I recently read a story about a man who as a young adult killed a young girl…and his mother lied and gave him an alibi that stuck for nearly 55 years until she eventually confessed to her daughter on her death bed that she had lied. It was still years later that the daughter brought this confession to the attention of the law.
It was on the first Tuesday in December, 1957, that little Maria Ridulph disappeared after taking a piggy back ride from a stranger.
Her disappearance from a small town in the rich farmlands of Illinois shocked America: it seemed she had vanished into thin air in the safest corner of the United States.
All that was known was that she had been seen taking a piggyback ride from a strange man near her home – a man her friend said was called ‘Johnny’.
Long months followed until the seven-year-old’s body was found in a field the following Spring. It was worse than could have been expected: she had been choked with a wire and stabbed.
Her family hoped that the killer would be brought to justice quickly but in the end they had to wait – an astonishing 55 years for justice.
The coldest case in US history was finally closed in 2012 when Maria’s killer was convicted using a deathbed confession by his mother that had re-opened the investigation.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2830800/How-America-s-coldest-criminal-case-mystery-missing-seven-year-old-pretty-Maria-solved-55-years-later-thanks-deathbed-confession-murder-s-mother.html
I can only imagine this mother’s pain and how deep her denial must have been for her to keep this secret for so long, and then, as she was on her death bed to finally “clear her conscience” by confessing that she had lied. At the same time, I am totally angry that this woman would keep the family of the victim in pain for nearly three generations about what happened to their little girl. To say nothing of the fact that if her son killed this young girl, who is to say he didn’t kill others after his mother lied to shield him from justice?
There are cases where mothers turn in their children for crimes, even heinous ones, but it seems to be fairly rare. It makes one wonder just how many people are shielded by their families, and false alibis given to cover up for the guilty.
I turned Patrick in for robbery because I knew he did it and he was a juvenile so I knew that he wouldn’t do much if any time and I hoped it would “reform” him. When he was arrested for Jessica’s murder, I wanted so badly to believe he was innocent. Would I have turned him in? I can’t say for sure just what I would have done in my grieving state. I would hope I would have turned him in, but I can’t say for sure what I would have done in the painful state of mind I was in. Fortunately I didn’t have to make that difficult choice, as the police caught him very quickly. I didn’t know the absolute truth about Jessica’s murder until after Patrick’s trial a year and a half later. Patrick had lied about the date of the trial so I wasn’t there for the trial, but I did talk to his attorney afterward who told me the evidence that was presented at that trial, which left no doubt at all that Patrick was guilty.
It was only four years ago that I read the police report and the true horror that came out of that report let me know exactly what had happened. The mother of the killer in the above case, though, knew what had been done to this little girl, the whole nation knew the brutality of what happened to her. I wonder how she could reconcile the knowledge that this little girl was horribly brutalized and the knowledge that her son fit the description of the killer. Even his name was the same.
When our loved ones commit crimes, especially brutal ones, it is difficult to reconcile our love for them and what we want them to be and the fact that they are capable of such behavior. Protecting the guilty, though, even in the hope that they will “reform,” takes away the consequences of their behaviors, leaving them free to continue to offend.
I don’t believe that prison has much of a “reformative” effect on criminals, especially violent ones, since most of the violent crime, about 80%, is committed by psychopaths who do not have the capacity to reform or grow a conscience. I also realize that coming to the conclusion that someone we love falls into that category is extremely painful. I also realize though, that in order to live in a responsible manner, we are mandated to expose crime. If I would turn in your son for murder and not give him a false alibi, then I am required to do the same for my own son for such a crime.