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March 25, 2013

BRIANNA MAITLAND AND MAURA MURRAY - STILL MISSING FOR NINE YEARS, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN !!! CONCLUSION - PART FIVE

About a month ago I received an e-mail from Slam Dunks with a question from a reader interested in knowing more about Brianna Maitland. The reader listed names of persons she had heard might be involved and asked about a rumor of a truck idling nearby on the night she disappeared. She wanted to know what color the truck was.

After nine years, the names looked back at me and I drew a blank. It's not that some of the names weren't familiar, but rather the fact that today the names mean very little. There was a time I could discuss some of those she named... that time has passed. It's one thing to be on the ground working nearly every weekend with the family of a missing person, and quite another to be nine years past. Some of the names were in fact familiar to me, such as those associated with other cases of murder victims in Vermont. Or they were questioned and given polygraphs by VSP.

Today, that is in the past. The Maitlands moved away around 2007. They cut all contact with people they knew, very close friends in fact. The family website came down, although it's still there none of the online activity that took place between 2004 and roughly 2007 is there any longer. It's safe to say it's considered evidence, in a crime involving a "drug addict" who couldn't pay off her dealers.

Many think the world to be a big place. We are often reminded it's not that big. When the person asking for help on Slam Dunks site said she had important information about Brianna's location, we took it seriously. When she became frustrated that we were simply bloggers without any clout, we took that seriously. I did a Google search and found the Maitlands location and phone number.

I explained to Bruce Maitland the nature of my call and that someone claimed to have information about Brianna. I asked him for permission to give her access to connecting with him and he approved. He apologized to me that he couldn't talk. He explained VSP was working on Brianna's disappearance, but he'd agreed that he would disclose no additional information in return for their cooperation. He did provide permission for me to give the interested party his phone number, which I did. I received one more phone call from him letting me know he's talked with this person and was considering the information provided.

Regarding that list of names, well we can probably add to it... like recently deceased"thrill killer", Israel Keyes, Washington State, known to have committed a murder in Vermont during the time Brianna was last known to be alive. And since Maura Murray was considered at risk within a three hour radius of that area, it can be information added to the list of names possibly  involved in her disappearance too. Add to that list of suspects, the co-conspirators involved in a plot to castrate and kill Justin Bieber... Justin-Bieber-Murder-Plot-CNN News;  this bizzarre plot will be sure to get your attention as the alleged suspects were apprehended at the US border to Canada, just a stones throw away from where Brianna was last seen. They were allegedly operational during the time Brianna disappeared.

The question about the color of the truck rumored to be idling nearby, even if it's presence was ever validated the color was never determined.

A supposed sighting of Brianna in a NJ casino got everyone going for awhile, as well as a supposed sighting of Maura Murray in a Hampton Beach club. Both were eventually disregarded as not being either person. But the truth is that hope remain that in both cases the missing person will resurface, although the reality of that is that neither will.

Maura Murray is now part of a newly created Cold Case Unit in NH after then Attorney General Kelly Ayotte left to become a state senator. Despite an insistence on the part of law enforcement in NH that Maura took her own life, her things were never returned to her family and her disappearance is still considered a high profile case of foul-play. No one need question authority in this matter.

Looking back on when I first joined the Brianna Maitland family website the overall topic of interest was her use of drugs, and the obsession with her being a victim of drug related violence. It was a feeding frenzy, with almost every comment relating to her potential accidental overdose or her death due to not paying drug dealers. To be fair, why would this be such  cause for concern? Nearly everyone involved believed she was responsible for what had happened to herself... that friends had simply panicked and that they were the victims as a result of her questionable lifestyle and drug use.

I won't begin to try to understand law enforcement protocol, but it seems they jumped to a biased assumption in both cases, and the result was very poor followup and investigations, in both cases. I guess though to be fair any unusual circumstances have to be figured into an event... in Maura Murray's case it was the alcohol - DUI and an accident and she'd run from the scene. They had time to issue their arrest warrant for DUI when she eventually surfaced, which we now know she never did. They made an assumption it seems that she was in fact intoxicated, but having done so on a cold Winter night, in the middle of nowhere, they couldn't have done a more thorough search for her?

By the time Brianna's car was found, although 48 hadn't elapsed, although they picked personal effects up off the ground indicating a possible struggle, it's possible they took in account the pot leaf trinket hanging from her rear-view mirror, the beer caps glued to her radio controls, and naturally assumed something similar. A DUI where the driver would show up again fairly soon, so they could issue an arrest warrant.

In the meantime, both persons were considered runaways... and there was no indication they were endangered. Good police work or a dangerous protocol?

What's past is past... but not forgotten. That's one thing I learned about law enforcement... yes, partially through TV... that they are in no rush. A cold case to the family is torture, but to the police they have all the time they want. It isn't uncommon for cold cases to lapse 20 years or longer, and for a crime to eventually be solved. "Patience Is A Virtue", my father always said... it's been nine long years, but I doubt we have to wait too much longer.





  Links to Part 1 - 4:

Part 1: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."
Part 2: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."
Part 3: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."
Part 4: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."

March 23, 2013

BRIANNA MAITLAND AND MAURA MURRAY - STILL MISSING FOR NINE YEARS, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN !!! PART FOUR


Marijuana Trinket Hanging from Visor
Not ever disclosed was the true condition of her car when first found that Saturday morning around 9:30 AM by local media. A few hours before the car was found by accident from a group of out of state skiers, who found the scene surreal. I dubbed them the World Travelers, and it's because of this trio of observant tourists, that we have these pictures today:



Sadly, I learned that one of the trio, the woman of the group, had passed away over a year ago, in a car accident.

About the same time, NBC began work on a project regarding Brianna Maitland for the "Disappeared" series they air, which I gather few know about. Not only after several years was this a welcome event, but it also brought about some unforeseen side-effects. Also some parallel events, such as when VSP (Vermont State Police) conducted a surprise search after many years within the location where Brianna's car was found and where she is alleged to have last been.

Several things happened at once. I recall it was late 2009 or early 2010. A person commented on Slam Dunks blog about Brianna... the link is currently down but I've asked Slam Dunks to revive it. The commenter named Cindy claimed she lived with the ex-boyfriend... the one present at the fight she was in three weeks prior to her disappearance, and who drove past the car embedded in the old farmhouse around 5:30 that morning. Cindy begged Slam and I to provide help for the ex-boyfriend who claimed to know the location of Brianna's body, but who had nothing to do with her death. She claimed he was being tortured by his alleged connections to her disappearance when he had nothing to do with her death. He wanted authorities to search a particular farmhouse. Our hands however, were tied. Cindy got upset by our lack of assistance - I contacted Bruce Maitland, who agreed to speak with her. That's all we could do.

A short time later it seems VSP was searching the cornfield surrounding the old Dutchburn place where the car was found. I have no idea what they were searching for but it made the news.


Meanwhile, a search of the area the ex-boyfriend requested was denied. It was private property and his word wasn't enough to permit a search. No marijuana was growing in the area, is what his word amounted to. A missing person, potential murder victim is valued less than a drug violation involving cannabis.

VSP allegedly found nothing as a result of their latest search, other than an audience. Shortly after I was contacted by NBC for the story on Brianna. I donated pictures I'd taken of her car many months later showing the interior:




Frt. seat with necklass, backseat with a case of tuna/patches cut from the seat by VSP, beer-caps glued to her radio dials, a marijuana trinket found inside and a picture of her idol, Angelina Jolie pasted to her visor...

I shared what I knew with the executive producer of NBC, and he shared a bit with me. One intriguing bit was the apparent fact that VSP did not find the car at 1 AM that Saturday morning. That information about the trouper stopping by then and being called away was discounted. VSP did not show up until around the time the news crew showed up, after the World travelers had discovered the car. Further, after more than a year asking Bruce to find out if any photo's of the drivers side of Brianna's car existed and being told no, the following NBC footage appeared as if by magic:

This Picture according to VSP in 2005 Never Existed!

The truth is, VSP decided Brianna had been heavily involved in drugs and had run away to escape paying drug dealers what she owed them. The fact that many of her peers were equally involved wasn't considered, as it was Brianna who was caught in the act. It was assumed she was alive, and had escaped a self-imposed situation. It was only a matter of time before she resurfaced, and VSP would spend no time investigating her disappearance. Nor would they cooperate with her family... and since I was onboard then, I can vouch for those facts.

It wasn't until sometime in 2005 that VSP changed their minds, and only after Bruce Maitland and Fred Murray made headlines suggesting the involvement of a serial killer on the loose, that VSP acted, and the chief investigator was changed to Lt. Brian Miller of the VSP, that communications improved and things changed a little for the better.

The fact remains much still wasn't done, and VSP still wasn't completely honest with the family. 



March 19, 2013

BRIANNA MAITLAND AND MAURA MURRAY - STILL MISSING FOR NINE YEARS, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN !!! PART THREE

I could write a book - based on my experiences with Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray and maybe I will. But first, for those of you out there intrigued by "missing persons" I can tell you at the heart of the story it's darkness you'll find.

Brianna Maitland woke up 9 years ago still hurting from injuries sustained in a fight three weeks previous, with a girlfriend of hers and the girlfriend's cousin. The cause of the fight was jealousy. Brianna had spent the week decorating Easter eggs with another friend, working at a restaurant, and shopping that day with her mother and anticipating her receiving her GED which she had completed at a local community college.

Already I've gotten ahead of myself... need to take a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Brianna's story is HERE - Slam Dunk's Blog. Slam Dunk is an ex law enforcement officer, whom I met around late 2005 when Brianna's family had a website up and running. I started blogging after being a guest writer for Slam Dunks in late 2009 around Chapter 14. There are at least 27 posts on his blog that he began and I completed. If you're interested in the whole story I encourage you to visit his site. My purpose here, now, is simply to summarize events and to get you up to speed on progress made, if any, in both cases. This is also a memorial to both persons... missing, but hardly forgotten.

Yeah, I had a desire to make a difference nine years ago. And I was naive. Perhaps others will learn from my mistakes, one, know shorthand when you ask questions over a phone; and two, relax.

I didn't act right away upon new information regarding Maura Murray, when I discovered she'd vanished just an hour north of where I lived at the time. I had been researching other cases farther removed, as a hobby interest of sorts, and I guess now it was inevitable I would get involved in a real case, but it wasn't something I actually thought would happen.

Not until I read about the story revolving around Brianna Maitland's disappearance.

I don't know if many of you know about metal detecting - it's a hobby and occasionally you might recall reading stories about persons finding valuable treasure - old coins, caches and such. I was that sort of person... had been metal detecting for around twenty years when I read about Brianna Maitland - she'd vanished, her car was found backed/crashed into an old, uninhabited farmhouse in Montgomery VT.



Her car keys were missing. Eight months had passed since the "accident" and it was presumed the keys were lost near her car.

There was another caveat to the story, which piqued my interest. VSP had written off her disappearance according to news sources due to the fact she was "a drug user", marijuana in particular. It was assumed she's fallen on hard times, had owed money to drug dealers and couldn't pay up. She'd run away.

To say the least, I was quite skeptical of that assessment. I read every article I could find, and each one of them said the same thing - Brianna Maitland had an illegal drug problem, was "of questionable character" and her disappearance came as no surprise. I for one didn't buy it.

I researched the Maitland family online, found a phone number and called. Bruce Maitland answered the phone. I said, "Hi, I'd like to help... I'd like to try and locate her missing car keys... I'm experienced with metal detecting."

His response shouldn't have surprised me. He asked if I was a "voyeur?" I'd never even seen Brianna's picture... just pictures of her car. Yet I had this idea in my head she was a wild woman... and why not? Based on news articles one could rightly have such a picture. But I calmly as I could I answered, "no, I'm not a voyeur, I just want to help".

There was a pause and finally Bruce said, "okay, I'd appreciate your help". We agreed to meet the following Saturday, at the farmhouse.

It was a cold, miserable, drizzling rain day. I drove three hours to get there, at this god forsaken place that was boarded up in the middle of nowhere. A small blue car kept driving past... a guy by the name of Davey I would learn. When Bruce finally showed up around 1 PM he came with two other people and a little dog. I didn't even know it was Bruce Maitland when he arrived as he didn't hardly acknowledge me being there. It was one of the other guys who arrived that said "Hi".

It turned out the two people with Bruce were part of a missing person's association from Indiana. They were good people, though not what I'd call like the CIA. But every weekend for more than the next year they showed up, as I did as much as I could. But again, I get ahead of myself.

It was obvious from the start that Bruce was a grieving parent. He finally introduced himself after coming to grips with the locale where his daughter went missing. My impression was that Bruce was a powerful guy consumed by grief. I spent three hours detecting the area, as as always I will not reveal whether I found her car-keys... I will admit I found a few coins where her driver's door would have been, in sync with the story she had been wearing her work-apron that contained tips from her job as a waitress - that she'd been hoisted and the change had fallen out of the apron onto the ground.

After the hunt Bruce bought me dinner at a local pub. I had chicken fingers and a beer while he had just a beer. We talked. About Brianna and I have to say, I expected my part in all of it was done, but that was hardly the case.

I guess it should be noted I'm an old hippie from the 1970's... I've smoked my share of cannabis, worked as a custodian at colleges and know people. I am able to be open-minded enough to blend in with a persons of any age, any mindset and Bruce saw that in me. He asked for my help. He asked if I could talk with her friends. He asked if I could do something about the "fact" that his daughter was being ignored because of "drugs" and a reputation she'd gained being of "questionable character"? She was everything but that, he told me.

I couldn't have agreed more and the more I learned about her the more convinced I became.

The idea that she ran away, for example, was most ludicrous. At age 17, just that year she had moved out on her own and acquired legal status as an emancipated adult. That's the term for a person under the age of 18 who lives as an adult, independent of her parents. If only I'd have been as smart when I was 17. Or even when I was 24. Alas, I wasn't.

When the police found her car and inspected it they saw this:


Continued in Part Four... 

March 17, 2013

BRIANNA MAITLAND AND MAURA MURRAY - STILL MISSING FOR NINE YEARS, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN !!! PART TWO

Maura Murray vanished February 9, 2004 - on my sister's birthday as it turned out. Within a few days as I said I would read a small news article about a young woman who had a car accident, left the scene and was never seen again. This happened in Haverhill, which I mistakenly took to be MA, rather than NH. That's a big difference as it wasn't a large city where she disappeared, but rather a small village, on an isolated stretch of road in the White Mountains.

Red Barn - Approaching the Crash Site going East

The Crash site; Note Yellow School Bus

A few hundred yards past the school bus

Entering White Mountains National Forest - A mile past

It was about 7:30 that cold night... no one knows if Maura was there as part of a plan, or if she took a wrong turn somewhere earlier. No one even knows what she was doing away from campus where she was a nursing student, 100 miles north of the U-Mass campus in Amherst. All that is known is that she was on break. She had wrecked her father's car a few days earlier and was stressed out. She was engaged to be married, and everyone agrees her and her fiancee were happy together. All her stuff was pack at her college dorm as she was moving out. She had withdrawn money on her way out of Amherst and had stopped in NH to purchase a good quantity of alcohol - wine, Kahlua, etc... She had also done computer searches of areas west in Vermont, but had called several locations for weekend lodging in the direction she was traveling.

People home that night just north of the one car crash reported hearing the sound of the crash as she hit a snowbank. Other observers reported a red truck in the area. The people who heard the crash called 911, but didn't go outside to investigate. But the driver of the school bus was returning home after dropping off students on a ski trip, stopped beside her car and the driver spoke to who he believes was Maura. He says she was okay, and offered to call the police, but she said she was fine and requested he not do so. He drove home, parked and called 911.

Woodsville police arrived shortly later, footsteps led east to around the bus drivers house and disappeared. A quantity of alcohol was seen investigating her car, and what appeared to be spilled wine. The driver's side airbag was deployed. It was freezing cold, yet no search east of the crash-site was conducted that night, although by then other law enforcement was on the scene including Fish and Game.

Many theories were devised, including deep suspicion of the bus driver who lived with his mother, as well as a man who was questioned living just south of the crash-site. Law enforcement however concluded she'd devised an elaborate plan to run away, that she was seriously intoxicated and committed suicide. An unusual side-note occurred when the fiancee received a strange phone call while waiting in line at an airport terminal, a call he didn't answer. A voice-mail was left from someone sounding frightened. It was traced as having been sent from a local area Red-Cross.

Her father, Fred Murray, spend every weekend for many years searching for her. I got involved as the family got in touch with Brianna Maitland's family after she disappeared. That was nearly a year later however, as I didn't get involved helping Brianna's family until late fall of 2004.

Fred Murray appealed to the State of NH many times for assistance and access to Maura's things and her computer which they had seized as evidence. They had temporarily returned everything once concluding nothing criminal in nature had happened, being as they concluded she committed suicide. But then in a strange twist they re-assumed possession of her things while the family was grieving, and refused to offer access to the stuff. Then Attorney General of NH, Kelly Ayotte refused every attempt Fred Murray asked for to assist him with finding his daughter. She refused to admit anything criminal had taken place, and wrapped the case up tight for reasons she would not disclose. Kelly Ayotte is now a NH Senator, someone I will not and did not vote for.

After she left office, the case was included by the new Attorney General in a newly formed Cold Case Unit. Searches were conducted on numerous occasions  and blood believed to be hers was found in a dilapidated house down the road from where she vanished. I went with Fred Murray on a one day search in the summer of 2005. I found him to be most sincere, professional, rational, and dedicated. We were investigating a tip to Maura's website to me, that her body could be found on private land in a well. We looked, with the help of a  volunteer with state of the art underwater video equipment and found nothing.

Her disappearance remain unsolved...

Pictures of her car:




Brianna Maitland in Part Three...




March 15, 2013

BRIANNA MAITLAND AND MAURA MURRAY - STILL MISSING FOR NINE YEARS, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN !!! PART ONE

It has been nine years now since 17 year old Brianna Maitland vanished on the night of March 19, 2004. She has not been forgotten!



Her disappearance is still unsolved. She's still missing. There still seems to be a lack of leads and no one has been charged with a crime in connection with her disappearance. However, from the day she vanished, until now, much has changed. It's enough change to expect a break in her case any day. Though I won't hold my breath!

Typically, I don't post about missing person's cases. But then, typically I don't post about gun control measures or the 2nd Amendment either... but I have.

My trademark is "To Stop The Hurt". And truth be told, the disappearance of Brianna Maitland was an epiphany for me... the catalyst for my blog. Here's how that came to be, how Brianna Maitland inspired me and how this blog came to be.

I am also going to include a fairly concise and accurate update on her case, though until you know more about how I know what I know, that will be something of a mystery to many of you, not knowing how I know what I know.

I am 58 with a BA degree in English. I work in computer/software support. I grew up in a small town in NY addicted to books and knowledge... I loved Sci-Fi and Mysteries.

In 1982 I moved to Boston MA. I lived there almost 7 years. I wrote everyday during that time; I learned that 9 out of 10 Bostonian's are mugged at some point in their life there, and that many stay for life, but many leave almost as soon as they come. It's a fast paced environment... and everyday I miss it, now that I've lived in a very rural part of NH going on 20+ years.

I don't remember when I actually became interested in real life missing persons, or justice for victims of murder. I think in the late 1990's. One of the first cases I got heavily into were the Butts family murders, But that was in Texas and a long way from where I live. A great deal of information is, or was available in that case, and so it was a good case to begin with. As it turned out, Brianna Maitland's case had a connection of sorts to the Butts family... in that one of the lead investigators was asked to assist in Brianna's disappearance and I was asked by the Maitland's (Brianna's parents) to work with him. His name was Orville, but I jump ahead here.

In February 2004 a young college woman disappeared in Haverhill NH. Her name is Maura Murray.



I read about her disappearance while at work, and thought initially it was Haverhill , MA. Big difference as the former is a village, and the latter a large city. When the difference became known/obvious to me, that Maura disappeared in Haverhill NH, it was a shock. But before I had a chance to consider it, a month later Brianna Maitland disappeared in the small town of Montgomery VT.

I was 50 years old, and I wanted to make a difference, get involved, and help - to Stop The Hurt! Which is all well and good, but at the time I was simply itching to help people and solve mysteries. Today I don't feel the same. I was able to help, but solve the mystery? Much harder than you might imagine, even when putting everything you've got into the effort. It turned out to be not only scary, but also very discouraging. Real life doesn't happen like it does in novels.

More In Part Two...

Part 2: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."
Part 3: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."
Part 4: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."
Part 5: "Brianna Maitland and Maura Murray - Missing Nine Years..."