Rape and murder of nine-year-old girl from 1959 is finally solved by DNA

Investigator said time taken to solve the case was ‘measured in hours, this is measured in careers’

Gino Spocchia
Monday 22 November 2021 20:05
<p>Candy Rogers, who disappeared in 1959 and was found dead</p>

Candy Rogers, who disappeared in 1959 and was found dead

The rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl in Spokane, Washington, in 1959 has been solved thanks to advanced DNA technology.

Authorities said last week that Candy Rogers was raped and murdered by a man 11 years her senior in March 1959 after disappearing from her home.

She was selling campfire mints in her Spokane’s West Central neighbourhood but failed to return.

Her body was found roughly two weeks later and her killer, John Reigh Hoff, was never found responsible. He died in 1970.

The police department in Spokane said in a press release on Friday that he was a US Army soldier and stationed at the Fairchild Air Force base in Spokane County when the incident took place in 1959.

The 20-year-old was, however, arrested in 1961 for “2nd degree with intent to rob” after a woman was found tied-up and strangled,

The investigation into Candy’s death had been described by Spokane authorities as the “Mount Everest” case because it was so difficult to solve before the evolution of DNA technologies.

Earlier this year, the department was invited to take a semen sample from Candy’s body to a DNA laboratory in Texas, which found him among the three possible suspects.

The two others were his brothers, who were childless.

Mr Reigh Hoff’s daughter cooperated with police investigators and following the exhumation of his body, the department was able to confirm  that it was 25 quintillion (18 zeroes) times more likely to be his DNA than another person.

Sgt Zac Storment said time spent investigating the murder was not “measured in hours, this is measured in careers.”

“It took the determination of a community, the evolution of technology, and the perseverance of generations of detectives to finally solve the mystery surrounding the horrific killing of Candy Rogers,” the department said in the press release.

“Sixty-two years later there is finally some semblance of closure.”

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