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DeKalb Prosecutor Announces Break In ’57 Child Murder Case

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Maria Ridulph, 7, was abducted and murdered in 1957. (Courtesy Chicago Sun-Times)

Maria Ridulph, 7, was abducted and murdered in 1957. (Courtesy Chicago Sun-Times)

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SYCAMORE, Ill. (STMW) — Murder charges have been filed in the case of a 7-year-old girl who was abducted in Sycamore four months before her skeletal remains were found more than 50 years ago.

“This crime has haunted Sycamore for half a century,” DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell said in a release announcing the filing of charges against a Seattle man for the murder of Maria Ridulph, who was abducted near her home in December 1957.

Jack Daniel McCullough of Seattle, aka John Tessier, 71, is now in the custody of authorities in Washington state. He awaits extradition to DeKalb, where an arrest warrant has been issued carrying a $3 million bond, the release said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports

Seven-year-old Maria and a friend were playing near their Sycamore homes on Dec. 3, 1957, when she was abducted. More than 100 law enforcement officers and a large contingent of community members took part in a search that gained national attention.

The FBI led the investigation, with both Director J. Edgar Hoover and President Dwight Eisenhower requesting daily updates, the release said.

Maria’s skeletal remains were found in Jo Daviess County in northwest Illinois on April 26, 1958. McCullough was initially a suspect in the investigation, but the case went cold after he joined the military and changed his name, the release said.

“We hope the family of Maria Ridulph and this community can find some solace with this arrest,” Campbell said.

Sycamore is located about 25 miles west of Elgin.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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