Maria Ridulph

Two inmates and a forensic anthropologist testified Wednesday in the murder-kidnap trial of Jack Daniel McCullough, accused in the disappearance and death of little Maria Ridulph in Sycamore nearly 55 years ago.

The inmates told slightly different – but not necessarily contradictory – stories of McCullough’s jailhouse conversations about his case, and the scientist explained how she found evidence of deep cutting wounds on the skelton of the 7-year-old victim.

Playmate recalls the last time she saw Maria Ridulph

Three half sisters of accused murderer Jack Daniels McCullough testified for the prosecution Tuesday in the 55-year-old disappearance and death of little Maria Ridulph. Two contradicted their parents’ statement that the accused was home that fateful night, and one recalled their mother’s deathbed declaration about the case.

They were preceded on the stand by Kathy Sigman Chapman, Maria’s playmate on Tuesday evening, December 3, 1957. A member of the prosecution team brought her to the witness stand before the session started. Chapman – with close-cropped grey hair and wearing a dark skirted suit – tested the chair, looked around, chatted briefly with the court stenographer, then smiled and stepped away.

The man accused of kidnapping and murdering a Sycamore girl more than half a century ago has an alibi, which was officially filed in court Tuesday. 

Attorneys for Jack McCullough, charged in the kidnapping and death of Maria Ridulph in Sycamore more than a half century ago, must disclose his alibi for the time of the incident at a hearing Tuesday, Kane County Associate Judge James Hallock has ruled.

Court records show that the seven-year-old girl disappeared from her neighborhood sometime between late afternoon hours and 9 p.m. on Dec. 3, 1957, from Sycamore. Her remains were found nearly five months later on April 26, 1958, in Jo Daviess County.

Two new faces join McCullough case

Aug 6, 2012
DeKalb County Jail

One of the nation’s oldest criminal cases will have two new faces when the trial begins Sept. 20 in DeKalb County Circuit Court.

Kane County Associate Judge James Hallock will preside over the bench trial and decide the fate of Jack D. McCullough, who waived a jury trial last week on charges of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Maria Ridulph. The Sycamore girl was abducted from her neighborhood Dec. 3, 1957.

The other new figure in the case is Geneva attorney Tom McCulloch, who was named interim public defender replacing Regina Harris, who resigned in June after five years to start a private practice.

The remains of Maria Ridulph, a 7-year-old Sycamore girl kidnapped and killed in 1957, will be returned to her family under a court order granted Wednesday.

The child was abducted from her Sycamore neighborhood Dec. 3, 1957. Her remains were found nearly five months later in rural Jo Daviess County.

Jack D. McCullough, 72, of Seattle, has been charged with murder, felony kidnapping and felony abduction of an infant in the case.

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