The mysterious disappearance of Margie Phillips has raised eyebrows for years. The case has garnered heavy speculation as to whether or not the 30-year-old was murdered, but what is known is she was last seen with her boyfriend, Willie Lee Battles, on April 22, 1976. The 31-year-old (some reports list her as 30 and other state 41) was with Battles when they traveled to the First Federal Saving and Loan Office in the downtown area of Fort Myers, Florida. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary about the trip, but according to Battles, Margie simply disappeared.
The couple reportedly lived together at the time and Margie Phillips went to the bank in order to get money to purchase a new vehicle. Battles claimed that while Margie was inside of the bank, he dozed off as he waited in the car. When he awoke, the bank was closed and Margie was nowhere to be seen.
Yet, bank employees reportedly told authorities that the mother of four never came inside. Additionally, records showed that Margie’s account hadn’t even been accessed on the day she was last seen. She’s described as a hard-working woman who was dedicated to her family and wouldn’t leave without letting them know where she went and if she was safe.
“Although it been 43 years, I never will forget that day,” said Genethel McGee, the victim’s sister, back in 2019. “It’s just like it was yesterday.” She added, “Every time that phone rang, I ran to that phone just knowing it was going to be her saying, ‘I’m coming home.’”
Unsurprisingly, Margie’s boyfriend was someone investigators were interested in speaking with, especially after witnesses came forward to say they saw the couple driving together on US 41 highway. Willie Lee Battles was reportedly repeatedly questioned by investigators for decades but he was never specifically named as a suspect in Margie’s missing person case. There just wasn’t enough evidence to tie him to any crime. However, it is stated that police believe that Battles murdered his girlfriend.
Authorities questioned Battles several times in the decades after Margie’s disappearance. He stated he dropped Phillips off at the bank that day and never saw her again, but other witnesses reported seeing the couple driving north on U.S. 41. Investigators believe Battles murdered her, but there is insufficient evidence to charge him in her case.
At the time of her disappearance, Margie Phillips stood 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. In some reports, her missing year is listed as 1986.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Fort Myers Police Department at 239-321-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS. The agency case number is 86-26470.
Please share this story about Margie Battles to help reignite the investigation into her case. She is our sister and her life matters.
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