The Spokane Police Department (SPD) has solved what one detective called the "Mount Everest" of cold cases. Though the man who police say is responsible for the murder of a nine-year-old girl in 1959 is dead, his daughter is still alive today and processing her grief.
Candy Rogers was a member of the Blue Birds, which were younger members of Camp Fire 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.
After 16 days of searching, two airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base were hunting off Old Trails Road, northwest of Spokane, and found Rogers' shoes on March 21, 1959. A search of that area found her body concealed in a pile of pine needles and tree boughs.
John Reigh Hoff, who died by suicide in 1970, is the man who police say committed the heinous crime. He grew up in Spokane on West College Avenue.
Cathie, Hoff's daughter, said it took some time for the news to sink in for her. She then experienced a wave of emotions, including anger and sadness. Cathie came to SPD and volunteered her DNA to help the investigation over Labor Day weekend 2021 after learning that her father was a suspect in Rogers' murder.
"By that point, you know, I had already looked up...a little girl murdered in 1959, so I knew who it was. It's just really sad to find out that someone that — not even just your dad, but just someone in your family — could do something like that," Cathie said in a video played at SPD's press conference about the case on Friday, Nov. 19.
Cathie said she lived most of her life up until this point thinking her father committed suicide because he was suffering from depression.
"Now I think, 'No...he was evil. …It was an escape," she said.
A member of Candy Rogers' family, identified as Cheryl, also spoke following the news, saying she wished the family would have known who killed the child while her parents and grandparents were still alive.
“She was an only child, her mom was an only child, and so that's really sad that they they passed away with not knowing who had taken their granddaughter and daughter's life. So I hope everybody's at peace now," Cheryl said.
In the video, Cathie also apologized for her father's crime.
“Very, very sorry. For what my dad did, that he took her life horribly and that he took her mom's life, took her dad's life. He took more lives than one," Cathie said. "And even though I didn't do it, and I'm not responsible — I mean, I wasn't even born — I hope that gives her peace knowing then even though it's not really justice, because he doesn't get any punishment, but that his name has this on it now and they can know it's solved. And everybody can know it's done.”