The family of a missing UMass Amherst student has been denied their request for a historical marker after a tree that served as a memorial for Maura Murray was cut down.

AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A follow-up now to a story Western Mass News brought you just last week.

The family of a missing UMass Amherst student has been denied their request for a historical marker after a tree that served as a memorial for Maura Murray was cut down.

The family submitted an appeal Tuesday. Western Mass News spoke with Maura's sister, who said their application met and surpassed all the program's requirements, and now they're looking for answers.

Maura Murray, a UMass Amherst student, went missing in February of 2004 after she left campus and drove to New Hampshire, where she crashed her car on route 112 in Woodsville.

To this day, that is the last time Maura was seen.

Maura Murray

This Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014 photo shows a missing person poster of Maura Murray that hangs in the lobby of the police station in Haverhill, N.H. Ten years ago, the Massachusetts college student drove off a road in a rural section of Haverhill in northern New Hampshire and hasn't been seen since. She left a tormented family, vexed investigators and a case rife with rumor and innuendo. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

“They can try to stop it, but this train is moving, and we're not stopping until we find Maura,” Maura’s sister Julie said.

Julie spoke to Western Mass News after her request to the state for a historical marker honoring Maura was denied.

“When I saw that they approved a marker for a UFO abduction, certainly they could approve a marker for my sister's abduction,” Julie explained.

The disappointing news came just one week after the blue ribbon tree, which served as a living memorial to Maura for her family and supporters, was cut down.

“I found several that don't meet the very requirements that mine was denied for,” Julie said.

The director of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources said the proposal for Maura Murray's marker failed because the case is less than 50 years old.

“That 50-year requirement is neither in New Hampshire law nor on the requirements on the marker program,” Julie explained.

Another reason cited for the denial was that the state's Department of Transportation found the location unsuitable.

“According to the criteria, the Department of Transportation is supposed to recommend a safer location no alternative location was proposed,” Julie said.

What upsets Julie the most is the division's reasoning saying their request lacks community support.

“I have trouble with that one because of the huge amount of support this marker receives,” Julie said.

With more than 3,000 signatures for the marker, and 780 New Hampshire resident signatures their proposal surpassed the state's requirement.

“If that's not broad community support I don't know what is,” Julie added.

Now the family is submitting an appeal hoping to gain the attention of Governor Chris Sununu to get a marker for Maura, which Julie said would be safer than a public highway.

“We hope we can come to a resolution where we can go to a safer location nearby to keep tourists safe, my family safe, and New Hampshire residents safe,” Julie said.

For more information on the appeal and the family's call to Governor Sununu click here.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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