Saturday, December 27, 2014

Maura's Friend Was Uncooperative With Police

I spent some time this week tracking back the source of the comment that one of Maura's friends would not answer questions about what happened to Maura up in New Hampshire because she didn't want her friend to "get in trouble."

This quote has appeared in a few different places, often attributed to Sara Alfieri, as a quote given to a reporter. That is not the case, it appears.

This quote tracks back to a March 2, 2004 article that appeared in the Boston Globe. Here is the passage:

The more details are revealed, the more baffling the case becomes, police acknowledge. Yesterday, [Lt. Robert] Thrasher said that Maura had fastidiously packed all her belongings into boxes before she left school, even removing the art from her dorm room walls. Meanwhile, one UMass friend has seemingly withheld information from police, saying she didn't want to get Maura "in trouble."

This changes a couple things:

1. The friend may not be Sara Alfieri. In fact, it's much more likely that it was Kate Markopoulos.

2. A month after the disappearance, this friend was acting as if Maura was still alive, somewhere. Her friend is missing. As far as anyone knows she was abducted. But this friend is more worried about getting her in trouble than helping the police. That is not normal behavior.

While Sara Alfieri may not be the friend referenced by Thrasher, she, too apparently has more information about Maura Murray that could be helpful in the investigation. She is terrified of reporters and family spokesperson Helena Dwyer-Murray has said she would only tell the "real story" to Fred Murray.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What The Family's Response to This Sighting Means **UPDATED**

The sighting of Maura Murray (with friends) by the cashier at Butson's is a wild new development, but consider what it says about the way Fred Murray (and the people who run Maura's official websites) conducts the search for his daughter.

This was info Fred had early on. He tried to get the video from the supermarket himself. And this sighting was never shared publicly.

This was info Helena Dwyer-Murray had for a long time. And she never shared it on the Facebook page or official website.

Instead of asking for more people to come forward, they have tried to discredit this cashier by saying the sighting occurred the day after Maura disappeared. This is not true.

The father of a missing woman kept this important tip, which may (at the very least), provide new leads in the cold case, from the public.

And they continue to keep secret the "real story" Maura's friend Sara Alfieri told them about Maura's last weekend.

There is some ulterior motive here.

*** UPDATED ***

Helena has just admitted the sighting occurred the day Maura disappeared:

"I stand corrected. Back in February, I received a message from someone telling me about the other two women in the store and it mentioned (though I somehow missed it) that it had happened on Feb 9. The only reason I can think that I totally forgot and misread this email is that I was in the middle of some rather extreme family issues.
There were two points in the descriptions of the other two that would make me dismiss either Kate or Sara or for that matter Maura's sisters. Based on my answer to that message, I also believe that I thought both Fred and the police had looked into it." 

But she's lying again about the descriptions. We call this a "misinformation campaign" in the newsroom, folks.

Also, should this info be important to the conclusion of any criminal case, what the family has done here is considered "withholding," a felony in most states.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Helena Dwyer-Murray Confirms Sighting, Changes Her Story

Above is a screen grab from the MM Facebook page, today.

On the page, Helena addresses the Butson's sighting, acknowledging that it did occur and the family did know about it. She also confirms that Sara Alfieri told "the real story" to Fred.

But she is now peddling back on what she told me in our original conversation: that Fred asked Sara never to repeat it.

Make of all this what you will.

Fred Murray Knew About Woodsville Sighting and Tried to Get Video Before Police

According to the new witness who came forward this week, saying she saw Maura with two friends at Butson's Supermarket an hour before she disappeared, Fred Murray has known about the sighting from the beginning. And he tried to get the video before the authorities could properly track it down.

I remember **** talking in the break room about Fred on how Fred was demanding camera footage of the store. **** told him there was none. Butson's didn't own cameras at that time. Fred totally flipped out, not sure if Fred was escorted out or left on his own. **** told us if anyone questions us while we were on clock to have them talk to him ****.
While Butson's did not have cameras, the bank branch inside the store did, and one of their cameras captured the aisle Maura and her friends walked down.

Fred took this tip very seriously. So why is it the first time anyone else has heard of it?

I think back to one of the first conversations I had with the woman who runs the Facebook page devoted to Maura's disappearance, Helena Dwyer-Murray. At the time I was trying to find a contact number for Sara Alfieri, one of Maura's friends, who partied with her the weekend before her disappearance. She told me that Sara would never talk to me or any other reporter, that she'd told the real story to Fred and was asked never to repeat it.

True to her word, when I finally did find Sara in Boston, the first thing she said to me was, "How did you find me?" before promptly slamming the door.

Kate Markopoulos, a NY resident, was also close to Maura and has been less than forthcoming about the details of those last few days. Members of the track team at UMass said she disappeared for several days around the time Maura went missing.

The cashier has also provided an important detail about the identity of one of the girls but I'll leave the cold case unit to use that as they will.

** One little fix. Sara did talk to a reporter. Once, shortly after the incident. When pressed for answers, she replied: "I don't want to get my friend in trouble."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cashier Says Women Had Out-of State Licenses

I can share a few more details from the cashier from Butson's in Woodsville who claims she saw Maura with two friends an hour before her disappearance. She personally checked their ID as they purchased alcohol. She says all the women had out-of-state ID. 

They were all out of state. Two were Mass, the third CT or NY. This is why I reported the sighting to the store manager.

I can also verify that the Cold Case Unit has this new lead and are very interested. I find this witness to be highly credible. The Murray family has known about this lead from week 1. More on that soon.

Friday, December 12, 2014

BREAKING: Woodsville resident says Maura was traveling with two women.

About an hour before Maura Murray vanished, she stopped in at Butson's Supermarket in Woodsville (now a Shaw's), with two other women, according to the woman who ran up her purchase.

I was a cashier. That day, I was running late on getting out on time. It was probably 5:45-6 p.m. when I was supposed to have gone off register. My last customers were three attractive ladies. They had picked up some alcoholic drinks, as I recall the blue wine coolers cus that's what I drank. They also picked up smokes. I ID'ed the three of them, and they were all 21-23. My supervisor was helping me to bag up their order.

I hear your skepticism. I was skeptical, too. But her story held up the closer I looked. Here's why:

1. She isn't just remembering this, now. She reported this as soon as she heard Maura went missing because she believed it was her. But she didn't report to police. She reported to her supervisor. The supervisor then told a random cop, who more than likely never filed the report. She has provided the name of the supervisor for verification.

2. She describes the young women who were with Maura in enough detail that she, without prior knowledge, described the person I believe was with Maura that night.

3. She told a member of the Murray family early on. She thought they could verify it by checking the cameras inside Buston's. Fred checked on it, himself, but was told there were no cameras. However, the cashier meant the cameras at the small bank branch inside the store. One of the cams pointed down the aisles.

4. Again, we have Maura purchasing alcohol with friends. This is well-established pattern. And the drinks she purchased are the exact kind of beverages Maura, Kate Markopoulos and Sara Alfieri were drinking that weekend.

She says Woodsville residents saw Maura and friends visit the McDonalds across the street (might there be credit card receipts?) after this. This completes the timeline, putting Maura and company at the scene of the accident right on time. The tandem car then turned around and picked Maura up.

When asked for more details, she goes on to say:

The actions of the three...nothing stands out now. Just one that I say was maura kept nervously looking behind her. The other two just seemed normal shoppers that weren't upset I ided them. At time, I wasn't much older than them. I'm 37 now.

This goes to the cold case unit, now.

It's time for her friends to come forward with the rest of the story.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


I'm still gathering info on this, but it's the best lead I've seen for months, and all but confirms my suspicion that Maura was traveling in tandem with another driver the day she disappeared. The witness is credible and has reason to remember her.

More very soon.