Maria Claudia Murphy
Photographer: Coral Springs Police Dept.
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CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Before the tragedy that befell Maria Claudia Murphy, she prepared to move with her husband by boxing their belongings.
Those cardboard boxes remained stacked high in a garage Monday and slowly are being unpacked by her husband. The boxes never were taken to Tennessee, where the Coral Springs couple had planned to relocate.
Frank Murphy, who says he won't move now that his wife has died, was mourning her Monday.
"I'm finally having closure to grieve for her," he said. "We know she's gone and that she's with God. We're just looking forward to putting her finally to rest, to remember all the good times that we had with Claudia."
Authorities last week confirmed that Maria Murphy's fully dressed skeleton was found in a thickly wooded area in Coconut Creek. The 45-year-old mother of an adult son had been missing since March.
Forensic experts in Fort Myers have been commissioned to help determine the cause of death, Frank Murphy said. Determining how she died may take weeks or months, according to the Coconut Creek Police Department, which also is investigating.
Maria Murphy disappeared March 16. In the morning hours before she vanished, she was home brewing coffee and appeared in good spirits, her husband said. Before Frank Murphy, her spouse of nine years, left for work that Friday morning, they kissed, he said. By the time he returned home from work that afternoon, she was gone, he said.
That day, Maria Murphy parked her car outside a restaurant near Coral Springs and inexplicably began walking east across Broward County in the midday sun.
Nearly two hours later and about four miles away in Coconut Creek, she was spotted standing on the northeast corner of Copans and Lyons roads. That was the last time she was seen.
Thursday, two hikers found Maria Murphy's remains along a remote nature trail deep inside Tradewinds Park South in Coconut Creek, less than a mile northeast of Copans and Lyons roads.
Several questions remain about Murphy's actions before she vanished, including why she left her car behind and whether she was meeting someone. Frank Murphy said: "We don't have an exact answer as to how she died."
Monday, he said he was grateful for everyone who prayed and helped in the search. "I do want to thank all of her friends and family and the outpouring of support from the community," he said.
He said he has decided to stay in South Florida because moving to Tennessee always was supposed to be an adventure for him and his wife. "It would be a difficult thing to do it on your own," he said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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