One year ago, on September 4, 1995, Madalyn Murray-O'Hair left
the Austin, Texas headquarters of American Atheists (AA) by car, to go
to New York City for the expressed purpose of picketing the Pope. Accompanying
her were her adult children, a son Jon Murray, president of AA, and her
adopted daughter Robin Murray-O'Hair, Editor of the American Atheist
Journal. Work in progress was left on their desks. Mr. Murray spoke to
the staff at AA headquarters a few times by telephone, the last being September
14th. Since then -- silence.
People have speculated that they were murdered or that they took a fortune from the treasury of AA and vanished, some say to New Zealand where there is a reported bank account of a half-million dollars or so. Wild guesses are numerous. But, last things first, they left their passports in the office; the books of AA have been audited and all funds of AA have been accounted for. The mysterious account in New Zealand remains unconfirmed.
Here are some of the mysteries which remain: (1) someone has paid the taxes on the residences; (2) a member of the staff has moved into one of the houses and it seems unlikely that he would do so without somebody's permission; (3) there is no missing-persons file in the Austin Police Department and the police will not comment on any status of this matter; (4) a few weeks after the disappearance, somebody unlocked and entered the AA Headquarters compound and the Murray-O'Hair's pet dogs, which were there, have not been seen since; (5) their car has not been found; (6) before they left, they laid off all personnel except for one person (7) there have been hints of a huge IRS lien on these individuals or a large judgment by someone; (8) the Board of Directors of AA are trying to keep the organization viable.
One gets the feeling that far more is known than is being disclosed. Calls to AA Headquarters are answered with what seem to be evasions. A telephone call by Lanny Swerdlow from the Center for Rational Thought indicated that we would be told everything in March; that call was five months ago and we know nothing more now than we did then. The evidence that has been disclosed does not point to a single conclusion. One would think that the disappearance of a well-known family such as the Murray-O'Hairs would be front page news but the papers have been strangely silent.
Where is the Murray-O'Hair family? Are they dead or alive? Why has there apparently been no investigation? Why is there no missing-persons report on file with the authorities? Why does the Headquarters of American Atheists stonewall against and inquiries and pretend not to know? What is happening?