How the police identified the killer in the chilling 1959 case Spokane by Candy Rogers
The disappearance and murder of 9-year-old Candice Rogers shocked the community of Spokane, Wash., in March 1959. Now, 62 years later, thanks to some clothes from the original crime scene and improved DNA technology, police say her killer has finally been identified.
Candy Rogers was selling Camp Fire mints in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood and was reported missing when she failed to return home that night, according to the Spokane Police Department Press Release.
Weeks later, her body was found in the adjoining woods, and she was raped and strangled with a piece of her own clothing. With no sex offender registry in 1959 and a lack of technology, suspects were interviewed but police never caught the killer.
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But investigators initially preserved a semen sample from the scene that was tested in early 2021. The sample narrowed the match down to three brothers with one of the matches being John Reigh Hoff, the scene said. close said.
Investigators contacted Hoff’s daughter, who immediately cooperated and provided a DNA sample. The results showed that “the DNA of Hoff’s daughter was 2.9 million times more associated with recovered specimens than in the general population,” according to the statement.
Hoff was dead and incapable of criminal trial, detectives exhumed his body. DNA obtained from semen samples left on Rogers’ clothes at the crime scene 62 years earlier matched Hoff’s; The killer has finally been identified.
Hoff was 20 years old at the time of Rogers’ murder and lived about a mile away from her in the West Central neighborhood. Hoff enlisted in the army at age 17, and two years after Rogers was murdered, he was found guilty of assaulting a woman, according to the release.
In the second offence, Hoff forcibly raped the victim’s clothes, bound and strangled him before leaving the scene. The victim survived, Hoff served six months in prison and was discharged.
He spent the rest of his life working as a front door salesman and working at a lumber yard until committing suicide at the age of 31.
“It took the determination of an entire community, the development of technology, and the perseverance of generations of detectives to finally solve the mystery surrounding the horrific murder of Candy Rogers. 62 years later, finally, finally. There are also signs of closure,” the police statement read.
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