Former police officer in 1957 cold case murder charge is now accused of raping another girl

A former police officer accused of killing a young Chicago-area girl in 1957 has now been charged with sexually assaulting another teenage girl.

The suspect, Jack McCullough, was charged in July with the kidnapping and murder of seven-year-old Maria Ridulph in Sycamore, Illinois.

He is being held at the Dekalb County, Illinois jail in one of the nation's oldest cold cases of murder.

Jack McCullough
Victim: Maria Ridulph was seven when she was snatched and murdered

Charged: Accused murderer Jack McCullough, 71, who lived in Sycamore at the time of the murder in 1957 has been charged with the rape of a teenager

Extradited: Jack McCullough, 71, who lived in Sycamore at the time of the murder in 1957 has been charged

Mystery: Jack McCullough has been charged with the murder of Maria Ridulph, a case which lay cold for 54 years

The statement did not give details of the alleged assault by McCullough, a former police officer in Washington state.

McCullough, who was 71 at the time of his arrest, has been indicted on one count of child sexual assault and four counts of indecent liberties with a child, the Illinois State Police and the Dekalb County State's Attorney's Office said in a statement on Friday.

The new victim told investigators that McCullough raped her when she was 14 in Sycamore, the statement said.

'Sadly, we have another victim, and for the families of all victims, the pain never goes away,' said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau.

Maria Ridulph

'Pretty Maria': The seven-year-old disappeared after speaking to a man named 'Johnny' while playing with friends on 3 December 1957

However, a probable cause statement filed by Seattle police in conjunction with McCullough's arrest in June said that a runaway teenage girl who met McCullough - who used to go by the name John Tessier - in the early 1980s accused him of sexually assaulting her.

He was convicted of unlawful communication over his interaction with the girl and fired from his job with the police in Milton, Washington, the Seattle statement said.

McCullough is currently being held in Seattle on $3million bail after a crucial piece of evidence led to his arrest 53 years after Maria disappeared while playing with friends near her home on 3 December, 1957.

The case of 'Pretty Maria', as the newspapers called her, developed a national following as almost the entire community and law enforcement searched for her.

Burial: The remains of Maria Ridulph were found 100 miles from her home

Burial: The remains of Maria Ridulph were found 100 miles from her home and had to be exhumed recently to search for more DNA evidence

President Eisenhower and FBI director J Edgar Hoover demanded daily updates, and for the next five months around 7,000 Sycamore residents and dozens of FBI agents frantically searched for her.

Then in April, 1958, Maria’s decomposed remains were found beneath an oak tree near Galena by a couple foraging for mushrooms in Jo Davies County, in the northwest corner of the state.

Police arrested McCullough after an old girlfriend produced evidence to police that called into question his alibi. At the time he told investigators he was on a train, but the girlfriend found the train ticket from that day that was unused and unstamped.

The 71-year-old retired police officer lived just a block away was known to Maria's family, according to police. He was just 18 at the time.

Maria's remains were exhumed from her grave in July so that modern-day forensic scientists may be able to find DNA evidence to implicate McCullough that could not be detected in 1958.

Maria Ridulph

Mystery: Maria Ridulph was abducted in 1957 near her home in the northern Illinois. She was known as 'Pretty Maria' by the papers at the time

His former girlfriend had found the Rockford-to-Chicago ticket when investigators asked her to look for pictures and other items from their time together.

McCullough, from Seattle, is being held at Washington's King County jail awaiting extradition after being picked up for questioning last Wednesday.

He was an initial suspect but had an alibi and the case went cold after he joined the military and changed his name to McCullough.

But two years ago, Illinois police were given a tip-off leading to the suspect and they worked with local detectives culminating in McCullough's arrest.

Locator map of the child's city in Illinois

Case solved? The girl disappeared near her home in Sycamore, Illinois, on 3 December 1957

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