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TheStreet Open House

Oldest Prosecution Of A Cold Case In US Resolved With Wicklander-Zulawski And The International Association Of Interviewers' Assistance

CHICAGO, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A 55-year old murder case has been solved this year, and law enforcement has the techniques of a Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI) to thank for it.

Almost 55 years ago on December 3, 1957 around 6 PM Maria Ridulph disappeared from her home in Sycamore Illinois. In April 1958, Maria's partially clothed body was discovered in a wooded area near Galena, Illinois. The disappearance of Maria led to a high profile hunt for her killer with Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover updating President Dwight D. Eisenhower on a regular basis. The case went cold.

The case reopened in 2009 after a tip from the killer's sister.  Illinois State Police contacted Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI), David Zulawski of Wicklander–Zulawski (WZ) and founding Board member of the International Association of Interviewers (IAI), which funded his travel in order to assist with the investigation. Zulawski brought 30 years of interrogation experience and study into the investigation.  The resulting interview persuaded prosecutors to file charges against Jack Daniel McCullough.  His approach worked to break the suspect's alibi.

After a five-day bench trial in September 2012, Jack Daniel "Johnny" McCullough was found guilty of Maria's abduction and murder, ending an unsolved murder which endured 55 years.

See the full report at www.IAofI.org.

"Bringing peace to the family of Maria Ridulph and putting a killer behind bars was the goal of this investigation", said Zulawski. "Using all of the proven interviewing methods WZ teaches and IAI certifies via the CFI designation helped to bring McCullough to justice. Organizing circumstantial evidence in a proven building block approach helped direct comments and locked McCullough into a story he could not escape." 

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