Episode 6 (on iTunes and you can listen here) contains audio of the first part of my recent interview with Fred Murray. I want to give a huge thanks to Mr. Murray and to Julie for sitting down and sharing their knowledge about the case. It truly was an honor.
Part 1 touches on a variety of topics that were covered in the Oxygen series. Mr. Murray shares some of his thoughts and opinions including some of the things he liked and disliked, as well as some points he would like to clarify. Other topics include the background of the A-Frame house, the gathering at Sara Alfieri’s dorm on the Saturday night prior to Maura’s disappearance, and some of the suspicious individuals that have been brought to Mr. Murray’s attention over the years.
I have said it before, but it is a point worth reiterating, that as recently as just a few months ago, the vast majority of information in this case amounted to little other than rumors and hearsay. From my perspective, the show was invaluable when it came to de-bunking a lot of those rumors, and establishing a foundation of verifiable facts that can be built upon. One thing you will hear Mr. Murray say in the episode is that one of his goals for the show was to broaden the base of followers of the case, and it is difficult to deny that the series accomplished exactly that. I want to stress this point because I do not want people to hear specific elements of the show being criticized, and misinterpret that as some kind of denunciation of the show overall. I also hope people will be respectful and will not use Mr. Murray’s words to divert attention away from the case in any way.
I mention several of these points at the end of the episode, but here are a few footnotes about some of the topics discussed:
1) Timothy Ervin
Tim Ervin is sort of an unsung hero in this case. He is an attorney from Massachusetts that represented Mr. Murray when he sued the “state” of New Hampshire in 2006, after the police refused to release any of the documents they had in their possession pertaining to Maura’s disappearance. Every public document about this case - including the dispatch records, police reports, and court documents - is thanks to Tim Ervin (I believe the one exception are the documents related to the credit card incident).
Bloggers (myself included) have posted and re-posted these documents, but Tim Ervin is the one who spent years of his life, ultimately taking the case all the way to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, in order to obtain this information. And he did it pro bono. So in case there are any misconceptions out there, I think it is important to make very clear who deserves the credit for obtaining this information. And it’s no one other than Tim Ervin.
2) Fred’s Open Letters
My second note is about a reference in the episode to two open letters that Mr. Murray posted on John Smith’s website in response to several claims James Renner has made. I re-posted those letters here (Letter #1 and Letter #2), which contain links to the original posts, and I urge people to check it out and read these letters.
As a sidenote, in the podcast, I make a comment about “Renner put[ting] that claim out there,” in reference to the sexual abuse allegations Mr. Murray was asked about in Episode 3 of the Oxygen show. After Episode 3 aired, Renner’s response was to take to his blog to make it clear that “Nowhere in my book does it say he did.” He blames internet message boards. He blames the people posting comments on his blog, which he claims he tried diligently to delete, (neglecting to mention of course that he first had to diligently approve them before he could delete them). The reality is that as far as I know, Renner is the single source for this rumor (and just about all the others I can think of) yet he takes no responsibility whatsoever, and evidently refuses to stand by or defend the content of what is published in his own book. I personally find his argument that "no where in my book does it say he did" as unconvincing and transparent as it is cowardly.
3) Carpet Samples from the A-Frame House
Regarding the carpet samples that were taken from the A-Frame house by the New Hampshire League of Investigators, I followed up with Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin, and asked him whether those samples were received by the State Police. He responded, but was unable to comment on any potential evidence in the case. However, Art and Maggie were able to confirm that the carpet samples were eventually taken into evidence by the State Police. And if what Strelzin said in Episode 4 of the Oxygen series is true, and that all the evidence the State Police have in their possession has been tested, then we could reasonably infer that the carpet samples are included in that category.
4) The Dorm “Party” on Saturday, February 7th
In the episode, Mr. Murray mentions that there were three males at Sara Alfieri’s dorm on the Saturday night prior to Maura’s disappearance. Their identities have never been disclosed to him, but he was told by Kate Markopoulos that one of the men was Sara’s cousin, and the other two were friends of the cousin. I tried reaching out to Sara but was not able to connect. However, it’s worth pointing out that according to police, those individuals were cleared early on in the investigation.
5) The “Loon Mountain Three”
Lastly, I think a lot of people are interested and want to help out with the case but are not sure what they can do to contribute. One thing Mr. Murray mentions in the episode is that the so called “Loon Mountain Three” have yet to be identified. These are three guys that supposedly did not show up for work on the Monday night that Maura disappeared, and who would have driven by the accident scene that evening. Mr. Murray would like to speak with them, if only to ask whether they perhaps saw someone walking that down the road that night. It’s a question that I think with a little time and energy, someone in the internet community would be able to answer.