Sunday, October 02, 2005

10/02/05 The All-American Girl Part IV

What happens immediately after a disappearance can forever alter a life, or lives, when you count all the people who care—the people left behind.

In Maura’s case, a mere 2 minutes made the difference. She could not have been more than 2 minutes away when police arrived at the accident scene, but yet, they did not check nearby, looking for the car’s occupant. I’m sure this 2 minutes will haunt Maura’s family until such time as the truth about her fate is revealed, and perhaps forever, depending upon the outcome.

Interested readers can find nearly every news story written about Maura’s disappeance since the beginning on the Project Jason forum.

In these news stories, you will read about the additional frustrations the family has had to deal with, plus their efforts to obtain more information in order to find Maura. The Murrays also lost an opportunity to have Maura featured on America’s Most Wanted.

According to John Walsh, the Haverhill authorities would not provide them with a police report so that they could feature Maura on their show. (A Missing Person’s Police Report is a public record.) This happened a short time after Maura was missing.

This year, Fred Murray was told he would receive cooperation with LE (law enforcement) from the NH Attorney General. That cooperation never came to pass.

Despite all of the roadblocks and the misperceptions, Fred Murray would not be stopped in his quest to find his daughter. Nearly every weekend, he makes the drive back to NH from MA and searches for her.

Fred’s Cousin, Norma, describes these searches: "We have powerful images-- indelible memories not to be forgotten, born out of a sadness we never imagined we would see. When you watch as Fred and his searchers, searching in storm drains, in old abandoned wells, and through bone filled green trash bags, only to discover they're animal bones. Relief shows when they are not his Maura, but observing this you find the trauma reeling you back to the original shock you felt when you learned that she had vanished.When you watch them rummaging through debris and rubbish, sometimes knee deep in filthy water looking for Maura try as you might, you just can't totally disassociate yourself from the fact that Fred is searching for his Child. You just can't make the pain leave. You are left with trying to dull the pain enough to make it through the day and this goes on day after day, after day Other times you are left shaking your head in disbelief with what has to be dealt with. You have to wonder if some people's brains have atrophied.

Fred's criticized for being too critical, too forthright, too angry, too aggressive Fred's anger is justified. He lives this everyday. Tell me, what should his presentation be? Just what is the politically correct protocol to follow when your child has vanished without a trace? Explain this to me, after seeing Fred running to check under a fly infested tarp to see if the enclosed remains are those of his daughter, finding instead a decomposing animal with a stench that will probably never leave him this is his daughter we are talking about. Explain it to me after "walking a mile in his moccasins."

It's quite understandable to me that Fred would go where angels fear to tread to find Maura. If ever I have gained the ultimate in respect for a man, it's for Fred. Someone remarked to me one day that "Fred isn't 6 foot tall but he's much more than 7'4" in stature!" It's the truth.”

Fred and Sharon were on the same Montel Williams Show as my husband and I. I clearly remember being in the room where one waits for their turn to go onstage, and watching Maura’s segment of the show. There was footage of Fred as he did his weekend searches, looking under and inside anything that could hold a body. I don’t think there was anything on that entire show that affected me like those scenes. I couldn’t imagine the awful feeling he must get every time he looks under an old tarp or a pile of rubbish, but yet he kept looking, week after week, month after month, and now more than a year later. Norma said it all about Fred. Love compels you to do things you didn’t think you were capable of doing.

I will share a comment from Norma about the family’s dealings with LE. As Sharon already said, we respect their positions and need their assistance. Most of the families we work with cannot afford their own PI, so they must depend on our LE to help. I will make clear that there are agencies which do a wonderful job in aiding families of the missing, and there are those that do not. I will also make clear that in the case of those which do not do a good job, they may be hindered by lack of manpower, training, and personal and learned prejudices about missing persons. (“Runaway Bride”, anyone?)

Ax taxpayers, and citizens in need of their assistance, we must continue to work together to resolve these issues. I believe the federal government acknowledges that missing persons are at an epidemic level, and help is needed. As I stated in the last entry, this is a work in progress. A task force has been formed to help.

In the meantime, I present the stories of the missing, from the perspective of the family.

Norma states: “As to help a few words from LE other than noncommittal statements may help and could possibly go a long way in some comforting of the Murray and Rausch families. We do understand LE cannot divulge everything about any investigation, but at the same time we are aware they could choose to share some information with the family. Choosing to hold a press release every now and again as to some of what has transpired in Maura's investigation would have shown some sensitivity to this family's plight. Fred is not the only member of the Murray family and LE can do this without jeopardizing the investigation. Why is this great divide? Do we not all share the same goal? So much that's been said and done about Maura seems so counter productive.We are all well aware that different states handle cases differently. What we don't understand is the lack of accepting much needed help. We will never understand this protocol. At the risk of sounding redundant it his daughter he is searching for there is no place for protocol here.”

Sharon adds: “I am most frustrated because the NH LE in Maura's case will not cooperate with Fred. They definitely erred in the beginning stage of the investigation. I certainly do not think that their initial errors were intentional because I know that we all make mistakes. However, I did expect them to put their mistakes behind them (even if they did not acknowledge them). And I don't think anyone expected anything other than for the NH LE to just go forward and do their best. However, they have not only opted to not cooperate with Fred, they also will not cooperate with the media.”

The Murray’s have been somewhat successful in getting media attention, although the local media seems to have been silenced. We who live this know that we must make continued efforts to make known the story of our missing loved one. As Montel put it: “Someone, somewhere, knows something!”

“I recall when Maura went missing that her case was featured to be on one of the morning news shows.” Sharon said. “It was bumped because an airplane turned around in mid-flight and it was assumed that perhaps there was fear of a terrorist. There were other items of interest that were going in the world that took precedence over a local girl's missing. Then if the missing is featured long enough that the U.S. is enamored with her case, the media respond to the rise in ratings and all of the emails, etc.

When Maura went missing, it was a very busy news time. We actually were able to get more attention a few weeks and even months later......of course, being in NH where cell phones do not work, the internet was limited to the library and the only motel had a total of 2 telephone lines was not a big help to us.

Maura has been featured on "Greta VanSustern", "CNN Morning News", the Boston area television channels, including a special "What Happened to Maura Murray" on Boston's Channel 5 "Chronicle", the local radio and television stations in VT and NH as well as "Seventeen Magazine","The Montel Show" and one of my local television stations. Maura was also recently featured on well known blogger Steve Huff’s "Dark Side "true crime blog.

As I have researched missing person cases, I see that I have been more successful with getting attention for Maura's case than the families of most missing person's. However, from my perspective, it is not nearly enough. We needed more media coverage, especially during the first days of her missing when everyone's memories and perspectives were not clouded by the passing of time. I hope to continue to get more attention for Maura.”

Sharon goes on to state another reason for additional coverage: “The media should pay attention to all missing person's cases. However, in Maura's case, the media should investigate the manner in which Maura's case has been handled. I fear that the neglect by NH LE in Maura's case endangers the lives of other women living or traveling in NH.

It is my strong opinion that the media needs to do some investigative reporting to shed some light on her case not only in the hopes of solving the mystery of "What Happened to Maura Murray", but also to motivate the state of NH in adopting missing person protocols to protect all citizens, especially the weak and vulnerable.”

The Murray and the Rausch family’s efforts to find Maura have been tremendous, but they still yield no true results. How does a family go on in the face of the not knowing?

Maura’s story will conclude on Monday morning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

come forward with what you know and set this behind you.

11:58 PM  

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