The episode titled ‘Murdered: Matthew Margolies’ of the long-running podcast ‘Crime Junkie’ focuses on the mysterious 1984 case of the disappearance and murder of a 13-year-old boy named Matthew Margolies. On August 31, 1984, alarm bells rang across the idyllic and peaceful town of Greenwich, Connecticut when the young fisherman didn’t return home for supper. It also gives a detailed account of the thorough investigation that followed when the police scoured the Pemberwick woods and waters of the Byram River, where he used to spend most of his time fishing, in search of any clue about the missing teenager.
How Did Matthew Margolies Die?
Matthew Miazga Margolies was born on January 24, 1971, in Pemberwick, Connecticut, to Maryann, and grew up along with a sister. Apart from them, Matthew was also close to his grandparents — Stella and George — especially the latter. He was known to be a giving child, who didn’t hesitate to help others in need, be it his family or strangers. According to her mother, he was a charismatic, kind, trustworthy, and gentle boy who also had a natural sense of humor.
Thanks to his grandfather George, he had learned quite a few things about fishing and became a skilled angler at such a young age. Besides that, George even taught his grandson about other outdoor activities and survival techniques in the wilderness. The bond between George and Matthew strengthened further when his parents got divorced in late 1983 and he started spending the night at his grandparents’ house instead of his mother’s. However, in the summer of 1984, George was diagnosed with cancer, which made him grow weaker and tired with each passing day. During his difficult days, Matthew made sure to take care of him by keeping him company and ensuring that he took his medications on time. By the end of summer, in August 1984, he lost his beloved George to cancer, which left him devastated.
Having gone through quite a lot between 1983 and 1984, Matthew used to escape reality by fishing on the Byram River, seemingly honoring the memory of his late grandfather as well. On August 31, 1984, he picked up his fishing pole and went to fish in the same spot by the river. When he didn’t show up for supper at home that evening, the police were involved as they launched a search for the 13-year-old boy. After five long days of search, his body was finally found near his Pemberwick home. As per reports, he had been strangled, suffocated, and stabbed multiple times, with the cause of death being both traumatic asphyxiation and multiple stab wounds.
Who Killed Matthew Margolies?
Although the police had found the body of Matthew Margolies, the mystery surrounding the identity of the culprit still remained. In the following weeks of discovering his body, the authorities searched the Pemberwick area as they believed that the perpetrator/s was a resident of the area or visited it often. Moreover, they believed that the killer knew Matthew personally. With the help of an FBI criminal profiler, the investigators identified the characteristics that the killer presumably possessed.
Keeping in mind these characteristics, the investigators had several names on their suspect list, which included a 32-year-old maintenance worker and a known pedophile in his late 20s, both of whom were investigated but no connections could be made with the murder of Matthew. Besides them, some youths in the valley, who had a reputation, were also interrogated by the investigators. A 17-year-old boy who was known for growing and selling marijuana blamed Matthew and his late grandfather for informing the police of his illegal business. When his home was searched a year after the murder, no piece of evidence was found.
Next on their list was a boy from Port Chester, someone who knew Matthew and frequently fished in the area where Matthew’s body was discovered. Upon digging deeper, the boy’s past criminal record surfaced, after which the police convinced him and his father for a formal interview and a polygraph test. Although they agreed to both, they did not show up when the time came, refusing to cooperate with the investigators. The last but the most suspecting teen on the list was the 16-year-old bully who lived near the crime scene and had a history of being overtly violent. For instance, he reportedly pulled a knife on one of Matthew’s friends, and just a few months prior to his murder, the bully physically assaulted another 13-year-old after luring him into a vacant Greenwich apartment.
The investigators, given the boy’s violent history, interviewed him for three hours, soon after Matthew’s body was discovered. He used to work at Wendy’s at the time and had an airtight alibi for the entire afternoon and evening when the murder occurred as his timecard showed that he was in the store between 4:03 pm to 10:45 pm. Moreover, his home was devoid of any evidence. A few months down the line, they found out that the timecard he provided was altered, and on the day of Matthew’s murder, he did not punch out for even a lunch break. Although the authorities had plenty of suspects on their list, they couldn’t find any incriminating evidence against any of them, making this a mysterious case with no one to blame for the killing of the innocent 13-year-old Matthew Margolies.