Cold case video dating
The man convicted last September of kidnapping and murdering Maria Ridulph maintains his innocence.His wife of nearly 20 years and his stepdaughter say he was sacrificed to bring peace of mind to Sycamore.
It required family members to turn against one of their own and haunted a small town for 55 years. Maria was taken in a more innocent time — decades before Amber Alerts and photos of missing children on milk cartons became part of our cultural landscape. But the weeks of urgent activity were followed by half a century of silence.
People die, memories fade and facts can become distorted by the passage of time or shaded by personal grudges and agendas.
As tough as it is to build a cold case, it may be even harder to defend one.
Since Halloween, someone had been scrawling obscenities in chalk on a tree and stop sign at the intersection of Center Cross Street and Archie Place.
Maria and Kathy made plans to play there after dinner. Maria's family gathered around the table for her favorite supper: rabbit, carrots, potatoes and milk.
They were playing "duck the cars" — scurrying back and forth between the tree and a street pole, trying to avoid the headlights from oncoming cars — when a good-looking young man approached. Kathy remembers his narrow face, big teeth and high, thin voice. By the time these events were recalled in a Sycamore courtroom 55 years later, memories had faded and many details noted in police and FBI reports were lost to time. When it was over, she ran to her house, three doors away at 616 Archie Place, to fetch a doll for the next piggyback ride. He asked whether she wanted to take a walk around the block or go on a trip in a truck, car or bus. He told her she was pretty, but she sensed it was Maria he liked more.