[Update: My thinking has changed on this considerably with the verification & vetting of Witness A and Cecil Smith’s admission, or implication, he was in the 001 SUV. I am leaving the blog post intact as well as the Ragged Out blog post to reveal how your perspective of a case should evolve & transform as more facts become available — something most surrounding this case are obviously incapable of doing. I no longer believe Maura was drunk. Her thought process immediately subsequent to the accident is indicative of someone thinking on their feet, not someone who was drunk or knocked silly from the accident. She was engaging in damage control and she was strategizing, which is higher brain functioning. She wouldn’t be capable of that if she was semi-conscious from a blow to the head or inebriated. I now believe per the facts AS WE NOW KNOW THEM, that Maura started to feel the chill of that frigid, rural, dead-of-winter New Hampshire air and considering her inadequate attire for such elements realized her best bet was to take Butch Atwood up on his offer. Afterall, he was a bus driver and a big fat guy so he really couldn’t overtake her even if he tried. If Maura was going to avoid the neighbors in trying to connect with Fred or Billy or one of her friends, she would have hiked West back to the Swiftwater Stage Stop convenience store she passed a mile away, not East into the abyss and away from Civilization. But we know she didn’t hike West because she would have run across first the 001 SUV and second Witness A who were proceeding to The Weathered Barn corner. Also, the scent dogs did not track her scent in that direction. Instead, the scent dogs tracked her scent in the direction of Butch Atwood’s and lost it adjacent to his house in the Eastbound lane of Route 112 and I believe the reason for that is she reconsidered Butch’s offer and was on her way to Butch’s house when the 001 SUV came upon the scene and she heard it and/or saw it and doubled back to the Saturn in her scent track.]
This is a blog post I typed up nearly two years prior (January of 2016). I suspect it has been read many times by the celebrities who have claimed the Maura Murray case as their own pride & joy but they refuse to give credit where credit is due. Keep in mind, at this blog I not only give credit for something I use directly from another source but I also give credit for inspiration. Needless to say, there’s an awful lot of plagiarism out there these days and those who have no name cache and recognition get plagiarized all the time by those who do. In Episode 4 of Oxygen’s The Disappearance of Maura Murray Maggie says, “Art’s right, whoever put that rag in the tailpipe did it after she crashed.” No, Maggie, Cold was right and everyone who read what I wrote afterwords and agreed needs to say “Cold’s right.” But they won’t because people are liars & cheaters and our system rewards that hence It’s All Lies.
I know, I know, you’re sick and tired of this rag-in-the-tailpipe thorn in our side. I am too. That’s why I want to make this the definitive go-to blog post for this particular, and perhaps mythological, dimension of this case.
It seems to me there is a bevy of unsubstantiated, unverified hearsay and innuendo surrounding the rag-in-the-tailpipe myth. And I’m calling it a myth until it’s thoroughly vetted and substantiated/verified. It’s yet another example in this case of people taking assertions and claims at face value without any verification and/or substantiation. Let’s substantiate/verify this myth once and for all and if it stands up to the verification process it moves from myth to evidence and then, and only then, we can try to conjecture about its relevance in this case, if it has any relevance, rather than jumping the gun and going straight from A to Z and skipping all the necessary procedural letters in between. It’s important to crawl before you start walking and to start walking before you start running. Each step in that process is vitally important to the effectiveness of your holistic development. Same goes for this verification process taking mythological assertions and claims and transforming them into factual evidence via verification. Directly from A to Z and skipping everything in between is lazy and faulty — it’s the stuff of mob justice, which, if you think about it, is really injustice.
So, where do we start?
I’ll go first and take a stab at it. The following is a list of assertions and/or claims made related to the rag-in-the-tailpipe myth. Each and every one of them should be conclusively verified before the rag-in-the-tailpipe moves from myth to factual evidence for theoretical consideration. Your cooperation in verifying all of this is greatly appreciated. If you are a hooligan troll, you are not welcome to read this or collaborate in it in any way. Sure, you can read if you like, that’s your right, but you’re not welcome to — there is a difference. Everyone else who would like to approach this earnestly, intelligently and respectfully, please join in and collaborate so we can get through this rag-in-the-tailpipe sticking point once and for all and either possibly put it to good theoretical use if it is verified, or put it to rest once and for all if it isn’t verified.
Claim Verification Color Code
1.) It’s been claimed Fred instructed Maura to put the rag in the tailpipe to mitigate the Saturn from smoking so she wouldn’t get pulled over by the police and given a ticket for polluting. [See Joe M’s comment in the comment section below linking to Boston Magazine interview with Fred Murray for details.]
2.) It’s been claimed a rag was found in the tailpipe of Maura’s Saturn at the weathered barn location by an EMT who spotted it, Dick Guy. [See James Renner’s blog post entitled How The Accident Probably Happened here for details.]
3.) It’s been claimed there is no mention of the rag-in-the-tailpipe in the official police report. [See link and screen prints below for reference.]
4.) It’s been claimed Sgt. Cecil Smith, when speaking to the Westman’s at their front door about the Saturn and its occupant, mentioned to them that there was a rag-in-the-tailpipe. [See Go Westman Young Man blog post for details.]
5.) It’s been claimed that Fred Murray indicated that when he went to see Maura’s car for the first time after she went missing, he was instructed by LE to remove the rag from the tailpipe.
6.) It’s been claimed that per Fred Murray, the rag was a torn part of a medical towel Fred used as a rag that he stored in the toolkit in Maura’s trunk from when he owned the car.
7.) It’s been claimed by Mike Lavoie, the tow truck driver, that Fred Murray told him that he instructed Maura to put the rag in the tailpipe. [See James Renner’s blog post entitled Lavoie Said Fred Murray Explained Mystery Rag here for details.]
8.) It’s been claimed that Fred Murray has subsequently indicated to John Smith that even though he advised Maura to put the rag in the tailpipe he doesn’t think she ever did and in particular not on the evening she went missing.
9.) It’s been claimed the Grafton County Sheriffs Department Police Logs from 02/09/2004 — 02/10/2004 contain a BOL on Maura Murray call from Byron Charles of the Haverhill Police Department indicating she was in a Motor Vehicle Crash (MVC) and there was a rag-in-the-tailpipe. [See link and screen print below for reference.]
That’s all I can come up with for now, but I think that’ll suffice. It’s a rather exhaustive list of claims related to the rag-in-the-tailpipe and the list seems to grow by the day. I’ve yet to see any of it adequately verified and keep in mind adequately verified doesn’t equal “John Smith said so.”
So, what do you say, folks? How about we get moving on this verification process as it relates to the rag-in-the-tailpipe rather than theorizing and conjecturing based on what might possibly be a myth, or worse, a canard and/or red herring.
Once we verify all of it, if we can and do, then we can move on to its relevance in this case if there is any relevance. But until it’s all verified adequately in my opinion it has no relevance,and that’s been a large part of the problem with the online community of armchair detectives surrounding this case for twelve years. It’s been one big, incoherent, unverified, diabolical, exasperating flying spaghetti monster. Well, not any more. Not at this venue. There’s a new sheriff in town — and his name is Cold N. Holefield. With a period after the “N.”
Update #1: #3 on the list has been verified. There is no mention of the rag-in-the-tailpipe on the accident report prepared by Sgt. Cecil Smith. I am providing screen shots of the report below for your review and consideration.
Update #2: Claim #9 on the list has been verified. The following is the link and screen print as proof.