Maura Murray's Disappearance: A Timeline

On February 9, 2004, Maura emailed her professors at University of Massachusetts and her employer requesting time off after death in her family. The death turned out to be made up.

By Gina Tron

"The Disappearance of Maura Murray," which explores the case of a 21-year-old nursing student who vanished without a trace, premieres Saturday, Sept. 23 at 8:15/7:15c on Oxygen. On February 9, 2004, Maura emailed her professors at University of Massachusetts and her employer requesting time off after death in her family. The death turned out to be made up. That night, she crashed her car into a tree in New Hampshire. A few witnesses called the police. When the police showed up, Maura was gone.

Here is a basic timeline of the case:

February 5

Maura talked to her older sister on the phone during a slow time at Maura’s work. She worked at student security. The two discussed guy problems they were having.

February 6

Around 1 a.m., Maura received a phone call at work and became visibly upset. She was then escorted back to her dorm room by her supervisor. Lance Reenstierna, who will be seen on "The Disappearance of Maura Murray,"  told that this is a potential red herring.

“She was reported to say, while sobbing, ‘my sister,’” Lance said.

February 8

At around 3:30 a.m. Maura crashed her father's new Toyota into a roadside post causing 10 thousand dollars worth of damage according to Boston Magazine.

February 9

According to Boston Magazine, Maura emailed her boyfriend at 1 p.m. stating: "I got your messages, but honestly, I didn't feel like talking to much of anyone, I promise to call today though." She also looked into renting a Bartlett condo that she and her family had vacationed at in the past. At 1:24 pm, she emailed a work supervisor at the nursing-school faculty, stating that she would be out of town for a week due to a death in her family. However, no one in her family had died.

Around 3:30 pm, she drove off the campus in her black Saturn sedan. Later, when her room was searched, campus police found most of her possessions packed in boxes. On top of one of the boxes was a printed email to Murray's boyfriend. It hinted at trouble in their relationship, according to Daily Collegian.

At 3:40 p.m., “she withdrew $280 from an area ATM, then stopped at a liquor store. Surveillance cameras at the bank machine and in the store show that she was alone,” the Boston Globe reported.

Murray called to check her own voicemail at 4:37 pm, the last recorded use of her cell phone.

Nobody knows for sure when Maura left on her drive up north.

“The time she left determines the route she took up there,” Lance explained.

The next time she was seen was that evening in the White Mountains hamlet of Haverhill, New Hampshire. School Bus driver Butch Atwood saw her car in an embankment and he stopped to ask if she needed help. Atwood said she declined, and that she claimed she had already called AAA. He knew that was a lie because there was no cell reception in the area. He then drove 100 years back to his home and called police at 7:43. He couldn’t see Maura’s car when he placed the call, but said he noticed several cars passing by where it was on the road.

At 7:46 pm, a police officer arrived at the scene. Nobody was inside or outside of Maura’s car, which was locked. Red stains, believed to be red wine, were found on the interior and exterior of the car. Inside the Saturn, police found an empty beer bottle and a damaged box of wine. Also in the car: an AAA card issued to Murray, blank accident-report forms, gloves, compact discs, makeup, diamond jewelry, two sets of MapQuest driving directions (one to Burlington, Vermont, another to Stowe, Vermont), and a book about mountain climbing in the White Mountains, according to the Concord Monitor. Maura’s debit card, credit cards, and cell phone were missing, and according to the Boston Globe, they were never used again. Police reported some of the bottles of purchased liquor were also gone.

Three months later, a contractor named Rick Forcier reported that the night Maura went missing he saw a young person moving quickly on foot down the road between 8 and 8:30 p.m. He said that the young person was wearing jeans, a dark coat, and a light-colored hood, according to the Caledonian Record. He realized that upon reviewing his work records, that he spotted this person the same night Maura vanished.

A rag was found stuffed inside the car’s muffler pipe. It was believed to have been part of Murray's emergency roadside kit, according to the Whitman Hanson Express.

“A lot of people talk about the rag that was found in the tailpipe,” Tim Pilleri of "The Disappearance of Maura Murray" told “That’s like the Alfred Hitchcock red herring. There’s a lot of talk about what that could possibly mean and people LOVE coming up with theories. It’s a major talking point in the case.”

September 10

Maura officially became a "missing person,” almost twenty-four hours after she was last seen.

“Was Maura suicidal or afraid of men?” Tim asked. “Why did she leave UMass in the first place? Was she going to commit suicide like some people think? Was she pregnant and running away like others think?  Hopefully this show can answer these questions.”

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