Murray’s mother believes daughter may be a victim of kidnaping

By By Elizabeth Joyce-Brandt Collegian Correspondent

AMHERST- The mother of a University of Massachusetts nursing student still missing after nearly three months suspects foul play in the disappearance of her daughter.

Laurie Murray, mother of the missing student, Maura Murray, said she fears that her daughter has been kidnapped.

“Maura was abducted,” Murray said. “She is not a runaway, she would not do this to her family.”

Maura Murray, a junior and Hanson native, drove to New Hampshire on Feb. 9, after telling her teachers she would be gone for a week due to a death in the family. While driving east along Route 112 in Haverhill, N.H., Murray failed to make a sharp left hand curve near The Weathered Barn, which resulted in a single-car accident. A passerby, Butch Atwood, stopped to see if she needed him to call the police. Atwood told police that Murray refused.

According to police, Murray disappeared before they arrived. They found her car locked with her clothing inside. Her cell phone and credit cards have not been used since her disappearance.

“My thinking is that when she had her car accident up in Haverhill, she was walking up the road and she took a ride, she had to have… the [police] dog stopped in the middle of the road with her scent,” said Murray. “She had to get into someone’s vehicle. There were no footprints on either side of the road. She got into a vehicle, with the wrong person. You know, she could’ve been suffering from a head injury, her windshield was broken… she could’ve had trauma, amnesia.”

Although police say they have no evidence of foul play, they have not ruled it out. “Anything’s possible,” said Sgt. Thomas Yorke of the Troop F Barracks in Twin Mountain, N.H. Yorke said he believes that Murray had some type of plan.

“We are dealing with facts. She packed up her room…. she obviously had something on her mind,” he said. “Maybe she went to visit someone and that got interrupted.” Yorke also said there is some possibility that Murray may not want to be found.

“She may have just gone out on her own. She’s 21, she can be her own person,” Yorke said. “She may not want to be found, we’ll respect that. We just want to know so we can put people at ease.”

Police are currently following up on tips that they have received.

“[There are] different things that detectives are working on, though nothing is earth-shattering,” Yorke said. “Just miscellaneous tips, things like ‘I saw her the next day.'”

The search has been focused in the New Hampshire area. A helicopter search found nothing last week. Another ground search will be conducted sometime this week with help from area fire departments and Fish and

Game officials. Vermont authorities are aware of Murray’s disappearance and her close friends have contacted Canadian authorities, according to Murray.

“Considering there is a very limited force up there [in New Hampshire], they are doing the best they can,” Murray said “There are only three or four of them [officers] to cover a large area, so I can’t say that they are [doing enough to find Maura].”

When questioned, Murray denied that the family recruited psychics to aid in Maura’s search.

“Actually, that was false information,” Murray said. “Any psychic who went up there, did it on their own, there was no one hired.”

Murray said she doesn’t believe in psychics and believes that her daughter is coming home. Police said they have no evidence to believe that Maura Murray is dead. “We are still hopeful that she’s found

safe and alive. We have no evidence to dictate otherwise,” Yorke said.

Laurie Murray remains hopeful that her daughter will return home.

“She’s very bubbly, well liked, everybody loves her,” she said. “Everyone is praying, all over the world. We’ll never give up hope. We just want her home safe.”

On Sunday, May 2, a circle of hope vigil was held at the Hanson-Whitman high school track, in a community that has been very supportive to the Murray search. Circles of hope will also be conducted in Ohio, where the parents of Murray’s boyfriend live, and in North Carolina, where her sister, Julie, is living.

Maura’s 22nd birthday was yesterday and with Mother’s Day on Sunday, Laurie Murray said day-to-day coping is very hard.

“I will never give up hope,” she said. “I have my ups and downs, but I have to be strong for her.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Maura Murray should contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-3636.