Reporting Carey Codd
South Florida Crime
CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – Coral Springs Police say missing woman, Maria Claudia Murphy, left her identification and credit cards inside her car before she vanished Friday afternoon.
The revelation comes as police released new surveillance video of Murphy. She is seen parking her car — a 2005 black BMW 330 CI — behind a Colombian restaurant in the 7900 block of Sample Road Tuesday night in Margate.
The video shows Murphy calmly exiting the car and walking east. Surveillance cameras capture her walking through a gas station. A camera on a Broward County bus shows her walking eastbound along Sample Road, wearing blue jeans and carrying a bag on a hot day.
A family friend said he saw Murphy later, walking east near 441 in Margate. At that point, police say Murphy would have been walking 45 minutes and nearly 3 miles.
Police recovered Murphy’s car Tuesday. There were no signs of trauma inside, police said. However, they said they did find Murphy’s purse with her ID, credit cards and other personal belongings inside.
“It’s extremely unusual for us,” said Coral Springs Police Lt. Joe McHugh. “Just to get up and go and leave your family behind and leave your personal belongings behind, everything she left behind. It’s concerning to us.”
As of Wednesday night Murphy’s family said they had not seen the video but said her actions are out of character.
“This is so not the Claudia we know, not at all,” said sister-in-law Ellen Murphy.
Ellen Murphy said they are still canvassing the area, handing out flyers and praying Maria Claudia returns safely.
“We are devastated,” Ellen Murphy said. “This is a bizarre circumstance and no family should have to go through. We are just emotionally and physically drained.”
Alvaro Tobar owns the restaurant where Murphy’s car was found. He said Murphy was a frequent guest in his restaurant for 10 years but he hasn’t seen her in the last couple of months.
Her husband, Frank, told CBS4 earlier Wednesday that he is consumed by thoughts of what became of his wife.
“It’s like a nightmare I just can’t get out of,” said Claudia’s husband, Frank Murphy, “And I won’t get out of until Claudia comes home.
“We have hope and prayers,” he said. “We are continuing to put out flyers and we will not stop until Claudia’s found. Please help me. I need your help. If you think you saw Claudia get in a vehicle or you think you saw her, please call police. I need my wife back please.”
After the car was discovered, it was towed to police headquarters for processing. Murphy said he hopes it gives police the break they need to find his wife.
“We were happy because we got the lead we were looking for,” said Murphy, “It was short lived happiness because we know Claudia is missing and is still out there somewhere and we need to get her back.”
Murphy,45, disappeared Friday, March 16th.
The last time anyone can remember seeing her was around 1 p.m. She deposited $5,000 at an ATM outside Bank of America at 1401 N. University Drive, police said. The deposit was done on her husband’s behalf and associated with moving expenses, police said.
Murphy and her husband were about to move to Tennessee, and two of her friends told police that she was excited about the move, according to police.
About an hour after the bank transaction, Murphy was spotted walking away from the restaurant by security cameras at Tobar’s restaurant.
Her husband of nine years, Frank Murphy, said he reported his wife missing Friday evening after he had returned from work, saw it was getting late and she still hadn’t come home.
Police are investigating Murphy’s disappearance as a missing-person case. Officials said they haven’t determined whether foul play is involved. Murphy is considered endangered, given there is no explanation for her disappearance.
She didn’t have her cell phone when she went missing; she did have her wallet or purse, police said. After Friday’s bank transaction, her credit and debit cards have gone unused, police said.
Murphy is about 5’ 10”, has brown eyes, black hair and weighs 170 pounds. She has pierced ears and was last seen wearing a light-colored t-shirt and a neck strap to hold her sunglasses.
Her family, friends, and neighbors have been passing out flyers in the hopes someone might recognize her or know what happened to her.
“We are continuing to put out flyers. We will not stop until we find Claudia,” said Murphy. “Please help me. I need your help. If you’ve seen Claudia getting in to a vehicle on 441 or near a shopping center in this area please we need your help. I need my wife back please.”
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Murphy is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS or 1-866-493-TIPS. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the disappearance of Murphy.