In March 1959, Candice Rogers, a 9-year old girl, disappeared and was murdered. This shocked Spokane. Police believe that her murderer has been found, now that it is 62 years after the crime.
Candy Rogers was selling Camp Fire mints in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood and was reported missing when she didn’t return home later that night, according to Spokane Police Department press release.
The body of the victim was later found in woods nearby. It had been attacked with her own clothes and she was strangled to death. The police did not arrest the murderer because there was no sex offenders registry for 1959.
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However, the initial investigators retained a semen sample from the scene that was later tested in 2021. Police said that the sample revealed three possible matches, with John Reigh Hoff being one.
Investigators reached out to Hoff’s child, who promptly cooperated with investigators and gave a sample of her DNA. The results showed it was 2.9 million times more likely that “Hoff’s daughter’s DNA was related to the recovered specimen than the general population,” according to the release.
Hoff had died and the police exhumed the body. The DNA obtained from the semen sample left on Rogers’ clothes at the scene 62 years earlier matched Hoff’s; the killer was finally identified.
Rogers was murdered when Hoff, then 20 years old, lived just a mile away in West Central. According to the release, Hoff joined the Army when he was 17 years old. He was also convicted for assaulting a female two years later.
Hoff then forcibly took the victim’s clothing, bound her, and strangled the victim before fleeing the scene. Hoff spent six months in prison and was released from the Army after the victim survived.
He was a door-to–door salesman until the day he killed himself at the age 31.
It took the persistence of many generations of detectives, technology advancements, and determination to solve the crime of Candy Rogers. The police statement stated that 62 years later, there was finally some closure.
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