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'This Is Gut Wrenching,' Family Of Woman Missing 17 Years Waits For Tests On Bone Fragments Found In New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. (CBS/AP) – Maura Murray's family is anxiously waiting to hear back from New Hampshire State Police about human bone fragments found recently on Loon Mountain.

Murray, a University of Massachusetts-Amherst nursing student, has been missing for more than 17 years.

Back in 2004, she packed her car, lied to professors about a death in the family and left campus. That night, on a rural road in the northern part of New Hampshire, the 21-year-old crashed her car.

Then she vanished. Investigators say there hasn't been a single, credible sighting of her since minutes after her car spun into trees and a snowbank along Route 112 in North Haverhill just before 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2004.

Maura Murray
Maura Murray (WBZ-TV)

New Hampshire State Police announced Monday that human bone fragments were found in the area of Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire, which is about 25 miles from North Haverhill along Route 112.

"A search of the area has been conducted, an investigation is ongoing, and diagnostic testing is pending to determine age and possible sex of the bone fragments," police said in a statement.

Murray's sister Julie said they've known about the discovery for a little more than a week, adding that the bones were found at a construction site "on Loon Mountain."

"My family has experienced these types of situations before but this one feels a little bit different because of the proximity to where Maura's car was found," Julie Murray told WBZ-TV Tuesday.

Maura had been to Loon before, according to her sister, and was familiar with the area. Julie Murray also said some people there were questioned by officers early in the investigation.

The bone fragments that were found are "pretty small," Murray said, and because investigators don't have much to work with, identifying them could take anywhere from two to several months.

"This is gut wrenching. This is really, really hard," she told WBZ.

"We haven't had any physical evidence discovered in relation to my sister's case so this could be very huge. I just want the investigation to go well so that if it is truly Maura the people that are responsible can be brought to justice," Julie said.

"I'm hoping this is it, but it's not going to destroy us if it isn't. We'll just keep looking."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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