Authorities to compare DNA samples in 1957 Sycamore slaying
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org September 8, 2011 1:18PM
Jack Daniel McCullough
Updated: November 9, 2011 1:13PM
Jack Daniel McCullough formally denied Thursday he kidnapped and murdered 7-year-old Maria Ridulph in 1957, while DeKalb County prosecutors disclosed they plan to conduct DNA tests on material found during a recent exhumation of her body.
DNA testing will be done on hair, fibers and fingernail scrapings collected after the Sycamore girl’s remains were exhumed on July 27, authorities said in a court filing.
McCullough has agreed to offer DNA samples to compare with the material being analyzed, said his attorney, DeKalb County Public Defender Regina Harris.
“They don’t know what they have right now,” Harris said of the substances gathered during the exhumation.
McCullough, now 71, was charged in July with murder, kidnapping and infant abduction in the decades-old killing, which drew nationwide attention to the small farm town about 60 miles west of Chicago.
Maria was playing with a friend near her home on Dec. 3, 1957, when a man approached the two girls and began chatting with them.
When her friend left to get mittens, Maria and the man vanished. Her body was found about five months later in rural Jo Daviess County in northwestern Illinois.
McCullough, then known as John Tessier, lived a few blocks away and was questioned by police, but wasn’t charged after he claimed he was in Chicago that day taking medical tests prior to entering the military.
Since his July 1, arrest in Seattle, DeKalb County authorities have been tight-lipped about the evidence allegedly tying him to Maria’s disappearance and death.
But police have said a former girlfriend found an unused train ticket dated the day Maria vanished tucked in a picture frame given to her by McCullough.
McCullough in jailhouse interviews has denied any involvement in Maria’s slaying.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of her murder and remains jailed on $3 million bond.