Siblings ask for help to find missing sister

October 07, 1994|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,Sun Staff Writer

Ever since her sister disappeared in August, Molly Hurley Moran has been obsessed with finding her -- dead or alive.

"This has been all-consuming," said a tearful Ms. Moran. "I don't think about anything else. When I first get up, she's the first thing I think about.

Ms. Moran's sister, Susan Hurley Harrison, vanished Aug. 5, leaving family members fearing the worst but hoping -- against hope -- for the best.

Ms. Moran, 47, and two brothers flew into Baltimore from Georgia and Massachusetts yesterday to meet with Baltimore County police and FBI agents -- and to make an impassioned plea to the public to help find their sister.

They said they want to make sure that people don't forget Mrs. Harrison and to generate publicity in the hope that someone will call with information to help police solve the case.

Although police suspect foul play, they have no evidence to confirm that Mrs. Harrison was killed. Family members said they can't believe otherwise.

"We can't help but conclude that something terrible has happened to her," said William T. Hurley, 55, a brother from Boston. "I would like to think otherwise, but I know Susan has been killed. We know she wouldn't just disappear on her own. We'd like to be able to give her a proper Christian burial to let her sons and the rest of us mourn her properly and get on with our lives."

Mrs. Harrison, 52, was last seen on Aug. 5 at the Timonium home of her estranged husband, James J. Harrison Jr., a retired chief financial officer of McCormick & Co.

She had planned to meet her son, Nicholas Owsley, 19, at her Ruxton home the next day, when the two were scheduled to fly out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport to visit relatives Boston.

When she did not appear at her home on the morning of Aug. 6, Nicholas Owsley called his father, Tom Owsley. Mr. Owsley, who was Mrs. Harrison's first husband, reported her missing.

On Aug. 30, her green 1992 Saab was discovered in the short-term parking lot at Washington National Airport in Northern Virginia, where it had been parked the day after Mrs. Harrison was reported missing. Police said it revealed no signs of foul play.

One of Mrs. Harrison's friends even hired a psychic, but there is still no sign of a break in the case, police said yesterday.

The discovery of her car, abandoned at the airport the day after she disappeared, has led to some speculation that Mrs. Harrison left town on her own. But family members say they doubt that.

"All the other scenarios that one could dream up are totally out of character and inconsistent with the type of person that Susan is known for," said John P. Hurley, 44, another brother from Boston. "It's totally inconceivable that she would leave without contacting her family. She took great pride in taking care of her two sons -- she would never do that. We know that, her sons know that, and her friends know that."

Ms. Moran agreed and spoke of the pain of not knowing what has happened to her sister.

"I think of her body lying out there someplace," she said. "This has taken out so much of our lives. We just hope something will come out of all this."

Investigators are also eager for new information, said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, county police spokesman. "We hope we can help lessen their anxiety levels and answer some questions," Sergeant Doarnberger said. "We understand their frustrations. We both want the same thing. We both want to solve the case."

Until then, the family will wait and hope and pray.

"I don't know what has happened to Susan," John Hurley said. "But I can only believe, since we haven't heard from her or about her, the likelihood that someone has taken her life.

"Just looking out through the coming years and thinking of all the family interactions without her," he added. "All the joys that are not going to be possible for our family now, we know there's always going to be a void in our family for generations to come. We just want to find her and mourn her properly."

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