Brother of Girl Slain in 1957 Wants Special Prosecutor to Review Case: Report

The brother of a 7-year-old girl in northern Illinois slain in 1957 wants a special prosecutor to investigate the case after DeKalb’s state’s attorney announced Friday a man who was convicted in the killing could not have committed the crime.

Charles Ridulph, whose sister, Maria, vanished on Dec. 3, 1957, and was found dead several months later, filed an emergency motion Monday asking for the appointment of a special prosecutor, The Chicago Tribune reported. The slaying remained a mystery for decades before Jack McCullough, who was initially cleared in the case, was charged in 2011.

A hearing in the case will take place Tuesday afternoon in DeKalb County court.

DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack said Firday his six-month review firmed up an alibi and convinced him it was a "manifest impossibility" that McCullough could have been anywhere near the area when Maria Ridulph disappeared in the small community of Sycamore.

McCullough, now 75, was a neighbor at the time of the killing. He had long ago been cleared by authorities before a renewed effort was launched to solve the case. He was found guilty in 2012, and sentenced to life in prison.

New evidence included recently subpoenaed phone records proving that McCullough made a collect call to his parents from a phone booth in the city of Rockford, about 35 miles from Sycamore, just minutes after the abduction took place — which had always been McCullough's professed alibi, but it had previously come under doubt.

Testimony that the abduction had taken place earlier has been discredited, Schmack said, meaning there was no possibility McCullough could have committed the crime and driven to Rockford in time to place that call.

"I know there are people who will never believe that he is not responsible for the crime," Schmack said in a statement. "But I cannot allow that to sway me from my sworn duty."

Schmack was not the state's attorney who prosecuted the case. His office was ordered to the conduct the review as part of a push by McCullough's attorney for a new trial. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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