The bench trial of Jack McCullough begins Monday in DeKalb County Court. The 72-year-old is accused of killing a young Sycamore girl in the late 1950’s. Seven-year-old Maria Ridulph disappeared while playing near her home. Her body was found several months later.
The investigation was recently reopened by Illinois State Police after the agency received a tip. Department Spokeswoman Monique Bond says it’s part of a renewed effort by the agency to solve cold cases.
"Director Hiram Grau, just based on some of his previous experience having been over a bureau of investigative services with Chicago Police, has basically taken some of that special interest in the existing unit's cold case inventory" Bond said.
Bond says they believe the Ridulph investigation is one of the oldest cold cases in the country to be reopened.
She says given the delicate nature of cold cases, they are the most challenging for investigators.
Cold cases can also present problems for attorneys. Both sides in the case says memories have faded. The case for DeKalb County prosecutors is largely based on circumstantial evidence.