Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bill Rausch Loses Job, Got Your Six May Shutter Following Sex Assault Allegations

This just in:

Bill Rausch - Maura Murray's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance - has lost his job as Exec Director of Got Your Six, following allegations of sex assault and harassment in D.C. going back to his time with Ray Group International and IAVA.

They have allowed him to announce his exit on the Friday before a holiday, which all but assures limited media fallout. In a message Bill sent at 10:30 this morning, he makes no mention of the sexual assault allegations but says, only, "this will be my last month..." as part of Got Your Six.

Staff members Lauren Augustine, Cathleen Pearl, and Mark Szymanski were contacted over the last month. No one has officially commented on the matter.

Rausch's email to colleagues spins his departure as a restructuring. But an email I received from a donor suggests it is in fact related to the allegations of sex assault that has plagued him since two women told their stories on this blog in November.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Erinn Larkin Interviews Fred Murray

This is a new interview with Fred Murray, by blogger Erinn Larkin. Anyone interested in the case should listen to it.

** A Personal Note **

This is a difficult link for me to post to. Erinn Larkin has contacted me for years. She was on the track team at UMass with Kate Markopoulos and she has taken an interest in the case for some time. We've been at odds off and on for some time, and most of her blog and her podcasts are based on picking apart my research. I got to meet her personally at CrimeCon. We shared a couple drinks at the bar around the corner and spent most of the time talking about our hero, Bernie Sanders, who she worked for in the last election. We left on good terms but that quickly degraded (don't ask me why, I couldn't say for sure) to the point I had to ask her to stop contacting me.

A couple weeks ago Erinn let me know she had spoken to Fred, and the nature of their conversation. Her interview does some really great things, and some not so great things. She says I am the single source of unsavory allegations against Fred. She and Fred know this is not true. Allegations began many years ago on the family forum before it was shut down. During the course of my research for the book, I had to ask the question because of this. They both know one of my two family sources. And they both know nothing was alleged in the book and I've never said anything to the effect in interviews. My opinion on what may or may not have happened doesn't matter. I did my job as a journalist. Maggie did, too. And I can tell you, neither one of us liked that part of the job.

Further, I believe Fred version of the truth is wonky. I think astute readers will pick up on this, especially his version of when and how he spoke to investigators.

All this said, Erinn really did a good job. She got Fred talking directly, unedited, something we've never had. And Fred spills some secrets, finally - especially about the nature of the party at Sara Alfieri's dorm. After nearly 14 years, some basic answers are coming to light. We wouldn't have that without Erinn.

I asked my wife for her advice on this situation (a habit I'm trying to get into before making any important decision). I wanted to file suit for libel. I had a good case, especially after some off-the-cuff remarks Erinn made on Facebook. But Julie asked what I hoped to get out of that. Some kind of vindication? That seems pretty unimportant. And self-serving.

The obsessive part of the community around this case has fractured into different sects, like a religion, and the "Renner-hating" crowd views everything I write through a bizarro lens, discounting every new tidbit because of its author. I don't want to do the same thing with Erinn's contribution. I mean, I want to. I really really want to. But I'm trying to be better.

So I'm sharing this interview that disparages me because it also reveals some very important information about the case and I think sharing it might get us closer to a resolution. Erinn got some good info here and it's not being heard (at the time of this post, it has just over three hundred clicks). I know by posting this, it will be heard.

In my book, True Crime Addict, I begin by taking a psychiatric test that basically tells me I scored the way a sociopath would. It was like a cloud over the rest of my adventures. Some of my readers picked up on something I failed to catch, because I was so close to it. They realized there was another explanation for the way the test came out - that I'm on the autism spectrum, like my son. What would have been called Asperger's at one point. They were right. At 39, I'm finally realizing why my brain works like it does. It's why I'm obsessive about things. Why I can be abrasive when asking simple questions. Why loud noises are like pins in my ears and why I liked piling quilts on top of me as a kid.

Maybe it was something I said, or the way I said it, that poisoned some of the relationships I had during the course of looking into Maura's disappearance. Probably it was.

I guess my point is, as a reader, it's up to you to filter out all the petty, personal animosity that makes so much noise around this case - and focus on the facts. There are some new facts here. And for that, Erinn did okay.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Fred Murray Says Sara Alfieri Hid Identity of Maura's Hookup

In a statement released yesterday, Fred Murray revealed more information about the party that Maura Murray attended the weekend before she disappeared, which was held in the dorm room of Sara Alfieri.

He says he was told by Kate Markopoulos that there were three men at the party that night - Sara's cousin and two friends. When they spoke, Sara told him she was asleep for most of the party, which he does not believe. She would not give him names. He would like to know the identity of these three men, to ask them what they might know about his daughter's actions that weekend.

We learned just last week that Maura hooked up with one of these men. Additionally, it has been rumored for years that Maura left with a friend's cousin.

I would love to speak to one of these men, on background (I won't quote you), about the events of that night. Feel free to email: jameswrenner@gmail.com

Sunday, December 17, 2017

To the Anonymous Source

I received your message via Globaleaks.

Firstly, I'd like to apologize for blowing you off years ago. That's not something I would do now.

I wouldn't ask you to tell me where she is, but if you can offer proof that you spoke to her after 2004 (photos, screen caps of conversations, etc.) I would delete this blog. You would also be entitled to the reward, if that matters. If not, I can donate to a charity of your choosing.

You have to realize, with no proof, this seems like a prank. But there was enough genuine sentiment in your email that I want to give you the benefit of doubt.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Maura Called Home of Child Abuse Worker Before Disappearance

This case is just nuts.

As you can see, I'm diving back into the case for a bit since the women came forward about Bill Rausch. Currently, I'm going back through the Maura's cell phone records from the days before her disappearance. On January 24, Maura made two separate calls to the home of a woman who worked for the Department of Human Services Children & Families, investigating and working on child abuse cases in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Her number was unlisted but she sometimes gave it out to clients. In 2004 she was retired but she was working up until the late-1990s, and would have been an employee of DCF when Maura and her siblings (or even friends & relatives) were children.

She does not recall speaking to Maura directly.

I also found it interesting that she has never spoken to police, though her number is one of the last numbers Maura called on her phone before she disappeared. She was never contacted by the Rauschs or Murrays, either.

* For those suggesting this had something to do with Maura's nursing classes, this was an unlisted home number. And the woman had nothing to do with UMass.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

**UPDATED** What Happened at the Party

Here's the new information that was contained in the original post.

- Maura "hooked up" with a man at the party she attended two nights before she disappeared.
- The police have ruled this man out.
- Bill found out about it.
- This story comes from Maura's friends from Hanson who were told directly by a woman at the party.

My original post included the names of some of the people at the party, who have lied to me over the years about the details of that night. I have removed their names because it feels to me that to leave them up is to serve as a form of shaming and I guess I've lost my stomach for that.

I'm disappointed. I'm mad that I was lied to. No reporter likes that. But... everybody lies. So it goes.

Do they owe us an explanation? Nah. And they were scared kids in 2004. But if everyone had been open and honest at the beginning I really think we'd have a resolution by now.

I said before there's no happy ending in this case. And I think we're real close to an ending. I'm going to try to do a little better on the way there. Peace.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Citizen Detectives Planned Sting Operation on Kathleen Murray

A friend of Kathleen Murray's has reportedly given a statement to New Hampshire's Cold Case Unit that Kathleen - in a drunken state - stated that Tim Carpenter's alibi for the night Maura Murray disappeared is false.

The person who gave this statement was part of a Facebook group that has been discussing a scenario in which Tim Carpenter was responsible for what happened to Maura Murray.

Where did this story come from exactly? According to evidence emailed to me earlier today, it comes from several women on Facebook who claim to be friends with Kathleen - "Noelle," her daughter, Sara, and a woman named "Melissa". Noelle was the moderator for a Maura Murray subreddit (she has trolled several people who have commented on the case). Melissa used to have a crime podcast and "befriended" Kathleen over Facebook.

While Noelle spun the narrative, Melissa seems to have kept to what she had heard directly.

Noelle has told people that this information was given to Julie Murray who instructed Melissa to go to the police.

I have a lot of problems with this theory, not the least of which is how the logistics of the theory don't make any sense. I've met Tim Carpenter and the things he told me have checked out so far. But that doesn't mean he shouldn't be vetted like anyone else who knew Maura. 

The danger of rumors like this is how fast they can be viewed as fact when people want a resolution. I think of the Lisa Pruett case and how a bunch of kids hijacked an investigation that nearly put an innocent man in prison. Here's a narrative started by an Internet troll as an idea that has now apparently progressed to police statements and calls for Art Roderick to assist the cold case unit on this lead.

We know the police took Kathleen's DNA to compare it to evidence found in Maura's abandoned car earlier this year. Now it seems we know why. It's important to remember that when crazy stories like this appear, they still have to do their due diligence to rule it out.

If you have any information about this case please contact the Cold Case Unit.

I took this post down yesterday at the request of several people, including Melissa. I'm putting it back up because I am concerned about what is planned with this info. They asked me to take it down because they were planning a sting operation on Kathleen outside the scope of official law enforcement.

As it was relayed to me by two different people involved in it, the plan was to send Melissa and Sara up to Vermont -both wearing a wire - to get Kathleen drunk and ask her about Tim. Why? Because the Cold Case Unit reportedly won't look further at Tim without probable cause to do so. A confession by Kathleen ostensibly would be that probable cause.

However, after sleeping on it and thinking about it, I am very concerned for the safety of the women involved in this illicit sting as well as Kathleen, herself. First of all, Kathleen once blew a .352 when she was driving drunk. That's brain-damage level of intoxication. These women could not possibly hope to drink her under the table. Added to that is the group Kathleen runs with up in Vermont, who are dangerous and unsavory people. Finally, what good is a confession if the subject is impaired? What defense attorney wouldn't love this case.

This is all kinds of bad. And there's a dozen scenarios that could have played out in Vermont that could have legitimately hurt people. People could have died.

I don't want to disappoint my friends for putting this post back up. And I honestly feel bad for making these Internet sleuths look bad. They're not bad people. I've certainly crossed the line a couple times with my approach to this case (and consider myself a recovering true crime addict). They mean well. But... what a clustercuss.

This is not the answer to the Maura Murray case. But I do believe it's finally moving in the right direction, as they consider scenarios in which Maura was not traveling alone, and possibly died at the hands of someone she knew.

Monday, November 27, 2017

**UPDATED** More Missing Pages

In light of the recent allegations about Bill Rausch, I've taken another close look at all the evidence and records I've gathered over the years. A couple weeks ago, we noticed that a page was missing from the phone records that the Rauschs handed over to the Murrays. Specifically, Page 9, which would have been the page where Maura's roaming calls would have been catalogued - if she made roaming calls in New Hampshire before or after her disappearance.

Reader (and friend) "Becky" had a good idea. She said another way to tell if Maura had made any roaming calls would be to look at the final page of the phone bill, which would include a grand total of all roaming minutes. All you needed to do then would be to subtract the minutes Bill used and if there was more left over, you'd know Maura had roaming charges, too.

So I went back to the reports. And that page is missing, too.

The records supplied to the Murray family - and to John Smith and Lance & Tim - are missing Page 9 and also the last page, Page 25, the page that would have tallied and summarized all charges.

Others have suggested these pages were misplaced or left out by mistake. Art Roderick claimed the police surely would have thought to subpoena the original records in 2004.

But early articles suggest the police didn't believe Maura's disappearance was even a crime worthy of subpoenas. In fact, the police stopped searching for Maura by Thursday, three days after she vanished, and didn't go looking again for some time.

We can't assume the police got the original records or thought to do so. Not when we know so much was missed early on. My hunch is that the records they have were given to them by the Rausch family.

As we can see by Bill Rausch's roaming charges, if Maura did make calls in the White Mountains the day of her disappearance - or in the days after - those calls would be found in these missing pages. Is it a coincidence those exact pages are missing? If so, that's some real bad luck.

Page 25 has been found. It does not show accumulated charges. It does show more roaming calls made by Bill Rausch (mostly checking his voicemail) in the Concord area on Thursday and Sunday.

Monday, November 20, 2017

***UPDATED*** The Sunday Phone Call

Two weeks ago, I shared the stories of several women who claimed Bill Rausch committed sex assault and harassment in the years since Maura Murray disappeared. As far back as high school, Bill was known for being rough with women. So, the pattern suggests Maura was familiar with this side of him as well.

And while Bill is accounted for on the day of the disappearance (in the field at Fort Sill), as far as I can tell his whereabouts later in the week once he's in New Hampshire are not completely accounted for. Since the women came forward I took another look at the phone bill for Maura and Bill. First, there's the oddity of Page 9, which was the page where Maura's roaming charges would have appeared - and is the only page missing from the copy of the bill that Bill's mother provided to the Murray family.

But I'm also very interested in the phone call Bill made to Maura's cell phone on Sunday. It lasted between 3 and 4 minutes. And then Bill does not make another call from his cell phone until Thursday. He's not using his cell to check his voicemail, or to call Maura, or to call the Murrays or police for four days. While Maura is missing.

Readers have suggested different possibilities for the length of that final call. Did he connect with Maura - is that why the page is missing? Was he leaving a long voicemail, pleading to her to come home? Another reader suggested he could have used his phone to dial into Maura's voicemail to check her messages. At the time, anyone with the password could call up the number and enter the password to access voicemail for that phone, and then save or delete the messages.

Since the Nov. 6 post, Bill has not answered further questions.

**UPDATE** The phone records given to the Murrays may have come from Bill Rausch, himself. In this clip from Disappeared, Bill's mother, Sharon, explains that Bill was paying for both their phones. So it's possible the records were going to Bill in Lawton, OK and he then gave the records to his mother, who passed them on to the Murrays.

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.