Episode Forty-Five: Maria Ridulph
On the evening of December 3, 1957, 7-year-old Maria Ridulph begged to be allowed to go outside as it had started to snow. After finishing dinner, Maria and Kathy Sigman went outside in the dark near Maria's house. The girls were approached by a man who called himself Johnny. He gave Maria a piggyback ride, after which she went back to her house and got a doll to show him. After Maria returned, Kathy ran back to her house to get her mittens, leaving Maria alone with the man. When Kathy returned, Maria and the man were gone.
The case was reopened in 2008 based on new information about one of the Ridulph's neighbours, a man named John Tessier. Tessier matched the description of Johnny and had a history of crimes against women.
During the trial, the prosecution argued Tessier had the means and the time to commit the crime. The defence argued the timeline made it impossible for Tessier to be responsible. In April 2012, John Tessier was convicted for Maria's kidnapping and murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
But did he really do it?
Some of our research