Maria Ridulph

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A DeKalb County judge has set dates for hearings in two cases involving Jack McCullough, the Seattle resident who was convicted of the 1957 kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph of Sycamore. That conviction was vacated after a review last year showed he could not have committed the crime. 

Katie Finlon

A little girl from Sycamore went missing 59 years ago Satuerday. The disappearance is still remembered by many in the community.

Seven-year-old Maria Ridulph was playing outside with a friend before she disappeared on Dec. 3, 1957. Then, a man named “Johnny” appeared and started talking to them and gave them piggy-back rides.

When her friend came back after she left to grab mittens, Ridulph was gone. Police found her body in northwest Illinois months later.

Illinois State Police say they have a new suspect in the 1957 murder of Sycamore schoolgirl Maria Ridulph.  

The case was reopened after police were asked to investigate a suspect named in an anonymous letter.  The letter was received March 24, the same day DeKalb State’s Attorney Richard Schmack disavowed the prosecution of Jack McCullough, who was convicted of the murder in September 2012.

McCullough's conviction  was vacated after new evidence showed he was in Rockford at the time of Ridulph's disappearance, and he is now seeking a certificate of innocence.  

Danielle Guerra / Daily Chronicle/shawmedia.com

The man whose cold-case conviction for a 1957 murder was overturned earlier this year wants a judge to take the next step to clear his name.

Jack McCullough case: A Timeline

Attorneys with The Exoneration Project, a legal clinic based at the University of Chicago, filed papers asking for a Certificate of Innocence for Jack McCullough. 

Joiner History Room

  

An Illinois prison inmate says prosecutors broke their promises after he testified in the trial involving the death of Maria Ridulph.

The Sycamore girl was kidnapped in 1957, and her body was found several months later. Jack McCullough was arrested for the death decades later, and his trial was held in DeKalb County in 2012. Earlier this year, a judge vacated McCullough's conviction and freed him from prison.

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