DeKalb Prosecutor Announces Break In ’57 Child Murder Case

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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    […] Vick to an endorsement deal Friday, nearly four years after dropping him amid his legal troubles.DeKalb Prosecutor Announces Break In ’57 Child Murder CaseMaria Ridulph was abducted and slain more than 50 years ago in Sycamore, Ill. Now authorities say a […]

  • David

    Just because they found him, he’s guilty? Try convincing a jury of that. It’s a one in a million that they have solid evidence from 1951. This does not sound like efficient utilization of tax payers dollars.

    • Elvis

      If it was your kid. you’d take those odds. In most human depravity, where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. This is probably one of the best uses of tax dollars…..justice.

    • Sunny Guy

      Try 1957. And it sounds like they do have solid evidence. The guy was a suspect at the time, until he joined the military and changed his name. Hmmm.

      But try to imagine if Maria was your daughter. It’s called empathy. A lost art maybe..

      Sunny Guy

  • Marilee Mancuso

    Wow I can’t believe it! She was my cousin. Hopefully our family will finally get some justice after all these years. I was just looking at some old pictures of Maria with my neice and explaining what had happened to her.

    • Maureen

      Good morning Marilee. I know this is far from over but closure has been a long time in coming. Are Maria’s parents, sisters, brother or her friend still alive? I only ask to know that they feel some sort of relief or how this much time took toll on them.

  • NWA

    The evidence surely adds up. He was originally a suspect but he claimed that he was in Chicago at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AFEES) signing his reception papers. An old girlfriend recently presented a never used Rockford to Chicago train ticket dated the day of the disappearance.

    This guy changed his name move to the Seattle area and became the po po.


    • Devon

      @NWA, I sure hope they have something more concrete than that. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt requires alot more than what has been spoken about. I believe he will walk due to lack of proof.

  • David

    All of you people are talking like they got the guy and justice is just around the corner. Hopefully this isn’t a case of an over zealous prosecuter. The chances they have concrete proof of anything from that many years ago, is slim to none. In a case like this, a confession would be ideal, but I doubt they have that. I am curious to see what kind of firm evidence they have on him.

    • Detective W Collins

      David, you are an odd person. First: you claim it’s a waste of taxpayer money. now you’re concerned that there isn’t the evidence. As someone who has worked with police departments as a profile expert, I would be interested in speaking with you.
      I have a feeling you may have some issues.

  • Jeff

    Lets not forget that since then he was fired from the PD after he molested a 13 years old runaway. Charged with “unlawful communication with a minor” and released.

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