House of Mystery Radio/Inside Writing



In 1957 little seven-year-old Maria Ridulph was kidnapped from the small town of Sycamore, Illinois, while playing with her eight-year-old friend, Kathy Sigman. The brazen audacity of this heinous crime shocked the country and made national headlines for months. So sensational was the crime that daily updates were required by President Eisenhower and J. Edgar Hoover. Almost five months later, Maria Ridulph's remains were found in a patch of woods nearly 100 miles away.

For three years, a flurry of suspects were paraded past Kathy Sigman, the only eyewitness, with no credible identifications. As the tips and supects faded away, the case went cold in the 1960s.

In 2008 the Illinois State police received a tip from a woman claiming her half-brother, John Tessier, was the man who killed Maria Ridulph because her mother had made a deathbed confession that "John did it!" 

With that, an investigation began into a man who had been cleared by the FBI in 1957. A man whose witnesses to his alibi had died, forgotten, or vanished in the 51 years since the crime, A man who changed his name, had siblings with resentment issues, women troubles, failed marriages, and a conviction involving a teenage girl. This all added up to make him the perfect fall guy for the crime. A convenient man.

This is the true story of a 72-year-old grandfather who spent almost five years wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he didn't commi

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