It took police 55 years to finally convict the killer of 7-year-old Maria Ridulph. But, justice finally made Jack McCullough pay for his despicable crime. McCullough was 18 years old at the time little Maria was murdered in 1957. Police got a tip about McCullough when his old girlfriend provided evidence he was not on a train at the time of the slaying as he claimed back in 1957. Police then reopened the case. They found enough evidence to bring McCullough to trial and, finally, his ultimate conviction. The case of "Pretty Maria," as she was called in the newspapers, was sensational at the time back in 1957. In fact, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover both demanded updates back in the day. There was a massive search for the little girl by over 7,000 residents of Maria's hometown. They searched for her for about six months. In April of 1958, Maria's decomposed remains were found underneath an oak tree by a couple looking for mushrooms. Police were able to exhume the body of Maria Ridulph for DNA evidence to use against Jack McCullough. Ultimatelly, it was little Maria who provided the evidence necessary to convict McCullough.
Jack McCullough gained the trust of Maria Ridulph, and her little friend, Kathy Sigman, by telling them he would give them "piggyback rides." Kathy went into her house to get her mittens on the cold day. When she came back outside, McCullough and Maria were both gone. Kathy Sigman, in her 60s now, identified McCullough from the witness stand 55 years later. This is a very interesting story to read. I linked the article above so you can read the entire story if you wish. What I find sad, in addition to a child murder, is that little Maria Ridulph's mother went to her grave never knowing what happened to her daughter. Please, if you have small children, never leave them unsupervised. This is especially true if they are under 10 years of age. Children the age of Maria are completely helpless against predators such as Jack McCullough. It appears McCullough has led a life of preying on children judging from the article I linked above. Be vigilant and never leave your child alone with someone you are not 100% confident will not harm your child. Even if you are sure of that person, make sure there is another adult to help guard against your child disappearing. I'm sure Maria's mother wishes someone would have given that sage advice to her 55 years ago.