CHICAGO (CBS) — Prosecutors in DeKalb County have said the conviction of a 76-year-old man in the 1957 murder of a 7-year-old girl should be overturned, because newly obtained phone records show he could not possibly have abducted and killed her.
In 2012, Jack D. McCullough was convicted of murder in the death of Maria Ridulph, who disappeared from a street corner in Sycamore, where she and a young friend had been playing on Dec. 3, 1957. Her body was found lying in a field in northwestern Illinois five months later.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Wind Chill Advisory In Effect, Wind Chills Dropping Well Below Zero
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 was arrested in 2011 in Seattle, nearly 54 years after Maria’s death. His trial the next year is considered one of the oldest cold cases to go to trial in the U.S. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Maria Ridulph’s 70-year-old brother, Charles, learned about the development in the case early Friday, via email, on his way to Good Friday services.
“I prayed for forgiveness because of my anger, and I prayed for the Lord to enable me to rejoice that Maria is above this,” Ridulph tells CBS 2’s Brad Edwards.
At the time of McCullough’s arrest, authorities said McCullough had been an initial suspect in the investigation, but the case went cold after he joined the military and changed his name.