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Hanson woman, 21, missing after crash

HAVERHILL, N.H. -- A missing-person investigation continued yesterday for a young Massachusetts woman who disappeared earlier this week after her second car crash in three days.

Police Chief Jeff Williams said the search of the area where Maura Murray, 21, of Hanson, crashed her car into a snowbank last Monday has ended, but the investigation continues. He said the hope is she will contact a family member or friend, or someone else might see her and call, he said.

"We are concerned for her personal welfare. There is no evidence of foul play," he said.

"Our concern is that she's upset or suicidal, something the family was concerned about."

Murray's boyfriend, Army Lieutenant Bill Rausch, and his family have flown to the state to help. Her family has been passing out fliers with her picture in towns on both sides of the New Hampshire-Vermont state line, hoping someone might have seen her.

"This is very unusual," said Fred Murray, her father. "It's not like her to just take off."

Police using dogs and a helicopter and Fish and Game officers searched the immediate area of the accident and found nothing. Murray disappeared after a resident in the area went out to help her and called police, though she asked him not to. When police arrived, she was gone, leaving behind her car, which could not be driven due to the accident.

The accident occurred on Route 112 about a mile from Swift Water Village and about 5 miles from Wells River, Vt., across the Connecticut River. She was familiar with the area because her family vacationed in the Lincoln and Conway areas for years.

Sharon Rausch, the boyfriend's mother who flew in with her husband, Bill, from Marengo, Ohio, to help, said she had been told Murray "had made arrangements to be away from work for a week."

Murray worked at an art gallery while going to nursing school at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where she is a junior, Rausch said.

She said Murray crashed her car two days after wrecking her father's car in an accident.

"She's extremely responsible, an extremely frugal girl. I think she wanted to get away and get her head on straight," Rausch said.

"We have no reason to believe she was running away."

"She's a jewel of a girl," she said.

She said Murray left an e-mail message with her son on Monday afternoon that said she wanted to talk to him.

Murray and her son met at the US Military Academy at West Point, where both were students, Rausch said. She left after 1 1/2 years. Rausch said Murray is an outstanding athlete who ran in high school and college.

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