On Sunday, August 15, 2021 at 4:43 p.m., I received the following message from the email firstname.lastname@example.org:
I’ve written to you a few times, you have never responded.
I have told you I found Maura some years ago (no longer her name), after making sure it was her, we talked for a while, I’ve never bothered her again since in person. I have sent a few emails through our proton accounts. Her biggest wish is to be left alone. She made mistakes, some serious, and she ran. Maura speaks fluent French, she still drinks cherry coke though a red licorice straw.
[Paragraph concerning specific motive removed]
Let sleeping dogs lie James, you won’t find her. It took me 5 years of searching to track her down, looking in the places you ignored.
At first, I believed this was certainly a troll, out to cause more confusion and chaos. Over the last year, a troll using a protonmail account has been harassing those close to Maura Murray’s case, going so far as to send pictures of Maggie Freleng with her head decapitated and threatening the life of prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin.
If this is real, give me some piece I can verify. Or a photo or something. Otherwise, I have to assume this is a troll, I wrote back. I received a reply quickly:
The night Maura vanished, there was a very short call, this was a mistake, the person calling was supposed to call the other number, he came up from Boston using 93, called from near Concord; The reason people don’t get which way she went is they presume she went towards the bus drivers house, the car that picked her up, was coming from the other direction on 112, they went back the way Maura came, then headed off onto the main highway 91 (via 302) North. Everyone presumes she went in the direction her car was pointing. She didn’t. She ran a very short way towards the bus drivers house because the red suv stopped short of her car. That’s it!!
I’m kinda’ pleased you think this is a troll. I also believe that if something doesn’t fit into your way of thinking, you discount it. You’re your own worst enemy.
I replied: You still haven’t given me anything that can’t be found in the papers online. Give me one thing that’s not known.
The next message contained a narrative about how Maura disappeared and who helped her. The story that developed began with the claim that Maura had been driving her car during a break from work Thursday night and hit Petrit Vasi while on the phone with someone. That person told her to keep driving. When they learned Vasi was in a coma, a conspiracy began to take the car to New Hampshire and stage a small accident so that the car could be fixed up there, away from UMass police looking for a vehicle with front-end damage.
Still, there was nothing yet that could not be found online. So I kept pushing for more, specific info that only Maura might know.
What did Sharon rausch mean when she said “Joseph” was comforted by Harry on the other side of shredded navy? I asked.
This was a reference to a strange riddle that Sharon Rausch once put in an article when asked what she’d say to Maura if she were still alive: “PS – Thought that you would want to know: ‘Joseph’ is comforted with ‘Harry’ on the opposite side of shredded navy – I know you get it :-)” Joseph, we later learned, was a stuffed monkey that Maura had received as a gift.
“M” replied: Because they slept in blue tissue paper, side by side. Joseph in that text wasn’t the pet, it was Bill, Harry was comforting Bill.. that’s all you’re getting.. But usually, Joseph, and Harry slept side by side in blue tissue paper, it was shredded by the monkey’s after being put in large pieces. I will say one more thing; although the monkey’s weren’t real, they were. It was role play of them having babies together; Joseph was Bill’s boy, and Bill in a way to Maura, and him.. It’s complicated.
I kept pushing for more info. M then told a story about something that allegedly happened to Bill Rausch in 2002 that only family would know.
By this time, it became apparent to me that the person using the email account was trying to suggest that they were, in fact, Maura Murray, herself. And I began sharing the emails with law enforcement in New Hampshire.
I also wonder about that call to the child counselor in Weymouth, I wrote. In the days leading up to her disappearance, Maura placed a call to the home of a woman who investigated child abuse in Massachusetts.
M replied: You must be confused, it was Maryland the original call was made to. the rest I don’t want to talk about, you know why.
Me: What’s in Maryland?
M: It doesn’t matter, you’ve obviously only got some if any of the story. I have a question for you; are you in love with Maura? Why won’t you let her go?
Me: I feel a responsibility to cover the stories of the other victims that came out of this story. The people bill attacked. The people Wahl threatened. The people Erinn victimized. If I knew Maura was alive and well I’d take the website down. She wouldn’t get in trouble. And man I’d love to hear her story.
M: The victims that cam out of this story although they have my sympathy, the people involved would’ve found another avenue to perpetrate their wills, and ways on.
Me: Let me get a lawyer to help you.
M: I can’t Mr Renner, I know I won’t be charged for the Vasi thing as the statute of limitations has passed, and I was never a suspect, or charged. What can change my life upside down is having to leave the country I call home now. In April 2024 I have to renew my id; the system has changed somewhat, I won’t be able to fool it anymore, I’m panicking to be honest. People want me found, people don’t want me found, some want me found for their own fame, I just want to be left to enjoy the life I have. Please Mr Renner, stop looking…
Me: I really want to believe. Can you tell me where you stayed the night you disappeared.
M: Newport VT; I want to know what you think of me; do you think I am a sociopath?
Me: If this is Maura I would say no. I think she’s a survivor.
M: I’m not a survivor, I did it with blind luck, and meeting the right people at the right time. The start off money helped me a lot, and bought my new name. The rest is just learning from mistakes, and listening to conversations.
Me: Can you tell me how the vasi thing went down?
M: I went for a break, or more to speak with ***. I was on the cell phone, ****. I had been crying then I wasn’t paying attention, and next thing he’s there. He hit the front of the car, went over the hood, and kind of bounced on it, then as I hit the breaks, he fell to the ground to the right. It was terrifying. **** screamed at me to carry on driving, I was in shock, it took a while for it to sink in. **** ended the call because he didn’t want to be “involved”. That’s it. I sat shaking at work with my thoughts about what had happened. So, I finally broke down, and was taken back to my dorm by my supervisor.
I then asked this person if they could name one of the young men involved in the group sex party that took place at the UMass poolhouse. One of the men there was investigated as a possible suspect for a time. I have never released the names of the men involved. The person responded with the first name of one of the men. A lucky guess? Perhaps.
Me: Would you consider meeting?
M: Sorry, at this time no.. but if you’d asked me a year ago if I’d be talking to the man who believes I’m a sociopath, I’d have said no. So…
The conversation eventually came to an end, after this person said they were told by a friend to end it.
M: All the money in the world couldn’t change my life back to what it was, inside the family I had. The good thing about being where I’ve been for so long is how forward thinking people are/were, bitcoin has been very kind to many of us here, from the beginning. I live close (not literally) to some of the biggest crypto mining organizations in the world. I have all I need. The only worry I have is 2024. I really need to go now Mr Renner; I hope I’ve helped clear your head a little, and solve some of the mysteries that have bothered you for so long. Sorry it couldn’t have been more dramatic.
There is a lot more in these conversation that I am not sharing publicly. They went on at great length about how Maura left and why, including who she was running from. But if they are true, they should remain private. And if this is another hoax, the people involved should not be disparaged.
I’ve heard from New Hampshire prosecutors several times since sharing these emails. They are actively trying to find the sender of these messages. They asked me to hold off on publishing for a couple weeks so that this person was not alerted to what they’re doing behind the scenes. Unfortunately, Julie Murray made it public last Friday.
Looking back through our conversation, I noted that “M” said that she’d written me before and that one other person had found her, already.
“One person did find me back in 2012, he just walked up to me, and said “hello Maura”, we talked for a while, and he promised to leave me be, he was a British guy, ex intelligence or something. He’d been looking for me for only 3 months, told me he tried talking to you but you ignored him in the beginning, so he went it alone. He was a decent guy, and kept his word as far as I know. I did move just in case.”
So I dove back through my old emails. The first thing I found was a message from “M” that came in through my Globaleaks secure tips account. So that part checked out.
Then, I found this email from a Dr. Wayne Miller, from November 13, 2013, which, if all this is true, may be what they were talking about. Dr. Miller is not British, but may have sounded “proper” in person or on the phone:
Attn: James Renner Hope this Web Site still works. I am: National Cold Case Missing Persons (on the internet) I am: also a N.J. Licensed P.I. I have been quietly working on Maura’s case & in fact spoke to a person who said she was Maura in very plain/clear English on 3/11/11. She said she had been a Nursing Student at U of Mass. She quickly caught on that I was perhaps a P.I. on her trail and hung up. I placed my phone call to a Sherbrooke, Canada address (that I have), the phone ws disconnected the next day.
As you may know, there have been sightings of someone who looks like Maura Murray connected to Sherbrooke, Canada, for years. Here’s the thing. That email came in just as I was switching email accounts and I had been organizing messages into different folders. I apparently parked that email in the Maura Murray folder and never replied. So that bit checked out too.
Unfortunately, Dr. Miller died earlier this year.
The protonmail account has since been deleted.
“We are working to identify the source,” says prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin.
Look, I know how this sounds. And I agree, this was most likely a troll. I mean, take a look at all they’ve been up to in the past year.
If this is Maura Murray, I would implore her to make contact through an attorney who can keep your name and location confidential, while still providing proof of life to authorities. Because, whether this is a troll or not, law enforcement is currently doing everything they can to identify the sender. And this time I believe they will.