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The mysterious disappearance of Mora Murray: an investigation followed by the entire US



The case of Mora Murray, a smiling Massachusetts student who mysteriously disappeared on one February night in 2004, has become truly iconic in the United States and far beyond, writes Teachmetiger on his blog at Next - from the first person.

Photo: Shutterstock

People are actively sharing their guesses, journalists write books and make documentaries about the Murray case in search of answers. But first things first.

Maura Murray was born on May 4, 1982 in Hanson, Massachusetts. The girl was the fourth child in the family, she had an older brother Fred, two older sisters - Caitlin and Julie, and a younger brother - Kurt.

Average family, parents Laurie and Frederick, Catholic Irish. When Mora was 6 years old, her parents decided to divorce. After that, she mostly lived with her mother. Although the girl maintained warm friendly relations with her father and saw each other regularly.

At school she had many friends, the girl was very active and was seriously involved in athletics. Subsequently, playing sports will help her when entering the US Military Academy. Her sister studied at the same academy, so the choice fell on this particular educational institution.

Photo Shoot: Helena Dwyer Murray / Facebook

However, she had only one semester to study there, up to one unpleasant incident. Mora stole some cosmetics (up to $ 5), which is not a sufficient reason to initiate a criminal case, but she violated the academy's code of honor and was forced to transfer to Amherst University. At the university, she studied to be a nurse. In total, during this semester at the military academy, she was involved 7 times with the disciplinary commission.

The girl's offenses do not end there. In November 2003, Mora was detained at the new university in connection with the use of a stolen credit card. The girl ordered food to her room on the campus and got caught on it. Mora allegedly found either a card or a check with the card number.

Mora ordered a lot of food, 2 servings of each dish. Later, many of her family and friends stated that the girl suffered from bulimia. We cannot confirm or deny this, but the amount of food and the general condition of the girl testify to this.

The use of the credit card Mora got away with it and did not start the business. Since then, the girl had no problems with the law. Mora simply received a warning from the disciplinary committee stating that she was on probation for the next three months. Murray continued her studies and moonlighted as a security guard on campus.

Before disappearing

On February 5, when Mora was at her workplace, she had a not very pleasant conversation with her sister Caitlin. They discussed problems in their sister's personal life. The sister was treated for alcoholism and drug addiction in a specialized rehabilitation center. On that day, Caitlin's fiancé picked her up from the center in his car. And the first stop he made on his way home was a liquor store. The girl immediately broke down and started drinking alcohol again.

After talking about this, Mora lost control of her emotions and burst into tears. The hysteria was so strong that the girl could not be reassured, and the campus workers called in a supervisor (he acts as a mentor, who can also be a teacher at the university, but the main function is to help and support the student in educational and household matters).

Upon arriving at the scene, the supervisor found Mora in a strange state: the girl looked at one point and did not respond to questions. After long questioning, Mora looked at the phone, said, “My sister,” and burst into tears again.

As a result, it was decided to take the girl to her room. Murray convinced the curator that her roommate would be there any minute and that she would not be left alone. The girl lied: no roommate existed in principle. Later, the supervisor was very sorry that she had left the girl alone and left. This was their last meeting.

Mysterious party

On Saturday, February 7, 2004, Mora saw her father, with whom she maintained a relationship after her parents divorced. My father used to stay at a motel near Amherst University, and they dined together, went shopping. Then they went to choose a new car for the girl, but they never made the purchase.

This time, at a dinner with her father, the girl was with her friends. After dinner, the three friends drove to the liquor store in their father's car and planned to throw a party. Mora's friends, Katie and Sarah, later claimed that they did not remember what was at the party. Whether there was a party at all is still not clear.

So why is this important? Mora, most likely drunk, crashed her father's brand new Toyota. The girl was not injured, but the car was written off during the proceedings. A very strange chain of events: buying alcohol, the father lets the girls go in a new car, nothing is known about the party. Why the father didn't take and pick up the girls remains a mystery.

Fred and his daughter did some kind of scam, Mora was not punished, and the insurance company compensated the cost of the car. Completely upset, Mora called her boyfriend Billy from her father's cell phone. The guy tried to calm her down, but the girl was really upset and drunk enough.

By the way, it is noteworthy that Mora did not have her own phone, she used prepaid cards for a pay phone, and they kept in touch with her in this way. Billy's parents later revealed that they gave her one of these cards for Christmas. Although some say that the phone was. Either he appeared recently, or she just used voicemail.

After the accident, Fred takes his daughter to campus early in the morning. This is the last time he sees her.

Last hours on campus

Mora searches from her computer. A girl searches for a road to Burlington and Burkshaier, Vermont. She then tries to book a cabin in Bartland, New Hampshire, where she had stayed several years earlier with her family. Unfortunately, the house cannot be booked. The girl tries to call other hotels, but she fails.

She writes a letter to Billy that she does not want to talk to anyone and that she will definitely contact him later when she feels better. Further, Mora's behavior defies any logic. Murray writes a letter to his supervisor that one of her relatives has died and she needs to leave for a week. Moreover, the girl sent letters to all her teachers with the same information.

The girl packs all her things in boxes, leaves only one box and attaches to it one of Billy's letters about his infidelity, which is also very strange. At that time, the letter was already six months old, and the rest of the people did not suspect anything about the problems in the relations of young people. As is usually the case, no one knew what was really going on.

Amherst University campus. Screenshot: Max Curlin / YouTube

Then the girl goes to the ATM, withdraws $ 280, a rather serious amount for those times, and even now it is rather big. Murray leaves about $ 16 in her account: most likely, she did not withdraw the entire amount so that the account would not be closed. She buys a box of wine from a specialty store for $ 40. ATM camera footage is Mora's last known footage.

The last witness

Moru is last seen by a bus driver on a suburban road. The girl again had an accident, just drove into a ditch. The driver offered to help and call the police, but the girl insisted that she had already called the police and begged them not to call.

The road on which the missing person was driving:

According to the driver's testimony, Mora was in a panic, and may have been drunk, but she was not injured in the accident. By the way, the driver, as a local resident, knew that there was no connection on this section of the road, and upon arriving home he immediately dialed 911.

The police later checked him for involvement in the disappearance of Murray, but participation was never proven. And the very fact that the driver immediately reported the accident to the police removes all suspicion from him.

The location on the road where Mora was last seen. Photo: Jordyn Muhler / Facebook

There was also a woman who witnessed the accident and immediately called the police. According to her testimony, a man was driving, but later she could neither confirm nor deny this information, since her house was at a fairly large distance from the road.

Police on the spot

The police did not arrive at the scene so quickly and found the car empty. The girl was nowhere near. An open box of wine was found in the car, and in the front seat an empty cola bottle with traces of red liquid. There were footprints on the floor, seat and ceiling. Obviously, Mora poured wine into a cola bottle and drank alcohol while driving. And when the girl drove into a snowdrift on the side of the road, wine spilled over the entire interior of the car.

What do the police think? The classic case when a drunk person gets into an accident and runs away to hide the fact of drinking. Then the driver appears in a day or two, when nothing can be proved. Therefore, they did not put them on the wanted list and simply waited for the culprit of the accident to appear.

Interestingly, the police did not find bottles with strong alcohol in the girl's car, but Murray left all her belongings in place. Even cosmetics and my favorite toy, which I took everywhere with me. And there was a lot of alcohol: three bottles of spirits and one bottle of liqueur.

The salon did not have her debit card and credit card. The girl's cards were never used again.


1. Suicide

Quite a logical version, since the emotional state of the girl in recent weeks has left much to be desired. There is evidence that the girl had bulimia. Even so much alcohol can have a profound effect on the psyche.

There is an interesting fact. On the day Mora disappeared, a guy was shot down on her campus, who later fell into a coma from his injuries. Many speculate about Murray's involvement in this incident. This would explain her quick and unexpected fees, cash withdrawals from the card, booking a house. Maybe the girl was trying to escape? Perhaps she committed suicide out of guilt. The driver who hit the student was never found.

The family completely denies this version. The girl was going to get married, received an education, and everything was fine with her. She smiles in all the photos, but remember that smiling is just a typical American state.

Trouble with the law also speaks of some deep-seated mental problems. She was on probation with the commission at the university, she could not get caught.

If she took her own life, then her body would be found sooner or later. The forest, near which the girl had an accident, was combed several times. Later, hundreds of volunteers searched the area several times, but absolutely nothing was found. Nothing.

2. The escape

The girl had many problems: two accidents, alcohol problems. Most likely, she could run away for a while, so as not to get into another unpleasant story at the university. Mora's running coach, with whom she had a short-term relationship, assures that the girl has repeatedly told him about the desire to escape and fatigue from the current situation.

There is even a version that Fred, the girl's father, helped to escape and knows where Mora is. The version is a little not logical, since the entire Murray family has been suffering for more than 16 years and is lost in conjecture about what happened.

Other Internet users came to the conclusion that Murray could have been waiting for a partner (or a person with whom there was an agreement) to take her to the same Canada.

But this is not only the assumptions of ordinary people, James Renner (a well-known investigative journalist) is confident in the participation of the second party, and specifically the other driver. Renner concluded that the girl had been picked up by another driver, who was familiar to her, and they continued on their way, again towards Canada, along Route 116.

James Renner also does not deny one of the versions of the police that Murray was pregnant and fled in order to protect her unborn child. The journalist has repeatedly received letters stating that Mora suffered in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. The contributors claimed they were insiders and close to the family.

There were several people who claimed to have seen the girl in Canada. Although, as you know, such messages usually do not lead to anything. People either take one person for another, or they just want to be involved in some high-profile story. In general, it is quite difficult to identify a person whom you have never seen live.

3. Abduction

Most likely, the girl could have been picked up and taken away in an unknown direction. Or even abduct by force. Mora was physically strong, but the kidnapper might not be alone. Nothing is known about this.

At the moment, there is a statement from Mora's father about where to look for his daughter. More precisely, her remains. In the vicinity where Mora disappeared, there is one house, which the owner forbade to search. Recently, the owner of the house changed and authorized a search of the basement.

There is information that the search dogs smelled a cadaverous smell in the basement. The body was not found there.

On the day of the disappearance, a girl was seen five miles from the accident site. She walked along the road. There is no evidence that it was Mora.

More information that has become known recently. Billy, Mora's boyfriend, has been prosecuted for rape and will go to trial. Everything is serious enough. Mora has complained to her coach a couple of times that Billy is jealous and trying to control her.

As we can see, the girl had enough reasons to run away. Much of the last days before the disappearance is unclear and, most likely, will remain a mystery to the girl's family, her friends and all those who are interested in the case.

Mora may have wanted to escape, but things didn't go according to plan and she got into an accident. On the verge of an emotional breakdown, she could change her plans quite abruptly. Perhaps, already on the run, the girl met some people, and they hurt her. Maybe kidnapped and killed.

Or someone could pick her up on the road and just take her away in an unknown direction. All searches were simply not carried out there, so Mora was never found.

A few months later, another girl disappeared in the same area. She was the same age, and the circumstances of her disappearance are suspiciously similar to the Murray case. The girl got into an accident, her car was found on the spot, but she herself was nowhere to be found. They say that she was never found.

Original column published on the blog. Teachmetiger on

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