But there were immediate questions surrounding Murray's disappearance. For reasons she apparently shared with no one, the 22-year-old left her dorm in Massachusetts and drove to New Hampshire.
Reporter Joe McGee covered the story for The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass.
"At a hairpin turn, she went off the road. Her car hit a tree. At that point, a person came along who was driving a bus. It was a neighbor. He asked her if she needed help. She refused. About 10 minutes later, police showed up to the scene and Maura Murray was gone," McGee said.
News of that night's events reached her father, Fred Murray, when police called at 4 p.m. the next day.
"My immediate reaction when I found out that my daughter was missing was right at the edge of panic. You found her car? She was in an accident? She's not there? Where is she? Where is the search now? You know, how far have you looked now? And as it turns out, there was no search," he said.
In this case, the initial conclusion at the scene was that Murray had probably left on her own free will. But a day and a half later, with still no sign of her, authorities investigated further.
"They brought out helicopters, ground crews to search the area and dogs. But two things stood out. No. 1, there were no footprints left in the snow. And No. 2, dogs lost her scent about 100 yards away from the scene," McGee said.
Police reported that there were no signs of struggle at the scene, and their conclusion seemed to be that she had run away.
Rausch doesn't believe the woman he planned to marry would simply run away. He got an emergency leave from the Army to search for Murray.
"I kept hearing, well, she's an adult, and I was the only one out there walking up and down the street, looking over snow banks, trying to find footprints, trying to find some sign of her," he said.
"For all of us that love Maura, life is like a nightmare. I can honestly say that I can't imagine loving anyone that's not my child anymore than I love Maura," Sharon Rausch said.
Three months later, as the fact of Murray's disappearance lingered without answers, her family saw reports of another missing young woman -- Brooke Wilberger.
Sharon Rausch saw how Wilberger's community rallied around the family and joined the search, and she wanted similar action for her son's missing girlfriend.
The two families from opposite sides of the country, but with a tragic common ground, comforted each other.
"We talked about our faith in God and that we would not give up hope and that Brooke and Maura were in God's hands," Rausch said.
Murray's father was angered by the lack of progress on the case, and complained that authorities had made up their mind that his daughter had run away and were not devoting enough attention to her disappearance.
"I don't agree with some of his observations, but I understand certainly his frustration in not knowing what happened to his daughter," said Lt. John Scarinza, commander of the New Hampshire State Police Troop F.
"It's clear to us that it was her intention to at least get away for a certain amount of time," Scarinza said, noting that his department investigates cases in which people come to the New Hampshire mountains to get away from their problems several times a year, "sometimes with the intention of harming themselves."
But that scenario still makes no sense to Murray's father.