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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.
It was a favorite spot they hadn't been to since summer. She finished off two rabbit legs, but barely touched her vegetables.
When Kathy returned a few minutes later, Maria and Johnny were gone.
he kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph is the nation's oldest cold case to go to trial.
Maria burst into her house to find her father, Michael, in the living room watching a Western. Maria picked out a favorite doll from the toys piled by the door, but her mother suggested she take an older rubber doll out into the snow instead.
Kathy felt a chill as Maria joined them on the sidewalk.
aria was the pretty one, slight and graceful at 7 with big brown eyes that shined with warmth and intelligence.
Everyone said the second-grader was special and Kathy, who was a year older, felt honored to be her friend.
The man convicted last September of kidnapping and murdering Maria Ridulph maintains his innocence.Winning a conviction in a crime that occurred in 1957 is a remarkable accomplishment – proof that no one should get away with murder, even if justice takes 55 years.But a close examination of the case by CNN raises questions about the strength of the evidence, the motives of some of the witnesses and the ability of the court system to fairly and accurately reconstruct history.Her freshly laundered jeans still felt warm as she met Maria at mid-block and they raced in the dark to the massive elm tree on the corner. Down he trotted, 20 feet to the south along Center Cross Street and back again, Maria giggling with glee on his shoulders.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.