Ex-cop Convicted In 55-year-old Murder Case
Ex-cop Convicted In 55-year-old Murder Case, Chilling testimony from a playmate and family members helped convict Jack McCullough. Ex-cop convicted in 1957 murder of Ill. girl, 7, A 72-year-old man was convicted Friday in the 1957 murder of a 7-year-old girl, with spectators letting out a deafening cheer as the verdict was announced in one of the oldest unsolved crimes to eventually get to court in the U.S.
The sound of sobbing overtook the room as the cheers and applause faded after Judge James Hallock pronounced Jack McCullough guilty of murder, kidnapping and abduction in Maria Ridulph’s death. Family and friends of the girl fell into each other’s arms; others walked up to hug and kiss prosecutors.
McCullough was around 17 years old on the snowy night in December 1957 when the second-grader went missing in Sycamore, about 60 miles west of Chicago. He later enlisted in the military, and ultimately settled in Seattle where he worked as a Washington state police officer.
Maria’s playmate the night she disappeared, Kathy Chapman, was a star witness in the case. She testified that McCullough was the young man who approached the girls as they played, asking if they liked dolls and if they wanted piggyback rides.
“A weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said Chapman, who is now 63, said outside on the courthouse steps. “Maria finally has the justice he deserves.”
Others in court included Jeanne Taylor, 57, who said children in the close-knit town lived in terror after Maria’s disappearance.
It all happened in an era when grease-backed hair and automobile tail fins were still in, and when child abductions, if not unheard of, rarely made headlines.