FBI Reveals Chilling Ransom Call From 1974 Cold Case: ‘Your Daughter’s Life Is the Buttered Topping’

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
June 25, 2019US News
FBI Reveals Chilling Ransom Call From 1974 Cold Case: ‘Your Daughter’s Life Is the Buttered Topping’
(L). Margaret Ellen Fox, 14, was last seen on June 24, 1974. Authorities released an aged photograph (R). of what 59-year-old Fox might look like today. (FBI).

Authorities are hoping a newly restored 6-second ransom call from 1974 may shed some light on what happened to a girl who vanished 45 years ago.

On Monday, June 24, the FBI released new information about the disappearance of Margaret Ellen Fox, who disappeared when she was 14 years old, back in 1974.

“$10,000 might be a lot of bread, but your daughter’s life is the buttered topping,” the unknown caller said in the restored recording.

The FBI released the restored ransom call, in hopes that someone might recognize the voice, along with a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the abductor.

“The FBI has a long memory,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Joseph Denahan, said at a press conference. “The community we serve has our solemn promise that we will pursue all viable options in the interest of delivering justice. We realize that in missing persons cases, especially those involving children, there is a loved one or family at the other end enduring heartache every day because there is no conclusion. We hope this renewed effort will produce results that might give Margaret Fox’s family some sense of closure.”

On June 24, 1974, Fox was last seen getting onto a bus at 8:40 a.m. in Burlington City, on her way to Mount Holly for a babysitting job, according to the FBI.

That was the last time her family ever saw or heard from her.

Fox was on her way to meet a man about the babysitting job, which she had seen in a newspaper ad. It would have been her first job.

The prospective employer told Fox he would pick her up in Mount Holly at the corner of Mill and High Streets, and on June 24, 1974, witnesses recalled seeing a young girl matching Fox’s description getting off a bus, according to the FBI.

Hours after Fox was reported missing, a call was made to the family from a man claiming to have Fox in his custody. He also demanded money for her return.

Only part of the call was recorded, the 6-seconds with the chilling message.

Police traced the phone call back to a phone booth at a supermarket in Lumberton, New Jersey.

Over the years, the FBI and Burlington City Police department said they have reevaluated the case and leads that were developed during the original investigation.

“The disappearance of Margaret Fox has haunted this community for decades,” Burlington City Police Chief John Fine said at the press conference. “As many local residents and police officers would tell you, they would hear the message every week at the end of church services to pray for a safe return of Margaret Fox. As chief of police, I want to bring closure to this case and bring home an answer to the Fox family and community.”

“To this day, her disappearance continues to cause great sorrow,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “If someone out there possesses information that could assist the investigators working to solve this mystery, I urge you to come forward.”

The FBI also unveiled a new missing persons poster with Fox’s school picture and updated pictures of what she might look like today in hopes that someone might know something.

At the time of her disappearance, the FBI described 14-year-old Fox as brown-haired, blue-eyed, and “two of Margaret’s top front right teeth were missing and she wore eyeglasses.”

She was last seen wearing a light blue, long-sleeved, floral-patterned blouse that was squared at the top and flared at the waist; a black and white or blue and white checkered waist-length jacket; maroon flared jeans with a yellow patch on one knee, and brown sandals with a heel strap.

Additionally, she was wearing a gold necklace with flowers and a blue stone on it and a gold charm bracelet with a round blue stone.

She was carrying a brown bag and an eyeglass case with the Huckleberry Hound design.

Anyone with information as to the 14-year-old’s whereabouts after June 24, 1974, is asked to call the FBI Newark’s Field Office at (973) 792-3000 or the Burlington City Police Department at (609) 386-0262, extension 211.

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