Intensive search for Ashley Murray extends to fifth day
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The search for missing 16-year-old Ashley Murray of Peconic extended into its fifth day with no sign of the teenager after interviews with more than 30 people and searches of more than 25 "geographical areas of interest" in Southold Town, police said Friday.
Southold Town police has "employed all assets afforded to our department" including assistance from the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, State Police, Suffolk County police, and Shelter Island Town police, Southold police Chief Martin Flatley said in a statement.
All members of the department have been looking for Murray, who was last seen at about 8 a.m. Monday as she left her home on Spring Lane to catch the bus to Southold High School, police said.
"After this department's initial response to Ashley's residence, it became evident that Ashley was truly missing and may have left her home with intentions of harming herself," Flatley said. "Immediately an investigation was initiated in conjunction with a physical search of neighboring areas," which included the assistance of a dive team, K-9 unit, marine unit and aerial unit.
More than 30 "family, friends, acquaintances and concerned citizens throughout New York" have been interviewed during the investigation, Flatley said.
Police have interviewed Murray's father, Kenneth Payne III, of Shelter Island, as well as other relatives in the area,, Flatley said Friday.
Payne was 44 in 2000 when he became the first person convicted of murder in Shelter Island after shooting and killing Curtis Cook, 44, his next-door neighbor, after Payne said Cook had threatened him and his family.
Flatley said police have found nothing to suggest Payne was involved in Murray's disappearance.
"He is a family member," Flatley said of Payne. "He is part of the investigation. There's no reason to go any further in that direction."
Police issued a missing person alert for Murray on Wednesday.
She is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, wears a hearing aid in each ear and has a scar on her right wrist, police said.
When she left her house she was wearing black boots, a black and gray hooded sweatshirt and red sweatpants, police said.
Southold police, with the help of the other law enforcement agencies, "are committed to continue this extensive investigation," Flatley said in a Friday news release.
Anyone with information on Murray's whereabouts is asked to call Southold police at 631-765-2600.
With Gary Dymski