Product Review: Blue Apron

When my friend Ellen recently invited me to try Blue Apron, a diy meal delivery service, I was trepidatious. Being someone who is very selective in picking thru my own produce and other grocery items, the idea of a chilled box bringing them via mail puts a LOT of trust in a new(ish) company. I had a list of concerns. How do I know the food has maintained temperature? (I’ve had food poisoning before. It’s awful.) Do I have the time to cook the meals they might send? Will we even LIKE whats on the menu? Is it truly cost-effective with our budget? When Ellen told me that she had a code and we could try the company for free, it seemed like a no-brainer to give it a go.

Creating my account was easy. I clicked the link, created the profile and In less than five minutes it was time to select our meals. We are a family of 4, and half of us don’t eat meat. This was surprisingly not an issue, because you can select meals that don’t include the foods you wish to avoid. The website was incredibly easy to navigate, and I soon found that there is more to Blue Apron than simply a food delivery company. Each selected meal not only has recipes and cooking instructions but it also includes videos, nutrition information- even suggested wine pairings! It seemed almost too good to be true!

In the week we waited for the box to arrive my daughter and I were doing research. We watched the videos of the meals we would be cooking, looked at the other options should we decide to continue with Blue Apron, and did many price comparisons. I asked other people what their own experiences have been so far, and even looked into a few other similar businesses. Each day my initial hesitation slowly evolved into excitement. We could hardly wait until our box arrive so we could get down to business!

Finally, our box arrived. My daughter screamed in excitement and even my husband couldn’t wait to open the box to see what was in store. The box was slightly soggy on the bottom, but condensation will do that. Opening the box you immediately see that it is enclosed in a huge refrigerated bag. When you open it, two large ice packs were inside, keeping the produce chilled. Right away I liked how the contents were arranged. The two days of ingredients were separated, with bags clearly labeling which recipe they belong too. You get illustrated instructions that are clear and concise, and you also get a full print out of nutrition, calorie count etc. (I’m thinking we will get a notebook and organize the recipes. If we stick with the program).

We started pulling out the produce and the meat and I started to do my usual inspection. Horrified, we discovered a FLY in the package of sugar snap peas. Barf. Looks like we would be making the chicken kung pao without them. The chicken wasn’t frozen, and I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be or not. I’m not trying to die of salmonella, so I reached out to my friends on social media. Almost immediately several of my friends said that I should give Blue a call, and all stated the customer service is fantastic. I was hesitant to call, as this IS a free experience. It’s only a fly after all, and in organic produce, sometimes you’re gonna come across a bug or two. We won’t eat the beans, but we will plant them. Seems like that balances things out.

We decided to make the pizza recipe for supper and began prepping. Usually, dinner during the week is rushed. Usually one of us is doing stuff around the house while the other cooks. Baths are given, grass is mowed, laundry is started. Today was different. We worked as a team and began the process together. Pretty soon chicken was sizzling, broccoli was roasting and the dough was rising. It was an absolutely wonderful, lovely evening.

The food was already perfectly portioned, the shopping was done and I didn’t have to rummage thru the fridge for ingredients to measure things out. Time is precious to me as a student, a mom, and a wife, and it was a refreshing little break for me. I’ve learned that you must appreciate something when you have it- and I certainly plan to enjoy this experience. However short it may be.

Within a half an hour we were pulling our pizzas from the oven ready to devour. It smelled delicious, but would it taste as good too? More importantly, would the picky eaters in the household actually eat it? Suddenly we were food critics discussing, between bites, the tastes and textures of the food as if we are culinary geniuses. (We most definitely arent!) There weren’t many crumbs left on our plates once we were finished, that’s for sure.

The following day we made the Kung Pow Chicken. Overall the recipe was a success, even without the greens. My young daughter thought there was too much spice, but my husband was a huge fan. The clear over-all winner was the roasted brocolli and goat-cheese side dish. I can see making it as a side dish often in the future. We probably never would have made either of these recipes ourselves, but I’m so glad that we did! Both will be on the menu again.

Price wise, I ran the lists thru the checkout counter on the Publix and Wal-Mart websites. Both came in about 20 dollars less than Blue Apron, with Wal-Mart being the lesser of the two. For busy families, without a whole lot of time to go shopping, I can absolutely see an extra 20 bucks being worth the purchase. For our middle-class income family, an extra 80 dollars a month- which equals almost an entire weeks groceries is money we need.

After much discussion and weighing the pros and cons of everything, including price, convenience and product quality, the decision to continue the subscription truly came down to the issues with the fly and the cost. The fly was probably not an everyday issue, and honestly, we could probably forget about it. The price ultimately pushed us to make the decision that Blue Apron doesn’t fit our household. We loved the recipes, the packaging and the taste of each plate. There is no question that the company strives to make the customer happy. In the future, after I graduate and income increases, we may revisit this decision. For now, we will continue to get our produce at the local farmers market and grocery stores. Don’t take my word for it, however. Give it a try! You may find its a perfect fit for your family.

http://www.blueapron.com

Big Box, Happy Husband

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1500 Missing Immigrant Youths and the #WhereAreTheChildren movement; Explained.

Earlier this week a story broke, alleging that there are currently 1,500 immigrant children that the US can not account for.  A #WhereAreTheChildren movement has been circling social media, demanding accountability and answers. There seems to be a uniformed consensus that this number is outrageous and unacceptable.

The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children averages that 531,928 children are missing right now. That doesn’t include the 1,500 missing immigrants.

Cnn reported that Steven Wagner, a top official with the Department of Health and Human Services, gave testimony “during the last three months of 2017, the ORR lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children”.  (ORR) refers to The Office of Refugee Resettlement Agency.  The agency responsible for unaccompanied immigrant children.

According to ORRS’ website http://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/programs/ucs

  • March 1, 2003, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Section 462, transferred responsibilities for the care and placement of unaccompanied alien children FROM from the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization Service TO the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
  • ORR:
    • has cared for over 175,000 children,
    • Was established by the
      • Flores Agreement in 1997,
      • the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (and its re-authorization acts)
      • The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Re authorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005 and 2008.
      • ORR promptly places unaccompanied child in “the least restrictive setting and in the best interests of the child.
      • Consider “danger to self, danger to the community, and risk of flight, the unique nature of each child’s situation.”
      • Incorporates clinical and child welfare placements, case management, and “release decisions that are in the best interest of the child.”
Wagner testified that ORR “reached out to 7,635 unaccompanied children to check on them. But “Are unable to determine the whereabouts of 1,475 (or 19 percent), 28 of those are assumed to be runaways.” Wagner also testified “I understand that, according to interpretation of the law, ORR is not legally responsible for those children after they are released from care”.
Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, during a Senate hearing this month, said “Similar separations happen in the US every day. Those caught crossing the border illegally will be prosecuted even if they are claiming asylum or have small children. Parents prosecuted as a result will be separated from their children in the process.” On May 7th, district Attorney General Jeff Session confirmed that statement.
President Trump tweeted, in response to the missing children outcry, for American citizens “To pressure the Democrats to end the law that separates children from parents once they cross the border.” (It was his cabinet who implemented the Zero Tolerence Policy… but, I degress.)
Regardless of the political banter, the majority of headlines currently seem more concerned about FINDING these kids.
As they should be…
Honestly, I can not think of a group of children more vulnerable or at risk for exploitation then these kids. In all reality the number of ‘unnacounted for minorts’ itself is probably larger if you were to add unreported cases.
These kids are not cattle, they are not property. They are human beings that deserve to be safe and loved, regardless of where they’re from, who they are or what their parents ‘may’ have done.
Cant We can hash everything “else” out later?
Be a decent human. Demand action and answers.
FIND THEM.
#WhereAreTheChildren

True Crime: Shauna Howe

A shy brunette with a page-boy haircut, 11-year-old Shauna Howe left her home dressed as a gymnast on Oct. 27, 1992, to head to school, and later, a Girl Scout Halloween party, which she left around 8 p.m. She never made it home from the party. Three hours after a witness called Oil City police to report he’d just seen a thin, disheveled white man force a young girl into a red car on the street, Shaunas’ mother reported her missing.

After three days, widespread searches led to the discovery of Shaunas’ body. She was sexually assaulted, her battered and broken body thrown off of a railroad track six miles away. It was there, in the dry creek bed, that Howe would lose her life after sustaining severe injuries to her upper body. An autopsy showed she died of head and chest injuries. The three men responsible for her death would not be caught or sentenced until 2005, 13 years after the incident.

Just two blocks away from her home, Howe was snatched off the street by Eldred “Ted” Walker. Mr. Walker told police that he, Timothy and James O’Brien had talked of abducting a child as a Halloween prank to make Oil City police look foolish. That night, as Shauna attended her Girl Scout Halloween party, the Oil City brothers were lurking and plotting the sinister act that would cut her young life short.

In court, Mr. Walker said he snatched Shauna from the street as she walked home from the party. He handed her over to Timothy O’Brien, who was riding in a car with James O’Brien. He said the brothers drove away with her and he later learned that the O’Briens had taken Shauna to his house. When he arrived to his house he heard a female voice crying, “Get off me, let me up, let me go” while the O’Briens were upstairs in a bedroom of the home. Walker testified that they subjected her to extreme acts of cruelty and sexual violence before throwing her from the bridge alive, leaving Shauna to die alone in the shallow creek below.

Walkers gave testimony against the O’Briens under an agreement that allowed him to plead guilty to third-degree murder and kidnapping. (He would later try to change the plea and was denied by the court.) He faces 20 to 40 years in prison.

At the time of their arrest in July 2004, the brothers James O’Brien, 33, and Timothy O’Brien, 39, were serving time in state prisons for unrelated attacks. Prosecutors presented DNA test results from a FBI laboratory that showed that semen found on Shauna’s body and clothing came from James O’Brien. One day shy of 13 years after Shauna Howe was snatched, after a two-week trial and a deliberation of 16 hours, the jury of six men and six women reached its verdict .

The jury found the O’Briens guilty of kidnapping, voluntary deviant sexual intercourse, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and second and third-degree murder. Shockingly the jury  found them NOT guilty of first-degree murder and rape… The convictions they DID receive, however, means the brothers will serve life in prison without parole. After the verdict was read, due to high publicity, the Jury was whisked away from the court-house. Prosecutors and defense attorneys did not comment and remained under a gag order imposed by Judge Oliver Lobaugh. The order didn’t prevent the prosecutor, Venango County District Attorney Marie Veon, and Erie County District Attorney Brad Foulk, who assisted her, from smiling and accepting handshakes and well-wishes from the Howe family and investigators.

As the verdicts were read, Shauna’s mother, Lucy Mae Brown, and other relatives embraced, held hands and bowed their heads. Shauna’s uncle, Keith Sibble, pumped his right fist and mouthed “Yes! This is justice.” Mrs. Brown said “I still have a hole in my heart but I needed it to be solved. They took a little girl’s life. They spent 12 years living their lives. My daughter would have been 24, but what does she have? Nothing.” Mr. Sibble praised investigators and prosecutors for their relentless pursuit of the case. “[Today] would be 13 years … we’re never going to get Shauna back, but this was the last step we had to get through. These people will never hurt anyone again.”

Shauna’s slaying terrified residents of Venango County and much of Western Pennsylvania. As word spread of the Jury outcome , residents began driving past the courthouse sounding their horns and shouting derisive remarks about the defendants.  The sentences are to run consecutively with sentences the brothers were already serving for other, unrelated crimes. Both were determined to be sexual violent predators under Megan’s Law. “It was for their cruelty – for the life they took more than 13 years ago and the remorse they haven’t shown in the years since ” said Judge Oliver J. Lobaugh as he sentenced the two brothers to spend the rest of their lives in prison,”The world was a better place because of Shauna (Howe) and the world will be a much better place without you walking free ever again,”

 In attendance at the brothers sentencing were four of the Indiana County jurors. Although they declined to comment, one juror said he and the others returned because they also sought closure. Shauna’s mother, Lucy Brown said “That the brothers will be behind bars for the rest of their lives is wonderful. They’re gone and they’re not coming back.”

Rest in peace Shauna.

6235743_132807320585images

Check Out Cold Case Files: Little Girl Lost on Hulu.

Citations: (2017, February 27). Retrieved May 13, 2018, from https://www.hulu.com/watch/1188027
Shauna Howe.
(2018, May 06). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shauna_Howe

Autumn Pasquel

Autumn Pasquale was 12 when she was tragically and senselessly murdered.

Autumn was innocent, happy and loved. She had her entire life ahead of her, but instead, she had that chance, that innocence, RIPPED away from her. By the hands of another child.

Let that sink in.

Children are killing children every single day now.

Every. Single. Day.

I know we are all busy in some sort of way. We all have something going on that keeps us going every day, and we all have a challenge or a loss at some point in our lives. When did we all become so numb to what is going on in the lives of our neighbors?

I stumbled across the story of  Autumn Pasquale on an episode of Web OF Lies, a documentary-of-sorts on the ID network. Web Of Lies follows true stories and crimes involving the internet-gone-wrong. My teens and I have occasionally caught an episode of MTV show Catfish- but stories like Autumn and her family- directly from them- brings priorities of online and in-person safety to an entirely different level. My heart bleeds for Autumn, a life lost much too soon, and her devastated family. Sadly it was private investigators- Specifically the private investigator Joe Nicholas- who was able to track down her killer and get justice for Autumn.

Looking into this a bit further, it looks like, as usual, every excuse to victim-shame Autumn in court was used during the hearing of Justin Robinson. Robinson was sentenced to 17 years in prison. 17 years for ending the life of a defenseless, innocent child. (And our current POTUS says death to drug dealers? Ummm… something sure is unbalanced here!)

I plan on having my teenage children watch Autumn’s story, to see the grief of her family and the raw fact that it is so easy to blindly trust someone you ‘think’ you know. Via the web or otherwise.

I suggest anyone who has ever been online to do the same. Education and knowledge is the first step to in the right direction. Take a look around you, the people you keep close and ‘friends’ from the dark web…

Rest in Peace sweet Autumn. For ways to help Autumns legacy please add your name to the petition below for Ambers Law, Started by Ambers dad, Anthony Pasquel.

Autumn’s Law

Please watch the episode/show for more info on internet crimes and how they can affect you, your children, your parents and the people you truly love.

She Went On A Bike Ride…

I BELIEVE THAT MINOR CHILDREN ARE RARELY IF EVER BORN MURDERERS.  MOST ARE CULTIVATED  AND IN AUTUMN’S CASE, I BELIEVE HER MURDERER WAS NO EXCEPTION…” Anthony Pasquale

Wake up America.

-J

True Crime: Summit; The Disappearance of Maura Murray

The final episode of Oxygens in-depth investigation, The Disappearance of Maura Murray, aired October 28th. From beginning to end the mini-series was captivating, examining each theory, clue and lead thoroughly. 13 years after Maura’s disappearance, Her name has not been forgotten because of the pure determination and dedication of Maura’s family, James Renner, Maggie Freeling, Lance Reenstiern, Art Roderick, Tim Pillari, and many more hard-working individuals. By pressing the local authorities and asking some extremely tough questions there is little doubt that there are many more stones left uncovered.. and That you’ll find them.It truly feels like there may be some sort of closure to this devastating mystery after all.

The team started this episode by meeting with Alison Dubois, a medium. Oxygen did not inform Mrs. Dubois of who they were going to be discussing so it was amazing to watch her talking to Art and Maggie. I think many people are very skeptical about ‘psychics’ and mediums, but I am not one of them. While I don’t believe that everyone out there claiming to have a ‘sixth sense’ actually does, I DO think there are people out there who truly are sensitive and gifted with a receptive intuition. For not knowing the case, Mrs. Dubois certainly seems to be one of those people. Right away she stated the Maura is the kind of person who would ever ‘stay away’ willingly, that she had a good relationship with her father and, unfortunately, appears to no longer be alive. Her thoughts are that there is more than one person involved either directly or indirectly with covering up the crime. She indicated that it seems that Maura knew the person who killed her, but only distantly somehow. She thinks this killer is very charming, likable and reminiscent of ‘Ted Bundy’.

Maggie and Art take Alison to the scene of Mauras disappearance and she gets a sick feeling, that the person who did this gives off ‘rapist vibes’ and that it feels like Maura thought there would be other people at the location but the further they got the more fear she started feeling. The medium says Maura fought her attacker (good!) and mentioned that Maura’s mother seems… ‘removed’. Considering her mother passed away from cancer, this just further indicates that Mrs. Dubous truly DOES have some sort of special connection to a different reality. There is mention of them stopping at a bar, which could explain the gap in the hour drive time discrepancies. She even brings up possible brothers being involved, (A-frame brothers maybe?), and that Maura’s body is not too far outside of the search areas covered, is by a dead end and within sight of a bridge.

Later in the investigation Tim and Lance are back with Art and Maggie, following up on some seriously creepy tweets from some unknown sender. In 2014 these messages gave coordinations to ‘Maura’s Body’ and mixing in some bizarre threats. The tweets also reference the 2005 cold case murder of Thomas Conrad, ALSO in Haverhill, NH. While on the road to hike the coordinates another new message is received with the same coordinations and a signature that Is Maura Murry spelled backward. I got goosebumps about this, specifically when they talk about not telling anyone they were going up there. Using a mountain guide they all hyke to the location. While they don’t find anything there, they do learn firsthand how dense and rugged those forests are.  During the hike the team discovers a yellow caution tape with ‘RIP Maura Murry’ on it, tied to a tree. I think they should definitly bet some sort of cadaver dogs out there. It seems like it cant be a coincidence that that tape is there.

Feeling defeated Maggie and Art take down their timeline photos at the cabin when they finally get a call back from the lab testing the woodchips. They definitely contained human blood, of two individuals. Unfortunately the two samples are so degraded and mixed that they need to be able to compare the DNA to Mauras to see if they can piece it together. Because there has been no chain of custody on these woodchips, the police cant uses them in them in case should they bring charges against someone. Regardless, Maggie and Art have some good news for Maura’s family- Maura’s case has officially been reopened by the Haverhill police department, with two task teams being assigned to follow up on all the evidence they have so far. The authorities finally decide to release a little evidence- the ATM pictures that Fred had tried so desperately to get. The family is absolutely sure that it IS Maura in the footage, but it seems like it is so dark, I cant agree. I cant disprove it either, and truly her family would know her movements and facial expressions better than me, a stranger.

 

I am so glad to know that more will be done moving forward to find Maura, and I pray that there is some final closure soon.

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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. All pictures in this blog are owned by Oxygen.

For more information, or to help find Maura, please refer to the following links.

As always, if you have information on Maura Murry, Please refer to the information listed on her flyer.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/missing-maura-murray/id1006974447?mt=2

http://www.oxygen.com/the-disappearance-of-maura-murray/season-1/everyone-has-a-theory

http://mauramurray.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-search-begins.html

https://club.crimecon.com/

 

True Crime Labrynth: Maura Murray

Something Bad Happened’, Oxygens 5th episode of ‘The Disappearance of Maura Murray’, aired on October 21. Although there is still no sign or trace of Maura(yet), the team has gotten more answers thus far than EVER! Jeff Williams, (Former Cheif P.D of Haverhill) finally speaks out, and we also hear more from Frank Murray and other important figures in the search for Maura. There are more in-depth discussions between Lance Reenstierna, Tim Pilleri, Maggie Freeling and Art Roderick. They are all putting every single investigative skill that they have to work. The way all of their minds brilliantly work together shows the dedication to thoroughly and expertly find answers. I am interested to see if James Renner may reevaluate his stance on what HE thinks happened, now that new interviews have been given. What is Maura’s family thinking right now? Do they have a glimmer of hope now, at least for some sort of closure?

This episode contained a lot of information and covered a lot of areas. Maps and timelines were explained, some theories were dismissed and some new ones were introduced. Cecil Smith still seems like a suspicious character, but sometimes people just APPEAR that way on camera or under scrutiny. Officer Monahan, whom sat down with Maggie Freeling and Art Roderick during episode 3, stated, on camera that when he arrived at the scene, officer Cecil Smith was there, WITH BUTCH ATTWOOD, who was “searching the woods”. This key detail seems so important as I haven’t heard Cecil Smith discuss this yet. Most documented accounts say Attwood went home and stayed there. Monahan seemed the most truthful in his accounts, with Smith seeming LESS reliable than Jeff Williams did. I really don’t think he was on the scene. I agree with Maggie that the police department isn’t involved DIRECTLY, (although the way they handled the entire case was a mess). Smith and Attwood remain on my radar as possible suspects.

I still don’t think Maura committed suicide. The packing of her birth control, her books, even taking a test the day prior- all seem to indicate that she planned on continuing her studies. She was emotionally unstable and depressed, but I think she may have been strong enough to get through it. The fact that her scent is lost by tracking dogs in the middle of the street makes me think that whatever blipped Maura off the radar happened right there. Could Attwood have put an unconscious Maura into his (unsearched) school bus? Or even an awake Maura, telling her to hide in there until the next day to avoid being in the cold? He and his wife could have HELPED her escape if she told them it was DV related, as Renner has suggested. I do wish that they would have used the tracking dogs with Maggie getting into a vehicle and then sitting in it at the Attwood location and other local ‘hot spots’, just to see if they can still follow the scent to her, even with that short little car trip.

Briana Maitlands’ disappearance was compared to Mauras, and the facts of both women’s case are eerily similar. Both disappeared, leaving a crashed vehicle and not many clues. Briana disappeared on 3/19/2004 in Montgomery, Vermont. She was small framed, dark-haired, attractive and athletic. As the map below shows, Maitland and Murrays abduction sites were not that far from each other. Just as chilling as the similarity of appearance, is the diagram that shows other missing person cases in that area.

brianna-maitland

The disappearance of 10-year-old Holly Piirainen who disappeared in 1993, her body found 3 months later, and 16-year-old Molly Bisch, abducted in 1999, 10 miles away from Holly’s abduction site, her body found three years later, further illustrates how easily someone can disappear without a trace. Is there something behind the conspiracy theory of a serial killer? There are so MANY unsolved disappearances and murders all over the world that, statistically speaking, murderers probably walk amongst us often. Serial killers are typically experts of camouflage, successfully raising families and having ‘normal’ lives, never being found. They are true wolves in sheep’s clothing.

John Smith, a former police officer, has gone to extreme lengths to try and get answers for Maura’s family. Smith followed up on a few theories of his own (not dismissing the potential for a serial killer). His search brought up 2 local brothers who lived 1 mile from where Maura disappeared. Speculation was that they took Maura from the scene and killed her at their residence. Apparently, one of the two men said that he thought the other may be involved in Maura’s case. He actually called Fred Murray and said he found a knife with blood on it, in his brothers’ vehicle. John Smith obtained the knife, it was then given to Fred Murray, and Fred gave it to the police. The police initially refused to take it into evidence, however, eventually, they accepted it. In 2006, the owner of the newly vacated home of the brothers in question allowed John to do his own investigation of the property. Cadaver dogs flagged human remains in an upstairs closet, carpet samples obtained are in also in police custody, with the knife. The police department states that the “testing is not available to the public at this time.” I’m assuming that this is to preserve any evidence should they file criminal charges of a suspect.

444

In 2016 Mr. Smith was joined by Tim and Lance for a segment on their podcast. They all returned to the home of those brothers, and during that search, (inside the same closet that cadaver dogs flagged a body), they (possibly) found blood on the interior wood frame. While talking to Maggie, Smith tells her that he still possesses the wood chips they took from the scene. Oxygens team brings in a forensic DNA specialist to sample these chips, to test for blood and, maybe an eventual DNA match. As the credits roll it appears that the test may be suggestive of blood. Ending the episode on this note leaves me desperate for what is yet to come next week, and hopeful that this is the breakthrough that finally leads to closure.

J

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. All pictures in this blog are owned by Oxygen.

For more information, or to help find Maura, please refer to the following links.

As always, if you have information on Maura Murry, Please refer to the information listed on her flyer.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/missing-maura-murray/id1006974447?mt=2

http://www.oxygen.com/the-disappearance-of-maura-murray/season-1/everyone-has-a-theory

http://mauramurray.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-search-begins.html

https://club.crimecon.com/

 

 

 

 

True Crime Labyrinth: Maura Murray pt 3

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.

Screenshot Murray Court Files 1

Court Documents

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.

J

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.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/missing-maura-murray/id1006974447?mt=2

http://www.oxygen.com/the-disappearance-of-maura-murray/season-1/everyone-has-a-theory

http://mauramurray.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-search-begins.html

https://club.crimecon.com/