Washington state cops use DNA to clear 1959 child murder, the ‘Mount Everest of cold cases’
The killer’s daughter volunteered to submit a DNA sample that revealed John Reigh Hoff was the probable murderer
Homicide detectives in Washington state have closed the horrific 1959 murder of a nine-year-old girl who was selling mints.
With the help of the killer’s family.
Cops say they used DNA evidence to crack the 62-year-old cold case sex slaying of Candy Rogers in Spokane.
Candy disappeared on March 6, 1959 and her body was discovered two weeks later, raped and strangled with her own clothes. She had been selling Camp Fire Girl mints.
Now, detectives say her killer was U.S. Army deserter John Reigh Hoff. Hoff took his own life in 1970.
Det. Zac Storment told reporters that a long nightmare has finally come to a conclusion in the Pacific Northwest city.
“It’s the Mount Everest of our cold cases, the one we could never seem to overcome, but at the same time nobody ever forgot,” he said, adding that the DNA evidence recently linked Hoff to the murder.
His sister had been a friend of Candy’s.
The victim’s surviving relatives cried tears of joy after learning who murdered the “cute” little girl.
“I feel like Candy’s loss was just a horrible loss. She was just so cute,” cousin Joanne Poss said.
Storment said detectives conducted a DNA test on a well-preserved semen sample found on Candy’s clothes. It linked to three brothers, John Reigh, Andrew and Terry Allen Hoff.
The killer’s daughter volunteered to submit a DNA sample that revealed John Reigh Hoff was the probable killer. His sister, who was 10 at the time, was Candy’s “big sister” in the Camp Fire Girls.
“It takes a while for it to sink it,” said Hoff’s daughter Cathie, who was nine when he killed himself. “It’s just sad when you find out … that someone in your family could do something like that.”
Hoff would attack another woman in similar fashion in 1961 and was jailed for six months. A brief foray into the military ended with desertion.
He was 31 when he killed himself.
“I thank God that I lived long enough to see the end of this case,” retired Spokane Police Capt. Richard Olberding said. He was one of the cops who found the girl’s tiny body.
Candy was an only child and both her parents are now dead.