A lack of evidence during an excavation in a New Hampshire basement crosses something off the list of questions surrounding Hanson native Maura Murray, a family member says.
Despite a day of hope last week, no evidence was found in the search for Maura Murray, a Hanson resident and UMass Amherst student missing for 15 years. After an extensive search of a long-suspected house close to where the 21-year-old Murray was involved in a single-car crash along Route 112 in February 2004, New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey A. Strelzin made the announcement Wednesday, April 3.
Maura Murray’s half brother, Kurt Murray, 30, of Halifax, said in a later interview that his family was given less than 24 hours’ notice regarding the imminent search of the basement. He said it was important to him and his family that they be there.
No evidence was found in connection with the case, said Strelzin, and, “certainly no evidence of human remains.”
Kurt Murray said, “No scenario is a particularly good one,” when asked what the family was hoping to find.
The Murray family has been critical of law enforcement over the years, blasting authorities for not doing enough to find Maura.
Officials from the New Hampshire State Police, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office and the FBI searched the house at times over the month of March, culminating in law enforcement tearing up a basement floor April 3 with a jackhammer, with the present homeowner’s consent.
“We certainly did not believe there was any credible evidence,” but searched anyways, said Strelzin. “It was really done to cross something off a list.”
“There certainly wasn’t any probable cause to search the house,” he added.
But, he said, “Everybody involved remains committed to following every lead that’s out there. There’s a lot of information we continue to follow up on.”
Kurt Murray said of the next step for his family, “We’ll have to try to work with New Hampshire authorities.”
The nursing student’s mysterious disappearance has sparked attention in the press, on the internet and on social media over the course of the last decade-and-a-half across the world.
“The community support has really been astonishing,” said Kurt Murray.
Her father, Fred, said that the house that was searched was “astonishingly close” to the site of the accident, in a previous interview with the Express. According to him, locals first tipped him off about suspicious activity at the house in the first year after his daughter’s disappearance, including a rumor of new concrete being poured in the basement, but the owners of the house would not cooperate with the investigation.
In November and December 2018, Fred Murray brought in two trained, accredited cadaver detecting dogs to the house, after it had changed ownership, each one on separate occasions. They alerted, he says, by lying down in the same spot in the basement of the house.
Later, he brought in ground-penetrating radar which he said indicated strong findings of an abnormality in the same spot in the concrete.
“It’s astounding that this [basement] wasn’t looked at before. I told the police about this in the first year … the State Police did an inadequate job when my daughter first went missing,” he added.
Exactly where Maura Murray was headed, and why, has remained a mystery over the years. Moments after the crash, a good Samaritan stopped to assist her, but she waved him off and told him not to call the police, according to original police reports from 2004. The passerby called local police anyway, although he did drive off. A Haverhill police cruiser arrived 19 minutes later, but Maura Murray’s Saturn was locked, and she was gone. She has remained missing ever since.
“The case is still open and active. We do receive tips and information periodically, as well as generate new information from investigative efforts,” said Streizen in a previously emailed statement.
But this does not satisfy Kurt Murray. “Not knowing for 15 years … she deserves to be home. She’s too special a person to be left unfound somewhere,” he said.