The missing child case drew dozens of FBI agents to this small farming community about 60 miles west of Chicago. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover demanded daily updates, which were shared with President Dwight Eisenhower.
The disappearance of the 7-year-old with the perfect Sunday school attendance was national news for a while as 1,000 volunteers scoured fields of corn stubble for clues. Maria's remains were found in the spring by a retired couple looking for mushrooms under the melting snow. She was 120 miles from home, in a field near the town of Galena and not far from a river campground where the Tessier family spent vacations.