NBC Profiles "Case of Missing Atheist";
Report Filed with Police?
by Conrad Goeringer

NBC Profiles ''Case of Missing Atheist''; Report Filed with Police?

Last evening, the NBC Nighly News featured a brief profile of "the case of the missing Atheist," which focused on the disappearance of American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her family -- son Jon Garth Murray and her adopted daughter, Robin Murray O'Hair. While the segment presented nothing new in terms of clear indications of why the O'Hair family is missing, or where they might be, there was speculation from a long-time member of the organization, Arnold Via. Mr. Via mused that the Murray O'Hairs could be victims of foul play at the hands of the Vatican, or perhaps the U.S. Government. 

Today, the Director at American Atheist offices in Austin, Texas -- Spike Tyson -- told aanews that there was nothing to indicate foul play. "We didn't find anything unusual here, no overturned furniture, no blood, no signs of violence, no bodies." 

Tyson also revealed that he has been contacted by officers of the Austin Police Department, who told him that William Murray, another son of Mrs. O'Hair, has now apparently filed a missing person report on the family. Murray has told reporters that he has not talked to his mother in nearly twenty years, and today is an evangelist who heads a political action committee which lobbies for school prayer and other causes. As a youth, William Murray was a co-plaintiff in the famous U.S. Supreme Court suit MURRAY v. CURLETT which was instrumental in ending prayer and bible recitation in public schools. That case, decided in 1963, led to the founding of American Atheists, and quickly resulted in Madalyn Murray (later Madalyn Murray O'Hair) being labeled "the most hated woman in America" for her defense of Atheist rights and state-church separation. 

Mr. Tyson said that he had no idea of why William Murray waited until this time to file a missing person report: he did note, though, that September 28 was the one-year anniversary of the last time that anyone connected with the American Atheist leadership apparently had contact with the family members via telephone. "After that, we just lost touch. They said they were heading back to the GHQ, and we haven't heard from them since." Tyson informed us that he is scheduled to be interviewed by police on Thursday. 

As for the whereabouts of the family, and an explanation for the disappearance, Tyson said he was not aware of any new substantive information in the case. 

"Dark Skies," anyone?

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