We are all sinners. All liars. All complicated little petty people with our own agendas. Examine anyone’s life and you’ll start to find their demons. Maura is no different. And some of the stuff I’ve heard this week–which I’ll be covering in the next few posts–paints a different picture of the young woman that family and friends tried to paint as a saint. But that doesn’t mean she was a bad person. In fact, she was strong. She was happy. She was just complicated like the rest of us.
Some of her happier times were spent with Hossein Baghdadi, the assistant coach of the track team, in 2003. At the urging of friends, they started seeing each other in the Spring of 03 and had a hot and heavy relationship that went into the summer. Sometimes they went to movies, restaurants, or went running but they kept it on the DL, because he was a coach, even though she had stopped running and participating in track by then. Alone with “Hoss,” Maura referred to Billy as an “ex.” With Hoss, she never mentioned her father. “I never knew her father was even alive,” he says. They talked about taking a vacation to the White Mountains so she could hike and he could go fly fishing.
Maura drove to Amherst to visit Hoss that summer and stayed with him for a bit. But shortly thereafter, “She fell off the face of the earth.” She stopped returning his phone calls, stopped answering his emails. When they returned to UMass in the Fall of 03, Maura explained that she’d gotten back with Billy.
“He seemed very chauvinistic,” says Hoss. “He wanted her to be in certain places at certain times. He was checking up on her. I think he was demanding with her, but that’s just the impression I got.” He also got the impression from Maura that Billy could be physical. She felt she couldn’t really get away from him.
After Maura went missing, detectives visited Hoss and he shared what he knew with them. One of the things he shared was a conversation he says he had with Maura when they were alone one day. “She talked about running away. She said, ‘I wish I could disappear.’ When I heard she was missing, I though, ‘holy crap! Maybe she did it.'”
But that doesn’t change the image he has in his mind of the bubbly girl he fell for. “She was super energetic. Always seemed happy. But she was sad, too. Underneath.”