Burlington, NJ

Teen vanishes after placing babysitting ad in the local newspaper: What happened to Margaret Ellen Fox?

Fatim Hemraj

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Margaret Ellen FoxFBI

14-year-old Margaret Ellen Fox lived with her parents and five siblings in Burlington, New Jersey. On June 19, 1974, Margaret and her cousin placed a babysitting ad in the local newspaper offering their services.

A man who referred to himself as John Marshall immediately responded to the ad, claiming he and his wife needed a babysitter for their 5-year-old son on weekdays from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm in the nearby town of Mount Holly. John offered Margaret $40 a week plus bus fare.

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The ad Margaret and her cousin placed in the newspaperDaily Mail

After Margaret’s father, David, spoke to John on the phone and gave his approval, she scheduled her first shift for June 24. John told the teen he would pick her up from the corner of Mill and High Streets in a red Volkswagon and left a phone number in case she got lost.

On June 24, Margaret’s younger brother Joe walked her to a bus stop near their home and watched her get on for the 20-minute ride to Mount Holly. Margaret had made a promise to call her parents as soon as she reached the Marshall household, but no call ever came. They reported her missing later that evening when she failed to return home.

A witness saw Margaret near Mill and High Streets that morning, talking to a man in a red sports bar. Unfortunately, the number provided by John Marshall traced back to a payphone inside an A&P grocery store in Lumberton and he has never been identified.

The day after Margaret's disappearance made the news, a man called the Fox residence demanding $10,000 for the teen’s safe return stating, “$10,000 might be a lot of bread, but your daughter’s life is the buttered topping.” Margaret’s mother responded, “who is this?” before the line went dead.

You can listen to a clip of the call here.

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An image of what Margaret might look like at age 56FBI

47 years have gone by since Margaret was last seen. Her parents, David and Mary, have since passed but her siblings continue the lifelong search for their sister. At the time of her disappearance, Margaret was wearing a black and white checkered jacket, maroon jeans with a yellow patch on one knee, a long-sleeved blue floral print blouse, and brown sandals. She had on glasses and two of her top front right teeth were missing.

If alive, Margaret would be 61 today.

A $25,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and/or conviction of the person responsible for Margaret's disappearance. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the FBI at (973) 792–3000 or the Burlington City Police Department at (609) 386–0262, extension 211.

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