Maria Ridulph

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. Jack McCullough was originally...

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...

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. Jack McCullough was convicted in 2012 of the murder of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph in 1957. State’s Attorney Richard Schmack reviewed the case and concluded that...

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. Recently, Kirk Swaggerty filed a federal lawsuit related to his involvement with the...

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

A DeKalb County Judge has dismissed a request for a special prosecutor to take over disposition of the murder case against Jack McCullough. Judge William Brady ruled Friday that a supposed bias by DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack did not amount to an actual conflict of interest, and therefore no special prosecutor was warranted. Schmack, whose handling of the case prompted the request, said afterwards,"I believe that the judge ruled correctly." McCullough's 2012 conviction for...

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