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A Wednesday press conference disappointed Maura Murray’s family and supporters alike, whom were hoping that the announcement would be about a big break in the high-profile case.
The FBI, State Police, and the Attorney General’s office announced that they searched a home in Woodsville, New Hampshire, in connection with the 2004 case.
Jeff Strelzin, Associate Attorney General, announced that investigators searched the home on Wednesday in hopes of finding evidence.
“I can tell you that no evidence was found in connection with that case,” he said.
Murray was last seen on Feb. 9, 2004 after crashing her car into a tree along Route 112 in Woodsville. A few witnesses called the police, but by the time authorities arrived on the scene, she was gone. Although the case was never closed, it has often seemed like it has gone stagnant, despite the fact that several online communities have grown obsessed with the case — it has been the theme of at least one book, several podcasts, including "Missing Maura Murray,” and "The Disappearance of Maura Murray,” a docu-series which aired on Oxygen.
In February, the Murray family announced that two different cadaver dogs, hired by the family, responded to what could be human remains in the basement of a home right near the site of Murray’s crash. Ground penetrating radar also had a positive hit at that location.
Julie Murray, Maura Murray’s sister, told Oxygen.com at the time that it felt like the most promising lead to finding closure thus far. She claimed that back in 2004, shortly after her sibling vanished, she began hearing rumors of what may have happened to her sister. In one version of the rumors, “someone took Maura back to a party and drugged her or something and then buried her in a basement,” Julie told Oxygen.com, adding that in another version of that rumor her sister was buried “in a concrete basement in a house very close to the accident site.”
Now, that lead has apparently been squashed. Strelzin now says that ground-penetrating radar detected disturbed ground, and not a body.
“We certainly did not believe that there was credible evidence but we did conduct that search,” Strelzin said.
Although they didn't have probable cause to search the home, which involved cutting up chunks of concrete, he said that the current home owners gave law enforcement permission to do so.
“It was really done just to cross something off the list,” he said, adding that the news has been hard on the Murray family.
"This one hurts,” Murray’s dad, Fred Murray, said after the presser, according to News 7 in Lyndonville, Vermont. “This one hurts a lot."
The family has been trying to find answers on what happened to Murray for 15 years.
“This is a very disappointing development,” Tim Pilleri, one of the hosts of the "Missing Maura Murray” podcast told Oxygen.com. “As much as we've trained ourselves not to get our hopes up, we definitely were optimistic this was Maura and the beginning of the end of the case. At least we can cross another lead off the list.”
James Renner, who penned the book “True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray” told Oxygen.com that he never put too much stock in the theory that Murray was killed near the accident site.
“After Fred Murray went on national television and showed video of the cadaver dogs hitting on a scent in the basement, the police reminded everybody that the property had already been searched,” he said. “But the news spread and it got to the point where they really had to follow the lead through if only to cross it off the list.”
Renner pointed to the cadaver dogs’ false hits as evidence of the potential unreliability of cadaver dogs. He said he hopes that the family soon can get the closure they need, but feels that the answers are not near the accident site.
“I believe if you look at the circumstances of her disappearance, the only thing that makes sense is for her to have been traveling with a tandem driver,” Renner said. “Somebody out there has a missing piece of this puzzle.”
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