Tree marking site where missing UMass student disappeared cut down

HAVERHILL, N.H. — On Route 112 in Haverhill, N.H., there’s a fresh-cut tree that’s starting to get a lot of attention. This was not just any tree; this one bore a special blue ribbon and marked the spot where UMass Amherst student Maura Murray was last seen alive on the night of February 9, 2004.

“This is heartbreaking for my family because that tree served as a living memorial for Maura,” Julie Murray, Maura’s sister, told Boston 25 News.

Julie Murray is leading a campaign for the State of New Hampshire to place a permanent marker at the spot. In October, Julie and her father delivered petitions bearing thousands of signatures requesting a marker to New Hampshire officials.

The Murray family was concerned then that the property owner might cut down the tree, and now that day has arrived.

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“I pleaded with them to spare one of the trees, a couple of the trees; they were unwilling to compromise,” Murray said. “Since we don’t have any ashes to spread or gravesite to visit, that tree was our memorial. It’s the only thing that we have left.”

Maura Murray’s unsolved disappearance has captured the attention of people from all around the world.

Many people travel to Haverhill, N.H. to see for themselves the exact spot where Maura Murray crashed her car in 2004 after suddenly leaving UMass Amherst only to disappear forever.

All these years later, Maura’s family is still pushing New Hampshire investigators to keep the case open, and they won’t let a felled tree slow them down.

“As you know from covering my sister’s case for 17 years, we just get hit with roadblock after roadblock,” Murray said. “It just strengthens our resolve. It has made my family and the community more resilient, and it’s just going to fuel our desire to get some sort of resolution in my sister’s case.”

There are more than 200 official highway markers in New Hampshire, including one that commemorates a reported UFO abduction in 1961. Maura Murray’s sister said there should be little doubt that Maura’s site needs to be commemorated as well.

For more information about efforts to place a permanent marker for Maura Murray, visit the official Maura Murray website by clicking here.