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Spokane parks committee considers naming playground after Candy Rogers

Rogers was the victim of a homicide in 1959. Police uncovered her killer late last year, making it one of the oldest cold case murders solved in Washington State.

SPOKANE, Wash. — On May 4, a Spokane Parks Committee discussed naming a playground after Candy Rogers, a 9-year-old Spokane girl who was abducted and murdered in 1959.

The playground is located at AM Cannon Park on West Spofford Avenue. The playground would potentially be named "The Candy Rogers Memorial Playground," according to the proposal from Rogers' family.

Salliejo Evers and Joanne Poss, relatives of Rogers, spoke about their proposal at the land committee meeting Wednesday. Fighting back tears, Poss spoke about losing her cousin when she was just 13-years-old.

"She was a loving, caring, sweet little girl," Poss recalled. "It was unbelievable how Spokane came together."

"We don't know what Candy would have become," Poss said. "She could have married and had children, and her children could be playing at that park."

In late 2021, Spokane police were able to identify who was responsible for Rogers' death, making it one of the oldest cold case murders solved in Washington state.

Candy Rogers was a member of the Blue Birds, which were younger members of Campfire Girls of America. The 9-year-old girl set out from her home in the 2100 block of West Mission Avenue in Spokane at about 4 p.m. on March 6, 1959 and was never seen again.

Candy's body was eventually found on March 22, 1959, beaten and raped, seven miles from her home. It launched one of the biggest and longest police investigations in Spokane history.

In early 2021, a forensic scientist at the WSP crime lab suggested sending the evidence in Candy's case to a private genome sequencing company in Texas.

With help from public records, like Ancestry, they built a DNA profile that led to three brothers in the Hoff family.

All three brothers were now dead, but they'd lived in Spokane at the time of Candy's murder.

SPD detectives tracked down John Hoff's adult daughter and asked for her permission to exhume her father's body. That's when investigators finally found their answer.

John Reigh Hoff was only 20 years old at the time of Candy's murder. He was 31 years old when he committed suicide at his home in Spokane.

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