A 'Mount Everest' of Cold Case Probes Has Been Solved

More than 62 years later, 9-year-old's killer identified
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2021 3:31 AM CST
A 'Mount Everest' of Cold Case Probes Has Been Solved
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / fotoquique)

(Newser) – Nine-year-old Candice "Candy" Rogers was selling Camp Fire mints in her neighborhood in Spokane, Wash., in March 1959 when she disappeared. Sixteen days later, her body was found in woods a few miles from her home; she had been strangled with her own slip, the Daily Beast reports. More than 62 years later, her killer has been identified, NBC News reports. John Reigh Hoff, who killed himself in 1970 at age 31, raped and murdered the child, authorities say. Hoff's daughter gave investigators DNA to help solve the crime, which one detective said was his department's "Mount Everest" of cold case investigations.

Hoff was in the Army, stationed at an Air Force base nearby, when Candy disappeared; he was not initially flagged as a suspect. After being convicted of assault against a woman two years later (who he also tied up and strangled with her own clothes), he was discharged and went on to become a door-to-door salesman and work in a lumber yard before committing suicide. Semen found on the girl's body was matched to DNA from Hoff, whose body was exhumed after his daughter cooperated, USA Today reports. Tragically, three airmen from Fairchild Air Force base were killed during the search for Candy when their helicopter crashed after hitting power lines. (Read more cold cases stories.)

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