Man Charged With Killing 7-Year-Old Girl May Be Convicted on His Dying Mom's Last Words

Twisted 14

Maria RidulphIt has been more than 50 years since 7-year-old Maria Ridulph disappeared from her neighborhood near Chicago. At the time, no one knew who had kidnapped the pretty little girl with dark hair and a sweet smile. But now, after a deathbed confession from his mother, Jack McCullough may be convicted of having murdered the child.

Now 72 and a former Washington state police trooper, McCullough just stood trial for Ridulph's murder. He waived his right to a jury trial, so the judge will decide his fate, possibly even today.

The case garnered national attention in 1957 and even President Dwight Eisenhower asked to be kept in the loop as things developed. But they never really did. Ridulph had disappeared from her neighborhood after a playmate said a man named "Johnny" had offered them piggy back rides and play time.

It was only later McCullough's half-sister told the court that their mother, Eileen Tessier, confessed in 1994, as she was dying, that her son had actually killed Ridulph.

For obvious reasons, the case has had an uphill battle. There are hazy memories and very little evidence to go on. Had Ridulph lived, she would now be in her 60s.

It's highly disturbing, if McCullough is in fact guilty, that he got away with it for so long. It's disturbing to think he got to have a regular life, a paying job, and all the benefits that come with having the opportunity to grow up. Maria never had those things.

It's not what anyone wants to believe. If you kill a child, you deserve a horrible punishment as soon as humanly possible. But sometimes closure never happens. And as much as it would feel good to finally give Ridulph some kind of justice, it seems awfully unfair that he got away with it so long.

I know the popular line is: Better late than never. And sure, that may be true. If McCullough is guilty, it's better that he be convicted late than never be convicted. But I can't shake the feeling that it's horribly unfair. I keep thinking: Too little, too late.

Every year McCullough was free and living his life was a year he stole from Ridulph. I hate to think the universe works that way. So, if he is convicted, it's a victory in some way. But it won't bring her back. It won't give her the life someone (possibly McCullough) stole.

Do you think this is too little, too late?


Image via Paul Lowry/Flickr



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marie... mariesmama

he was a cop they apperently know how to escape detection i wouldnt be surprised if he became a cop for that reason

BeckyP. BeckyP.

Of course its "too little, too late". I can't imagine what this little girl's family endured all these years not knowing what happened to their daughter. That can never be undone.

femal... femaleMIKE

its a bit late and the evidence is sketchy so I do think he will get away with it in this world.

However, at least now the family knows who did it. 

jessi... jessicasmom1

alittle to late he is a state tropper for gosh sakes

Trina... Trina.mhmm

I am just going to say there really is a possibility he did not do it. I use to take care of elderly people in their last days and they would say many outragious things. You do not exactly have to be elderly to day things that arent true. I once was caring for a lady that within a week declined to the point she thought she was 14 and that is was 1920 something. She screamed for help thinking I was an intruder trying to kidnap her and her mother was going to worry about her. I got kinda beatup too until help came. Bless her lol she was strong! Anyways, I am not saying he is innocent. I am just saying with my personal experience, she could have not been in the right state of mind when she passed on. Ive seen plenty of elderly feel like their family was turning against them within their last few weeks and days and make up all sorts of stories about their grown children to keep them away. No matter what this story is sad in every way possible :/

Marti... Martina70


I agree with you. While I hope that justice does come for this little girl and her family, I would have a hard time convicting a man (especially one who has no other criminal history)  based solely  on what a now dead woman with dementia supposedly said.

jrphelps jrphelps

He has been found guilty by a judge in another article I read on an actual news site.  So obviously too much time hasn't passed & in some sort of way after this long, justice was served.

nonmember avatar meghan

There is a lot more evidence against him then a deathbed confession. May he burn in Hell.

Elena Duran

I agree with Trina. When my grandma got near the end she was convinced I was my dead aunt. Plus this was stated on a death bed in 1994. Why did it take so long to come to light. 18 years is a very long time to keep that to yourself. I would be more than a little skeptical about the sisters intentions.

Marti... Martina70

meghan on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM

 There is a lot more evidence against him then a deathbed confession. May he burn in Hell.

Not really, there is the testimony of the a now almost 60 year old, who 50 years later is is looking a picture of the accused/now convicted and saying that is him. Meh

There is an ex girl friend who says she saw his unused train ticket. How would anyone remember seeing something as unremarkable as that is beyond me, since 50 years ago the accused was never a suspect. Meh

There are two jail house snitches who say he confessed, who are both telling very different versions. MEH

Don't get me wrong, of course it's horrible that a sweet little girl is dead, even it was over half a century

ago. I also want justice for her. I hope this guy DID do it, since he now the one who is taking the wrap for it. I wish it was caught when it happened.  My concern is, I am not convinced he did it.

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