Monday, December 10, 2012

Suspect in Oldest Cold Case in the U.S. is Sentenced

James McCullough Sentenced

Convicted of murdering 7 year old Maria Ridulph


By: Joseph L. Giacalone

AP photo
In the fall of 2012, Jack McCullogh, now 72 years of age and a retired police officer, was convicted of abducting and murdering 7 year old Maria Ridulph on the cold evening of December 3, 1957. This case may be the oldest cold case conviction on record, which also may provide a framework for future prosecutions.

McCullogh denied killing Maria in court this morning, but has been sentenced this morning to  life in prison.

Maria's badly decomposed body was discovered in the spring and forensic analysts determined that she suffered multiple stab wounds. Jack McCullogh, known at the time as John Tessier, the name of his stepfather at the time. McCullogh was on the suspect list, after Maria's friend stated that a boy named Johnny asked if they wanted piggyback rides. When she returned, Maria was gone.
If you are the cold case detective or the prosecutor, here are your problems with a case like this: 
  • Most, if not all of the law enforcement officers, witnesses and family members involved in the case are deceased
  • No DNA exists-even if it did would probably be of little use
  • No confession
  • Hearsay evidence
  • Single eyewitness identification
  • Jailhouse informants

We saw in this case what happens in a lot of cold cases. A deathbed statement by the suspect's own mother that her son may have been involved in Maria's disappearance, as well as statements from the suspect's ex-girlfriend, that countered his alibi about being in Chicago at the time of the disappearance. 

Fortunately, for the victim, Maria Ridulph, the pretty little 7 year old girl from Sycamore, and her remaining family, the case ended in a conviction. Now, hopefully, she can rest in peace.

2 comments:

  1. jackdmccullough.wordpress.com

    Problem is, Jack did not do it.....

    casey

    ReplyDelete
  2. I see that link all the time, but it doesn't change my opinion.

    ReplyDelete