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Man who raped and killed 9-year-old girl in 1959 is finally identified

Police in Spokane, Wash. Said they finally solved the case of the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl in 1959.

John Reigh Hoff, who died in 1970, was this week declared responsible for the brutal assault and strangulation of Candy Rogers more than 62 years ago after a DNA sample from his exhumed body matched that of ‘a preserved sample of semen found on the child’s clothing.

Hoff was 20 years old and in the United States Army at the time of the gruesome murder. He was released in 1961 after being jailed for tying up a woman and attempting to strangle her. Hoff committed suicide at the age of 31.

“This is the Mount Everest of our cold cases, the one we have never been able to overcome but at the same time no one has ever forgotten,” said Spokane Police Sgt. Zac Storment said in a video released by the department on Friday.

Rogers went missing on March 6, 1959, while selling Camp Fire mints in the West Central neighborhood of Spokane. Her body was discovered in the woods near her home 16 days later following a massive operation involving hundreds of researchers.

Three Air Force crew members died when a helicopter used in the investigation crashed into power lines.

For years, detectives have looked at “thousands of tips and leads,” but continued to “find themselves in dead ends,” Spokane police said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the list of suspects was narrowed down to the late Hoff and his two brothers who died after DNA from the sperm sample underwent “cutting edge” testing and entered into a genealogical database. .

Police contacted Hoff’s daughter, who agreed to submit a DNA sample to help with the investigation. It turned out to be closely related to the sample recovered from Rogers’ clothing.

Hoff’s body, which had been buried in the same cemetery as his victim, was exhumed and tests showed that it was “25 quintillion times more likely that the sample” came from Hoff “than a person not. parent selected at random from the general population ”.

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