‘He was evil’: Daughter of killer in 62-year-old cold case helps detectives solve it

SPOKANE, Wash. — One of the state’s oldest cold cases is now closed.

The mystery that eluded Spokane detectives for nearly 60 years was the murder of 9-year-old Candy Rogers. Solving the case took cutting-edge DNA technology and help from the killer’s own family. It also took a trip to the graveyard to dig up an old body.

“I keep saying, it’s the Mount Everest of our cold cases… the one we could never seem to overcome. At the same time, nobody ever forgot,” Sergeant Zac Storment explained.

On Friday, 62 years after her death, police said they had tracked down her killer. His name was John Reigh Hoff.

Getting on the right track to track the case started early this year with DNA samples from the case. The sample was sent to a lab in Texas and came back matching three brothers.  Of them, John Reigh Hoff was the only one with kids.

Cathie, Hoff’s daughter, got a phone call from Sergeant Storment several months ago. She was willing to do a DNA test to help detectives get further in solving this case. Her DNA came back as a match.

“It’s just really sad to find out that somebody, not even just your dad, just someone in your family could do something like that,” Cathie told Spokane Police.

Hoff killed himself decades ago.

“He was evil, he was evil, it was an escape in a way from it,” Cathie said.

To solidify their findings, investigators dug up his body to collect more DNA. Once again, their findings, clear as day. Hoff was the killer.

“I am very, very sorry for what my dad did. He took her life, horribly and took her mom’s life, her dad’s life. He took more lives than one,” Cathie expressed.

Hoff, buried in the same cemetery all these years as Candy Rogers. That was until his wife, and daughter, had him moved from the little girl’s resting place.

“Even though this has been 62 years, this is still a very emotionally charged case,” Sergeant Storment said.

There are still 110 cold cases here in the Spokane community. This one, now serving as a sliver of hope for those that remained unsolved.

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