Overview of Maura Murray
Maura Murray was last seen in Haverhill, NH, by a truck driver who offered her assistance as her vehicle was stuck in a ditch. She denied the good samaritan’s help, but he still called 911 when he got home. When the police arrived, Maura was missing and has never been seen again.
Maura Murray was the youngest daughter born to Fred and Laurie Murray. Maura was an exceptional young lady. She had an excellent relationship with her brothers, Fred Jr. and Kurtis Murray, and her sisters, Kathleen and Julie Murray. In addition to excelling in academics, Maura was a star athlete. As a teenager, she competed all over the New England area with her basketball team and was once deemed the Boston Globe All-Scholastic in cross country running.
When she graduated high school, Maura had offers from various colleges. Instead of attending college for academics or athletics, she accepted a nomination and enrolled in the prestigious West Point Military Academy, where her sister Julie was already registered. By her second year at West Point, though, Maura had come to the conclusion that military life wasn't for her. Maura left West Point and decided to pursue a career as a nurse and enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
The day of Maura’s disappearance
On February 9, 2004, Maura's professors received an email from her. The email read that she would be away for the next week due to a death in the family. Later Maura's family would confirm that no one in the family had passed away. Maura placed a phone call to the owner of an apartment complex. After the phone call ended, she packed a bag full of toiletries, textbooks, and clothes and left.
A little after 3:00 PM, Maura was spotted at an ATM where she withdrew $280.00. Then, she drove to a liquor store, where she purchased about $40.00 worth of alcohol. Maura then drove her 1996 Saturn toward New Hampshire. No one was aware of Maura's plans to leave that day or why she would be headed toward New Hampshire that afternoon.
Between 7:00 PM and 7:30 PM, Butch Atwood was driving his bus in Haverhill, NH, when he came across a car stuck in a ditch. When Butch offered to call authorities for Maura, she refused the offer and told him AAA was on their way, so Butch drove home. Once he arrived home, though, he placed a call to 911 informing them about the crash. He confirmed that although Maura seemed shaken, there was no visible sign of injury or blood.
The day Maura was discovered missing
The first officer arrived at the crash site around 7:45 PM, and by the time he got there, Maura was gone. The vehicle was locked, and there was a box of wine behind the driver's side seat. Maura's cell phone and wallet were missing from the car, but everything else was left behind.
There was a significant amount of damage to the front of Maura's car.
Tracker dogs were sent to the area but lost Maura's scent within 100 yards. The witness who saw Maura last said that she did seem as if she was intoxicated at the scene. Police are under the impression Maura hitched a ride from the accident scene and drove off into the distance. There was no indication that any sort of fight or struggle occurred at the location, and there were no footprints in the snow.
Where Maura's case stands today
After Maura disappeared, investigators searched her computer. They found out she was searching hotel rooms up in Burlington, VT. No clues turned up when authorities went to Burlington to search for Maura. In March of 2004, another female who resembled Maura went missing from the New England area. Her name is Brianna Maitland. Similarities in the cases include both women being pretty, brunette and their vehicles being left behind with personal items. Although no one has ruled that the incidents may be related, it is not likely.
Two days before Maura went missing, she crashed her father's vehicle. Maura walked away from the accident, okay, but there were thousands of dollars worth of damage to the car. Maura was also arrested after she used a stolen credit card number to order food. The charges were dismissed under the commitment Maura maintains good behavior. Her father doesn't think either circumstance has anything to do with her missing.
At the time of her disappearance, Maura was in a relationship with Billy Rausch. Some sources even state the two were allegedly engaged. Maura was having an affair with her track coach Hossein Baghdadi around that same time. Baghdadi told authorities that Maura often confided in him that Billy was very controlling. Years after Maura's disappearance, Rausch was indicted on felony sex abuse charges by a Grand Jury.
Butch Atwood's encounter with Maura is the last known sighting of her. There have been many theories about what happened to Maura, but the case has gone cold. However, social media has continued to keep Maura’s case in the spotlight. Police even dug up a basement searching for Maura, but detectives didn't find any plausible evidence. In 2021 remains were found, but DNA testing confirmed they did not belong to Maura.
Even though Maura's behavior was suspicious the days before she went missing, her parents do not believe she went missing on her own accord. Investigators disagree, but the investigation is ongoing. The Murray family and investigators agree on one thing, though, they want to find Maura and bring her home.
There are many ways you can help bring attention to Maura's story. Listen to the Missing Maura Murray podcast for an even deeper dive into her mysterious disappearance. Share Maura's case on Twitter by using hashtags like #findmaura and #mauramurray. Maura's family has created a Go Fund Me to raise money for ground-penetrating radar. The radar would be used in the area of particular interest regarding the case.