The Oldest Unsolved Murder In the U.S.

Maria Ridulph was a 7-year-old girl who disappeared from Sycamore, Illinois, on December 3, 1957. Her remains were found almost five months later in a wooded area near Woodbine, Illinois, approximately 120 miles from her home. Maria was last seen by a friend on her neighborhood corner at Center Cross Street and Archie Place with an unknown man in his twenties who called himself “Johnny.” The case was thought to have been solved in 2012, when a neighbor of the Ridulph family — John Tessier — was convicted of the murder under his new name, Jack McCullough. However, in March 2016, the DeKalb County State’s Attorney announced that a post-conviction review of the available evidence showed McCullough (Tessier) couldn’t have been present at the place and time of Maria’s likely abduction. McCullough was released from prison and the charges were dismissed. He was officially declared innocent of the crime by the DeKalb County Circuit Court on April 12, 2017. Today, the case remains unsolved.