I first heard about this missing persons case from the podcast Missing Maura Murray, created and hosted by Lance Reenstierna and Tim Pilleri. On the evening of February 9, 2004, Maura had a minor car accident on a winding road in New Hampshire; a person who lived nearby came out to offer assistance, but Maura said that she’d called AAA and didn’t need help. When the police showed up a few minutes after being called, they found Maura’s car and many of her belongings, but she was not there. She hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
In True Crime Addict, author James Renner recounts how he became involved, seven years later, in trying to find out what happened to Maura.
Renner has a penchant for unusual and/or mysterious stories, having already spent a great deal of time investigating other missing persons cases to varying degrees. He latches on to the stories of these people who are suddenly gone, following all the leads he can get his hands on, as far as he can–a tactic which doesn’t always work so well for him in terms of getting others to share information with him. Readers might say that he becomes obsessed with the cases and the people, and that he uses his investigations as a way to escape the messier parts of his own life at times, and I don’t think he’d disagree. But he’s earnest, and I didn’t get the feeling that he was doing this to bring himself some sort of odd fame or to exploit the people involved. He’s also very open with his methods and what he finds, posting all of it on his blog, putting it out there for others to see and discuss. He gives glimpses into his personal life as well, detailing some stressful situations that are going on at the same time–getting fired from a job, having a child that is going through some social and behavioral issues, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs to cope, anger issues, threats from people involved in the case. He digs himself a few holes and at times must have been a thorn in the sides of many people, but he stays dedicated to trying to find out as much as he can about what happened to Maura–why she left, where she might be.
The book reads a bit like a blog–short chapters that take up a few pages at most, focusing on very specific aspects of the case, how he investigates them, what he believes they mean. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying Maura is still missing; so, while the main mystery of the doesn’t resolve nicely, the information that the author uncovers, and the story itself, make for a quick and very interesting read.