WOODSVILLE, N.H. (CBS/AP) – The FBI, State Police, and the Attorney General's office searched a home in northern New Hampshire in connection with the 2004 disappearance of Maura Murray, a University of Massachusetts student who has not been seen in nearly 15 years. The search, however, yielded no new evidence in the case.
Murray, who was 21 at the time, disappeared on February 9, 2004. She withdrew $280 from her bank account and began driving north.
The college student crashed her car into trees and a snowbank along Route 112 in North Haverhill, N.H. around 7:30 p.m. that day. Shortly afterwards, a person saw and spoke to Murray at the accident scene, but when police arrived, she was not there. She has not been heard from since.
The search on Wednesday took place in a Woodsville basement not far from where Murray crashed on Route 112. Associate Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said there was no probable cause to search the home and they did not believe there was credible evidence indicating there was a body in the home's basement.
In February, Maura's father Fred told WBZ-TV he believed he had discovered a major break in the case. Fred Murray had received a tip about the basement. Neighbors told him they believed someone buried a body there right around the time Maura disappeared. The owners, however, never answered the door to let Fred inside. He tried multiple times over the course of 14 years.
When new owners bought the house, he tried again, and they allowed him. He said three times two cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar equipment all pinged the exact location Fred had been tipped about.
Though Strelzin said investigators did not believe a search would yield any evidence, they received permission from the new homeowners to dig up a small area of concrete in the basement. Strelzin said the private searchers' ground-penetrating radar had detected disturbed ground, not a body.
"No evidence was found in connection with that case," Strelzin said in a press conference, adding "We're confident there's nothing there at this point."
Strelzin said investigators will continue to follow leads in the case.
Fred Murray spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon. He believes the search did not cover the correct area of the basement. Based on the tip he received, Murray believes a heating unit and other items were placed above the area in question.
"I still think we need to get under devices in the corner and see if there's anything under there," Murray said. "I don't know. I never did know. But I'm not satisfied they got anywhere near close enough to the corner."
There have been previous searches connected to the case in the last 15 years. But Fred Murray said the latest dead end was particularly frustrating.
"This one hurts because I thought we finally had it," he said. "This one was worse than the other false alarms or dead ends. I was pretty sure based on what I heard and who the people were and other things I've heard about them."
Despite the setback, Murray said he won't rest until he finds out what happened to his daughter.
"I stick my nose back on the trail. It's all I can do. I'm not going to quit," he said, pleading investigators to dedicate more resources to Maura's disappearance. "Please help. Please help my daughter."
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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