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Ridulph’s remains to be returned to her family

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Attorneys agreed Wednesday to an order releasing the remains of a 7-year-old Sycamore girl kidnapped and killed in 1957 to her family.

The motion filed Tuesday by prosecutors sought to release Maria Ridulph’s bodily remains to her family, since postmortem exams conducted as part of the murder case against Jack D. McCullough have been completed, according to court documents.

McCullough, 72, of Seattle, has been charged with murder, felony kidnapping and felony abduction of an infant in Ridulph’s death. The child was abducted from her Sycamore neighborhood Dec. 3, 1957. Her remains were found nearly five months later in rural Jo Daviess County.

On May 1, a forensic anthropology report was given to the defense; on May 22, an exam report by a medical examiner was tendered, according to court documents.

Ridulph’s remains were first taken to the DeKalb County Coroner’s office the morning of July 27, 2011, the day her body was exhumed from Elmwood Cemetery in Sycamore, said DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell.

An initial exam was conducted there. Shortly after, the body was taken to Indiana University in Indianapolis, where two university experts conducted testing, Campbell said.

Campbell could not comment on evidence, but said experts looked for everything when conducting postmortem exams.

“It was a comprehensive examination of her remains,” he said.

During a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Prosecutor Victor Escarcida said McCullough also was in agreement with the decision. Presiding Judge Robbin Stuckert granted the order.

McCullough was arrested July 1, 2011, in Seattle and indicted Aug. 19 in connection with Ridulph’s death. He has pleaded not guilty; the trial has not been scheduled.

McCullough, who is being held on $3 million bond, will next appear in court June 28. He was acquitted on unrelated charges of rape and indecent liberties with a child in April.

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