For the last few years, author James Renner has maintained an impressive blog about the disappearance of Maura Murray. Because of this, he has had to deal with nasty internet trolls, false leads, and tons of criticism… all because of a near-obsession and dedication to an honorable cause. I found his research thorough and sound and his insights well thought out, intelligent, and his efforts worthy of both consideration and respect.
I have spent a lot of time on Renner’s blog and have conducted my own research into this case. I even once asked my husband to drive up into the White Mountains so we could conduct our own search. Due to automobile issues, health problems, and vision concerns, we never made it up there. And now, I am pretty sure the effort, like many others before us, would have been in vain. I do not think Maura’s body is in those mountains. I would certainly like to see some semblance of closure and answers to this case, even if it means Maura is dead and I am wrong, but 13 years have passed, and the clues add up to a very different outcome.
Anyway, Renner recently locked his blog to serve as an archive and has moved on to different projects in his own life. Because of this, I want to reiterate some thoughts of my own about the whereabouts of Maura Murray and the reasoning behind this. Since Maura’s mysterious disappearance in 2004, many theories have been postulated and explored to some degree. Ideas about the UMass student’s vanishing range from accidental death to suicide to murder, and running away of her own accord. And all this speculation and the false leads from trolls has lead to nothing more than rumor, innuendo, and more questions than we started out with. People have suggested everything from family involvement to a police cover-up to a serial killer and far more… yet Maura has never been found. And while there could be a number of reasons for this, if she is indeed dead; however, the clues lead to a totally different scenario.
First, I do believe the people in Maura’s life noticed that, at the very least, she was acting odd or had something big on her mind. And I do think those things explain certain events prior to her disappearance. However, I do not think those events had anything to do with Maura’s going missing, and I do not believe that any of the people in her life were directly involved in what happened to Maura. I do believe someone knows something though. Secondly, I am not going to rehash all the arbitrary clues, rumors, and innuendos.
Here are the clues that matter, in my opinion:
- Evidence found on Maura’s computer regarding a search for information on lodging and such leading to the White Mountains region of New Hampshire.
- Her personal belongings were packed up in her dorm room (even though some people claim she had been on break and was returning to school.. I do not buy that).
- Maura seemed to have a mental breakdown during her shift at work the night before her disappearance. This was supposedly brought on by a phone call; her supervisor escorted her bact to her dorm.
- Timing – student loan disbursements were becoming available when she vanished. It is still unclear just how much money Maura had on her or had access to’
- Possible sightings and intersecting use of identities.
- Lack of any other direct or circumstantial evidence that clearly indicates that Maura is dead and where her body is located.
- Comments left on Renner’s blog attributed to people who know Maura is alive and where she is living and others possibly attributed to Maura herself, indicating she had her reasons for leaving and wants to be left alone.
- After the wreck, a bus driver offered Maura a ride. She refused. She knew someone was coming.
Now, I certainly could be wrong here, and I would not mind being proven wrong if it leads to answers, justice, and closure. However, here is what the clues tell me: Maura was under some serious family and academic pressure. At the same time, her personal life was a disaster (I assume we know very few intimate details in this matter, and given Maura’s age at the time, I am assuming she had yet to grow and gain control over such emotional turmoil. I think she was possibly being abused and threatened… I fwwl she felt her life was in danger, she wanted to run away, and she wanted a new start and a clean break from all the issues in her life. That was her right, and having been there, done that, I cannot say I would blame her one bit for saying “Screw it all” and walking away. Seriously, how do you think this Missouri girl (me) wound up in New Hampshire? I think it is possible that Maura was pregnant, which would certainly explain a lot, especially the pressing need for a new start. I think Maura was helped by an underground source, probably a group helping domestic violence victims. Such groups will and do go to extremes to hide and relocate domestic violence victims, including offering their own information as a means of hiding or changing identity. That explains at least a few of the clues above.
Bottom line? I’d love answers and closure in this case, but it may never happen. If my theory is correct, and Maura is alive, as much as it may hurt, everyone has to accept the fact that Maura had her reasons and might never be in touch again. That is, of course, her choice. Personally, I left MO for NH and few people knew. After I got here, it took a couple of years to really get things together and begin repairing certain relationships. And there are some I will never repair or attempt to repair. So I can see things from Maura’s point of view. If she is alive, Maura will come forward if and when she is ready. If not, that is, again, her choice, and that has to be acknowledged and accepted. For now, the matter should be laid to rest until she comes forward or evidence is found to prove something else happened. Until then, we should all jut hope Maura is among the living and leading a happy life wherever she may be.