It seems like there are certain clues in this case that simultaneously seem to tell us everything we need to know, and yet nothing at all. For instance, why didn’t anyone search east that night? There is no disagreement about the direction Maura was traveling – east – even among law enforcement. And if LE was willing to expend energy and resources that evening to search areas west of the crash site, why did they fail to conduct even a cursory search in the direction Maura was actually traveling? And how can we be sure they didn't?
I tend to believe incompetence is far more prevalent then malevolence, and am therefore generally skeptical when I even hear a hint of a "conspiracy." Purely from practical standpoint, conspiracies involving more than two people are exceedingly difficult to keep a lid on.
That said, in light of the witness statement to Fred Murray about police arguing over jurisdiction at the scene of the accident, Dick Guy’s impression of the scene (before being dismissed 6 minutes later), the problems Officer McKay seemed to have both getting along with others as well as respecting jurisdictional boundaries, the fact that he inquired about one of the last places Maura was seen 20 minutes before she disappeared, was known to drive Franconia SUV #001, was a former employee of Haverhill Police Department, and finally, a timeline that matches up perfectly with Witness A's account along with an alibi that can not accounted for in the police logs for at least two hours following the crash – it seems reasonable to question whether any of this could be related to Maura.
Maybe it's all a coincidence. Maybe not. But if some kind of accident did happen, it could be that McKay was the only one involved (so far there's nothing to suggest otherwise). And if that's the case, then it's not a conspiracy. It's just one bad cop. And perhaps some negligent (but not malevolent) officials. If the events of the past year show us anything, then it is that combination seems to exist in police departments all across the country.
To quickly recap – Corporal Bruce McKay (44K) was a Franconia, NH police officer in February of 2004. He began his career working part time at the Haverhill Police Department, where he met his second wife (Angela) who was a secretary there. He had a certain proclivity toward traffic stops. To quote Boston Magazine, "McKay rang up over 300 stops—summary interrogations, drug searches—pursuing every infraction, no matter how petty, with the same bulldog ferocity. The other two full-time cops in town reportedly collected just 11 between them." According to the same article, McKay had a vanity plate on his personal vehicle that read "GOTCHA."
He appears in the GCSO police logs on three separate occasions the evening of February 9th. Each of those calls is detailed below.
CALL 1) [7:08 PM] Call #4749: McKay (44K) to GSO Dispatch
In NH, wine and liquor is only available through state-owned and operated outlets. Bruce McKay called dispatch at 7:08 PM inquiring about the phone number for “SL-16.” SL-16 is a reference to Butson’s Wine & Liquor outlet in Woodsville, NH. It is also one of the last places Maura may have been seen before the accident. (See NH Frequency index here.)
Even if McKay’s reason for inquiring about SL-16 was entirely unrelated to Maura, it still suggests he may have been in the Woodsville area around 7:08 PM. Woodsville, NH was outside McKay’s jurisdiction of Franconia, NH, which is about 20 miles away.
CALL 2) [7:17 PM] Call #4751: Medical Emergency in Littleton, NH
Witness A reported leaving work at Friendship House in Woodsville around 7:15 that evening. She states that SUV #001 passed her heading east on Swiftwater Road with its blue lights on. The same SUV then passed her again as she was taking a right onto Rt. 112 off Goose Lane. It was still headed east with its blue lights on. A few minutes later, Witness A drove by the accident scene and saw SUV #001 nose-to-nose with the Saturn.
At 7:20, McKay was the first officer dispatched to call #4751 – a suicide attempt up in Littleton, NH (northeast of Woodsville). Had he been in the area, it would make sense for him to be heading east on Swiftwater Road toward Rt. 112 with his blue lights on. But as I stated in the podcast, he never arrived at that scene up in Littleton. One minute after Faith Westman calls 911 at 7:27 PM to report the accident near the WBC, Bruce McKay clears out of call #4751 (7:28 PM). There is no reason given for why he cleared that call at 7:28 PM, and the log makes no mention of where he was headed. He doesn’t show up in the log again until more than two hours later (call #4762 below).
It’s about a 9 minute drive from the Cottage Hospital (point A on the map below) to the intersection of Goose Lane and Rt. 112 (point B), which means that if she was passed by #001 the first time around 7:21-7:23, she would have been passed by him again taking a right on Rt. 112 around 7:30-7:32 PM. You can listen to Witness A in her own words here. It could help to listen to her explanation while looking at the map (starting around minute 6).
If McKay been driving the SUV heading toward Littleton, and if he cleared call #4751 at 7:28 PM in order to respond to Maura’s accident (which was literally right around the corner), then it seems most likely he would have been headed north on Porter Road at that time, turned around to head south, then taken a left on Rt. 112, proceeding to pass Witness A again, headed east. Though as the map clearly shows, there are a number of routes (i.e. Sawyer Hill Road) the driver of #001 could have taken to end up passing Witness A again near the intersection of Goose Lane and Rt. 112.
CALL 3) [9:35 PM] Call #4762: Unknown/Other
The third time Officer McKay appears in the log was at 9:35 PM. The narrative states that “44k off in the area of the motel unknown reason.” It appears that dispatch attempted to contact Officer McKay, but he did not respond. I don’t think there is much we can infer from this call. But I will say that since we know Maura was looking for a hotel that afternoon, and hadn’t seemed to find one as far as we know, this was the call that originally piqued my curiosity about “44k.”
To sum it up, if McKay had been in the Woodsville area around 7:08 PM, then the timing matches up perfectly for him to have been the driver of SUV #001. In 2007, McKay was Franconia #001 and as early as 2003, may have been driving the SUV. It would explain why he cleared call #4751 at the precise time he did – 7:28 PM – one minute after Faith Westman called 911 at 7:27 PM. It would explain why Witness A was passed by the same car twice, each time headed east, and each time with its blue lights on. And notably, it would explain why dispatch appeared to have hung up with Faith Westman around 7:34 PM, and in turn, why the Westmans turned their attention away from the accident when they did. Standard protocol is for dispatch to keep 911 callers on the line until police arrive at the scene, but they did not do that in this case.That is, unless they did.
Because it would also explain why numerous media reports in the days following the crash, and some even to this day, continue to state that officers arrived on scene “less than 10 minutes after the 911 call.” Lastly, and I grant that this is purely speculative on my part, but I don’t believe police only searched west of the accident that night. On its face, it makes no sense. The police believed Maura was driving east on Rt. 112, so why would they only search west? If anyone were to have searched east that night, then perhaps it was Officer McKay, whose jurisdiction was just east of the accident site.