Episode 10 - The Timeline

Episode 10 (“The Timeline”) is now up on iTunes and you can listen here. Ethan and I compare our timeline to Art’s timeline and respond to some of the arguments we heard in Episode 75 of the Missing Maura Murray podcast. Of course the biggest difference between Art’s timeline and my and Ethan’s timeline is that we can not rule out the possibility that there was another police officer on scene prior to Officer Smith. But just to be clear – we are not arguing that there was definitely another police officer there before Smith; we only argue that it is one possibility. There are still lots of possibilities. I think it is a theory that should be scrutinized, but not to the exclusion of all other theories.

Some of the topics we discuss in Episode 10 are ones I touched on in this prior post. Some of the other topics we talk about in the episode include:

Witness Statements:

In Episode 75 of the MMM podcast, Art states that according to the NH State Police, a witness saw SUV #001 at the scene that night. Evidently the NHSP are unwilling to release the identity of the witness, but in the episode, Maggie speculated it was Butch Atwood and Art speculated it was the Westmans.

I do not believe there is anyone doubting that 1) there was an SUV on scene that night; and 2) Cecil Smith was also on scene that night. In fact, those may be the only two points we can perhaps all agree on. So without any context or specifics regarding what this witness actually said, I personally did not find this information compelling.

On the topic of witness statements, one statement I took issue with was Art’s suggestion that [paraphrasing] for another officer to have been on scene prior to Smith, it would have to mean that everyone else – the Westmans, Witness A, Butch Atwood, the Marrottes, and Officer Smith – would have to be lying. To me, that is a false dichotomy. Nothing that any of the witnesses have said is incompatible with the possibility that another cruiser could have been on scene at some point prior to Smith if the witness(es) never thought to make a distinction between the cruiser they saw arrive at the scene, and the officer that shows up at their door some time later. In fact, you could argue that of any vehicle (i.e. a “tandem driver” or someone offering a ride), a police car may be among the least likely to have drawn extra attention from the witnesses, because they expect it to be arriving.

But again, no one has to be lying for another officer to have been there before Smith. And if we assume that just one person is lying (Officer Smith), it opens up a wide range of possibilities.

What Officer Monaghan Saw:

The NHSP is currently reviewing/redacting the Oxygen show’s transcript of their interview with Officer Monaghan for release under the Right-to-Know Law. But below is a preview of one portion the transcript that contains nothing that would constitute an invasion of privacy under any of the exemptions outlined in RSA 91-A:5. (Note: From what I understand, Monaghan’s interview occurred several weeks before Cecil Smith’s interview. Also, this specific request has been in process for several months and I expect the full reviewed/redacted transcript soon.)

On the one hand, Monaghan is recalling a memory of something that happened over a decade ago, and admits he is “not 100%” sure. Additionally, Art appears to ask a leading question, which introduces a degree of doubt about Monaghan’s response. On the other hand, it seems significant to me that the only other police officer we know to have been at the scene that night, and the only other person we know to have actually been close enough to Smith’s cruiser to have conversed with him without getting out of his own vehicle, appears to have an account that conflicts with Smith’s account.

Perhaps the fact that Monaghan was not 100% sure led Art to question Monaghan’s memory here. But if we are going to take the position that Monaghan’s memory might be unreliable after 13 years, then I think we also have to apply that same caution Smith’s memory as well – especially considering that according to both officers, there was nothing at all that was unique or memorable about their response to the scene that evening.

Did Maura Go East?

One of the arguments that Maggie and Art made is that Maura could not have walked east because Witness A would have seen her. I agree that it’s likely Witness A would have seen Maura if she had walked east on Rt. 112. However, Bradley Hill Rd is also to the east of the crash site, and it’s certainly possible she could have walked up Bradley Hill (perhaps attempting to get a cell phone signal).

In some ways, Former State Trooper James Conrad’s implication that Rick Forcier is the NH State Police’s prime suspect is the most credible piece of information we have in the case (before retiring, Conrad worked on her case in the Major Crimes Unit). And the access point to Rick Forcier’s trailer was actually on Bradley Hill Rd – not on Rt. 112. So the possibility that she walked in an easterly direction should not be discounted simply because Witness A did not see her.