This is an unpublished article by Whitewash / Kelly White written in 2007
Subject: what I am
> Haverhill-The car accident that happened on
> Feb. 9,
> 2004 along the
> Wild Ammonoosuc River changed not only Maura Murray’s
> life but that of her family, friends and definitely the
> entire community along Route 112 in Woodsville. The mystery
> of what happened to Murray, 21, a University of Massachusetts nursing
> student who disappeared that night is still plaguing
> everyone. Too many questions still swirl around about what
> happened that tragic night.
> Area residents have been barraged for
> three years with police, private investigators, reporters,
> Murray family, friends and supporters all
> searching, questioning and frustrated. The residents have
> been caught up in an investigation just because it happened
> in their neighborhood. Every turn in the case has led to
> another question.
> Despite thousands of hours spent by
> law enforcement, fire and rescue, family and friends and a
> whole host of forum members on her website www.MauraMurrayMissing.Com everyone
> has the same two questions, “Where is Maura” and
> “What happened to her?” Helena Murray, spokesperson for the Maura
> Murray website states the website was started to generate
> tips for Searching for Maura. Murray states many people assume law
> enforcement or the family knows all there is know when in
> fact they do not. Murray hopes that the information discussed
> on the website may jog someone_s memory. Information
> discussed vary from the fact that Maura_s favorite super
> market was indeed Shaw_s. Maura believed in flossing and
> brushing even after snacks. Murray took a leave absence from her own
> career to assist the Family with the Website and to serve as
> Media Resource for many. Since stepping into Role Murray has
> served the family in keeping the Search for Maura going
> There has been much focus on what was
> not done and little on what was done by those who attempted
> to assist Ms. Murray that evening.
> Across from the Weathered Barn on
> Route 112 is the Tim and Faith Westman home. The Westmans
> have been caught up in the flurry of activity that stemmed
> from that Feb. 9 when a young woman vanished. Only three
> people may have been the last to see Maura Murray. Faith
> Westman may be of the three. If it is Murray they all saw that
> THAT NIGHT
> The Westmans Share
> Faith and Tim Westman were working in
> their home office in the front of their home which faces
> Route 112. _We heard a thump,_ Faith Westman states
> and she went to her kitchen window and saw a car
> parallel-parked across the road with no lights on and called
> 9-1-1. Faith Westman states _she believed
> she was one of the three 9-1-1 call received about this
> accident._ Her call is received by Grafton County Dispatch
> approximately at 7:29 p.m. While on the phone with Dispatch,
> Faith witnesses a school bus driven by one of her two
> neighbors that Drove for First Student Busing. Westman was
> unable to tell which of the Atwoods Where driving that
> night. Westman saw the school bus approach the car
> within minutes to her phoning 911. Westman claims the bus
> driver opened the door and spoke to a driver who was out of
> the car. The school bus driver remained on the bus and Faith
> states the conversation seemed to be 1-2 minutes in length.
> Westman notes that the car driver activated the four-way
> hazard lights. She saw the school bus leave and Westman
> noted the driver was at the trunk of the car, then returned
> to the vehicle inside and Westman saw the interior lights
> flashed on and off. Westman recalls seeing a “red
> dot” moving around the front of the car. It was at this point that Faith assumed the
> driver was fine and returned to her own business she
> believes still on the phone with 911 as nothing appeared to
> be out of the normal and with in minutes Westmans states
> they heard a car pull up and Faith checked out the kitchen
> window and states she sees a Haverhill Police Department
> cruiser and ends the call with 911.
> Faith Westman resumed her computer
> work with her husband. Since the Westmans have lived in
> their home some 35 years such an occurrence is not that much
> out of the norm so a compelling need to continue to watching
> didn_t seem To occur to either her or her husband Tim
> So when Sgt, Cecil Smith showed up at
> their door later asking about the vehicle’s driver,
> Faith Westman was shocked. Faith remembers going to
> the kitchen window and checking the abandoned vehicle in
> disbelief for herself.
> Faith Westman told Sgt. Smith that
> they had seen one of the Atwoods stop to check if the driver
> was OK. The Westmans stated they could not tell whether the
> driver was male or female. Westman informed Smith they saw
> the driver turn the four-ways on and was moving about the
> interior of the car. That was their first initial interview
> about the incident.
> After a period of time, Sgt. Smith
> returns to check their Weathered Barn and parking lot . Tim
> Westman assisted Smith. Tim Westman states that on scene
> fire personnel are searching Old Peter’s Road. Further
> inspection occurred of the gaming trail that runs along the
> Westman backfields that runs the length of their property to
> their neighbors’ the Atwoods’ property. Tim reported
> that he remembers no footprints were found other than deer
> tracks along the gaming trail.
> Tim Westman recalls that the road that
> night was as dry as it would be on a sunny day. Tim Westman,
> “I’m as baffled today by the fact the driver indeed
> cleared the corner” and noted that Murray_s vehicle was
> not at the usual resting place of most vehicles that do not
> make the sharp corner of the road.
> Tim Westman recalls the car was
> several feet up the road from the corner and not resting at
> the brightly ribbon-covered tree. He remembers the vehicle
> was at a set of three trees which leads him to believe the
> driver was indeed going too fast for the corner and was over
> the yellow line correcting themselves perhaps too much. The
> thump they heard was indeed that of something striking the
> The vehicle was completely locked when
> Sgt. Smith found it. It remained locked even after a local
> towing company impounded it. A warrant was secured and the
> car was inspected by law enforcement authorities. The
> vehicle was released to it_s rightful owner
> Fred Murray. Both Fred and Billy went through the car that
> week. Eventually the car was turned it over to law
> enforcement officials when the case Turned from a missing
> persons to an
> The Woodsville Fire Department was
> holding its monthly officers meeting on 2/9/04 which started at 7
> PM that
> evening. For Grafton County, it is standard procedure to tone a
> fire department to the scene of a motor-vehicle accident to
> check for leakage.
> Fire personnel involved state they
> received a BOLO that reached some 63 agencies on the way to
> the scene by Grafton County Dispatch ordered by Sgt Smith
> for a female, 5 feet 7 inches who had left the scene of the
> accident they were responding to.
> Other Eyewitnesses
> There are statements confirming that
> New Hampshire State Police did stop one resident walking
> from the Stagecoach Store in the area of Bungar
> Road along
> with returning rescue personnel who had been cleared from
> the scene. It was This same local resident also reported to
> local authorities that she had seen a red truck, with what
> she believed to be Massachusetts licensed
> plates, go by her when she was walking and had slow down
> enough to make
> her uneasy. She then saw the same red truck sitting in the
> parking lot at the Stagecoach Store. When she reached the
> store lot, the red truck left.
> Another Bradley Hill resident
> returning from a school board meeting stated they were
> stopped prior to Weathered Barn by responding personnel
> still on scene who informed them there was a missing driver
> and asked to search their property which borders Route 112
> and Bradley Hill when they arrived home.
> Most residents can produce numerous
> business cards from law enforcement officials to private
> investigators, and the media who over the past three years
> all have revisited all residents asking questions, looking
> for leads with no avail as another year passes with all
> asking the two same questions _Where is Maura_ and _What
> happened to Maura Murray on February 9, 2004 regardless of
> the theory the same two questions still remain. Anyone with
> any information is encouraged to contact New Hampshire State
> Police Major Crimes Unit at (603) 271-2663 or (800) 852-3411
> or the website listed above.
****** This is a published article by Whitewash / Kelly White 2008 *********
Journal Opinion – 2/13/08 – by Kelly White
Though four years have now passed, the location and date of Maura Murray’s disappearance are still etched in the memory of North Country residents: Route 112 in Haverhill on Feb. 9, 2004.
It is a mystery what happened to Murray after the 21-year-old woman crashed her car and disappeared. And four years of searches, investigations and speculation have seen leads turn to dead ends and a family and small New Hampshire town get caught in the middle of a tragic mystery. After four years of speculation about the Maura Murray case, the law enforcement agencies involved want to speak out about the investigation and assure the public that procedures and policies that are used for any investigation were followed in the Maura Murray case.
Haverhill Police Chief Jeff Williams always strives to get the focus back to what is the most important question in this case, “Where is Maura Murray?”
In an interview, Williams took the opportunity to remind the public of the facts from the original case. For Williams, it is important to note that the Haverhill Police Department as well as all the law enforcement involved, handled the investigation according to regular procedure and protocol from day one. And he says that the investigation has been handled properly since Haverhill Police Department responded to the initial calls about a car accident in Swiftwater.
Williams said that Haverhill Police Department did all they could the night of the accident. Standard procedures were followed and photographs and documentation were made of everything that they found that night. The only thing he said he wished was different that night was that they could have made contact with the Murray family the night of the accident.
Lt. John Scarinza of the New Hampshire State Police added that the combined law enforcement agencies have put in thousands of man hours on this case with no cost spared to find Maura Murray and he added that all agencies have worked well together and within standard policies and procedures expected of them.
As part of an interview with Williams, the Haverhill Police Department provided the following timeline of the early stages of the investigation into the car accident:
On Feb. 9 at 7:29p.m., a 911 call was placed by residents on Wild Ammonoosuc Road about a motor vehicle accident. At 7:46 p.m., Grafton County Dispatch received a call that Sgt. Cecil Smith arrived at the scene. Smith found the vehicle locked and without a driver. He had dispatch run the license plate for the black 1996 Saturn 4-door. He was informed that the car was owned by Fred Murray of Weymouth, MA.
During the first stages of the investigation into the accident, photographs were taken of tire tracks in the snow leading into a stand of trees on the side of the road and showed that the vehicle struck the trees with enough impact to deploy both airbags. Williams noted that taking photographic evidence and documentation at the scene of an accident are standard operating procedure.
Smith later began to question neighbors about the accident. After questioning a school bus driver who stopped to inquire if Maura needed assistance, Smith learned that a woman in her 20’s had been seen at the vehicle. According to a statement given the police, the witness stated the woman’s speech was slurred and she had to hold on to something while she stood. “She begged me not to call police,” according to the witness’ statement.
While still on scene, Smith requested that Grafton County Dispatch call the residence listed with the car’s registration and to inform local hospitals to be on the lookout for a young woman with a description supplied by one of the witnesses. This broadcast was put out to responding units and the dispatch center called Fred Murray’s residence in Massachusetts and left a message. At 7:57 p.m., according to Grafton County Dispatch, Woodsville’s Fire Rescue Pumper Truck arrived with the department’s officers. They were holding a monthly meeting when they received a call about a car accident in Swiftwater.
They first cleared the car of any leaking fluids. Woodsville Fire Chief Brad Kennedy said that it is standard procedure with any vehicle accident called in to 911 that fire rescue are dispatched autimatically. There is only one person authorized to turn around a fire department responding to a call-the fire chief.
Once it was ascertained that the driver of the vehicle was not at the scene, Haverhill Police Department, New Hampshire State Police, fire and EMS personnel along with several neighbors began a brief search of the area surrounding Route 112 and Bradley Hill Road.
A local towing company was called in to remove the vehicle, which according to Williams is part of police policy to impound and store in locked facilities any and all evidence. Upon removal of the vehicle from the accident scene, Smith retrieved a Coca-Cola soda bottle with a strong odor of alcohol which was filed as evidence.
At 9:26 p.m., Smith was dispatched to Pike and left the area. Later that evening, at 11 p.m., Smith made a second attempt to phone the residence of Fred Murray, owner of the vehicle, listed on the Department of Motor Vehicle records. He left a second message that the Haverhill Police Department needed to speak with the car’s owner.
About the same time, at 11 p.m., Cpl. Byron Charles and Officer Mac Cashin assisted Smith in the accident investigation as well as working on securing a search warrant for the black 1996 Saturn that was now impounded.
The following day on Feb 10, at 9:30 a.m., a search warrant was issued by Judge Timothy McKenna of Haverhill District Court to search the impounded black 1996 Saturn. Charles and Cashin then completed a search of the vehicle.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., a be-on-the-lookout (BOL) communique was issued throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts for Maura Murray.
At 3:30 p.m., Smith returned to duty and called Weymouth Police Department requesting they check the residence listed on the DMV information. They still had not heard from Fred Murray. Weymouth PD instead directed Smith to contact Laurie Murray’s phone number.
At 3:40 p.m., Smith spoke to Laurie Murray who informed him that the black Saturn belonged to her ex-husband Fred Murray but is driven by their daughter Maura. Laurie gave Smith the number to Maura’s cell phone and to her dorm at the University of Massachusetts. Right after that conversation, Smith again tried Fred Murray’s phone number and left another message. He also spoke with Hanson Police Department again at 3:51 p.m.
Smith called Maura Murray’s sister, Kathleen Murray at 4:40 p.m. requesting a photo of Maura. Kathleen said she would email one to Haverhill Police Department.
At 6 p.m., Grafton County Dispatch was contacted by Fred Murray. And at 7 p.m., Smith called the University of Massachusetts (UM) campus security and requested that they check Maura Murray’s dorm room.
Smith was able to speak to Fred Murray at 8 p.m. on Feb. 10. In the initial, official police statement, Fred Murray stated that his daughter, Maura, was depressed and he was fearful for her safety. He informed Smith that she had an accident in Hadley, MA on Feb.7, 2004, wrecking another vehicle of his and totaling thousands of dollar’s worth of damage.
Murray told Smith that he hoped Maura wasn’t doing the “old squaw walk” which Murray explained was something the two of them often joked about. The squaw walk referred to when it came time for the old Indians to die, they would walk off into the woods and die. Fred Murray requested that HPD call in the FBI, state police and a search began immediately for his daughter.
At 8.25 p.m., Haverhill Police called fish and game authorities to advise of them of a missing person situation and possible search as it had just become apparent that they may have an endangered/missing person.
Haverhill Police Department received a call at 8:40 p.m. from UM campus security to report Maura Murray’s belongings were all packed in her dorm room. Campus security had evidence that she was last seen Sunday morning by a fellow student and that she was carrying a backpack, box of wine and a large hockey bag of beer. Fish and game informed the HPD at 9 p.m. that if the driver was not located by the morning of Feb 11, they would begin a search at daylight.
The next day on Feb 11, fish and game officers, state police, local police, along with family and friends of Maura Murray began one of the first of many searches at the Wild Ammonoosuc Road accident site.
Williams said he contacted the FBI early on and he, the FBI, New Hampshire State Police and UM campus security all met in Keene to confer about the investigation.
After four years of searches and heartache, no answers have been found. It is heart-wrenching for family members, friends and the community where the accident occurred that Maura’s whereabouts are not known.
Still, the investigation continues and it will remain open until Maura Murray is found. Scarinza said that there is still the possibility that someday this could possibly become a criminal case.
“If that is where the evidence leads us,” he said. “There has been such a push by some to have the case become open to the public. This would totally jeopardize any good investigation done by all agencies involved and who, in reality, would that serve justice to? Certainly not Miss Maura Murray.” If you have any information about Maura Murray or the night of the accident, please contact NHSP Troop F at xxxxxxx or the Haverhill Police Department at XXXXXXX
What does the slang term whitewash mean?
To whitewash is a metaphor meaning “to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data”.