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Firefighter walked out on husband and, later, into oblivion

  • Story Highlights
  • Volunteer firefighter Margaret Haddican disappeared two years ago this week
  • Her husband didn't report her missing for two days
  • He says she had a habit of walking out, disappearing for days
  • Crime-Stoppers: 888-577-8477; Warren Township Police: 908-753-1000
  • Next Article in Crime »
By Rupa Mikkilineni
Nancy Grace Producer
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Margaret Haddican, a volunteer firefighter, Army veteran and mother of three, quarreled with her landscaper husband and walked out on him October 9, 2006. She cooled off at her parents' house and returned home later that night.

Her parents say Margaret Haddican never would have left her infant daughter home alone in her crib.

The next morning, she talked on the phone with her best friend. But later in the day, her husband says, she vanished from their home in Warren, New Jersey, while he ran errands.

Husband Timothy McEnroe says he returned home at 3 p.m. to find his wife gone and their 5-month-old daughter home alone in her crib. Haddican's car and broken cell phone were left behind. But, McEnroe says, $11,000 in cash was missing.

Police will not verify his story about the money. In fact, police aren't publicly discussing the case at all as Haddican's disappearance passes the two-year mark this week.

McEnroe did not call police until two days after his wife disappeared. When asked why, he explained that they'd had an argument and that she had a history of walking out, disappearing for a few days, and then returning when she'd calmed down.

Other members of Haddican's family say the couple were having marital problems and that she was considering leaving him. Her parents insist that she has never gone anywhere without telling someone, and that she never would have left her three children behind. Video Where is this missing mother? »

Adding to the mysterious circumstances: Police had been called to their home the previous day on a report of a domestic disturbance. By the time officers arrived, however, Haddican had left for her parents' home.

She returned home that night, and the next morning, she had her regular phone call with her best friend. The friends talked for about half an hour between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Six hours later, Haddican was gone.

There have been many searches of the neighborhood near Haddican's home, as well as other parts of Somerset County, over the past two years. They have come up empty.

A month after she disappeared, police found an Army T-shirt belonging to Haddican on a road about a mile from her home. In July 2007, an anonymous tip led to a search of a stone quarry bordering her backyard.

Search dogs seemed to hit on some kind of scent there, but investigators could find no sign of Haddican in the quarry. Eric Martin, a member of the search team, said the dogs probably reacted to a scent resulting from a combination of dead animals and clay.

McEnroe admits it was a mistake to not report his wife missing sooner, but he also complains that the Warren Police Department did not start searching for her in earnest until five days after she first went missing -- three days after he reported it.

He says that Haddican's temper was widely known by her friends on the police force and that anyone who knew her would assume she just took off for a couple days to cool off. Somerset County prosecutors have not commented or responded to McEnroe's assertion.

And Patrick Haddican, her father, acknowledges that she "had a temper on her," adding that she "sometimes said and did things she didn't mean, in the heat of the moment."

Margaret Haddican weighs 110 pounds and has brown eyes and brown hair. She has a tribal tattoo on her abdomen, a firefighter's helmet tattooed on her left thigh and multiple tattoos on her back.

She was last was seen wearing a gray sweat shirt with "ARMY" written across the front in black letters, white plaid pajama bottoms, white socks and white Nike sneakers. She was also wearing a silver chain with military dog tags and a white-gold wedding ring with three diamonds.

Haddican, an Army veteran, may be using identification with her birth name, Sherwood Halley. She also may be wearing a black military-style jacket and carrying a black duffel bag with additional clothing.


She would have turned 31 in August. Her three daughters miss her, particularly oldest daughter Sarah. The child is now 10, and "not knowing where her mommy is and whether she is even alive is painful for her," Patrick Haddican said.

Police and family urge anyone with information about the whereabouts of Margaret Haddican to anonymously call the Crime-Stoppers hot line at 888-577-8477 or the Warren Township Police at 908-753-1000.

All About Missing PersonsNancy Grace

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