SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Seattle judge on Monday ordered that the suspected abductor and killer of a 7-year-old girl from a town in Illinois 54 years ago be held on $3 million bail.
The order, made by Judge Veronica Alicea-Galvan in King County District Court in downtown Seattle, grants a request made by the State of Illinois. A court date in Seattle was set for July 6.
Suspect Jack Daniel McCullough, a 71-year old former police officer now resident in Seattle, attended the brief court hearing, conferring with his legal representative. He did not address the judge.
McCullough missed a previous hearing on Saturday as he was at Harborview Medical Center hospital in Seattle, for undisclosed reasons.
In his absence, King County District Court Judge Eileen Kato said she found "probable cause" to detain McCullough.
McCullough was arrested in connection with the disappearance of Maria Ridulph, who was last seen playing with a friend near their homes in Sycamore, Illinois, on December 3, 1957, according to a statement of probable cause posted on the Seattle Times website.
Her decomposed body was found on April 26, 1958, in Jo Daviess County, Illinois.
McCullough was a teenager at the time of the disappearance and had been a suspect in the crime, but had an alibi and was never charged. McCullough has also used the name John Tessier.
According to the probable cause statement, Ridulph's playmate at the time of her disappearance reported that a man named "Johnny" had approached the girls as they were playing and asked if they wanted piggyback rides.
Later, the friend went home to get her mittens. When she came back, Ridulph and the man were both gone, the statement said. It added that investigators tracked down Ridulph's friend last year, and she picked McCullough's photo out of a montage.
"To the best of my memory and recollection of that night, that's him," the statement quotes Cathy Sigman, in her sixties, as saying.
McCullough always insisted that he had been on a train from Rockford to Chicago and could not have abducted Ridulph.
The probable cause statement said McCullough joined the Air Force shortly after the disappearance, and then served in the Army at Fort Lewis.
McCullough later worked for the Lacy and Milton police departments in Washington state, the statement said. It added he was fired from the police after pleading guilty to an unlawful communication charge following accusations he had sex with a 13- or 14-year-old runaway girl in 1983.
(Reporting by Bill Rigby. Editing by Peter Bohan)