Over the years, as the disappearance of Maura Murray became one of the most talked-about mysteries of our time, many of the small details were overshadowed by the hunt for the Boogeyman who people think abducted her or the semantic discussions related to how much liquor was or was not in the car. Meanwhile, details such as the fact Maura was calling about renting a condo with more than one bedroom fall by the wayside.
I had forgotten one very important bit of information I received from a man named Rick Graves. This guy was from Maine and donated his time and money early on, essentially becoming Fred Murray’s right-hand-man for a time. He was skilled at searching the rugged mountains for downed airplanes and cadavers. Eventually he and Fred had a falling out after he questioned why Fred lied to the media about certain things, mostly the chain of events after Maura wrecked her father’s car in Hadley – the story he told Rick was very different than the one he told in public.
Here’s the detail we’ve forgotten – when Rick and Fred searched the boxes taken from Maura’s dormroom, they discovered documents that showed Maura had been applying for server/bartender positions at brewpubs near Hanson, two hours from UMass.
Now, consider that detail in light of the fact that Maura had started to pack up her stuff in the dormroom, and it strengthens the theory that she was planning to leave UMass for good.
One more thing I’d like to address is this idea that Maura turned in homework for nursing classes the night before she vanished. This is often used to bolster the idea that she was planning to return to school after her trip to the White Mountains. After all, why turn in your homework if you’re quitting school?
However, the only real evidence I’ve seen of this is an email to another nursing student (sent at 3:32 a.m.) that was a list of maternity clinic definitions, which suggests to me the possibility that she was working on a group assignment and simply didn’t want to screw over her classmates. She also left clothes she’d borrowed for the classmate on her way out of town, further showing she’s tying up loose ends.
One more note on that early morning email. The detective in charge of Maura Murray’s case for many years was a man named John Scarinza, a seasoned pro and intelligent investigator. He told me that searches found on Maura’s computer suggested Maura was pregnant. Critics of the police look at that 3:32 email, which lists terms like “braxton-hicks” and assume that’s what Scarinza saw and this explains the search terms, and that Maura could not have been pregnant. But they forget that Scarinza was very specific in what he said he saw in her searches – that Maura was looking for information about the effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant. The first thing Maura did the next day was buy alcohol.