Have You Seen Maura Murray?

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On Feb. 9, 2004, Maura Murray, a 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, vanished in the northern New Hampshire wilderness. She had a minor car accident and in the 10 minutes it took police to respond, she was gone. Police searched the area for days but found no obvious clues. There were no footprints and a search dog lost a scent on the road just yards from her car. Her bank card, credit cards, and cellphone have not been used since. Bill Rausch, who is a second lieutenant in the Army, and also Maura's boyfriend, flew from Oklahoma where he is stationed, to help search for her. Bill is pictured above with Maura. He has since gone back to Oklahoma where he did an online interview with the Child Seek Network. Below is that interview....

Q. Bill, can you tell us a little about your relationship with Maura?

A. I met Maura through an introduction by her sister, Julie, in the fall of 2001 while we cadets at the United States Military Academy. We were drawn to one another almost immediately and have been dating ever since. Well on her way to successfully completing the Nursing Program at Umass, Amherst we had planned to become engaged (the specific date was to be a surprise!) within the year and married sometime after she had graduated in the Spring of 2005.

Q. Most of the news reports say that Maura is a very responsible young lady, yet evidence suggests that she was planning on leaving school and going away somewhere without telling her family and friends. Do you think that the pressure of nursing school and life in general would drive Maura to leave without telling anyone?

A. Although no one can speak for Maura, I can say that she was not only enjoying her current semester, which she expressed to me on several occasions, but also was excelling at the same time, based on her Dean's list performance during the fall semester.

In regard to her leaving without mention to anyone, I can say with absolute certainty that she attempted to tell me via phone, but instead left a message expressing her desire to talk with me. The voicemail I am referring to was left at 1:00 PM, on Monday, the 9th of February, the day that she left. And based on our phone records (we have a joint account), the last two phone calls she made prior to her disappearance were to myself at the time mentioned above, and to her dorm phone, which based on the duration, was to check her messages, presumably to see if I had called.

Q. The area where Maura had her accident and where she was last seen was not searched for two days. What reason do law enforcement officials give for the delay in searching?

A. The explanation from law enforcement officials in regard to the time between the car being found and the search being conducted was based on the fact that they were uncertain as to the severity of the issue and in addition were awaiting contact from the owner/operator of the car.

Q. Some news stories suggest that Maura had some "trouble" at school. Do you think that this alleged trouble had anything to do with her going missing?

A. Based on the fact that we talked daily via phone, email and written letters, I was not aware of any major issues that she was dealing with at school. And although I am curious as to why she left school, it goes without saying that my primary concern right now is in bringing her home safely and as quickly as possible.

Q. It has been reported that one of Maura's friends held back information from the police because she did not want to "get Maura in trouble". Has this person since given that information to them?

A. Although I cannot accurately comment on any information that the police did or did not receive from her friend in question, I can say that I have spoken with her on numerous occasions immediately following Maura's disappearance and since, feeling quite certain that she was forthcoming to authorities as well as to myself.

Q. Have law enforcement officials given you any idea of when they will consider that foul play may be involved instead of treating Maura's disappearance as voluntary?

A. Although the police were quite adamant that Maura's disappearance was of her own accord initially, I can only hope that law enforcement officials are coming to the almost obvious conclusion that they were most certainly wrong in that assumption.

With that being said, I know that they have yet to officially categorize Maura's case as a criminal investigation, based on a lack of evidence, which would provoke a change of status. In regard to any such evidence, I am hoping that it was not overlooked, discarded, or destroyed during the initial stages of the investigation while the authorities were mistakenly treating the situation as a missing persons case. For example, the car in which Maura was driving at the time of the accident was released by the authorities within four days and had never been checked for fingerprints.

Q. There have been several young ladies disappear recently. Some get lots of national media coverage while some do not. Does it anger you that Maura has not gotten the same attention as others?

A. Maura's entire family, as well as her countless friends and myself want to bring Maura home as soon as possible. We are also aware that any and all media coverage would be helpful in doing precisely that. At the same time, we cannot be upset at a lack of coverage Maura is receiving or at the abundance of coverage another case is receiving.

Ideally, situations such as this would be picked up by all media outlets, however, in Maura's case I believe that the authorities' unwillingness to admit their incorrect assumption of her disappearing of her own accord, as well as any further action to categorize this as a criminal investigation, has left the media weary to run the story. I think it logical to assume that no media source wants to run a story involving plausible criminal activity only to find out that the opposite was, in fact, the case. And as long as the authorities refuse to except the obvious and in turn publicize the facts of the case, I feel that the media will continually be hesitant to run with the story.

Q. The family has hired a private investigator to help find Maura. Have you considered other options such as psychics?

A. To involve additional assistance such as a psychic, I personally cannot fathom how that could be of help.

Q. Have any of the national news media programs such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, etc. contacted you about putting Maura's story on? Have you contacted any of them about that possibility?

A. Maura's family as well as my own family have been in contact as well as communication with several national news media programs. Some programs have run the story, to which everyone involved is both thankful and appreciative for their interest and in turn, help in bringing Maura home.

Other programs that we have been in contact with who have not run the story are concerned with the point I previously mentioned, that being the authorities' reluctance of officially categorizing Maura's case as a criminal investigation as well as standing by their initial, and at this point obviously incorrect assumption, that she disappeared willingly. This is a concern for the media outlets, and rightfully so, given that they rely on all sources of information when deciding whether to run a case. Again, this is why we feel it so important for the authorities to issue a new statement explaining the severity of the case.

Q. Is there anything that Child Seek can do for you or Maura's family?

A. The fact that we are having this interview gives great comfort and hope for everyone who loves Maura and in turn want to bring her home. From day one it has been apparent that the more Maura's photo, as well as her story reaches the public, the more likely it makes the possibility that Maura will come back to us. Everyone is truly thankful for your interest and efforts in doing precisely that, and I personally want Child Seek to know that your efforts in Maura's case, as well as the countless others are both appreciated as well as productive.

Q. If you could get a message to Maura, what would you say to her?

A. If Maura could hear me now, I would reassure her of what she already knows: that I love her and that I am not giving up, so neither should she. She knows as well as anyone how strong willed and determined she is, and she should know that everyone who loves her is just as determined and focused on bringing her home as anyone could possibly be.

Anyone with any information on the case is asked to contact police at (603) 787-2222

If you would like more information on Maura go to http://pub83.ezboard.com/fisthatso89415frm558

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