Footsteps in the Snow

Library Journal
NOVEMBER 15, 2014

(executive producer, Inside Edition; A Secret Life) details the “coldest case in U.S. history,” from the kidnapping of Maria Ridulph in 1957 to the conviction of her killer 55 years later, in 2012. Maria was just seven years old when she disappeared from her Sycamore, IL, neighborhood. She and her best friend, Kathy Sigman, had been playing in the snow when they encountered a man called Johnny, who offered the girls a piggyback ride. Maria vanished after Kathy ran home for her mittens. Their neighbor Jack Daniel McCullough, née John “Johnny” Tessier was able to provide an alibi and was not a suspect at the time. On her deathbed in 1994, Johnny’s mother confessed to two of his sisters that she and her husband had provided the alibi for him. In 2008, Janet Tessier emailed the Illinois State Police who then reopened the case. Based on the depth and breadth of Lachman’s reporting, it is obvious that the author worked closely with the surviving Ridulph and Tessier family members. A related Lifetime documentary is planned, so there may be some demand for this book. VERDICT Recommended for popular true crime collections. A fascinating and well-documented account of a (very) cold case and the repercussions of a horrible crime.—Karen Sandlin Silverman, Scarborough H.S. Lib., ME