Maura Murray was born on May 4, 1982 in Brockton, Massachusetts and was the youngest daughter of Fred Murray (a medical technician) and Laurie Murray's (a nurse). Maura grew up in Hanson, a small suburb on the South Shore of Massachusetts in a working class family with plenty of guidance from her siblings, including her older brother Fred Jr., sisters Kathleen and Julie, and younger brother Kurtis. Her parents divorced when she was six. Maura was an overachiever that excelled both academically (as a national honor society member) and athletically. At the same time, she was active in her local community where she became known for her kind-heart, signature dimples, and beautiful smile. She participated in nearly every sport, including competitive AAU basketball, which allowed her to travel all over New England as a teenager.
A fierce competitor, she consistently finished in the top tier of runners in the state of Massachusetts and broke several long standing school records. Selected as a Boston Globe All-Scholastic in cross country, Maura qualified for the U.S. National Scholastic Outdoor Championships in the 2 mile as a sophomore in 1998 finishing 33rd in the country.
She graduated at the top of her class at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School and had her pick of colleges, both academically and athletically; however, she decided to accept a congressional nomination from the late Senator Edward Kennedy and join her sister Julie at the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point. Maura continued to excel in the rigorous military and academic program at West Point and established herself as a force on the cross country and track teams. During her second year at West Point, Maura decided the military was not for her and she transferred to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where she decided to pursue a career in nursing. On the morning of February 9, 2004 Maura submitted her nursing homework electronically and reportedly emailed professors stating there had been a death in the family and she would leave campus for the week (there was no death in the family). She placed a call to the owner of a condominium in Bartlett, NH, which is a place that was special to Maura and that she had spent time at in the past. She packed a bag with toiletries, makeup, work-out attire, school books, and several days’ worth of clothes.
At 3:15 PM, Maura stopped at an off-campus ATM and withdrew $280, which was nearly all of the money in her account. She then stopped at a liquor store and purchased about $40 worth of alcohol. According to authorities, she departed the Amherst/Hadley, MA area around 4:30 PM, and drove her 1996 Saturn north toward New Hampshire. She did not tell anyone what her plans were or why she was heading to New Hampshire on that Monday afternoon.
At 7:27 PM, Faith Westman, a resident of Haverhill, NH called police and stated that there had been an accident near her home and that a car was stuck in a ditch. Shortly after, a bus driver named Butch Atwood drove by and spoke to Maura. He offered her help and asked if she needed him to call police. She declined both offers and said she had already called AAA. Knowing there was no cell reception in that area, Atwood drove home (about 100 yards east of the accident), parked his bus, and went inside to call police. His call to 911 was placed at 7:42 PM. When asked if she appeared injured, Atwood told police that she appeared shaken up and that the airbags had deployed, but that he saw no blood.
By the time the first officer arrived on scene at 7:46 PM, Maura was gone. The officer noted that the car had been locked and there was a box of red wine behind the driver’s seat, as well as stains on the ceiling and door, and a coke bottle that appeared to have a red liquid in it. He also noted that there appeared to be a rag stuffed in Maura’s tailpipe (later it was learned that this was something Fred had advised Maura to do in order to avoid being ticketed by police for the excessive smoke coming out of the tailpipe).
The officer asked the bus driver for assistance locating Maura and suggested he drive west of the accident scene and search some of the roads in the French Pond area. A state trooper also responded to the scene and also searched the roads west of the accident site. Fire and EMS also responded to the scene. EMS was dismissed within minutes, perhaps because there was no one at the scene to treat. The eight firefighters briefly searched in the accident scene before proceeding back west and returning to the fire station. As far as anyone is aware, no one searched east of the accident scene.
The bus driver's brief interaction with Maura was the last known sighting. Since that time, there has been no trace of her and no activity on her cell phone or bank accounts.
A comprehensive list of records, including 911 transcripts, police dispatch logs, accident reports, and affidavits can be found at 107 Degrees Blog, a site dedicated to acquiring and evaluating evidence in Maura's Disappearance.
Family & Friends
"Maura was talented in everything she did. Be it schoolwork, she got straight A's. Be it athletics, top-notch in everything she ever did." - Fred Jr.