Family fights to keep missing daughter’s memorial in New Hampshire

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University of Massachusetts’ Maura Murray disappeared with a trace in 2004. For the past 16 years, the Murray family has made it their mission to find out what happened.

The 21-year-old was driving along Route 112 in Haverhill, New Hampshire on an icy, winter night in February when she crashed her car. There, a blue ribbon hangs from a tree in her memory. Keeping it there, however, has been no easy task.

But the thought of taking it down never crossed her sister’s mind.

“Never. This is history,” said Julie Murray.

On Friday, members of her family submitted a request to the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources on Friday to make a permanent memorial site after the state proposed Bill 1255, calling for the removal of all roadside memorials.

“We are fighting to keep that ribbon on that tree for as long as…as we can,” said Julie.

Fortunately the bill was tabled, but could likely pass in the spring. The Murray family is also facing pressure from the property owners who want to cut down the trees.

“My family and I, we don’t have Maura. We don’t have a grave, we don’t have ashes to spread,” said Julie.

New Hampshire State Rep. Debra DeSimone doesn’t represent the district where Maura went missing but says it’s her responsibility as a state representative to get involved and help the Murray family.

“I have not and will not make promises except to do my best to give the family, a contact point where they can come and pray and have hope that they can have some closure someday,” said DeSimone.

DeSimone says she’s a wife, mother, and grandmother, which are the many identities of those who make up Maura’s supporters and search volunteers.

On Saturday the family’s efforts continued with a boots on the ground search for Maura Murray.

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