CHICAGO (CBS) — A man found guilty of murdering a 7-year-old in Sycamore in 1957 was sentenced to life in prison on Monday.

Jack McCullough, 73, of Seattle, was arrested in 2011, almost 54 years after Maria Ridulph was abducted from a street corner in Sycamore, where she and a young friend had been playing.

Maria’s body was discovered months later near Galena, but the case remained unsolved until a half-sister of McCullough convinced police to reopen the investigation.

McCullough was found guilty at a September bench trial, where Maria’s playmate identified an old photo of McCullough as being the man who approached her and Maria shortly before Maria disappeared.

In December 1957, McCullough was a 17-year-old Sycamore resident called John Tessier whose family lived about two blocks from the street corner where Maria was last seen.

McCullough on Monday said he was not responsible for the murder, and that FBI documents ruled inadmissible at trial proved his case.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Julie Mann Reports

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