, right? Probably just a bunch of smoke. Except...

The other vehicle that was there. He provided the license plate for that one, too. And I tracked it down. I interviewed the guy who owned the truck. Says he doesn't know Maura. But, yes, he was at Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant.

Which lends credibility to the photograph also showing Maura's car.

And if she was in Boston, what was she doing there? And why was she driving her Saturn so far if it was on its last leg?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Open question: Could Maura Have Canadian Citizenship?

If a mother has a child in Canada, does she become a citizen of Canada? Would the U.S. even bother with extradition on a credit card fraud charge?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

**UPDATED** So This Is Weird


One of the women that Maura had clinicals with was an Asian-American student named Martha Nagle aka Martha Park aka Martha Vivar.

Here's the message I got from Martha today:

I'd like to help but I'm also related to Maura and I don't feel comfortable talking about this with you. Only out of respect for Maura's family. Thank you anyway. Good luck with your research.

On follow-up, she explained that she was related through marriage. And then she blocked me on Facebook.

Can't figure this one out. How exactly does that work? Did Maura make the introductions before she disappeared? It didn't seem like they were close, according to classmates. So, did it happen after the fact? Or is it a lie?

Could use some help figuring this one out.

**UPDATE**
One location that appears in Martha's history is in the town of Taunton.

Taunton, as you know, is where the person who posted the Geocities letter (the one that explains that some family members know that Maura is living in Canada) was from. As several people have pointed out, that letter appeared to have been written by someone who was trained as a nurse. Like Martha. And was somehow related to Maura. Like Martha. And was in Taunton. Like Martha.

When asked to comment, Martha wrote: Fuck you. How's that for a comment?

Clinicals

Some information is finally coming in about Maura's time studying to be a nurse at UMass. I've spoken to a couple of her classmates who did clinical rotations with her and here's what they say:

Their class was large, about 70 students. But the class was then divided into groups of 6-8, for clinicals. Clinicals are a way for students to get first-hand knowledge of nursing. Students travel to area hospitals and are given a patient or two. It's a 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. They work for seven hours then meet together and kind of debrief before traveling back to campus. Most everyone car-pooled.

In the Spring of 2004, Maura had clinicals twice a week. One day was spent at the Providence mental hospital in Holyoke. The other was done at Norwood Hospital's labor and deliver unit, in Norwood (an hour and a half drive, it's nearer Quincy/Weymouth).

Her class list: Pharmacology; Mental Health; Maternity; Research in Nursing.

Classmates describe her as quiet, reserved. She didn't really have friends in the program.

Given that she was actively studying labor and delivery and mental health I'm not sure how much importance we can put on those internet searches related to pregnancy before she disappeared. More to come.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Maura Would Have Been Cited for Hadley Accident

Spoke to Hadley Police Officer Mark Ruddock today. He was the police officer who responded to Maura's crash in Hadley, Mass, which occurred after a night of excessive drinking. According to Ruddock, Maura would have likely been cited for failure to control her vehicle if she hadn't have disappeared shortly thereafter.

Getting a misdemeanor likely would have impacted Maura's deal with the courts related to credit card fraud.

When asked why he did not charge her with DUI that night, Ruddock hung up on me.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Open Question

What are the biggest unanswered questions that remain in this case? I mean, outside of the big ones (the rag in the tail pipe/Petrit Vasi/etc.) Who else (like the Salamones and Atwoods) would you like to hear from?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Butch Atwood Given 2 Lie Detector Tests

Butch's wife, Barbara, spoke to me from Florida today, and dropped this little tidbit: Police detectives gave Butch two lie detector tests after Maura went missing. They were told he flunked the first one and passed the second. She believes he failed the first one due to his health complications, which included high blood pressure, diabetes, a-fib, and COPD.

Before you get too excited about this info, you should know that lie detector tests are not admissible in court (usually) and are basically just a tool for detectives to push a suspect into a confession. The tests measure bio-feedback so his health would certainly have been a factor. To me, Butch is not a likely suspect, and seems to be a good samaritan who got caught up in a big case.

Keep in mind, at the time Butch lived there with both Barbara and his mother, Violet. And Maura's accident was in plain view of three homes. Not easy for a 300-pound guy to commit a crime in those circumstances.

To his dying day, Butch believed Maura was picked up by someone, possibly a traveling companion, due to how quickly her disappearance happened.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Salamone Place Was Not for One Person

I'm devoting the next few weeks to filling in some holes in my reporting as I work on another draft of the book.

Today, I spoke with Linda Salamone, who owns a condo in the Seasons Resort community of North Conway. Maura called her to check on availability of her rental the day she went missing.

Here's the thing. Her condo is quite large. Two bedrooms. Big living area. It's not meant for one person. She cannot recall ever renting it for just one person. Usually, she rents it to families. This, again, lends itself to my developing theory that Maura was traveling in tandem with one or more people the night she disappeared.

Of course, she couldn't rent to Maura that day because her property doesn't really work like a hotel. Linda would have needed to mail Maura a key and a contract, first.

She has since learned that Fred and Maura used to stay together at the Seasons Resort, though never in her unit.

When Salamone was contacted by police, many months later, the detective told her that the reason she hadn't heard from them before was because the case "had taken a turn" and they didn't believe they needed the information she might have. The investigation, he said, was "going in another direction."