Justice comes 55 years late
Maria Ridulph was a beautiful 7-year-old girl living in Sycamore, Illinois in 1957.
One winter evening, she and her friend Kathy were playing in the snow when they were approached by an older boy, 17-year-old John Tessier. He seemed nice enough, talked about dolls and even gave the girls piggyback rides. But it was very cold, so Kathy went home to grab some mittens.
When she returned, John and Maria were nowhere to be found.
Five months later, Maria’s decomposing body was discovered in a wooded area more than 120 miles from her home. The ensuing investigation focused on numerous suspects, but no one was ever charged with the crime.
Yesterday, 72-year-old Jack McCullough, who Kathy identified as Jack Tessier during a recent lineup, was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph for than half a century ago. That makes this one of the oldest unsolved crimes ever to be brought to trial. McCullough now faces life in prison.
On that fateful day in 1957, McCullough watched as Kathy went home for mittens and promptly dragged Maria into a nearby alley. That’s where he strangled her with a wire and stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and throat. Later, he tossed the corpse into his car, drove it away and dumped it in the woods. McCullough didn’t bother burying her, either. He just left her there for animals and insects to pick clean.
And for more than fifty years, McCullough got away with it.
Things started to change in 1994, when McCullough’s dying mother, Eileen Tessier, told his half-sister Janet that she knew her son had killed Maria all those years ago. Janet passed on this information to police in 2008 and in 2011, McCullough was arrested.
Thankfully, the Ridulph and McCullough families have found some peace together. Janet apologized for her brother’s actions, but helped bring Maria’s family some much-needed closure by leading authorities to him. Now McCullough can spend the rest of his life where he belongs: behind bars.
Posted on September 15, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged commentary, crime, current-events, Illinois, justice, law, Maria, Maria Ridulph, McCullough, murder, musings, news, perspectives. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.