It was a shattering deathbed confession by a heartbroken mother. But would it solve the oldest cold case murder case in American jurisprudence?
In January 1994, Eileen Tessier told Jack McCullough's half sister Janet Tessier that he, her son, kidnapped seven-year-old Maria Ridulph from their neighborhood in Sycamore, Illinois, and killed her in December 1957. It was a case that tore the child’s family apart as well as dividing and terrifying the town as the days, then the months, and finally the years passed with no arrest. In 2008 the Illinois state police reopened the case against Jack after receiving an email from Janet Tessier about their mother's deathbed confession. After the Illinois state police interviewed Janet and learned that Jack had also been accused of raping their other sister, Jeanne Tessier, they reopened the case. But would reopening the case solve the question of who killed Maria Ridulph? And was McCullough the killer?
In The Last Man Standing, true crime author Alan Warren writes in exacting detail about the kidnapping, murder, and subsequent investigations - both in 1957 and 2008 - that eventually led to the murder conviction of Jack McCullough. But the story doesn’t stop there as it delves into the years McCullough spent in prison and the efforts to have his conviction overturned.
Was McCullough the brutal killer of a little girl? Or was he the last man standing when the justice system decided he needed to pay for the crime? You decide.