A Deathbed Confession and an Old Train Ticket Solve a 55-Year-Old Murder Case
Let's get through the depressing parts of this one straight away: In 1957, second grader Maria Ridulph was kidnapped from her yard and murdered, her body found months later 120 miles from home. Despite a massive national manhunt that involved everyone up to and including J. Edgar Hoover and President Eisenhower, the killer got away with it. No one was convicted, and the case went unsolved.
All of Hoover's creepiness was to no avail.
Now, let's fast forward to 2008 and the deathbed of an old Illinois woman, who grabbed her youngest daughter's hand and uttered the words: "John did it, and you have to tell someone." The daughter knew what she was talking about and alerted the authorities. There was only one problem: The "John" in question -- the old woman's son, one Jack Daniel "John Tessier" McCullough -- was a model citizen with an airtight alibi: He had been in another town during the abduction, enlisting in the Air Force and undergoing their physical. He had since become a decorated Air Force and Army veteran who had risen to the rank of captain and was awarded a bronze star for his service in Vietnam. Hell, he had even been working as a goddamn police officer at one point.
King County Sheriff's Office
"Serve and protect? Ah, shit."
Still, a dying mother's accusing finger is enough to raise a few eyebrows. The cops started circling around McCullough, but quickly found that they couldn't break his alibi, which had been backed by his family and, oh yeah, had held up for more than five goddamned decades. Yet the police persisted and reinterviewed a bunch of people connected with the suspect. One routine interview with a former girlfriend led to her giving the investigators an old photograph from their time together. When the photograph was inspected, something fell out from the back:
A train ticket from the time of the kidnapping.
And a small mountain of empty condom wrappers.