Code of Silence, Oxygens October 14th episode of The Disappearance of Maura Murray, shocked Maura’s case like an explosion. The influx of new information and interviews got my mind racing and my adrenaline pumping, holding myself and my now-hooked husband captive, even as the credits began to roll. Although we still have no idea what happened to Maura, the team has gotten more answers than we’ve ever had before. I am sincerely proud of Maggie Freeling and Art Roderick’s hard-hitting frank questioning, and the entire team’s dedication to following ALL leads, regardless of how small. Between Arts non-faltering stare and quick ability to shift between good/cop bad cop, and Maggies expert combo of brain, beauty, and investigative skill, Oxygen has created the perfect investigative pair! I am dying to know what is going thru the minds of Lance Reenstierna, Tim Pilleri and James Renner (The original arm-chair sleuths who’ve been on the case since the beginning), and eager to see what else is uncovered over the next few weeks…
What must Maura’s family be thinking at this moment? Does Fred Murray feel like he is finally being listened to? Do Maura’s siblings see hope for closure in the future? Will new witnesses come forward? Will we find Maura? Or, is Maura following the case herself somewhere? Safe and secure in her new identity and hoping that this renewed investigation fizzles out quickly? Prior to episode 4 the thought of her actually being alive was not on my list of plausible outcomes. Now, I’m not so sure…
FYI-In recapping these episodes there will be spoilers- and theories of my own. None of these theories are accusations and I, in no way, have enough information to point the finger at anyone. In fact, as indicated before, my original theories prior to Oxygen airing the documentary are completely different now, abruptly changed within 30 minutes of amazing investigative reporting.
Many of the individuals who have been trying to find Maura since her disappearance were unsuccessful in getting interviews with many key individuals/agency involved. Interestingly, some of the investigators one would think would be going at these leads the hardest- had remained quiet. To this day Maura’s sister says they’ve never talked to her, and have, allegedly stonewalled the family from the very beginning. Why wouldn’t they question anyone and everyone in Maura’s life while searching for her? If a woman goes missing in your jurisdiction, shouldn’t the attempt to find her be a priority?
In 2006/2007 Fred Murray sued/appealed The SVU division of the N.H State Department of public safety/ state police (unsuccessfully). Through James Renner’s blog I was able to take a look at the court documents and, as I am currently studying law, I analyzed the documents neutrally, just as I would if this were a case I would be deposing. One of the first things that become apparent is just how hard Fred Murray tried simply to get access to all of the information regarding his daughter.
On one hand, if Mr. Murray is/was a suspect I can understand the department not cooperating, as some information may need to be concealed to protect the integrity of a potentially active criminal case. (This is the basic reason Fred Murray was unsuccessful in his suit) One does wonder if Mr. Murray ISNT a suspect, why wouldn’t they just sit down with the grieving father and tell him what they can? Equally as perplexing, as some theories DO name Fred as a potential suspect, why, if guilty, would he push the government agencies this hard? If he had a hand in the pot what-so-ever, wouldn’t he want the case to fizz out? Or, is he expertly using the police to deflect his involvement? Anything at this point is possible.
The court documents are off a bit when it comes to the timeline. On many of the documents state that “a neighbor passing by” was the initial person to report the accident to ‘either 911 OR the N.H PD’ AFTER speaking to Maura briefly. ‘ This would have to be pointing to Butch Attwood, as he is supposedly the only passerby to talk to or see Maura, however we know AS FACT that the initial 911 call was not placed by the Attwoods, rather it was a different witness who made the report, also noting a ‘flurry of activity by the trunk of her car, and a possible second person smoking a cigarette.’ It is interesting that this information is left out.
Other surprises in these documents state that the day AFTER the accident, officers contacted Maura’s brother, thinking it was her father (To whom the vehicle was registered), to report that the vehicle was found and did not mention Maura at all. Worried, the brother, Freddie, asked to file a missing person report but was shot down, being told that the vehicle wasn’t in his jurisdiction. I would like to know if this officer is Officer Monahan, whom sat down with Maggie Freeling and Art Roderick during this recent episode. He stated on camera that when he arrived at the scene, officer Cecil Smith was there, WITH BUTCH ATTWOOD, who was ‘ searching the woods’. Monahan claims he did a brief search of his jurisdiction, mostly in public places where Maura may have stopped at, but found no lead so filed his general report. He did not know that Maura was still missing until his supervisors pulled him in to discuss the case several days later. In my opinion, Monahan seemed genuine in his account of events- but he could be a very critical player later on as (I think) he is the first person to put Attwood and Smith on the scene together. Jaws dropped at this tidbit of info.
Speaking of Cecil Smith, HIS interview did not leave me with a good feeling at all. I can’t comment on his account of events, but he seemed like a shady character that’s for sure. I have rewatched his interview a few times, and the vein in his forehead and his mannerism just scream ‘unreliable witness’. Others may not agree with me. I AM glad that his comment about never meeting Attwood before was addressed by Mrs. Freling. It was an unprovoked statement, and, considering how small of a town Haverhill is… Well, I really hope the team comes back to this person.
Karen Macnimore, a witness rarely talked about, came forward. She has always maintained that she drove by Maura vehicle and a Black SUV (with 001 on the back of it). Phone records seem to collaborate the that she WAS on the road around the same time as Maura was. I believe that she saw what she saw, but am skeptical about the numbers 001. It is a very specific detail that, by no fault of her own, may have been altered by time alone. Police chief Jeff Williams, maintaining a black SUV state vehicle, number 001 IS a crazy coincidence and seems easily dismissed when Cecil Smith says he was in a black department SUV/van. Macnimore could have easily seen Smith, not Williams. Then again, maybe not. The Williams theorists say that the chief has a history of drunk driving, in his department vehicle. He drives that road, it’s his jurisdiction, so it IS plausible that he responded while off duty. Of course, Williams denies being on scene or involvement in the Maura case and so far it hasn’t been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Some things would line up with the abovementioned theory if Williams and his department ARE involved somehow. The discrepancies in timelines, reports, lack of follow-ups and ‘stonewalling’ would indicate some sort of foul up. Even if Williams was never there. If Mrs. Macnimore DID mistake Smiths vehicle, and Smith arrived on scene at the time he admits he did, maybe the only cover up is that he made a mistake by not doing a thorough search and failed to protect Maura while lost in the woods or being abducted.
The first EMT to arrive on scene, Dick Guy, says the scene seemed off. The vehicle damage and its positioning didn’t line up in the way that it should have, in his opinion; he also acknowledged that the rag in Maura’s tailpipe was weird too. He gave his own theory, mentioning possible sabotage of the vehicle. This theory seems to go out the window with the team testing a similar vehicle where the rag popped out but did NOT cause the car to stall. It seems like Maura would have had to stuff the rag in after the accident. (WHY she would do this is still unanswered) EVERYTHING is still unanswered…
I never entertained the idea that Maura is alive. I think that James Renner is an incredible author, but I never agreed with him on that aspect. It is amazing how quickly that theory evaporated within 30 minutes of beginning this episode. This change of thought, surprisingly, came during the interview of Jeff Strelzin, Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire. He maintains that they do not know what happened to Maura or where she is. He assured Maggie and Art that they’ve done forensic testing, grand jury work, followed up all leads, even the ones of psychics, – but says they “CANT give specifics because it is an open, criminal case”. His department will not name suspects, nor will they say who they’ve ruled out. Strelzin says “Its difficult to rule anybody out if you don’t know what happened. Maybe (sic Attwood…) was the last person… (sic to see Maura) maybe he wasn’t. We don’t know the answer to that question until we find Maura”. This is exactly when I flipped theories. Maybe Renner IS right, maybe Maura IS alive.
With all of the pieces of information and dead-end theories, with all of the attention of the case, the death of Maura’s mother and her family exhaustively searching- how could Maura consciously avoid detection all of these years? How could she put her loved ones through all of this, how could she live happily without looking back- or leaving a footprint in someone’s mind or on paper?
I AM someone who has tried to disappear. With help. I tried to escape an abuser and was successfully able to relocate with no one knowing for over a year. During court (circumstances allowed me to attend via telephone) my abuser told the judge our exact location. He had apparently known for some time. It chilled us all to the bone but brings me back to just how difficult it IS for one to stay hidden. For me, I could not help looking at facebook now and then to check on my family, I could not ignore my grandfather’s death or the birth of my niece. Once we knew we were exposed, we stopped hiding and were able to see and talk to a selective few friends and family again. We took measures to protect our exact location, but, 7 years later I still have yet to go visit home, or talk to certain people. There ARE STILL certain family members that can NEVER know our exact address as they could inadvertently give it to the person who hurt me. If you need to protect yourself, sometimes you HAVE to close familiar doors. Permanently. IS this something that Maura had to do? Did something so awful happen in her life that she DID Run? Looking at the case with the idea now open in my mind I can absolutely see why Renner drew the conclusion that ‘She ran’.
I’m still not sure exactly why the interview with Strezlin has made me reevaluate, but I will say that Maura being alive would check off a lot of lingering questions. It would also make sense as to why the police look questionable. The police do not have to release information if they find someone who doesn’t want to be found. An adult who is not wanted for a crime, and who is not declared mentally unfit to make their own decisions, IS allowed to go wherever they want. In cases where a missing person case is filed, if the investigators find the person, there is no law that makes them legally have to disclose that information. They would, however, have a duty to maintain that individuals privacy, and not infringe upon their personal safety and wellbeing. Maybe the police actually ARE doing their job, and Maura is happily living, abuse free, somewhere over the rainbow.
I sure hope so.
For more information I have enclosed a few of my favorite sources, As always, if you have information on Maura Murry, Please refer to the information listed on her flyer.