Police looking for long-missing University of Massachusetts-Amherst student Maura Murray searched in two towns in New Hampshire Wednesday, authorities said.
Murray went missing Feb. 9, 2004, after the 21-year-old's car crashed on Route 112 in Haverhill, New Hampshire, a road that leads to the White Mountain National Forest. After the crash, a couple who lived nearby called police. A school bus driver who also lived nearby asked her if she wanted him to call police. She said no because she had already called AAA, but he called anyway.
By the time officers arrived, Murray was gone. Her car was locked, and facing the opposite direction than what she was driving.
Murray, a nursing student from Hanson, Massachusetts, had left the UMass-Amherst campus after lying to professors about a death in the family. Her family and some investigators believe she just wanted to get away for a few days. She had recently resolved a criminal matter involving use of a stolen credit card and caused extensive damage to her father’s car during a crash. A few days before she disappeared, she was working her security job at UMass-Amherst when the phone rang, and she burst into tears. The caller and the subject of the call remain unknown.
Police have searched in the area over the years and returned Wednesday to Landaff and Easton to undertake "a more extensive search surrounding areas that had been previously searched in a more limited fashion," according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office and state police.
"We've had no clues, we've had no answers, so any little clue would help us," Maura's sister, Julie Murray, told NBC10 Boston Wednesday.
Back in 2019, authorities searched a home and dug up a basement in Haverhill but found no evidence of Maura Murray. Police had searched outside that same home soon after Murray disappeared but had not searched inside until then. The new search was prompted by outside searches using dogs owned by private citizens and a radar scan that suggested the ground had been disturbed.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster, it's had its ups and downs," Julie Murray said. "We have become accustomed to getting phone calls like this."
Murray's story has generated global interest, having been featured in true crime series and podcasts.
Julie Murray issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying her family is aware of the search efforts and is working closely with law enforcement.
"We are encouraged and remain hopeful for a resolution," she said. "Thank you for all the kind words during this time."
"We balance that fine line between not being too hopeful and not losing all hope, and we walk that, and so we're just patiently waiting," Julie Murray said. "The biggest fear is that Maura becomes a file in a cabinet, and people forget about her. And I can't let that happen."
She hopes any new developments can finally bring her family the answers they've been waiting for all these years.
"It only takes that one puzzle piece that we're missing, and hopefully we can put this thing together."
The attorney general's office said their search concluded Wednesday, but their "active, ongoing investigation continues."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.