Family of McCullough speaks at post-verdict press conference

By Kelly Bauer

The family of Jack McCullough, 72, convicted earlier today of the 1957 kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph, 7, spoke at a press conference after the verdict was handed down.

Janet Tessier, McCullough’s half-sister, talked about what she had done to find out the truth about Ridulph and McCullough. Tessier testified during the trial that her mother, Eileen Tessier, told her McCullough had murdered Ridulph. Janet Tessier said her mother told her this in 1994.

“She grabbed my wrist and said, ‘Those two little girls, the one that disappeared, John did it,'” Tessier testified.

Tessier and her sibling, McCullough’s half-brother Bob Tessier, said during the press conference that they hadn’t had any contact with McCullough even before their dying mother told Janet Tessier about her suspicions. Janet Tessier said the last time the family had had contact with McCullough was Thanksgiving 1993. Bob Tessier said the family had never confronted McCullough about what their mother said because they didn’t see him.

In a post-conference interview, Janet Tessier said she contacted the state police via email to explain her suspicions about McCullough.

Cpt. Tony Arpacz of the State Police, who is in charge of the force’s investigative unit, received Janet Tessier’s email and followed up on it.

Arpacz said he talked to Janet Tessier, found her and her tip about Ridulph’s murder to be credible, and passed the information on to the investigators.

“They did the real work,” he said.

Janet Tessier said she had been told by a companion to pass the information on because she “might find a real bulldog” who could solve the case. She said that when she spoke to Arpacz, he told her, “We are real bulldogs.”

“The hair on my arms stood up,” Janet Tessier said. “And he believed me. It was amazing.”

During the press conference, Janet Tessier said she and the Tessier family was “grateful for the people who brought this verdict.” However, she also offered her apologies for McCullough’s actions.

“I am so sorry for the Ridulphs,” Janet Tessier said. “I apologize that this took so long, that justice was so long delayed, and you lost your sister.”

Bob Tessier said the family is indebted to investigators. In a post-conference interview, Janet Tessier started crying as she spoke of the investigators who solved the case and said, “These are the guys who did it.”