New England's Unsolved

NE Unsolved: Family of missing UMass Amherst student Maura Murray still fighting for justice

Seventeen years ago, UMass Amherst college student Maura Murray disappeared in northern New Hampshire.

To this day, no evidence has publicly surfaced indicating what happened to the 21-year-old Hanson woman after her car crashed on Route 112 in Haverhill, New Hampshire on February 9, 2004.

Earlier that day, Maura packed some of her things into her car, unexpectedly left the UMass Amherst campus and drove north. No one knows where she was headed.

Maura’s case has been told in books, podcasts, TV documentaries and websites and has become one of New England’s most closely studied unsolved cases.

“Maura’s missing person case is one of the most well known in the world,” Maura’s sister, Julie Murray told me.

For years, a blue ribbon tied to a tree branch marked the exact spot where Maura crashed her car and where this mystery begins.

Maura’s family visits the site several times a year.

“For my family, we have this unresolved loss. We don’t have ashes to spread or a gravesite to go to,” Julie Murray said.

The site is also popular with people who are fascinated with the case and who regularly trek to Haverhill, New Hampshire to see it for themselves.

In 2020, the Murray family launched the Blue Ribbon Campaign, in an effort to have the state place a permanent historic marker on the site.

The Murrays were told the property owner intended to cut down the tree.

In October, Julie Murray, her father Fred, and others presented a petition to the N.H. Division of Historical Resources requesting the marker.

Nearly 800 New Hampshire residents and 3,500 people from around the world signed the petition.

But before the Division could make its decision, the Blue Ribbon tree was cut down.

Days later, NH authorities denied permission for a permanent marker for Maura.

“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.

In its denial letter, the N.H. Historical Resources Division said the proposed Murray Marker failed because Maura’s disappearance happened less than 50 years ago, the site is unsuitable for traffic, and that there is no broad-based support for the marker.

Julie Murray believes those reasons are arbitrary, and now she is taking the matter up with Governor Chris Sununu.

“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 NH and they just want it to go away,” Murray said.

“This is just something that I have to do and we’re going to continue to fight until we come to some resolution,” she added.

If you know what happened to Maura Murray contact the NH Attorney General Cold Case Unit at: (603) 271-2663 or visit their website.

To learn more about Maura’s case, this is the family’s official website.