WOLFEBORO — William Murray died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, the Attorney General's office announced Tuesday morning.
Murray, 52, was found by police July 27. They were responding to a call placed at 7:32 that morning about a man lying on the ground in Pine Hill Cemetery.
Murray was deceased when police arrived, according to the state Attorney General's Office.
His cause of death was determined through an autopsy conducted by the state's chief medical examiner.
Murray was a longtime Massachusetts resident who had recently moved to Meredith, according to his family. They described him as a beloved father, brother, husband and friend whose life was undermined in recent years by drug addiction.
Wife Michele Murray said the two met when she was 15 years old. In subsequent years, they started dating, got married and had a son, Jake.
“He was the best dad ever, you can’t get any better, really,” Michele said.
She said he looked like “a big, burly guy” but that “anybody who knew him knew he was just the most lovable guy.”
He was a natural guitar player who would play whenever he got together with family or friends, she said.
Murray became like a big brother to Nicole MacArthur, Michele’s younger sister. They shared a love of music, she said, adding that he seemed to know when someone needed a kind word or someone who could listen.
Several years later, Murray was coaching youth baseball when he made an impression on Jim Mackey, whose son was the team’s catcher. It was the kind of baseball where the coach lobs slow, underhanded tosses to developing hitters, but Murray found a way to make things feel more interesting, and taught the catcher signs for fastball, curveball or change-ups.
“My son, the catcher, would give a signal, Bill would wave some signals off, my son would give another signal for a certain type of pitch,” Mackey said. It was a small thing, but Mackey learned that sometimes those small things carried surprising weight. “He made my son feel special as the catcher. Bill made all the players feel important.”
Terri Morris lives in Laconia today, but grew up with Murray in the same neighborhood in Tewksbury, Mass. She said he was a “special soul.”
“He made me feel like a million bucks,every time I saw him,” Morris said.He
Her favorite memory was the day he rode up to Laconia on his motorcycle, along with his son, Jake, who was on a separate motorcycle.
“They asked me if I wanted to go for lunch. That lunch turned into an all-day affair,” Morris said. She hopped on the back of Jake’s bike, and off they rode. She said that Murray was “in his element,” leading them on a tour of the back roads that led from Laconia, through Moultonborough and up to Conway, where they finally stopped for lunch. “It was a special day I will always carry in my heart,” she said.
Lisa Fagan was another of Murray’s friends since teenage years.
“I bought a house in Woburn a few years back, and he and Michele came to visit,” Fagan said. She said she gave them the tour of the property, including a few things she wanted to get done. Murray took notice. “The next morning, he was at my house ready to trim my trees.”
That was the way he was, Fagan said. “I loved Billy.”
Murray’s sister, Harley Murray, settled in Maine. In June of 2018, Harley got married. By that point she was used to not hearing from her brother for long stretches of time, she said, but he made the nuptials.
“We had not been in touch for a while and I was surprised and so happy to see him. He and his son, Jake, were the only ones from my family out of state that came that day. It meant a lot that even if he had his struggles, he still made a huge effort to show up for me that day," Harley said.
Michele and William separated in 2015. She said he suffered from back pain, which he managed with prescription drugs. That was, until his doctor finally refused to renew his prescription.
“He needed to find other ways to squash that pain. In the past few years he found bad ways to squash that pain,” Michele said, “from there, he drifted into a different side of Billy.”
MacArthur, Murray’s sister-in-law, said she saw that she was losing her big brother-in-law. “He just went off and started living somewhere else, hanging out with people I didn’t know … he became like an empty shell, in a way,” she said.
In recent years, Murray found himself in legal trouble. He was arrested and charged with driving after revocation in Gilford, and was facing a hearing in Massachusetts on three charges involving property crimes.
Michele said he had recently moved to Meredith to live with a girlfriend.
Fagan saw that the drug use robbed something of her old friend.
“He was distant,” Fagan said. “You could see some pain going on behind his eyes. He was just a really good person that unfortunately went down the road of trying to manage his pain by himself. It was sad to hear what he was going through.”
It had been after one of those long stretches without contact when, on July 12, Murray called his sister Harley, she said, “and I had missed his call. He left me a voicemail and for some reason I had saved it. I am so glad I did, so I can call it and still hear his voice.”
Wolfeboro Police and the Office of the Attorney General are continuing to investigate Murray’s death. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Kelly Healy of the NH State Police at (603) 628-8477 or 603-MCU-TIPS or Detective Shane Emerson of the Wolfeboro Police Department at (603) 569-1444.