Fred Murray believes his daughter, Maura Murray, who was 21 when she disappeared, is dead. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst nursing student left campus on Feb. 9, 2004 and drove to New Hampshire. She crashed her car on a road in Woodsville, N.H., and vanished. Her car was later found.
The father said he believed he was so close to his daughter and couldn’t give up now.
Fred Murray and supporters organized a search of a basement near the crash last fall after getting the homeowner’s permission. He told NBC 10 Boston that the previous owner didn’t allow him access inside the home.
"He would just never answer the door," he said.
The father said two separate visits by cadaver dogs and a radar scan last fall identified something underneath the basement floor. He said he would not give up the location of the owner as part of an agreement with the home’s new owner.
"It's been 15 years and I haven't let up," Murray told The Associated Press. "The point is, two dog hits and a radar hit. ... That's my daughter, I do believe."
Jeffery Strelzin, New Hampshire’s associate attorney general, said the case remains open and active. He said the area outside the home was searched.
"We are aware of the allegations regarding a home's basement in that area and have considered and are considering next steps," he said. "That area was searched by law enforcement in the past, including with dogs, and nothing of significance was discovered."
Maura Murray’s family and some investigators believe the student just wanted to get away for a few days before she went missing. The star athlete from Hanson, Mass., was working at her job at the school when the phone rang and she burst into tears. The caller and the reason for the phone call are not known. Before she went missing, Murray resolved a criminal matter involving use of a stolen credit card and damaged her father’s car in an accident.
Before she vanished, Murray withdrew $280 from the bank, lied to her professors about a death in the family and left campus on Feb. 9, 2004. She did not tell anyone, including her boyfriend, family or friends, where she was heading.
On that night in February, after Murray crashed her car, a couple nearby called police. A bus driver also stopped and offered to help but she declined. The driver called police anyway.
“He said, ‘Do you need help?’ And she said, ‘No, I already called AAA,’” Murray’s sister, Julie told NBC Boston of the bus driver’s conversation with the nursing student.
A police report stated the car’s windshield was cracked, both air bags were deployed and the car was locked. There was a box of wine discovered in the back seat and a strong odor of alcohol.
The father said he just wants closure for his daughter.
"I'll fund it, I'll do anything," Murray said. "It's my daughter, I want to bring her home and bury her, and then I want to find the dirtbag that put her there."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.