Friday, September 30, 2005

9/30/05 The All-American Girl Part I

Some people just don’t think about the missing. If it’s not someone they know and love, and they have never been touched by it in some way, it’s just another one of many sad things that happen in this life.

I admit that I used to be one of those people. If I ever saw the story of a missing person on the news, I would think “How sad.” and it would leave my mind just as quickly as it entered it. I certainly never thought that someone I love would be on the evening news.

It’s not that I didn’t care. I had no connection to it. When it happens to you, things change very rapidly. Now I work to help others understand by sharing these stories from the heart. Even if they do not know anyone missing themselves, perhaps something they read will help them connect, help them to care, and help them to want to react.

In doing this work, I get to know many families of the missing. That is the other side of what I do. I hear the stories and provide a listening ear for the airing of frustrations and the outpouring of tears. I get to know some of them better than others because of time, circumstance, and shared philosophies. I feel strongly about each case being more than just a number and a physical description. They are all people who are loved, and have hopes and dreams.

Sometimes a story comes along that is harder to write than some of the others. This is one of those stories: a tale of an All-American girl-next-door whom I have come to know and love through her family.

I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Maura Murray. I’ve never stood face to face with her astonishing beauty. I’ve never looked into her twinkling eyes and observed the dimples that made her all the more lovely. Some day, I hope that I will meet her. I feel as if I do know her personally, which makes it difficult to tell the world she is lost to us.

I came to know her primarily through Sharon Rausch, Maura’s future mother-in-law. Sharon loves Maura so deeply. Because of this deep love, for a brief period of time after I started to work for them on Maura’s case, I thought she was Maura’s mother.

This weekend you will also come to know Maura through the eyes of those who love her. You’ll learn to what great lengths a father will go for his daughter in an attempt to find her. You will know that love truly has no bounds for this All-American girl.

It’s been a long and difficult road for the Murrays and the Rausches since Maura disappeared. On the night of February 9, 2004, Maura was driving on Route 112 near Haverhill, NH. Her car slid into a snow bank on a hairpin curve. The temperature was 12 degrees and dropping with light snow falling. She had personal belongings in her car, including gloves. She did not take her gloves with her into the dark, bitter night. What happened after that remains a mystery.

Maura’s story will continue on Saturday.


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