The link to Jeanne Tessier’s memoirs are here: Unspoken-Truth
Chapter 12 deals with Maria, and am copying it here with my comments in Red:
Evil Close to Home
When I was nine, Maria was kidnapped. She lived a block and a half away from me. She was seven. We had played together only occasionally — there were other kids closer at hand — and only when those we played with most often were unavailable did we venture further afield.
Maria was shy, quiet, sweet, small and beautiful — dark eyes and hair, and somehow remote and inaccessible. Her closest friend was Kathy, who was eight or nine and lived on her street. Kathy was large, ungainly, unattractive. [well, that is so sweet Jeanne] I knew them little, but I knew them. The first we knew of Maria’s disappearance was when someone knocked on our side door on the snowy night she was taken. I was upstairs but not asleep and came down when I heard the knock. I heard men’s voices talking to my father, asking him to open the hardware store where he worked so they could get flashlights and lanterns in order to look for her. My parents were keyed up. Mom told my sister and me that Maria had been kidnapped and that Dad was going to help look for her in the cornfields surrounding our town. Meanwhile, women were gathering at the local armory to make sandwiches and coffee for the searchers. [this is all before 9 pm, the police were not notified till 8:10 pm, and there was no large scale search till much later that night per the FBI. If Ralph was getting Jack around 8 pm in Rockford he would not have been home at 9 pm, he would have been home much later that night when the search actually started. Sandwiches and coffee for the searcher did not happen till the 12/4/1957 per the FBI records.]
It was about 9 o’clock at night. Dad jammed a two-by-four between the side door and the kitchen wall to keep it from being opened — there was no lock — and we were instructed to lock the front door behind them as they left and to sleep on the couch in the living room to let them in again when they came home, because they couldn’t find the key. Dad helped the men. Mom joined the women.
I was awake for a long time after they left, my mind and body alive with that strange combination of adrenalin and terror that overtakes us when disasters strike. Finally I slept, until the knock on the door that caused me to jump up in fear and peek through the door’s small window, to see my mother’s face there. I let her in. Dad was out all night, as were most of the men in town. Maria was not found. [I find this a bit interesting, Jeanne says in court Jack never came home that night, but she was asleep most of the time, and Jack was in Rockford early the next morning. But she still states she knows he did not come home as a fact.]
No one spoke to us directly about what was going on, so my memories are of things I heard or overheard in conversations that did not include me. People spoke of nothing else. How much of what I heard was rumor and how much was true I do not know.
The search went on for days. The FBI came to town. An artist’s rendering of Maria, in color, in a brown coat with a furry collar, missing one shoe, appeared in a Chicago newspaper. One of her shoes [Doll you idiot] had been found near where she had last been seen, standing under a streetlight with her friend Kathy, just after dark. [No streetlight on the corner per the FBI.] We heard that Kathy told police a man named Johnny had invited them to go for a ride and Kathy had said she’d have to go ask her Mom. [What?] She left, and then Maria was gone. By the time they knew she was gone, the thick flakes of falling snow had nearly covered the footprints in the snow. [No, not per Tom Braddy and company] I don’t know if Kathy went back to the street corner, or how long it was before she told someone, or until Maria’s parents looked for her and couldn’t find her.
One evening a few days after Maria was gone, some FBI men came knocking at our door. My half-brother was seventeen. [No, he was 18] The men searched our home, upstairs, where my half-brother had slept in the anteroom at the top of the stairs and went through everything in his closet. Mom said they were looking for a bright-colored sweater [White ski type sweater with colored designs] that Maria’s friend Kathy had described. They didn’t find it. I thought I could tell from her profound agitation that my mother, too, wondered if “Johnny” was her own precious son. [a bit of jealousy in that statement]
Before the men left they asked Mom what time our Johnny had gotten home the night Maria disappeared. She gave them a time. [No, she did not per the FBI interviews.] But he had not come home, not until sometime the next day. [On 11/13/2009 Jeanne told Brion Hanley “and Eileen told them John was home all night”] I knew by her lie that she suspected him too. She told them he had been in a city nearby that day, enlisting in the armed services and that the recruiting officer with whom he had enlisted would vouch for him.
I would just note here, Jeanne’s memory is such a key to the case, but she is got every single fact wrong in what she wrote here. What she told Brion Hanley in her 11/13/2009 interview was completely different from what she said in court. Jeanne was just making it all up as she went along, and Brion Hanley and Clay Campbell helped her get it a bit closer to the truth for her court appearance.