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Dearest Residents of Coles County, Illinois,

My name is Virginia Lee Williams. I am the youngest sister of Dianne Marie Riordan Small. You know her by the young woman in the Airtight Bridge Murder.

Last March her husband confessed to taking her life. Many of you know the story. I won't go over it here. That is not the reason I am writing.

When I received the call in February that my sister's cold case was reopened in 2013 I couldn't believe it. I immediately looked up a reference that was given me. I found the article written many years ago titled, The Airtight Bridge Murder. I had no idea that the article existed and for the first time I read details I had never heard before. You can imagine the shock I felt.

I also had no idea what the people of Coles County had been through for so many years. When I read about the concern the people had for her and the family I was touched very deeply in my heart. It brought me to tears to think that strangers would care so much for who my sister was and who did this to her. Strangers visited her grave and tended to her headstone. All of this before 1992 when I finally found her.

I can't express enough the gratitude I feel for the people of Coles County. My sister didn't deserve to die and then to be abandoned that way on cold wet ground far from home. She had a mental illness that left her alone in life. It helps my heart to know that she was tended to, prayed for and thought of by many of you. She has a proper headstone now, again because of the people in Coles County. I came to visit her at the end of August after meeting the detectives that solved the case. It was difficult and necessary. When I was a teenager, I witnessed Dianne ask God for His gift of salvation and I know she is in heaven with her Lord and family. My heart and mind are finally at peace. Again, thank you for being at her side.


Virginia L. Williams


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