Prosecutors face daunting task in 1957 murder case

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by MICHAEL TARM and DON BABWIN

The Associated Press

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 2:01 AM

SYCAMORE, Ill. (AP) -- Cold-case experts say they rarely see arrests in murders that date back so many years.

Authorities in Illinois are hoping to build a case against a former Washington state police officer in the 1957 slaying of a 7-year-old girl in the northern Illinois farming community of Sycamore.

The suspect, Jack Daniel McCullough, was arrested last month. He says he'd taken a military medical exam in Chicago that day. But an archivist says the Air Force file McCullough claims would exonerate him was destroyed in a 1973 fire at the storage site.

Investigators reopened the case three years ago after McCullough's ex-girlfriend told them she found his unused train ticket to Chicago.

Maria Ridulph's abduction grabbed the nation's attention, and her body was later found badly decomposed.

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