Wednesday, November 25, 2015

**UPDATED** Records Show Maura Murray Quit West Point to Avoid Likely Expulsion

I finally had the chance to lay eyes on Maura Murray's cadet records from West Point. They mostly confirm what was long-rumored, that she left the military academy to avoid disciplinary action and expulsion.

According to the reports, Maura was accused of theft in August, 2001. This was likely the incident at Fort Knox, where she was caught stealing makeup from the commissary. An Honor Investigative Hearing was convened by order of the commandant, an indication that they had enough evidence against her to "take it to trial" before the Cadet Advisory Board. In fact, they found there was a preponderance of evidence showing that she was guilty of theft. Maura pleaded guilty. The Honor Board then recommended Maura be separated from the Corps of Cadets. This recommendation was forwarded to the Superintendent. The Superintendent's decision was to come by the end of January, 2002. But Maura officially withdrew from West Point on January 2, 2002.

Other points of interest:

- Maura signed documents that kept medical information and disciplinary news from her parents
- She went through cadet basic training and was additionally trained in survival swimming, self defense, and combat
- She was pulled out of class 7 times in 2001 to appear before the Honor Board
- She had generally good marks but failed Statistics & Probability at the end of 2001
- She may be semi-fluent in German

So what does this have to do with Maura's disappearance? Is it just airing dirty laundry for no reason?

I think confirming this information does a few things for the case.

1. It shows a pattern of behavior for Maura that begins with the theft at West Point and continues to the stolen credit card and identity fraud at UMass. This is a complicated human being (as we all are) and she is shrewd -- leaving before being expelled to... start over. She's a survivor.

2. It shows how the family and Bill Rausch spun the media. Go back and look at what Fred and Bill said about Maura leaving West Point. Now, if they did it there, what have they spun about the weekend leading up to Maura's disappearance? Did they lie? Did they simply omit? Would you do the same if you really believed your loved one was abducted by a dirtbag?

3. It shows that Maura was no push-over. This was a trained cadet. Trained in survival and defense. She didn't commit suicide after losing West Point. She changed her life and moved on. Do you still believe she went up there to end it? Do you still think she could have been overpowered by a random killer?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Maura Sightings Keep Leading to Sherbrooke Area of Quebec

If you follow the "official" Maura Murray Facebook page, moderated by a distant through-marriage relative (and also a man who may or may not exist), you likely have not heard that there are people who believe they've seen Maura since her disappearance.

The sightings actually begin an hour before her disappearance. That's when a cashier at Butson's Supermarket in Woodsville says Maura and two female friends came in to buy some wine coolers. Fred learned about this sighting early in the investigation and caused a scene in the store when he demanded video footage from a manager (there was likely no video footage that showed the register or entryway). But the family never released this info and did not acknowledge it until after it was published on this blog.

Years later, someone posted an anonymous report on a messagboard that suggested Maura hit Petrit Vasi with her car the night she had a breakdown at Melville hall, four days before her disappearance. That was the final push Maura needed to ditch her identity and start a new life. "Maura is living a content and satisfying life in the Province of Quebec." It appears a nurse, or someone who trained as a nurse, may have written that post, by the way.

Most interesting was this response to the post by someone called "Observer"

This is very interesting, it somehow has the ring of truth to it. This is common knowledge in certain circles of people who are close to the family.

The Observer avatar was traced to an IP address in a small town in Massachusetts where Fred Murray's cousins live.

This was followed by the post by "Tourist in Canada" on a Topix messageboard:

I saw Maura Murray alive and well in Sherbrooke Quebec, I approached her and said "Hi Maura". She turned toward me and said "Hi" then gasped and looked like she was going to pass out from shock. I have no doubt this was Maura Murray. She is apparently alive and well and living in Canada. When I saw her she was with very handsome young man.

In June of this year, we heard from a witness who was just ten years old in 2004 when a distressed woman showed up at his family's house near the Back Lake section of Pittsburg, New Hampshire, just across the border from Sherbrooke, Quebec.

At the same time I heard from a woman vacationing in Florida who was convinced she saw Maura in a vehicle at a gas station. The vehicle's plates were from Quebec.

In 2013, I traveled to Sherbrooke, Montreal, and Quebec City with Lance and Tim (the podcast guys). We showed pictures of Maura to people throughout those cities. A manager at a fitness center was 100% sure she'd seen Maura in there. And a record store employee said we missed Maura by a few days.

Now, with any cold case, there are always sightings of missing people, some whose bodies turn up years later. But, in my experience, these sightings are scattered throughout the country, and can be chalked up to look-a-likes. Maura's sightings are not scattered. They're localized around Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fred's Stories About the $4,000 Do Not Make Sense

This $4,000. I just... I just don't know what to make of this.

Fred shows up in Amherst the weekend before Maura disappears with $4,000 in cash. Allegedly this is going to go toward a new car for Maura. Forget the fact that it makes more sense to write a check. Or the fact that nobody remembers them talking about getting a new car that day. What was he doing dropping that money on a car when his house is about to be foreclosed on for delinquent taxes that very week?

Fred, himself, told Boston magazine that he visited 8 different ATMs to withdrawal the money on his way to UMass, instead of walking in and withdrawing from a teller. This, too, seems to be a lie and I don't know how it benefits him.

Massachusetts banks, like all banks, put a cap on cash withdrawals. There's usually an $800 cap per ATM (this is due to the machine not being able to spit out a stack of 20s any bigger than that). But there's also a daily cap. According to a representative with Citizens Bank, that cap is $1,000. There is no way to withdraw more than that, even using multiple ATMs unless you call customer service and give them a reason to increase the limit for that day. And if you did this, you could just withdraw from the same ATM.

The only easy way to do that is to withdraw the money in chunks over a series of several days.

There's no mention that Fred ever called the bank. He doesn't mention this in his statement to police and he doesn't mention this tidbit to the Boston mag reporter.

It's very interesting, especially in light of the recent statement by a family spokesperson who said that after the disappearance, Fred put the $4,000 into an account that Maura had access to, in case she needed it.

What that really tells us is that Maura had access to Fred's bank accounts even before she disappeared.

C'mon, man. What's going on with the money?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

$1,000 Reward

$1,000 Reward for proof that Maura Murray is alive and well. No questions asked. Anonymity guaranteed.

This would have to be a photograph, video, or legal document of some kind.

If you can provide this information, I will post that the search is over and immediately delete everything else on this blog. Documents, interviews, everything except that post.

I will not reveal her location. You don't even need to reveal it, just that she is alive and well.

* This offer is only good for the first person who contacts me with proof.

* If you are a member of Maura's direct family or inner circle of friends, and you can verify your identity, I will accept a detailed explanation of what happened in Haverhill and why she disappeared, absent of photographic evidence.

You can reach me at

Monday, November 16, 2015

Maura Was Not A Sociopath, She Was a Survivor

A few months ago, on Lance and Tim's podcast, I said that I thought Maura Murray was a sociopath. I based this opinion on the few insights we have into her personality - the secret affair with Hossein, stealing other people's credit cards and identities, stealing from Fort Knox, running away from friends and family, etc. It was one interpretation of the circumstantial evidence in this case.

I was wrong.

I was lacking a very important piece of information - the nature of her relationship with Bill Rausch. And I was forgetting her rough upbringing in Hanson - where she was the one in charge of buying groceries for herself and her little brother, where she had to sell Cutco knives to make ends meet.

Maura Murray is not a sociopath. She is a survivor. She always was.

I now believe she ran away to survive. To protect herself - and, if the police are correct - her baby. And talk about a motive to remain quiet for 11 years - can you get anything better than protecting a kid? What wouldn't you do? That's certainly one way to avoid any custody troubles.

To me, this is now the most likely scenario. And certainly the one I wish is true.

If it is, the very last thing I want to do is to expose someone who is in hiding for these reasons.

So, Maura, if you're out there, just tell the police, tell someone you're okay. You're an adult, and it's not illegal to start over somewhere. You don't have to tell them where you are, just that you're alive and well.

Or have a friend do it.

Until then, it's hard not to look at this case as a possible homicide.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Calls Also Show Scope of Search in the First Days Maura Was Missing

According to the list of roaming calls, Bill Rausch passed through the following location while searching for Maura, beginning February 11: Burlington, Vermont; Streaked Mountain, Maine, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Concord, New Hampshire; Rutland, Vermont.

Also, there are no roaming calls before the 11th, lending further credence to Bill being far away at Fort Sill when Maura disappeared.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Phone Records Provide Alibi for Bill Rausch, Raise More Questions

A little over a year ago, I had the first of several conversations with Bill Rausch, who spoke to me on the condition that I only use the info he gave me for my book. He told me a couple stories about Maura and their time together and provided a few new bits of information, such as how he was told the party at Sara Alfieri's place happened off-campus and how Maura told him she was looking for a used car.

I became interested in learning more about Bill recently when I was provided with information that caused me to question his character. When I spoke to him, again, he lied to me, before walking back on some of his statements, which raised some red flags for me.

I asked him, then, if he was at Fort Sill when Maura disappeared. He said at that time he was an officer with Charlie Battery in the field, helping with basic training at Fort Sill. He said he was often out of cell phone range. He provided me with two people who could verify he was there. Neither of those men would talk to me.

Last week I (along with Lance and Tim, who run a podcast about the case) were provided with cell phone records for both Bill and Maura for the month around the time she disappeared. The source of these documents will remain unnamed.

Having reviewed the documents, it is clear to me that Bill was nowhere near the White Mountains on February 9th. What follows is a timeline of interesting calls by Bill and Maura in the days leading up to her accident on Route 112.

Bill Rausch Phone Calls
* please note, Bill Rausch's phone calls are 1 hr behind Maura’s and Eastern Standard Time.

Thursday, February 5
- 11:07 p.m. There is an incoming call for 7 mins - this is Maura calling from her desk at Melville Hall, the night she became inconsolable at work and had to be sent home.

For the next couple days, Maura and Bill trade short calls.

Sunday, February 8
- 4:38 a.m. Bill receives an incoming call for 11 mins (Fred has said before that this was Maura using his cell phone to call Bill after her late-night crash in Hadley, which happened after she left Sara Alfieri's party)
- Bill calls Fred’s cell phone back at 4:49 a.m. They speak for another five minutes. This appears to be the last time Bill speaks directly to Maura before her disappearance, except for a brief text.
- 2:49 p.m. Bill calls Maura's cell
- 2:50 p.m. Bill calls a UMass dorm, probably Maura's
- 2:56 p.m. Bill calls his parents home in Ohio and speaks for 29 mins

Monday, February 9 (the day Maura disappears)
- 1:18 p.m. Bill calls Kate Markopoulos's cell after trying to reach Maura all morning.
- 1:18 p.m. Bill tries Kate’s dorm room.
- 1:19 p.m. Bill calls Maura’s cell 3 times in five minutes
- Bill calls a Durham, NC number
- Bill calls several Fort Sill numbers and checks his voicemail. These calls continue through the time Maura gets into the accident in Haverhill, New Hampshire. The fact that Bill is making calls means he is not near the White Mountains, as there was no cell phone service in that region. Given the number of calls to base numbers at Fort Sill, it is logical to conclude he was, in fact, on or near base.
- at 7 p.m. (probably 8 p.m. EST) Bill speaks West Point professor, Bob McDonald, for 34 mins. - I have spoken to Bob, who says the conversation had nothing to do with Maura Murray. 
- Bill tries to call Maura, again.
- 7:48 Bill calls his father and speaks for 10 mins
- Bill checks voicemail
- 7:59 Bill calls his dad and speaks again for 11 mins
A FLURRY of calls begins at 9:14, as Bill tries again to reach Maura on her cell phone
- 9:16 Bill calls a young woman from Ohio, "N"
- 9:17 Bill calls another young woman from Ohio "C"
- 9:20 Bill makes a call to an unknown Mansfield, OH number.
- 9:22 Bill calls a young woman named Amber
- 9:22 Bill calls another number used by Amber
- 9:23 Bill calls a relative of Amber
I received an email from Amber, today. She says "Maura was like family." But she will say no more.

Tuesday, February 10
- Bill tries Maura’s cell
- 4:48 p.m. Bill calls Kate Markopoulos’s dorm
- 4:49 p.m. Bill calls Kate’s cell (the calls are 1-2 mins, probably just leaving messages)
- 4:51 checks vmail
- 5:25 incoming call for 18 mins (This may be where he learns Maura is missing)
- 6:18 Bill calls to home in Ohio for 10 mins
- 6:28 Bill calls Kate’s dorm for 6 mins
- 6:57 Bill tries Maura cell
- 6:59 Bill calls Holiday Inn's general number
- 7:04 Bill calls the Holiday Inn Express in North Conway and speaks for 2 mins
- 7:12 Bill tries Maura's cell
- 7:21 Bill calls Tim Carpenter and Kathleen Murray
- 7:35 Bill calls AAA and speaks for 9 mins
- 7:45 Bill tries Maura's cell
- 7:47 Bill calls Fred for 8 mins
- 8:02 Bill calls his dad for 12 mins
- 8:32 Bill calls Haverhill Police Department
- 8:34 Bill calls 877-253-6575?
- 9:08 Bill calls Fred
** Bill is up for the rest of the night.
- Bill tries to call Maura at 1:21 a.m
- Bill calls a Columbus number at 2:43 a.m.
- Bill checks vmail at 4:47 am.
- lots of calls to Murray family, beginning again at 5 a.m.

A couple things worth noting about the following days
- Bill continues to check in on Maura’s number till the end of bill

- Bill calls Kate Markopoulos a bunch of times on Feb 19, trying to reach her. These calls stop after he calls Sara Alfieri's phone.

Maura Murray Phone Calls

Wednesday, February 4
- Maura calls many family members around 10:28. Julie, then Kathleen, then home.
- Around midnight, she calls Dominos. 5 min call. Then there's a second call to Dominos, ten minutes later for 3 min.

Thursday, February 5 (the night of Maura's breakdown)
- 9:56 p.m. incoming call from ?
- 10:10 p.m. call to Kathleen for 28 mins
- 12:07 a.m. call to Bill for 7 mins
* she is found by her supervisor in a catatonic state and sent to her dorm room
- 3:40 a.m. call to Dominos

Friday, February 6
* No phone calls until 6:13 p.m.
- 10:02 p.m. Maura makes a 10 min call to the Fort Sill field artillery brigade.
- Maura calls Bill at 2:53 a.m. for 2 mins

Saturday, February 7 (the night of the party at Sara Alfieri's place)
- 3:21 p.m. Maura calls Julie
- 4:13 Maura calls Reliance Auto, a used car store
- 8:54 Maura calls Kate Markopoulos's cell
- 8:55 call to Kate dorm
- 8:56 checking vmail
- 8:59 Maura calls a Springfield MA number (413-627-6927) – which is no longer in service
- 8:59 Maura calls the Umass residential voice messaging system
- 9:01 call to Kate

* Maura makes no further calls for nearly 24 hours. Members of the family have said that she lost or left her phone at Sara's.
* That night she wrecks her father's car in Hadley, on the way to his motel at 3 in the morning. The question becomes, how were the police alerted of the accident if Maura did not make the call?

Sunday, February 8
- 8:26 p.m. Maura checks vmail
- 11:26 p.m. Maura calls Fred

* Monday, February 9
- 12:55 Maura calls Linda Salamone to inquire about a condo that has two bedrooms.
- Maura then makes 2 calls to the UMass student message number, at 1:13 p.m. She left a message with someone before she left!
- 2:05 Maura calls to Stowe, VT visitors info line for 1 minute
- 2:18 Maura calls Bill (1 minute)
- Maura checks her voicemail at 4:37 p.m. * This is the last action on her bill. That means she never made another call and never picked up when people tried to call her.

When police entered her dorm at UMass they found her belongings packed neatly into boxes. On top of the boxes was an email from Bill to her which she printed out and left. The email was about Bill cheating on her.

A few weeks ago, on Lance and Tim's podcast, I said that Maura was at her best when she was with Bill Rausch. I was wrong. I was very wrong about that.

Years ago, Cecil Smith, the former chief of police of Haverhill, said something strange to me. He said that whatever happened to Maura was Bill's fault, even if it was an accident. “It was her scumbag boyfriend that made her want to drive up here,” he said. “He came out in the news and was all, ‘We loved her.’ Well, fuck you. He was cheating on her. If it was a suicide, it was because of what he was doing to her. But if it was a suicide, where’s the body?"