NH NH - Maura Murray, 21, Haverhill, 9 Feb 2004 - # 8

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Skigirl

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Sorry to derail, I followed this case closely for a while but haven't checked in on it for about 6 months. Does anyone wanna fill me in on the pizza/credit card talk? I can probably just read back but cliffs would be nice too.

James Renner, who's an author of true crime books, has a blog focused on Maura. He did a FOIA request and (I think as a result of the request) received information about her arrest. There's a mug shot of sorts (according to Renner, taken right outside her dorm room), and a copy of a receipt.

The theft came to light when a woman noticed some weird charges on her credit card. Some of the charges were from a local pizza place called Pinnochio's. She called the restaurant and they had the delivery location on file. She then called the police and the police went to that location when the next order was made. They caught Maura alone. She admitted to stealing the number off a receipt she found in the trash.
 

Queen_City

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James Renner, who's an author of true crime books, has a blog focused on Maura. He did a FOIA request and (I think as a result of the request) received information about her arrest. There's a mug shot of sorts (according to Renner, taken right outside her dorm room), and a copy of a receipt.

The theft came to light when a woman noticed some weird charges on her credit card. Some of the charges were from a local pizza place called Pinnochio's. She called the restaurant and they had the delivery location on file. She then called the police and the police went to that location when the next order was made. They caught Maura alone. She admitted to stealing the number off a receipt she found in the trash.

Thanks.. just found the blog and read through it all. Lots of good stuff there... a lot of interesting stuff about Fred too that I never really thought about. Not sure if I believe Fred had anything to do with it... I do tend to believe that she may have been meeting up with someone though after reading some of the information that Renner has pointed out.
 

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The bulimia angle is interesting. Maura was a big track and field runner, if I remember correctly, so it's possible she was quite concerned about her weight.

I am absolutely convinced she had a very serious drinking problem, if she wasn't already an outright alcoholic. Didn't she wreck her father's car after being at a party? Then all the alcohol she bought before taking the trip that was found in her car after the second accident. She'd been drinking while driving, too. I think she was moderately drunk when the accident occurred and, remembering the earlier accident, became quite concerned about the arrival of the police. They would've smelled the alcohol and found the booze in the car, and Maura quite likely would've went to jail on a DUI charge. Family and friends would learn about her drinking problem, and that would shatter the image Maura wanted to project about herself. She took off on foot to get away from the accident. Throw in a possible head injury from the accident coupled with drinking and I think it highly likely she got confused and wandered off into the woods. She got lost and died from exposure. It's possible someone might stumble over her bones out there some day.

There's the issue of the phone call to the boyfriend sometime later, but I've never seen absolute confirmation that the call came from Maura.
Thank you! That's my theory as well. (See my post from a few days back.)
 

hmg

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$17 doesn't seem that high to me either.....not when most toppings are usually a buck a piece......and wings, OMG are those freaking things outrageous!

During the sting she ordered a pizza from Pinocchio's in Amherst. I lived in Amherst during 2003 and can verify that a large pizza meant to feed several people was around $12.99/$13.99 at that time and that was for a specialty pizza like buffalo chicken, the price for a plain ole pepperoni and cheese or cheese would be even lower. Believe me when I say that $17 worth of food from Pinocchio's would have been a lot.

I think that's kind of irrelevant though, the true point is that this young lady had a habit of using people's credit cards to buy food. On JR's blog it says she charged $79 worth of food onto this credit card and the number was used multiple times (which was why the sting was set up) at Pinocchio's as well as two other restaurants. That shows a pattern of deception and and since the girl presumably had plenty of money to buy her own pizza it shows that she was trying to conceal her large food consumption, which points to bulimia. Either that or she got a "thrill" out of committing fraud with other people's credit cards, even for small insignificant things. There's just really no other explanation for this type of behavior, especially when it's been speculated that she got kicked out of West Point for the same thing.
 

Skigirl

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When I was in Amherst, $10 could get you a HUGE mount of food at Pinnochio's, but I'm older than ya'll. Still, it was the cheap pizza and they always left coupons hanging on our dorm room doors. It was the place to order delivery when you wanted cheap food.

That said, I don't know if she really was after a thrill. It could be that she was so desperate and secretive about the bingeing that she didn't want to charge the food to a card that would leave evidence for loved ones -- if family knows you've got some kind of substance abuse problem, they tend to be on the lookout for signs, whether it's food or drugs -- so when she ran out of cash, she charged it to the stolen card. I recently re-read her boyfriend's mother's reminiscences of Maura, and she mentioned a couple things about Maura's eating habits - that she liked fruit for breakfast and that she ate salad almost every day and was an expert salad maker. My guess is that she ate very healthily most of the time, especially when people were watching, and when she ate junk she went way overboard and was ashamed and guilty and secretive about it.

On another note, dorms don't really tend to have good places to store leftover pizza. If you have a small dorm fridge it usually doesn't have room for pizza, especially in a box. Students don't usually keep tinfoil and the like hanging around. If you put it in a group fridge, it usually gets eaten by someone else or you forget about it. That was my experience, anyway.
 

hmg

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When I was in Amherst, $10 could get you a HUGE mount of food at Pinnochio's, but I'm older than ya'll. Still, it was the cheap pizza and they always left coupons hanging on our dorm room doors. It was the place to order delivery when you wanted cheap food.

That said, I don't know if she really was after a thrill. It could be that she was so desperate and secretive about the bingeing that she didn't want to charge the food to a card that would leave evidence for loved ones -- if family knows you've got some kind of substance abuse problem, they tend to be on the lookout for signs, whether it's food or drugs -- so when she ran out of cash, she charged it to the stolen card. I recently re-read her boyfriend's mother's reminiscences of Maura, and she mentioned a couple things about Maura's eating habits - that she liked fruit for breakfast and that she ate salad almost every day and was an expert salad maker. My guess is that she ate very healthily most of the time, especially when people were watching, and when she ate junk she went way overboard and was ashamed and guilty and secretive about it.

On another note, dorms don't really tend to have good places to store leftover pizza. If you have a small dorm fridge it usually doesn't have room for pizza, especially in a box. Students don't usually keep tinfoil and the like hanging around. If you put it in a group fridge, it usually gets eaten by someone else or you forget about it. That was my experience, anyway.

Yeah actually now that you mention it Pinnochios definitely was one of the cheaper pizza places in Amherst back then. $17 could have very well been for two pizzas.

I think you're right on the money on why she used stolen credit cards. Her outside image was one of model health, especially given her athleticism and her career choice, and I do get the impression the credit card fraud was to hide her secret, especially from her parents. I only meant that thrill seeking would be the only other plausible cause, but it does seem far less likely than bulimia.
 

deca

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Stealing because of bulimia might be true- but really couldn't she have just told her dad (if he even noticed the $79 charge among all the other charges and expenses a college student has) that she was buying some pizza for a study group or for her dorm mates and herself?

Of course, that assumes that she didn't have her own cc/checking acct and all her bills were going directly to dad. She wouldn't need to hide her charges from herself! :innocent:

I guess it would be helpful on this detail to know if dad had reprimanded her on her spending habits. Because when I was in school (around that time) my apartment was $400, books, tuition and other assorted things much more than that ($1000/mo?) and I don't think my parents would have flipped out over it. Maybe asked me to tone it down or something.


I agree with one of the above posters upthread that it might have been the thrill of the steal. Which would go into her other risky behaviors: drinking and driving, taking off in the middle of the night etc. That is, unless she had serious money issues which I don't remember being discussed.

The theft of the cc is puzzling, for sure.
 

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Maura Murray. I first read her story years back when it was published in Seventeen Magazine. I also have just viewed her story on a segment on Disappeared. Her case just baffles me because at first, before she got in an accident, she seemed as if she was running away. Frustrated with life. After that, we really dont have anything to point us in the direction of what may have happened to her. She literally vanished into thin air. Did she call someone to come get her to continue her journey away from the life she had? (But why wouldn't she let her family know she was ok? Would she be ashamed for leaving or running from her problems?) Did someone bad pick her up (Did the wrong stranger happen to see her or did something wrong happen with someone she trusted)? And why did she unexpectedly leave with not much with her to suggest she'd be planning to run away from her life?
This case baffles me so much, it's difficult for me to even draw up a theory. After the bus driver talked to her, there's nothing. No notable leads either.

All we can do is hope she is alive somewhere living the life she wanted to have.
 

amber1

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Maura Murray. I first read her story years back when it was published in Seventeen Magazine. I also have just viewed her story on a segment on Disappeared. Her case just baffles me because at first, before she got in an accident, she seemed as if she was running away. Frustrated with life. After that, we really dont have anything to point us in the direction of what may have happened to her. She literally vanished into thin air. Did she call someone to come get her to continue her journey away from the life she had? (But why wouldn't she let her family know she was ok? Would she be ashamed for leaving or running from her problems?) Did someone bad pick her up (Did the wrong stranger happen to see her or did something wrong happen with someone she trusted)? And why did she unexpectedly leave with not much with her to suggest she'd be planning to run away from her life?
This case baffles me so much, it's difficult for me to even draw up a theory. After the bus driver talked to her, there's nothing. No notable leads either.

All we can do is hope she is alive somewhere living the life she wanted to have.
 

nitram

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How do we know she was alone when she was caught using the other person's credit card?
 

Unscripted

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How do we know she was alone when she was caught using the other person's credit card?

Great question. Did she take the fall for someone else? $17 worth is a lot of bargain-priced pizza for one person to consume, even over a couple of days.
 

anneonymous

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It's awesome to see all the Pinocchio's love... I miss their barbecue chicken calzones! Maura was probably ordering food for delivery because it's one of the few ways to use a stolen credit card without a physical card. Even online orders check to match the name and shipping/billing address on the account. Restaurants just ask for the number and expiration date over the phone and punch it into their system.

If some or all of the food was meant for someone else, it would be an easy way to convert a stolen number into cash. It's pretty easy to find someone in your dorm who wants to order pizza. She could have collected orders, told everyone she was putting it on her credit card for convenience, and had them pay her in cash.

We also don't know if it's the only thing she attempted to use the stolen number for... just that it's the only thing she SUCCESSFULLY used it for. (For example, she might have tried to order big ticket items over the phone or online and if it rejected the card instantly for a name/shipping address/billing address mismatch, it wouldn't have shown up on the owner's charge card.)
 

Skigirl

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Stealing because of bulimia might be true- but really couldn't she have just told her dad (if he even noticed the $79 charge among all the other charges and expenses a college student has) that she was buying some pizza for a study group or for her dorm mates and herself?

If you've ever loved anyone with a serious eating disorder and have been around the family, you can see that they start to go absolutely CRAZY when they detect signs of bingeing because it worries them so much. A pattern of ordering pizza over a period of weeks would cause alarm and probably attempts at intervention in a family where there's a lot of concern over an eating disorder. The equivalent would be if charges at the local liquor store start showing up on your alcoholic husband's credit card statement. You wouldn't freak out about the $10 or whatever, and it really wouldn't matter if he told you he didn't drink the entire six pack by himself, it would still make you insane.

I have absolutely no way of knowing that this was the case in her family. But there are reasons why someone who's bulimic would steal food or steal a credit card to buy food. It's not being unable to afford it or wanting to steal -- it's about wanting to hide the consumption.
 

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How do we know she was alone when she was caught using the other person's credit card?

Apparently, she got got caught in a sting. She was alone when the delivery was made. JMO
 

McSpy

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Great question. Did she take the fall for someone else? $17 worth is a lot of bargain-priced pizza for one person to consume, even over a couple of days.

IMO, the food was for her only, but that is only my opinion.
 
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So, if you check out Mr112Dirtbag' YouTube channel, one of his latest videos has a link to his blogspot - Just Google 'looking for Renner blogspot.' It's incredibly strange. Much like everything that Dirtbag does, I can't follow it. But I thought I would throw it out there, especially given the lack of activity on this thread here.
 

Skigirl

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I agree, it is very, very weird.
 

Leomoon80

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I agree, it is very, very weird.

If you scroll down to Feb. 21st post,you'll see Video here, that Renner posted to, explaining how a Forensic Psychiatrist, finds this man to be a sadist (at the very least) who loves to inflict pain. He could just be someone who desperately wants attention and this is his way to get it:

http://mauramurray.blogspot.com/
 

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I made a post on James'es blog that hasn't been posted.

So I will make it here to clear up some factual info being discussed about maura. Because I know people that look at the blog also come to this website as well.

FACT: Maura DID have a SPECIFIC used car picked out (to purchase) according to the southshore express articles that came out way back when (five-part series) The article does not say where maura was going to purchase the car from, however.

Had she not gone missing - Maura was going to purchase a 2001 GEO Prizm, (the following week) this was according to the author of the article. And it was fred murray who was quoted as saying they would've purchased the car the following week.

Another issue getting some debate going is the "scrubs".

According to the very same article (which I have studied closely for years and find to be very accurate) Maura placed a phone call on the day she went missing to a fellow nursing student at 1:13 p.m.

Both the private investigator john healey and helena murray have each verified that the subject of this call was maura arranging to return borrowed scrubs.
So the scrubs issue is not some fake story drummed up on a message board somewhere.

Maura was returning her nurse scrubs on the day she went missing. What that means I guess is up to interpretation.
 
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