Maria Ridulph

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The case of The People vs. Jack McCullough is back in a DeKalb County courtroom Friday. The story of the disappearance of Maria Ridulph spans seven decades.

Seven-year-old Maria Ridulph of Sycamore was kidnapped and murdered in 1957. Jack McCullough was convicted in the cold case in 2012: He was freed earlier this year when his conviction was vacated.

A lot happened in between.

Danielle Guerra / Daily Chronicle

DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack is once again asking a judge to dismiss a request for a special prosecutor to take over a high-profile 1957 murder case.

Richard Schmack reviewed the evidence from the lawyer for Maria Ridulph’s family. They say a special prosecutor is necessary, because Schmack showed he was biased in favor of Jack McCullough -- who was found guilty of the decades-old murder of the 7-year-old girl in 2012.

The question of appointing a special prosecutor in the case of the decades-old murder of a Sycamore girl will continue in an additional hearing next month.

The victim's older brother, Charles Ridulph, has claimed that DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack has a "conflict of interest" in pursuing the case and has asked the court to name a special prosecutor.  

Charles Ridulph of Sycamore has added to his request for a special prosecutor in the 1957 murder case of his sister, Maria.  

The Daily Chronicle says Ridulph claims State’s Attorney Richard Schmack made a 2012 campaign promise to drop charges against Jack McCullough, constituting a conflict of interest.  

Danielle Guerra / Shaw Media

The Daily Chronicle recently published a two-part series called “Road to Dismissal” examining letters and emails that take a closer look at how DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack became convinced that the wrong man was behind bars for the death of Maria Ridulph of Sycamore. Jack McCullough has since been released from prison, but some in the community still question his innocence. Eric Olson is editor of the Daily Chronicle and talks about writing the story.

Pages