Nightly News | September 14, 2012
>>> when you think about the america of 1957 , you think of a more innocent time in post-war america, including safer things. things like child kidnapping were rare compared today. but on a snowy winter's night, in a small town west of chicago, a seven-year-old girl disappeared and later was found dead. and after all this time, the story finally has an ending. our report tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles.
>> reporter: it was --
>> reporter: in december of 1957 , seven-year-old maria ridulph was playing outside her home in the small town of sycamore, when she went missing. a man offered a piggyback. front page news, the pretty auburn-haired girl, they say, was snatched on the street. the families nationwide worried for their own children's safety. 55 years ago, this story was of such national concern, president eisenhower and fbi director jedgar hoover asked for daily updates. later, her body was found in a forest some 120 miles from home. along the suspects, the local boy, john mcullough, who said he was at a medical exam. later, there was a call that his alibi fell apart. his train ticket from that day was found unused. mccullough, now 72, was a washington state police officer , arrested in seattle, and extradited to illinois for trial. today, a judge found him guilty of murder.
>> this young girl snatched away at seven years old. so i can see no victory in any of this.
>> reporter: during the trial, the court heard how the suspect's own mother reportedly said from her death bed in 1994 , those two little girls, the one that disappeared, john did it. john mccullough will be sentenced in november. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago.