Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Clues That Make No Sense About This Case

As I finish up the last drafts of True Crime Addict, I'm getting another look at some of the very odd pieces of this cold case. Here are what I consider the "Top 5" clues that just don't make sense about Maura Murray's disappearance.

5. Kate's Faulty Memory

Two days before Maura disappeared, she attended a late-night party with her friends Kate Markopoulos and Sara Alfieri. Kate said it was at Sara's dorm room. Maura's boyfriend, Billy, said that Maura told him the party was off campus.

Though Kate said the room was packed -- standing room, only -- and that a man walked her and Maura outside at the end of the night, she claims she cannot remember the name of a single other person who was there. Too many years have gone by, she told me. However, when she was interviewed by detectives in 2004, she could not recall any names, either.

Sara, for her part, won't talk about the party at all. Helena Dwyer-Murray, who runs the family Facebook page says Sara eventually told the real story to Fred and will not repeat it to anyone.

4. Family Apathy

When the TV cameras were there, Fred made sure he was actively searching for Maura. But, according to those who stayed at the hotel with him, during the months after Maura disappeared, it was mostly show. He would wake up, go for a jog, get breakfast, then give assignments to searchers. They would regroup for an early dinner and beers and then settle in for the night. Unless the reporters were there. Then Fred would get out in center and actively look through the woods.

Until he sued the state of New Hampshire, Fred was uninterested in searching Maura's personal computer -- he removed it from Maura's dorm and put it in the back of Tim Carpenter's truck. It sat in his closet until police collected it -- and then Fred wanted it back.

Maura's mother was never involved in the search for her daughter. Her sister Julie appears to have dropped by once in the months after Maura vanished. Her other sister, Kathleen, told reporters she thought Maura's breakdown a few days before her disappearance was so that she could just get out of work. Her brother, Kurt, wrote a song he posted on his Facebook page about Maura, asking her what the family did to her to make her run away.

3. The Londonderry Ping

Someone called Maura from Eastern New Hampshire the afternoon she disappeared. This person has never come forward.

2. The Rag in the Tailpipe

Why was there a rag in the tailpipe of Maura's car? The only logical explanation is that someone wanted Maura's car to stall. In fact, her accident in Haverhill may have been caused after her call stalled and she clipped the corner of the curve in front of the weathered barn. When investigators discovered the rag, it was an excellent opportunity for Fred Murray to advance his "local dirtbag kidnapped Maura" theory. Instead, he said he'd told Maura to put the rag there to keep it from smoking.

1. The $4,000

The weekend before Maura disappeared, her father Fred visited UMass. At the same time, someone withdrew $4,000 from his account using several different ATMs in the area. After the disappearance, Fred claimed that he was the one who withdrew the cash and that he did so because he intended to use it to buy Maura a new car from a local dealership. But... at the time his house was being foreclosed on. And Maura's friends say that she was not looking for a new car. And why wouldn't Fred just write a check? And what ever happened to the money?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Last Call

A quick note on the process of publishing the book, True Crime Addict.

I'm currently reviewing notes from the copy editor and making some minor fixes and adjustments. Soon a final draft will be produced and it will essentially be "locked in." Then I can't really touch it as they craft the page layout and begin to produce copies for the May release.

So this is perhaps the last chance to add anything of merit.

I think back to my first months researching the case. I received a call from a man with a very deep voice who claimed to be the boyfriend of a woman who had knowledge about the case (a family member or friend of Maura Murray's). He said I was asking the right questions and that there was information that needed to come out. He promised to try to get his girlfriend to talk. But nothing ever came of it.

If you still have important information about Maura Murray that should be included in a book, please reach out to me.

Also worth noting is a common misconception about journalism. Some people believe that if they never gave consent to appear in a book, they cannot be included. This is simply not true. If you would like to have your say, in your own words, though, I'm still willing to include those statements.

I can be reached directly at jameswrenner@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Former NH State Trooper With Troubled Past Says Maura Was Murdered, Buried Under Suspect's House




Earlier today, a Facebook profile linked to a former NH State Trooper posted a number of alarming claims on a page run by Maura Murray's family.

James A. Conrad claims Maura was murdered, her body buried under a suspect's new house, and that the state police and prosecutor's know this but lack the evidence to dig her up.

Take a look at some of these screen captures from the ongoing group discussion.

This profile purports to be the same James A. Conrad who threatened to kill fellow state troopers during a series of events that occurred in 2007 when his wife was separating from him. A trooper himself, at the time, he gave an emotional resignation at the barracks after being accused of entering his ex's home and then threatened to pull another trooper's gun to force them to kill him, a form of suicide known as death-by-cop. All this according to court records.

At one point Conrad was even chased by police. When they pulled him over, they found he was driving his personal vehicle with what appeared to be a police scanner.

In 2008. Conrad was award a $1.5 million judgement by a jury after suing the state for wrongful imprisonment during this encounter.


This information -- about Maura being murdered and buried under a house -- is new and goes against much of what we've learned in the last few years. But Conrad has taken to social media saying he has first-hand knowledge of details of the investigation and that this is what the detectives believe happened to Maura Murray.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Missing Maura Murray Podcast, Episode 6

Lance and Tim asked me on for this week's podcast.

We discuss Fred's actions the weekend before Maura disappeared and the strange party she attended (or didn't) with Kate Markopoulos and Sara Alfieri.


First Look!

Available in bookstores and online, everywhere, May 24, 2016.


Friday, August 14, 2015

**UPDATED** Woman Found Wandering in Maine Won't Tell Police Who She Is


Is it the beginning or end of a mystery? A woman has been found wandering the area of Greene, Maine and was taken in by police. They are trying to figure out who she is.

So far, she has been uncooperative, refusing to speak or write answers to their questions. She has nodded yes or shaken her head no to a couple questions.

She is 5'7" and 120 pounds.

What do you think?

***UPDATE***
The woman claims to be 41-year-old "Jessica Green" from Wisconsin, according to The Portland Press Herald.

However, the article goes on to say:

Holt said his office got a copy of a photo identification card from Wisconsin authorities, but because the photo was several years old and Green has been living on the streets, he wasn’t prepared to say it was a confirmed match. 
Residents called police about Green on Wednesday afternoon and she was found about 2 a.m. Thursday. Initially, she would only nod or shake her head to communicate, Holt said, but she later answered some questions “yes” or “no.” 
“She’s not being of any help, whether that’s intentional or not,” he said.

Should be interesting to see if they are ever able to confirm the match.


Episode 5 is up!

Jump on the podcast train here.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Episode 4 of the Maura Murray podcast is up.

These podcasts get better every episode.

This one delves into the unanswered questions of the case: the rag in the tailpipe; the party at UMass before Maura's disappearance; why Maura was kicked out of West Point.