Friday, October 21, 2016

Another Cold Case: The Abduction of Amy Mihaljevic

Along with this blog about the disappearance of Maura Murray, I maintain two others: One on the modern-day Crucible that is the Lisa Pruett case. And the other, on the first unsolved mystery I became fascinated with, the abduction of Amy Mihaljevic.

Next week is the 27th anniversary of Amy's abduction/murder, so I thought I'd share this recent three-part segment Crime Watch Daily did on the mystery.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Anatomy of a Ruse

To explain a little bit more about how this bogus tip came to be:

It began with an anonymous post to this blog, which mentioned the existence of a Facebook account that might be Maura Murray. They asked how to contact me. I replied they should send an email or simply post a reply on the blog and I wouldn't "approve" it so it wouldn't be public right away.

They posted a reply. I looked at the Facebook profile and dismissed it as a hoax.

Shortly there after I got this email.

Again I ignored it.

Then I received this email from a source of mine, who sometimes goes by the name Marc Rivet. Marc has spoken to me in the past and believes Maura to be living in Keene, New Hampshire, and working at a gas station there.

Marc then called me and explained it was his friend - a female "investigator with inside knowledge of the case" - who saw "Rachel O'Leary" post to a UMass page, mentioning memories of Melville Hall, where Maura lived. Curious, this friend of Marc's visited the profile and saw how much of it lined up with Maura and noticed the resemblance the girl has to the Murrays.

So, after all that I felt it merited a post on this blog, in the chance that it was real so that the people who found it wouldn't post details on the Internet and blow her cover.

I told Marc he should also contact the Cold Case Unit.

Marc called me this morning to tell me he learned last night that it was his friend who created the fake profile account. According to Marc, they spoke to police and admitted their role in it. According to Marc, he spoke to police, too.

Honestly, I don't know what to believe about it all. Or how much of what I've been told is true.

For those complaining that all this wasn't verified before posting, please remember that the whole purpose of this blog is to be transparent and to share info as it comes in. That means documents, interviews, and tips like these. We only outed the troll so quickly because it was posted here.

Damn it. **UPDATED**

The Facebook post was a troll. Because of the attention the post received, they were motivated to contact the Cold Case Unit and admit what they did. I hope the police take this opportunity to charge this individual as I'm sure they're also behind similar pranks and doxxing.

Here are the screen caps of the website in question. I'm curious to know where this troll got their photographs.

** Just to clarify, the conversation that is captured below is between the man who contacted me and the troll who set up the account. I cannot say with confidence that they are not one and the same. I question everything I've been told about this in the last 24 hours. It's disheartening and a distraction. And just very sad.

You can read more about how it came to be, here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

***UPDATED*** Did Maura Murray Just Take Down Her Facebook Account?

Late last night I received a tip through this blog and then a follow-up over email from a person who happened upon a Facebook profile that was either Maura Murray's personal account or one that was specifically designed to look like it was.

The profile had no picture of her, but it had many other identifying pieces of information that were specific to Maura Murray.

The account used a different name and only included pictures of her kids, one of which is 11 or 12 and looks A LOT like the Murrays, but with blonde hair. The images appear to be real and unique and no reproductions were found using reverse image searches.

The account was taken down this morning but not before I managed to grab some screen shots.

The Cold Case Unit is actively investigating this right now.

If you have seen this account, DO NOT post details on social media or Reddit. This may be legit and if Maura is alive and well, nobody should do anything to reveal her location. This whole thing could come down to her not wanting to ever share custody of her child with the biological father.

If it is not legit, this definitely crosses the line of obstruction of justice as it would have had to be designed to throw a wrench in the case and make the Cold Case Unit respond to troll. I have a feeling they will find the person behind this one, sooner than later.

If it is Maura, and you're reading this, my offer stands. If you would let us know you are safe and choose to remain hidden due to personal reasons, I will delete the contents of this blog. I can put you in touch with a lawyer who could make contact with authorities on your behalf. Until then, the disappearance looks like it could involve foul play and they will actively try to find you until they know otherwise.

It was all a troll.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Missing Maura Murray Returns

The boys are back with a new episode. This one features audio from their trip to the UMass Outing Club Cabin, which may have been Maura's destination the night she disappeared.

Listen closely. Inside the cabin they discover an interesting clue - another copy of Not Without Peril, the book Maura left behind in her car. One could argue that it is a very popular book in the area around the White Mountains. But as someone whose business is books, I can tell you a book like that did not have a very large print run. It's a very specific local-interest sort of book. And it would not be available in most bookstores, even out there. It's more likely it was available in local hiking-supply stores or White Mountains visitors' centers. To me, that book is evidence of a connection to Maura Murray. As in she ran with the crowd that frequented the cabin back then.

**UPDATE** I stand corrected. Not Without Peril has sold over 70,000 copies. Damn. That's impressive.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chance Encounter Provides Possible Explanation for Maura Murray's Disappearance

As an old-school shoe-leather reporter, there's nothing I love more than a good bar story. This one has all the hallmarks of a legit run-in with someone from Maura's inner circle - and they provide an explanation that took me years to bring myself to.

There's also enough identifying info here, that I'm confident a websleuth with a little time can track this down.

Here it is:

I went to college at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass, class of **. In
the fall of 2004 (it was football season), I was in a bar called
Moynihans on Main Street, close to the campus of Clark University. It
was a Saturday afternoon because college football was on TV. The bar
was half empty, and I started up a conversation with this guy who told
me he was a grad student at Clark. He told me he had recently
graduated UMASS.

An Army football game highlight or score came on the TV, and I stopped
the conversation to watch. The guy asks me why and I explain its
because my dad graduated West Point and we always went to games when I
was a kid, and I still rooted for the team. He then started talking to
me about the missing girl who had gone to West Point and then to
UMASS. I hadn't heard about it at the time and he explained to me what
I now know is the MM case. He told me that it was an open secret among
people who knew her personally at UMASS that she ran off on her own to
get away from an abusive relationship. He said that he knew people
that knew her and that had been in on the whole thing, and that people
freaked out once the police and newspapers and media had picked up on
the story. I remember thinking at the time that it was an interesting
story, but that she'd eventually be found out. When I got back to my
dorm later that day, I looked it up online and read a newspaper
article or two, but then totally forgot about the whole thing until I
started reading your blog and the wikipedia on MM.

I know my story doesn't prove anything, but it's interesting that
someone so far back who was personally familiar with MM's circles at
UMASS had been speculating about her running away on her own volition.

Old Link Provides Lots of Info on UMass Teammates

Here's a link to an old program from the time Maura Murray was running with the UMass Amherst track team. Lots of familiar names. Some new.