Hoff's family proves crucial to helping solve murder, now live with fact family member committed brutal crimes

<p><p>While Candy Rogers was the victim in the 1959 slaying, Spokane Police Department Lt. Troy Teigen said the new victims in the case are John Reigh Hoff’s family members.</p></p><p><p>He said Hoff’s widow, children and relatives now have to deal with the pain that comes along with Hoff’s evil crimes.</p></p><p><p>“Nothing like this should ever happen to a child – anytime, anywhere – and yet it did,” Teigen said.</p></p><p><p>Sgt. Zac Storment, a detective with Spokane police’s Major Crimes Unit, said while the Rogers family might feel some relief, the Hoff family is now absorbing that stress.</p></p><p><p>“I took those people’s lives and their childhood and dumped it on its head,” Storment said. “What they believed about their father and growing up has been forever changed.”</p></p><p><p>Cathie, whose last name was not released, said in an interview with Spokane police that it took awhile for the news to sink in that her father was a killer.</p></p><p><p>She said she lived most of her life thinking her father killed himself – when Cathie was 9 years old – because he was depressed. Now, she said she thinks it’s because he could no longer live with the guilt of what he did that day in March 1959.</p></p><p><p>“He got to die with people thinking that he was an upstanding man and he wasn’t,” said Cathie, who called her father “evil.”</p></p><p><p>Cathie said in a statement that though she was not yet born when Hoff killed Rogers, the sorrow and gravity of the injustice has weighed heavily on her.</p></p><p><p>Hoff killed himself, Cathie said, but “he has not escaped the scrutiny of being held accountable for his crime. I pray those wounded by his acts will know how deeply I grieve with them and to know how valuable and precious Candy is to myself also.”</p></p><p><p>Cathie was instrumental in helping to solve the case.</p></p><p><p>A Washington State Patrol Crime Lab forensic scientist identified semen in Rogers’ underwear in the early 2000s, Storment said. The DNA profile was entered into a DNA database, but Storment said there were no hits.</p></p><p><p>Brittany Wright, another WSP Crime Lab forensic scientist, spoke with Othram, Inc., a private DNA evidence laboratory in Texas earlier this year.</p></p><p><p>“Brittany Wright, as much as any person that ever worked this case, deserves huge amounts of credit for showing us the way,” Storment said.</p></p><p><p>The lab officials felt they could overcome the degraded DNA from six decades ago. </p></p><p><p>Othram provided names of three Spokane brothers, including Hoff, who could be linked to Rogers’ death 2½ months ago. All the brothers are deceased.</p></p><p><p>Storment said he called one of Hoff’s four children, Cathie, the next day. She visited the police station, and after learning her father could have been involved in a terrible crime long ago, Cathie submitted her DNA to help the investigation.</p></p><p><p>Wright concluded that Cathie’s DNA was 2.9 million times more likely related to the suspect’s DNA profile than the general population, making it a strong possibility that Cathie’s father or one of two uncles committed the crimes.</p></p><p><p>Storment then needed Hoff’s DNA, so police exhumed his body from his grave at Riverside Memorial Park near Spokane.</p></p><p><p>From that DNA sample, Wright concluded Oct. 1 that Hoff’s DNA matched the DNA pulled from Rogers’ underwear.</p></p><p><p>“We know with certainty the semen found in Candy Rogers’ underwear is John Reigh Hoff’s,” Storment said.</p></p><p><p>Hoff and Rogers were buried at the same cemetery, but Storment said Hoff’s family decided to move his body to another gravesite and away from where Rogers is buried.</p></p><p><p>Storment told Hoff’s children and his widow of Hoff’s guilt. He also delivered the news to several of Rogers’ relatives.</p></p><p><p>Storment apologized to those who knew Rogers and who did not get the opportunity to hear the case was solved prior to Friday’s news conference.</p></p><p><p>Jay Whitver, Rogers’ cousin, was one of those family members who learned from media sources that Rogers’ case had been solved.</p></p><p><p>“We’re just so happy that the police department did solve this after 62 years,” Whitver said.</p></p><p><p>Whitver figured the day would never come and was “happier than hell” it was over.</p></p><p><p>Teigen said there are more than 110 unsolved homicide cases in Spokane and police are actively working on a couple of them.</p></p><p><p>“If you commit a murder in the city of Spokane, you will always be looking over your shoulder because we will never stop looking for you,” Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl said.</p></p>