Mother’s search for son goes on
May 8, 2019
MARATHON — Paula Murray-Lhota, the mother of a Marathon man who’s been missing for three years, still believes someone in the Florida Keys knows about her son’s disappearance and has enlisted the help of a private investigator to help find answers.
A flyer recently created and circulated by Liza Catron, a lead detective with Enlighten Mine Eyes, brought one change in the investigation.
Catron was able to locate a person of interest in the missing man’s case who authorities had previously been unable to reach.
“He was interviewed and cleared as a suspect,” she said. “We’ll take a look at everything and go from there.”
Murray-Lhota’s son, Paul “Paulie” Thomas Murray, 51, lived on a vessel docked at Boot Key Harbor in Marathon and was reportedly last seen at Robbie’s Marina on Stock Island on June 15, 2016.
According to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report, Murray had boarded a bus from Marathon to Stock Island to meet a friend at Robbie’s Marina to help him sail his 1965 30-foot vessel, the Hornet, back to Boot Key Harbor.
The following morning, the Hornet was listing on its port side just outside of Robbie’s Marina with no one aboard. The vessel had run aground on a jetty. Witnesses confirmed Murray had been at the marina the day before but could not confirm if he boarded the Hornet.
“Even finding out that this suspect has been cleared has renewed my hope that I’ll get answers one day,” Murray-Lhota told the Free Press. “This has been so stressful. I know that Mother’s Day is approaching, but it doesn’t matter. There’s always something, someone’s birthday or some other anniversary.”
She just wants answers.
“I know that my son is probably dead and that we’ll probably never find his remains, but I just want to know what happened,” Murray-Lhota said. “Paul’s father is not doing well and I know he’d love to have the answers just as much as I do.”
Murray’s family didn’t realize he was missing until early July 2016, which is when his father filed a missing person’s report with the sheriff’s office.
Catron said adults sometimes disappear on their own volition, but she doesn’t believe that’s the case with Murray.
“No one’s life is perfect, but we have found nothing in this man’s life that shows he’d do this,” she said. “This man has vanished, and it was evident he loved his family.”
She added, “The DNA collected from his family hasn’t matched any skeletal remains found anywhere, which gives us hope he may still be alive.”
Catron said in the unlikely event Murray did choose to reestablish himself elsewhere, he’d most likely be working on or near the ocean.
Murray-Lhota remains hopeful that someone with information “will do the right thing” and help the family find closure.
Murray’s family is asking anyone with information about their son’s disappearance to call Enlighten Mine Eyes Investigation’s tip line at 321-888-2198, email Liza Catron at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477 or visit floridakeyscrimestoppers.com.