It was a shocking true crime that left two families shattered, and became the coldest case in U.S. history. Who really killed little Maria? The question fueled a real-life nightmare in Sycamore, Illinois…

1957. Sycamore, Illinois. Christmas was three weeks away, and seven-year-old Maria Ridulph went out to play. Soon after, a figure emerged out of the falling snow. He was very friendly. Minutes later, Maria vanished, leaving behind an abandoned doll and footsteps in the snow.

In April, a spring thaw gave up Maria’s body in a nearby wooded area. The case attracted national attention, including that of the FBI and President Eisenhower. In all, seventy-four men and three women fell under suspicion. But no one was ever charged with the crime.

Incredibly, fifty-five years later, the coldest case in the history of American jurisprudence would be reopened. It happened after a seventy-four-year-old former neighbor of the Ridulphs named Eileen Tessier made a stunning deathbed confession to her family about a dark past, and a darker secret they knew nothing about. Two families would be joined by despair and retribution, and in an astounding turn of events, Maria Ridulph’s killer would finally be brought to justice.

Read an excerpt from Footsteps in the Snow by clicking here.  

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