Cold case investigators looking for new information from victim' - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Cold case investigators looking for new information from victim's friends, acquaintances

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BEAVER, W.Va. (WVVA) If there is one thing detectives need to break a homicide investigation wide open, it's the body.  

Since DNA testing confirmed the 1993 remains found on Bolt Mountain in July as Margaret Dodd of Beaver, work is already underway to establish a motive for her murder.

The bank teller, 27, disappeared on her way home from work nearly 40 years ago in September.

"We're now at a stage where we could really use the public's help. And that's why we are trying to reach out to people who knew Margie," said WVVA's Cold Case expert, Sgt. Morgan Bragg. 

Sgt. Bragg said several tips have come in since the break in the case, but investigators have yet to speak with any of Dodd's friends or acquaintances.

"We're hoping there is someone in the public that knows something that we don't. That may have been a simple conversation with Margie during that time that may open a whole new door in the investigation." 

Sgt. R.A. Daniel with the West Virginia State Police and Capt. Larry Lilly with the Raleigh County Sheriff's Dept. are taking a lead on the case. They are particularly interested in anyone who may have spoken to Dodd in the days and hours leading up to her death. 

"I've basically turned over all the information I had to him and he did the same to me. We've hit the ground running on the criminal investigation," said Capt. Lilly. 

Dodd reportedly left her job at the Cardinal Bank in Beckley around 8:30 p.m. on September 7, 1977. She crossed the parking lot and got into the green 1977 Chevette investigators said she had recently won through a contest at the mall.

But what happened next? 

Two witnesses, John Cole and his daughter, Lori Cole, reportedly saw Dodd attacked by two assailants after she pulled off at the abandoned Amoco Station in Beaver on Route 19. To this day, investigators do not know what led her to pull over or why she took her purse with her. 

"The way her vehicle was pulled off the road at the time, it was like she was pulled over by someone impersonating a police officer or she knew the person," said Sgt. Daniel. 

The father ran inside to call police, but when he returned Margie and her abductors had vanished. All Lori Cole, just seven at the time, could tell investigators was that the man who forced Dodd into his car resembled 'the Fonz' off of Happy Days. 

Sgt. Daniel was brought into the investigation for his role in managing and investigating some of the most dangerous sex offenders in the area through the West Virginia State Police. It is possible, he said, that the attack was not an isolated incident.

"At the time of her disappearance, there were numerous sexual assaults in Raleigh County, particularly in the Grey Flats, Beaver, Airport Road area. There were people who were convicted of certain crimes during that time frame. So that off chance that someone was just abducted seems a little far fetched." 

But he said Dodd's attack was the first incident during that time period that someone was pulled off the road and abducted. 
 

Was Margaret Dodd's abduction an isolated incident or part of a string of violent sex crimes against women?

Those are the questions investigators need the public's help in answering. Crimestoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. 

Those with information can call the West Virginia State Police, Raleigh County Sheriff's Dept., CrimeStoppers at 255-STOP, or visit their new website at http://CrimeStoppersWV.com/. 

Tips may remain anonymous.

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