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Five years later, case frustrates family

Associated Press / February 8, 2009
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CONCORD, N.H. - It's been five years since 21-year-old nursing student Maura Murray vanished from the scene of a car crash in Haverhill, N.H., and investigators say they still don't know what happened to the Massachusetts woman that night.

Murray packed up her school books and drove to northern New Hampshire on Feb. 9, 2004, eventually heading east on Route 112, a rural road that cuts through the White Mountain National Forest. She had told her friends and professors at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst that she would miss a week of class because of a death in the family, but relatives have said that wasn't true.

About 7 p.m., police received reports of a crash along the desolate road. When they arrived three to four minutes later, they found the Hanson woman's car with minor damage, but Murray was nowhere to be found.

"I'm totally befuddled," said John Healy, president of the New Hampshire League of Investigators, a group of private investigators volunteering on the case for four years.

"The thing that is really, really tough for us, and it's got to be tough for the State Police, is the time frame. Literally, this was in a blink of an eye," said Healy. "Did a car stop? Did she walk away? We just don't know that."

The mystery has been especially hard on Murray's family. Her father, Fred, has been pushing the New Hampshire State Police and the attorney general's office for answers, but because the case is still under investigation, they have revealed little about what they've found.

"She was just 200 yards down the road when [police] got there, two minutes worth," he said. "All they had to do is go grab her and they didn't. If they did, she'd be here with me now."

Fred Murray has been critical of state investigators because he believes they didn't look for his daughter quickly enough and were slow to follow up on leads. They aren't telling him what they're doing, he said, or if any progress has been made.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin says the case is still open and active.

Healy, a former State Police lieutenant, said investigators have not shelved the case.

"Trust me, these people are working their tails off," he said.

But Murray is frustrated after years of battling with investigators. He believes if he knew what they knew, he could put together a timeline of the night and, he hopes, a clearer picture of what happened.

"I want to put it together again from the beginning, but I don't want one arm tied behind my back," said Murray. "I want the public to know that the police have been asked, 'What did your guys do?' and they won't say."

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