HANSON (CBS) – Fred Murray believes he's hit a major break in the 15-year-old cold case of his missing daughter, Maura.
On February 9, 2004, 21-year-old Maura Murray withdrew $280 from her bank account, drove north, crashed her car, and was never seen again. She never told anyone where she was headed or why: not her friends, not her boyfriend, and not her family.
Prior to leaving the UMass Amherst campus, the nursing student emailed her teachers, telling them she'd be missing a week of classes because of a fictitious family emergency. Hours later, when she crashed her car in Woodsville, New Hampshire, a passerby offered help. Maura waved them off, but they called police anyway. When the police showed up to the crash scene, Maura's car was there, but the young woman was gone.
"I want to bring my daughter home and give her a proper burial," Fred Murray told WBZ. He's now 76-years-old, and has dedicated the last fifteen years of his life to finding his missing daughter.
That's why he believes a new discovery in December 2018 could lead to solving his daughter's case. Separate from the police investigation, the devastated father has searched for his girl with the help of private investigators, experts, and local people in Woodsville, New Hampshire.
On November 25th, and then again on December 1st, two different trained cadaver dogs responded to possible human remains in a basement just a stone's throw from where Maura crashed her car in 2004.
Fred Murray had received a tip about the basement after the crash. Neighbors told him they believed someone buried a body there right around the time Maura went missing. 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 obliged. On three separate occasions, two cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar equipment all pinged the exact location Fred had been tipped about. He isn't sharing the location of the home publicly because of a deal he made with the homeowners, but calls its proximity to the 2004 crash site "astonishing."
He feels this is the biggest break since Maura went missing. "Because it's right there, and I feel I can reach out and grab it," he said. "In the past, everything was kind of iffy."
Investigators, however, do not appear to be on the same page as Murray. New Hampshire Associate Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin told WBZ news Maura Murray's case is still "open and active," writing, "we do receive tips and information periodically, as well as generate new information from investigative efforts."
Regarding the basement discovery, Strelzin said the area "was searched by law enforcement in the past, including with dogs, and nothing of significance was discovered." He said investigators are considering next steps regarding the discovery by Fred Murray.
But Murray isn't convinced the work is being done. "I don't believe it," he said. "If you [searched] before, you missed it. If you brought your cadaver dog in, something is wrong with your cadaver dog."
He hopes speaking publicly about his discovery near the 15th anniversary of his daughter's disappearance will inspire investigators to reconsider revisiting the basement.
He knows there's a chance Maura's body isn't in that basement, but says he wants investigators "to dig up whoever is there. There's a human body, a dead body, a dead person. The odds are I think that it's my daughter."
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