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Our first fairy tale before bed. Our first teenage door slam. Our first midnight kitchen dance party. Our first lazy Sunday morning. The first home scheme, the help to buy scheme, and the local authority affordable purchase scheme made owning our new Glenvay home a lot more achievable. Make your first move and visit Glenvay. Ie/welcomehome. Love where you live. Glenvay, home of the New.


Craig Ackley, former Director of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, the FBI in Quantico, Virginia. He profiled Mara, and she didn't meet the profile at all of someone who would run away or someone who would commit suicide. He was adamant about it.


I'm Julie Murray, and this is Media Pressure, the untold story of Mara Murray. The following podcast contains adult language and potentially triggering topics. Listener discretion is advised. The opinions presented by my guest are their own. Episode 5, The Fateful Day, February ninth, 2004. My entire life changed in an instant on February ninth, 2004. My little sister Mara disappeared without warning, without reason. Nothing would ever be the same for my family. Now, despite having to live alongside of this horrible tragedy, one silver lining was a new found appreciation for the present. Your world can change with each passing moment. Nothing can prepare you for it, and you won't see it coming. In this episode, I'm going to walk through the timeline of this fateful day. Let me warn you up front, though. It's a lot. So buckle up. At 3:32 AM on Monday, February ninth, 4, my sister submitted her nursing school homework assignment, which was to provide definitions for common maternity terms. Among Mara's portion included the terms Braxton Hicks, Dureamorp, an epidural anesthesia. For years, people have speculated that this indicated she was pregnant, when in fact, that was the actual assignment. The bigger point here is it shows Mara was keeping up with her schoolwork.


Who puts in that effort if they plan to disappear? It tells me that was never her plan at all. Next, she makes the first steps in what appears to be a hasty plan to get away for a few days. She searches for directions to Burlington, Vermont, and Bartlett, New Hampshire. It's important to note that these are very different geographical areas, separated by 135 miles in about a two and a half hour drive. Bartlett was the area my family spent every summer camping and hiking. It was an area she loved a second home. We had only been to Burlington a handful of times. At approximately 4:00 AM, she concluded her computer work and presumably got some sleep. See, Mara was a night owl, so it wasn't abnormal for her to be up so late. When she had trouble sleeping, she sometimes took over-the-counter sleeping aids to help quiet her mind. Around mid-morning on February ninth, she conducted several more Internet searches. At 12:55, she called a condo owner named Linda Salomon, who who owned a condo at the Seasons in Bartlett, New Hampshire. My family had stayed there several times in the past. It's located off Route 112, the Cankamagas Highway, our old stomping grounds growing up.


The call lasts three minutes, but Mara doesn't end up making a reservation. Nine months after the disappearance, my family went back to square one to look at everything again. We assumed law enforcement had contacted her. We were wrong. Law enforcement didn't contact Linda at all, despite being one of Mara's last known calls on the day she disappeared. Linda told us that too much time had passed for her to remember any details of the conversation. At 1:00 PM, she emails her boyfriend Bill. The email said, I love you more stud. I got your messages, but honestly, I don't feel like talking to much of anyone. I promise to call you today, though. Love you. Mara. At 1:13, she calls a fellow nursing student, Erin Murphy, to arrange to drop off some borrowed clothes. Mara carpooled with Aaron to nursing clinicals. One time, they got caught in a snowstorm, so Aaron let Mara borrow the clothes. The call lasts two minutes, and Aaron tells Mara it's no big deal, and she can return them whenever. At 1:24 PM, Mara emails her professors saying that there was a death in the family and she needs to take some time off.


There was no death in our family. I think in her mind, this was a surefire way to buy some time away from school without having to explain or be subject to additional questions. I mean, who questions a death of a family member? It's the classic excuse, especially for a young college student. I think that's where Mara's head was at. At 2:05, she calls an information line, 1-800 Go Stowe, a ski resort in Northern Vermont. Mara wasn't a big skier, mostly because it was cost prohibitive, but she had skied before. The call last approximately one minute, and it was information about reservations, weather, and ski conditions, so she doesn't book a reservation. Between 2:14 and 2:24, Mara and Bill appear to play phone tag. They both call each other and either miss the call or leave a voicemail. I've always wondered if Mara was avoiding people, and him in particular that day, as her email indicated not wanting to talk to anyone. I've also wondered why she didn't call Kathleen or myself that day. Having the luxury of hindsight, I think I know the answer to that now. If she even hinted at the idea of driving that car, Kathleen and I would have automatically told her that was a terrible idea.


But deep down, I think Mara knew it wasn't a smart idea. At approximately 3:00 PM, she returns the borrowed clothes to Aaron. She neatly folded them and left them outside her door. Aaron was taking a nap but didn't hear Mara knocking. She would later say how much she regreted not answering the door as it might have given some insight into Mara's mental state the day she disappeared. At 3:15 PM, Mara travels to an ATM and withdraws $280 from her bank account, leaving just shy of $20. Police later obtain the closed-caption TV footage, and Mara appears alone, hair tied up in a bun, as was her customary style. She's wearing a white jacket, jeans, black shoes, and a silver necklace. She has a solemn look on her Police withheld these last known images for well over a decade, which is not typical in a missing person case. Those images haunt me. I can't tell you how much time I've spent staring at those still photos. I've had whole conversations with those images, begging Mara to give me a clue. Next, Mara goes to a liquor store and purchases $40 worth of alcohol. The receipt was discovered in her abandoned car.


She bought the ingredients for her favorite drink, a black Russian, Kalua Vodka, and a nip of Bayly's Irish cream, and a six-pack of malt beverage. It's a lot of alcohol for one person for sure. However, typically you can't buy Kalua and vodka for one as they're sold in larger bottles. I can't say for certain why she bought such a large quantity. An interesting entry on her liquor store receipt shows she also recycled $3.95 worth of cans. In Massachusetts, cans are redeemed for $0.05 each, so that would equate to 79 cans. That's a lot of effort for someone planning to disappear, and another reason why I'm convinced that wasn't her plan. Also discovered in her car were the accident forms that she promised my dad, indicating she went to the Massachusetts DMV or the Hadley Police Department apartment the day she disappeared. Yet another data point indicating her plan was to return. Now, I've mentioned this before, but she did have the New Hampshire license reinstatement forms in her car as well. At 4:37 PM, Mara checks her voicemail for the last time. This is the last activity ever logged on her cell phone. We have to assume this is approximately when she left UMass and headed north.


Destination unknown. Woodsville, New Hampshire, is a small rural town close to the Vermont border, right across the Connecticut River. It's 145 miles north and about two and a half hours away from Amherst, Massachusetts, up Route 91. At 07:27 PM, a Woodsville native, Faith Westman, heard a loud thud, looked out her kitchen window and saw a dark sedan off the side of the road in the eastbound lane lane facing westbound on Route 112, known as Wild Ammonusic Road. It was a particularly dark night with frigid temps in the low 20s. A couple of days prior, Woodsville was hit with a heavy storm, and snow accumulations were over a foot. However, this night, the roads were dry. The Westmans lived on a sharp corner across from their big red weathered barn, which housed antiques. It didn't come as a huge surprise as they witnessed other motorists have trouble navigating that corner in the past. This accident was very, very different, though, and the car's final resting place was odd. Mrs. Westman called 911 to report the accident. She tells the operator that she can see a man smoking a cigarette but can't discern if there's any personal injury.


Dispatch asks, Is anyone hurt? Faith responds with, I have not gone out to investigate. Her and her husband, Tim, were doing some work in an adjacent room and toggled between the two rooms. A few minutes later, their neighbor, a local bus driver named Arthur Butch Atwood, 58 years old, is returning home from dropping students off at a ski trip at Wild Cat Mountain. He stops at the vehicle on the side of the road, positioning his bus between the Westman's window and the dark sedan, blocking the Westman's view. Atwood opens a door and speaks to the driver, a young woman. He describes her as having dark hair down to about her shoulders, stating that she was shook up, shivering, but he couldn't see any blood on her face. He offers for her to wait at his house less than 150 meters east down the road to warm up. She declined, saying that she had already called Triple A Roadside Assistance. But he knows this cannot be true, as there's no cell phone service in that area, even today. He says, Okay, and he's going to go call the police. He advises her to turn her hazard lights on for safety.


Atwood drives a short distance to his residence and backs his bus into the driveway. At this point, he has limited visibility of the vehicle. At 7:42, he calls 911. The call is routed to Hanover dispatch. See, there was an issue with the circuits that night, and the Grafton County phone lines were busy when Atwood called. He tells dispatch, A A single car motor vehicle accident. He hit a pine tree. Airbag is deployed. Then switches pronouns and says, She's shaken up. No blood that I could see, but the airbag deployed. Heavy damage. It's right on the bad corner, right at the weathered barn there. It's a single female. Atwood tells his wife, Barbara, about the accident, then goes out to his bus to complete paperwork. Grafton County dispatch calls the Atwood residence back at 7:43 3. The dispatch reads, One female, no personal injury, but shook up. No idea where the female is. Fire and EMS are toned out at 7:42, arriving at 7:57 and 7:56. '96, respectively. On the surface, it appears Butch misspoke when he said he hit a pine tree. But I can't help but wonder, considering Mrs. Westman's account of a man smoking a cigarette.


Later, Atwood gives a couple different variations of the interaction. One version is he remains on the bus, one where he gets off the bus and shines a flashlight into the vehicle. Atwood told Gary Lindsay from the Caledonian record published on February 20th 2004, I shined the light in her car. I saw no blood. She was cold and she was shivering. One where he says she's sitting in the vehicle telling Lindsay she was still in the car. And another version where she standing up outside the vehicle between the car and the snowbank, telling my family she got out of the car and they spoke over the hood of the Saturn, 15 to 20 feet away.


Butch told me he saw the car on the side of the road. He came to the foot of the stairs of the bus, stopped the bus. The driver, Mara, was on the driver's side, and that was up against the snowbank, or angled in towards the snowbank. She opened the door, was tight against against the snowbank, and spoke over the roof of the car and said she would be all right because Triple A would take care of it, that she didn't need help.


In a follow-up article by Lindsay published February 27, 2004, in the Caledonian record, Atwood said Murray didn't appear to be intoxicated, despite police having said a witness indicated she appeared to be impaired due to alcohol. Now, Atwood is the only witness we're aware of that interacted with Mara. Police chief Jeff Williams repeatedly told the press Mara was intoxicated, but when pressed, he couldn't produce a witness to corroborate a statement. Another neighbor, John Marat, was home that night and saw reverse lights from his window, which was across the street and a bit further east than the Westman's vantage point. He invited my dad into his home and described what he saw.


I remember he said that he looked out, he saw the car, and he says he thinks the car moved. He saw backup lights and he thinks the car moved. But he was looking to work from behind snow-covered trees. He was a nice guy. He was really trying to help. He would have done anything to help. He pointed out, looking out the window and seeing the snow-covered trees, and it gives you an impaired view of the scene. But you would see lights, movement of lights.


Adwood notes that a number of vehicles passed by the scene but couldn't give an exact number or description. We know one of those people driving by was Karen McNamera, a. K. A. Witness A. I mentioned her in episode one. As a refresher, Karen was driving home from work the night Mara disappeared, and she was passed twice by police SUV 001. She drove by the scene between 7:33 and 7:37, according to her phone records, and saw the same police SUV parked nose to nose with the Saturn.


As I passed it, I pulled over to the side and stopped and looked back and thought if I should try to help. As I looked back, I remember thinking, I wanted to help, but the fact was that my cell phone didn't work there. No cell phone would work there. The police already there, and in fact, it did not even look like an accident. It looked as if the sedan just parked on the wrong side of the road up against a snowbank. That's what I saw. At this point, I was conflicted because I had a gut feeling like I should help, but it didn't make sense in my head, so I continued on.


When you passed the Saturn and the police SUV 001, you stated that you didn't see anybody out walking around. Did you see anybody in their vehicles, the police officer or the driver of the Saturn?




Did you see anybody out at Butch to his house?


No. To my recollection, at this point in time, I don't remember seeing a person. I remember looking over my right shoulder and being able to see the vehicle and the police lights.


And when you passed the Saturn, did you notice lights on, the hazard lights on?


I did not. Okay.


At 07:46 PM, over 10 minutes after Karen McNamara passed the scene, the responding officer, Haveral Police Sergeant Cecil Smith, arrives on scene. He finds a Saturn locked and abandoned, and Mara is nowhere in sight. The driver's side windshield was cracked, both airbags deployed, and the driver's side bumper and hood were damaged. Smith notices red liquid dispersions on the driver's side door and ceiling, and a box of red wine behind the driver's seat. Smith does a cursory search around the vehicle, then walks over to the Westman's and asks, Where's the girl? The Westman state, they didn't go out to investigate. My family has always wondered about Smith's question to the Westman's. See, the Saturn was registered to my dad, and running the plate would trace back to a 62-year-old Massachusetts man. Maybe he heard the dispatch activity went en route, but he would have heard Mrs. Westman state a man smoking a cigarette. The only person to state it was a girl were the Atwoods, who spoke to dispatch at 7:42, 7:43 PM. Perhaps he heard the Grafton dispatch call the Atwood residence back at 7:43. Some have he knew it was a girl by looking in the windows of the Saturn and determine the sex of the driver by the items in the car.


I can't square that at all. Smith then goes to the Atwoods and does some probing. Atwood claims she was just there minutes before and has no idea where she went. Atwood offers to help search the area and drives his personal vehicle, a Ford Bronco, west towards Mountain Lakes and Frenchpond Road area. A New Hampshire state John Monahan, hears dispatch and travels to the scene from the town of Lisbon, north of Woodsville. In a narrative report he prepared 10 days after the accident, he states he heard Grafton County dispatch relay the report boarding party could see a single female in the driver's seat smoking a cigarette. Obviously, this contradicts what Faith Westman said about a man smoking a cigarette, so maybe he misremembered. Monahan arrives on scene and speaks to Smith briefly. He offers to help search and travels West. Although his jurisdiction was East, the direction she was headed. In fact, if the accident happened just down the road over the Bath, New Hampshire Line, it would have been on federal land and in his jurisdiction as a state trooper, but he still searches West. For my family, it's incredibly frustrating that no one, the night of February ninth, searched East.


Sergeant Smith snaps at least seven photos of the scene. Now, after a repeated request to see the photos, law enforcement finally showed them to me over 15 years after the disappearance. Not the actual photos, but color printouts on regular 8 by 11 paper. What I saw seemed innocuous, other than some appeared to be taken within the car. It didn't seem like enough of a reason to withhold them, so I'm still unsure why they haven't been released publicly. Less than a mile west of the crash site is a small general store called the Swiftwater Stage Shop. It's a small rustic building adorned with a pink pig on the refuel station. The owner, Winnie, was working that night. Another local, Winnie's friend, Wellma, typically walked to the Stage Shop in the early evening to chat with Winnie as they closed up. Welma noticed something odd on her walk to the shop that night. As crested the hill, a red truck with wood paneling passed her and slowed down, almost as if to see who it was. The red truck then stopped in the middle of the road in front of her. As she got closer, the red truck sped off.


She took note and remembered seeing an out-of-state license plate. She continued on and made her way to the Stage Shop small parking lot. There was the same red truck idling. She enters the shop and asked, Winnie, Hey, has someone been in the store recently? Winnie responded, No, and they went on about their business. A short while later, Trooper Monahan passes Wilma, recognizes her, and asked if she had seen anyone on foot. Wilma replied, No, continues home. This red truck sighting sparked interest and will become part of the mystery going forward. At 7:54, the first Be On The Lookout is issued for a 5'7 female. This was Maura's exact height, and it's still unclear how Smith determined her exact height. It would have been a very lucky guess for Atwood, who only had a brief interaction with her while she was seated. Even in his other version, where she's standing on the other side of the car with limited visibility, it's hard to wrap your head around. I posed this question on law enforcement, and they couldn't give me an answer. Dick, guy, and another EMS worker arrived at 7:56 and remain on scene for only six minutes before being released.


He performs a cursory search as well and would later note some oddities with the scene. Guy noticed a rag stuffed into the tailpipe of the Saturn. However, this never made the police report. Guy mentioned it to the director of the Woodsville Rescue Ambulance, Robin Gannon, who included Guy's Concerned in a memorandum prepared for the chief of police, along with a listing of the 10 people who responded with Woodsville Ambulance that night. Again, I'm not sure why EMS was cleared so quickly from a scene where the driver wasn't located and clearly suffered an accident that deployed both airbags. Another oddity was the disposition of the Saturn. Now, I mentioned I saw the photos Smith took of the scene. In one photo, it shows tire impressions going into the ditch, then tracks exiting the ditch. I We should also clearly see road debris around the tire impressions, apparently when the wheels were spinning, spewing up dirt and sand. We know one of the neighbors, John Marotte, saw reverse lights, so it's evident that Morrow was able to extract the Saturn out of the ditch. And witnesses say it looked as if the car was simply parked on the side of the road, facing the wrong direction.


Years after the disappearance, my family had a vehicle reconstructionist analyze the car. We'll get into the details later, but the damage wasn't consistent with hitting a tree, as stated in the police report. And the car was drivable. So what, or who rather, stopped Amara from driving away that night? At 7:57, Woodsville Fire Department arrives on scene. Interestingly enough, the fire department was in the middle of a training event that night, so eight Eight additional people responded to the accident, making 10 total, as I mentioned before. All I can say is there was a hell of a lot of people at the scene the night my sister disappeared. Searches were conducted in the immediate area, including the entrance to Old Peter's Road, a small dirt road across the street from the Westmans. There were a few homes back there, but no indication of footprints in the snow near the entrance. Mr. Westman allowed Smith to search inside the weathered barn as well. No sign of Mar. The fire department left the scene at 08:49 PM after nearly an hour on site. Smith called for a tow truck, and despite Northland Toeing, operated by Dick McKeen being on call that night, another tow company operated by Mike Lavoy was called instead.


Now, it would only be speculation on my part as to the reasons why. Reason unknown. Mckeen happened to be listening to the scanner and was so upset he didn't get the job that he drove to the scene to voice his frustration. But Lavoie was already there and continued the job. He towed the Saturn back to his personal garage off Route 10 in Haverhill, another oddity. Two points here. There was talk about an argument over jurisdiction at Mars accident scene. It was thought to be between officers Smith and Trooper Monahan, given the proximity of the line of Demarcation just over the Bath, New Hampshire Line, which is part of the White Mountain's National Forest and Monahan's jurisdiction. Later, it was thought to be between the two tow operators. I'm not sure why the tow operators would use the term jurisdiction. It doesn't seem to fit within the typical towing lexicon. Second, McKeen received a call three hours earlier in the day for a police vehicle that slid off County Road in Haverhill, around the corner from Chief Jeff Williams house at the time. Now, if you've been paying attention, you will know nothing is straightforward about the day Mara disappeared.


Neither is what I'm about to tell you. See, McKeen showed my family his logbook from that day. It showed he pulled the black and white police SUV Explorer out of a snowbank from 4:30 PM to 5:10 PM. Remember, Remember this time frame because it'll be important later. In 2005, an independent group of retired law enforcement officers and investigators called the New Hampshire League of Investigators started looking into Mara's case. They investigated a report that it was the chief driving impaired who slid off the road. Smith shows up and they temporarily switch vehicles since the chief lived one minute away. You might be thinking, Okay, who cares? Well, this data point alone could be benign. This is until we consider Karen McNamera's accounting of the police SUV passing her twice before the first responding officer arrived. So let's take a minute to discuss the logistics of how the SUV passed Karen twice. In the 2017 Oxygen series on Mara, Smith claims he was en route to Mara's call, driving the SUV, and decides to take a faster, albeit indirect route. He says he passes Karen on Goose Lane, then diverts off onto Sawyer Hill Road to avoid frost heaps.


Now, Sawyer Hill Road is a steep dirt road that heads in the opposite direction. For some reason, he believes this is a better way to go. Karen continues on Goose Lane and connects onto route 112, the road Mars car was found. Smith's route is actually slower, and he passes Karen again once on Route 112. Coincidentally, Smith would have passed his parents' home at the time on Bunga Road, so it's safe to assume he was familiar with the area. If you are furrowing your brow hearing this, trust me, my brow has been furrowed for quite some time on this one. Sergeant Smith states in his police report that once a Saturn was towed, he discovered a Coke bottle on the road that had an alcoholic odor. Now, this makes the police report, but not the rag in the tailpipe. Sergeant Smith clears the scene at 9:26, 2 hours after the initial call without locating Mara. He was dispatched to Pike, New Hampshire, at 9:27 for a suicide near Lime Kilm Road. At approximately 11:00 PM, Smith obtained my late grandfather's phone number, who's also named Fred Murray, in Wymouth, Massachusetts. My father had lived there after my parents divorced, but was living in Connecticut at the time, so no contact with my family was made that night.


Another strange incident from the night Mar disappeared was a suspicious person call about seven miles west of where Mara's car was found. A little after midnight, a person driving a white Jeep Grand Cherokee with New Hampshire tags fled the scene when police arrived. Sergeant Smith responded to this call as well. Later, we would learn that a random Chrysler car part was found inside Mara's car. Now, Chrysler manufactures Jeep, and there was also a white scuff mark on the Saturn's rear bumper. I did my best to summarize the events of the day my sister disappeared. It's a whirlwind and leaves more questions than answers. In a missing person's case, the most crucial time for reaching a resolution are those minutes and hours immediately following the loss when the trail is hot. Attorney Terry O'Neill waved in on this.


You need to eliminate a rule that you wait 24 hours before reporting somebody missing. Granted, a lot of people have been reported missing, and they're found shortly after that. Thank God. But there's been so many who've never been found because there was never an investigation. When you look at someone like Mara, 21 years old, beautiful nursing student who was nominated and attended West Point, star athlete, highly motivated, highly intelligent, top grades, very competitive, very organized, very much passionate about her family and her friends, her school, her education, her future. She doesn't fit the profile of anyone that's going to run away or, as Lieutenant Scrinza said at the time, commit suicide. Absolutely no The investigation should have started right then there that night, and there was a report of a young female in the middle of nowhere, missing. The car is registered to her dad. That's the immediate phone call. That's not hard to do. On the side of her car is this UMass Security sticker. All they had to do was call the UMass Security Office, and then they would have realized it was Maury. It's crucial. It's crucial. All the evidence and all the inconsistent statements from Butchert within other people out there.


This is clearly foul play. Craig Ackley, who's a former Director of the Behavioral Analysis Unit, the FBI in Quantico, Virginia. He profiled Mara, in this case. But more importantly, he profiled Mara, and she didn't meet the profile at all of someone who would run away or someone who would commit suicide. He was adamant about it. He talked about the malfeasance and the pushback and the incompetency. New Hampshire State Police specifically true of.


In my sister's case, we lost that crucial time, and now, some 19 years Later, the trail is cold, frozen almost, and we are still desperate for answers in that time back. Our grieving process is frozen as well. I spoke to clinical psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Seth Gillahan about frozen grief.


When we work with trauma survivors as therapists, we often will ask them to tell the story of their trauma memory. Most of the time with the story, there's a beginning, a middle, and an end. But with ambiguous loss, what's the end? It's unclear. The analogy that I think of at times is like a storm system that just parks over an area. It's swirling, but it's not moving, and so it just keeps dumping rain on that area. That's what unresolved trauma can feel like when there isn't a sense of being able to move. We feel stuck, we feel frozen, as you said, and we can just continue to experience the fallout from that trauma reaction. This can lead to all kinds of suffering.


Join me next episode where we dig deeper into the search efforts to find Mara. If you have any information regarding the disappearance of my sister, Mara Murray, please contact the New Hampshire State Police Cold Case Unit at 603-223-3648, or visit maramurrymissing. Org. Special thanks to my friend, Sara Turne, whose trust and guidance made this project possible. Media pressure is a Voices for Justice Media Original and is executive-produced by Sarah Turne. This series includes original music from my brother, Curtis Murray, as well as Blue Dot Sessions. I'm your host, Julie Murray. For more information about media pressure, visit mediapressure. Com. For more information about my sister Mara's case, visit maramurrymissing. Org. We're driving the Citroën C4X on Dublin's most speed-bumped road, as voted by an online poll, to test Citroën's progressive hydraulic cushion suspension.


The music is coming from a vinyl record playing on a record player set up in the back seat.


Here comes a speed bump. Let's see if this record skips.




Went off without a scratch. Book a test glide in a Citroën today. Citroën. Ie.