Last week law enforcement (LE) asked me to authenticate the content of an anonymous proton email account that was first claiming to be in contact with my sister Maura, then claiming to be my sister. The email was clearly a troll attempting to offer ‘proof’ of their claims by re-stating rumors and mis-information that were discussed at length on old Topix forums and internet sites. This is the second time in the past year that someone using a proton mail account has attempted to impersonate my sister. Both in that case and in this recent case, nothing contained in the emails gave me any indication whatsoever it was my sister. Much of the mis-information provided were cherry picked ideas presumably intended to corroborate the most sensationalized versions of what could have happened to Maura, based on pure speculation.
If you have followed the case or watched the Oxygen series, it will sound familiar. The conspiracy theory reads something like this: Maura was involved in a hit and run, and then with the aid of money from my father (and perhaps with help from her boyfriend), she escaped north to a small border town in Vermont, and has been living in hiding in Canada for 17 years. Also sprinkled into the plot line is the idea she was running from my abusive father, the visible antagonist of the fictionalized narrative built upon baseless claims. I want to share parts of what I provided to LE in response.
These sick claims about my father are disgusting, unfounded and vindictive. They are based on complete mischaracterizations of the words of my Aunt Janis and hearsay from my sister Kathleen, as told through her former abusive spouse (a “source” with clear ulterior motives). I’ve attached Kathleen and Janis’ responses to what has been published about them. Both are more than willing to speak to law enforcement and clarify these rumors and discrepancies.
For my part, I can say I have never in my life experienced any kind of abuse and am willing to take a polygraph or any other method to prove it. If I suspected my father of sexually abusing anyone, I would escort him to jail myself. But the reality is that these false claims are completely baseless, originating from a clickbait blogger capitalizing off my missing sister at the expense of my family.
LE was provided these statements by my sister Kathleen and Aunt Janis after these damaging, salacious rumors gained traction, and I’d also like to share parts of them here for context. I plan to post these statements on our website for people to review in full. My sister Kathleen stated the following in response to hearsay attributed to her being put in print:
‘I believe the insinuation is that my father, Fred Murray, abused his children. This is absolutely false and a
complete misrepresentation of anything I have ever said. I adamantly deny any scenario in which I claimed my father abused me or any of his children. To falsely attribute this disgusting accusation to me is reprehensible. It is a dark and twisted way to fabricate the truth shaping his narrative. [The] source for this false information is my ex- husband, whose biases and own alcohol and domestic/sexual abuse history should have been considered prior to using him as a source of such lies. l love my father dearly and have been affected deeply by the long-term implications and permanence of these disgusting insinuations.’ [Read her full statement here]
My Aunt Janis stated the following in her statement:
Reference a comment about a single tent – ‘This is simply not true. I was commenting on the fact I did not particularly enjoy camping but [he] twisted my words implying something sinister about a single tent. In fact, Fred always had a separate tent for the girls and I can’t remember a single time he only took one of his kids. If I thought for a second Fred was abusing his kids in any way, I would have reported it to police immediately. Further, I often allowed my own daughters to accompany Fred on camping trips. This complete mischaracterization of my words is just a small sample of the tactics used as retribution for Fred’s refusal to participate...’ [Read her full statement here]
I want content consumers to hear the truth from me. The use of trolls, anonymous sourcing, and manipulation of facts to frame a narrative designed to evoke an emotional response is irresponsible. ‘Reporting’ such lies while ignoring the effects on the real lives of people left behind in the wake of a tragedy is unethical. I speak at length about this on James McMahon's podcast 'Shame'.
I’m thankful that LE gave me, someone who actually knew Maura (perhaps better than anyone), a chance to view the content of these emails, invalidate them, and flag their senders as trolls and obstructionists before more mis-information was spread online. I am also thankful they share my desire to avoid clickbait fodder reaffirming false narratives, which has only served to re-traumatize my family and slow our efforts to find Maura.
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.
Over the past year, despite the pandemic, our family has continued to move forward searching for Maura and we'd like to update everyone on recent developments to include an exciting new partnership.
Our family is consulting with Dr. Maurice Godwin, PhD, a renowned forensic profiler specializing in investigative psychology, crime scene analysis, missing persons, and geographic profiling of abductors and serial murders. He is an expert in his field; has appeared on national TV and news segments, authored several books, and runs his own forensic consultancy group out of North Carolina.
Dr. Godwin met with my father last month in New Hampshire to review the area on Route 112 where Maura’s car was found. They spent a couple days visiting areas of interest and discussing details of her disappearance. Dr. Godwin is a true professional and we are grateful to have someone of his caliber on the case. Some of you may be familiar with his work on the DC sniper and Tara Grindstead case. He prides himself on finding evidence that others have missed, something that we so desperately need. Thank you Dr. Godwin!
Over the past few years our family has obtained several samples from multiple areas of interest for testing. With mixed emotions we can report that the majority of the samples were either too degraded to provide definitive results or could not be connected to Maura at this time. Two of the samples were sent to labs in California and Florida for headspace analysis and an advanced technique called LIBS (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy). We are hopeful those tests will produce some results. For a grieving family desperate for answers this was disappointing; however, after some reflection we realized we can now shift focus elsewhere.
Additionally, during the spring we worked with an independent cadaver dog, who searched an area of interest from a tip provided by a local. The cadaver dog did not alert at this location. Nonetheless, the search continues and we remain hopeful.
A note on the trolling: We are aware of the trolling surrounding Maura’s case. We believe it is the work of a sadistic coward who has been trolling the case for a very long time. His behavior calls into question the sourcing behind much of the information reported as fact in Maura’s case. We are actively working with the authorities to put an end to this cruelty. Julie speaks to Amanda Knox about this topic, specifically Ethics in True Crime Journalism, in Season 2 of her podcast Labyrinths, and we will post the episode on the media page on the official website once it is released.
From an early age, Maura and I competed along side each other in athletics, creating a bond we share to this day. On May 4, 2021 Maura would celebrate her 39th birthday and if she were here, I know we would start the day off with a workout - and probably end it with some friendly banter and beer!
To honor and remember Maura on her 39th birthday, our family, her friends, and supporters across the country are virtually participating in the first annual Maura Murray WOD (workout of the day) on May 4, 2021. It's the perfect way to remember Maura - breaking a sweat!
The WOD (aka, workout) consists of two events with special significance to Maura; a 2 mile run and 82 burpees. Maura’s best race was the 2 mile run and Maura’s birth year  will be the number of burpees guaranteed to make you sweat.
Supporters can join us by ordering an exclusive 2021 Maura WOD t-shirt by April 13th to wear during the workout. You'll break a sweat, honor Maura, and walk away with a Maura WOD t-shirt! Share photos, videos, and the results of your workout on May 4th via social media and use the hashtag #MauraMuscle to inspire others as we honor and remember my little sister Maura.
I look forward to seeing everyone [virtually] on May 4 and as always, thank you for your love and support - Maura would be amazed.
Background. A WOD is an official functional movement workout performed on a given day. Maura’s older sister and former teammate, Julie Murray, designed the Maura WOD based on a workout she wishes they could do together on Maura's birthday [May 4]. The workout is for everyone, and the 2 mile run and 82 burpees can be scaled to a 1-2 mile walk and 82 alternating step-ups depending on your fitness level.
On the evening of February 9, 2004, my sister Maura disappeared after her car crashed on Rt. 112 in Haverhill, NH. For sixteen years, a blue ribbon has been placed around a tree near the location Maura was last seen before she vanished without a trace. With no grave to visit or ashes to scatter, Maura’s blue ribbon serves as a symbol to remember and honor her.