In a meeting with law enforcement (LE), I was shown the user name and redacted instant messages from an unknown person who was in contact with Maura in the days leading up to her disappearance. LE asked if I recognized the instant messenger user name, but I did not. However, I did some basic internet searches and was able to identify them. I reached out in hopes they may remember something, anything. Well, I finally received a reply back.
This person and Maura were West Point classmates and became friends, keeping in contact when she transferred to UMass. This individual was also perhaps the last person to communicate with Maura before she disappeared (although LE did not confirm).
I was very disappointed to learn that neither LE nor anyone else had ever reached out to them. A thousand questions ran through my mind, but mostly, why didn’t LE talk to one of Maura’s last known contacts? I was able to find them using my very limited resources - Google and alumni network mainly. They were willing to answer questions and truly wanted to help, but unfortunately they just couldn’t remember the context of their conversations some 17 years later. One thing they did clear up was the identity of a person in a photo with Maura that I have been trying to identify for years. The person confirmed it was them. I asked if they still had their computer/hard drive from back then, but they had gotten rid of it several years ago. My heart sank as I realized my hopes were shattered yet again.
I can’t help but wonder if LE would have contacted this person sooner - or contacted them at all - if we would be any closer to answers.
Unlike LE, we do not consider Maura’s disappearance a cold case. Many people have expressed an interest in learning more about our efforts to find Maura, so I plan to share more updates in future. I also want to thank those members of the community that have reached out to express their support and empathy in recent weeks, and who have strived to maintain the focus on Maura. We are grateful to those who share our genuine desire to find answers and help us bring Maura home.