Margaret Ellen Fox

Left and Center: Margaret circa, 1974

Right: Age Progressed to age 56

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

Missing Since: June 24, 1974

Missing From: Burlington, Burlington County, New Jersey

Classification: Non-Family Abduction

Date Of Birth: February 4, 1960

Age: 14 years old

Height and Weight: 5’2″ and 105 pounds

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Blue eyes, Margaret had two front right teeth missing at the time of her abduction and she had freckles, she was known to wear glasses with hexagonal shapes lenses, gold wire frames, and had a broken off temple as well as nose pieces

Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black and white/blue and white checkered waist length jacket, a size 34B brassiere, A light blue long sleeved floral patterned blouse which was squared at the top and also flared at the waist, maroon flared jeans with a yellow patch on one knee, a pair of brown sandals with a heel strap, Margaret was last known to be wearing a gold necklace with flowers and a blue stone on it, a gold charm bracelet with a round blue stone on it, and she was carrying a brown bag and a case for her glasses which had the Huckleberry Hound design on it

NCMEC Number: 959832

Details of Disappearance

Margaret Fox was allegedly kidnapped by individual(s) unknown from Burlington, New Jersey on June 24th 1974. She had plans of going to High and west Broad Streets in Mount Holly, New Jersey to have an interview with a man who gave his name as John Marshall. One of her brothers accompanied her to the bus and watched as she got on the bus alone. She was seen by witnesses near Mill and High Streets after getting off the bus. She hasn’t been seen since.

Margaret and her cousin, Lynn Parks, placed a classified ad in the local newspaper asking for a babysitting job. “John Marshall” answered the ad on June 19th and told Parks he had a 5 year old son who needed to be watched. He also said he had a backyard swimming pool and a swing set at his home in Mount Holly. Parks parents told her she couldn’t go to his home. Parks then passed his contact information to Fox.

Fox contacted him and he told her he would pay her $40 to babysit his son for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. She accepted the offer and scheduled to meet him but he postponed the meeting several times. He finally said he would meet her in a red Volkswagen in Mount Holly on June 24th. The phone number he gave her to call him was later traced to a public phone booth at a supermarket in Lumberton, New Jersey.

Investigators initially thought that Margaret might have left on her own accord. She had diaries which she wrote in and in them were detailed passages about being bullied in school and having snowballs thrown at her by fellow peers. She also detailed how she wished to move to California or Florida and start a new life. Some investigators still believe this might have happened. Most believe she was kidnapped and murdered soon after her disappearance.

Margaret’s parents immediately reported her missing when she didn’t return home that evening. Within a few hours, police started recording all phone calls that were placed to her residence. One of those calls was a ransom call. The man on the phone claimed he had Margaret in his custody and demanded $10,000. The man stated “$10,000 might be a lot of bread, but your daughter’s life is the buttered topping.” The called has never been identified. A link will be provided in the source section where you can hear the recording.

Four days after her disappearance, her parents received another call in which the man said he still had Margaret and demanded $10,000 again. A note arrived about a day after this and the man gave specific instructions as to how the money should be given. He said the money should be put in a box with blue wrapping (this is also the same color as her blouse she was wearing). He also said Margaret was okay and that “We only tore her blouse and broke her glasses.”

FBI examiners took fingerprints from the note and compared them to local collections of prints but to no avail. Newer generations of investigators hope to locate the prints and put them in the national database for comparison. It’s possible the note was a hoax but they haven’t ruled anything out. The man remains unidentified to this day and no ransom was payed.

Several suspects were named in her presumed abduction. One of those suspects actually confessed to kidnapping her in 1976 but the confession was later deemed a hoax and he’s not suspected of involvement in the case. Several other parents in the area complained that someone had attempted to abduct their daughters with fake job offers.

At the time of her disappearance, Margaret was in the 8th grade at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic School. She graduated from St. Paul’s Grammar School about two weeks prior to her disappearance. She also took piano lessons in 1974 and enjoyed riding horses. Both her parents have since passed away but her siblings are still alive and some even live in the area she went missing from.

Margaret’s disappearance remains unsolved and she’s presumed to have been abducted and murdered. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and or conviction of the person(s) responsible for her kidnapping.

Investigating Agency

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Burlington City Police Department 609-386-0262

Federal Bureau of Investigation 973-792-3000

Source Information

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Federal Bureau of Investigation

FBI recording of ransom call

The Charley Project

The Doe Network


The Inquirer

The Philadelphia Inquirer 08/13/2017