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.