HAVERHILL, N.H. — The State of New Hampshire has denied the family of missing UMass Amherst student Maura Murray to place a historic marker at the site of Maura’s 2004 disappearance.
In a denial letter dated March 5, the director of the N.H. Division of Historical Resources wrote that the Murray Marker proposal failed because the case is less than 50 years old, the NH Department of Transportation found the location was unsuitable for a marker, and there was a lack of local community support.
The Murray family requested a permanent marker in October out of concern that a tree that held a blue ribbon marking the spot on Route 112 in Haverhill, N.H. might be cut down. Last week, the tree, which sits on private property, was cut down.
The Murray family hoped the marker would give family members a place to memorialize Maura and, at the same time, provide a marker for tourists who regularly travel to the location.
Maura Murray disappeared on the night of February 9, 2004 after crashing her car on Route 112 and refusing an offer of help. Earlier, Maura suddenly packed some of her things and left the UMass Amherst campus. No one knows why. Maura Murray has never been found.
Maura’s story has been told in books, podcasts, websites and documentaries.
In October, the Murray family presented a petition to N.H. officials requesting a historic marker. The petition contained nearly 800 signatures from state residents and almost 3500 signatures from people around the world.
Julie Murray, Maura’s sister, is disappointed with the denial.
“I think with the tree being gone and the marker being denied, they just want this to be erased. And that’s not going to happen,” Julie Murray said.
“We’re just a family trying to find Maura, but we’ve run into roadblock after roadblock. I think it goes back to the fact this is a black eye for New Hampshire and they just want it to go away.”
The Murray family is appealing the decision to Gov. Christopher Sununu’s office.