Saturday 25 November 2017

Police close to solving 54-year-old kidnap and murder case

Jon Swaine in New York

A 54-year mystery concerning the abduction and murder of a young American girl may be resolved after the alibi of a key surviving suspect was undone by the discovery of an unused train ticket.

The disappearance of seven-year-old Maria Ridulph in December, 1957, gripped the US, with President Dwight Eisenhower and J Edgar Hoover, the FBI director, demanding daily updates on a 2,000-man search.

Ms Ridulph was taken while playing near her home in Sycamore, 88km west of Chicago, Illinois. Her body was eventually found five months later by mushroom foragers, more than 160km away.

Her friend, Kathy Sigman, told police Ms Ridulph had been talking to a man who asked if he could give her a piggy-back ride. The friend went inside and when she returned, Ms Ridulph had disappeared.


John Tessier, a local 18-year-old who matched the friend's description, said he was in Chicago on the day of the abduction.

Last year police re-interviewed the then girlfriend of Mr Tessier, who had changed his name to Jack Daniels McCullough and is now 71.

She "retrieved a photo in a frame", according to an affidavit filed to court by police in Seattle.

"When she pulled the photo out, she discovered an unused train ticket from Rockford to Chicago that John had given her from the date of this crime," police said.

Police also tracked Kathy Sigman and showed her a high school year book picture of Mr McCullough. "That's him," she said.

Mr McCullough was charged with murder last week. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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