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1957 Child Murder Suspect To Be Extradited To Illinois

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Jack Daniel McCullough, accused in the 1957 murder of Sycamore girl Maria Ridulph. (Sycamore Police Dept.)

Jack Daniel McCullough, accused in the 1957 murder of Sycamore girl Maria Ridulph. (Sycamore Police Dept.)

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UPDATED 07/20/11 12:53 p.m.

SEATTLE (CBS) — He insists he didn’t do it, but suspect in a 1957 murder in Sycamore is willingly coming back to Illinois to face charges here.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports, Jack Daniel McCullough, 71, appeared in a Seattle courtroom Wednesday and agreed to be extradited back to Illinois to face charges in the murder of Maria Ridulph, 7.

McCullough had previously vowed to fight extradition. But his stepdaughter now says he wants to return to Illinois so he can clear his name.

Maria was playing with a friend in the first snowfall of December 1957 with a friend. She disappeared in December 1957 after accepting a piggyback ride from a young man named Johnny; back then, McCullough used the name John Tessier.

Maria’s body was found 144 days later near Galena.

McCullough has said he has an ironclad alibi for the murder, that he was headed to Chicago to undergo medical exams before joining the military. He used the same alibi when he was questioned about the murder at the time, then disappeared.

But one of McCullough’s former girlfriends recently found an unused train ticket hidden behind a photograph he had given her, which authorities have said shatters the alibi.

McCullough later became a police officer in Washington state.

Court records indicate that one of McCullough’s former wives found nude images of the suspect’s own daughter taped to the bottom of a desk, the Chicago Tribune reported. One of McCullough’s sisters also claimed that McCullough sexually abused her and other girls in the neighborhood, the newspaper reported.

In the early 1980s McCullough lost his job with the Milton police department in Washington state after he was accused of having sexual abuse with a runaway in her early teens. He pleaded guilty in 1983 to unlawfully communicating with a minor.

McCullough is now being held on $3 million bond.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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