Girl, 9, was raped and murdered in 1959. Authorities finally identified her killer

A former door-to-door salesman who authorities stated raped and murdered a 9-year-old woman in Washington State greater than six a long time in the past was recognized Friday, ending what one detective known as the “Mount Everest” of chilly case investigations.

The person, John Reigh Hoff, died by suicide on the age of 31 in 1970, however his daughter supplied DNA to investigators in Spokane that helped remedy the homicide of Sweet Rogers, town’s police division stated in a information launch.

In a video launched by the division, Det. Zac Storment in contrast the investigation to the world’s tallest mountain, saying it was “the one we might by no means appear to beat, however on the identical time no person ever forgot.”

Sweet was promoting camp fireplace mints in her Spokane neighborhood when she vanished March 6, 1959. Sixteen days later, after a sprawling search effort turned lethal — two airmen with the Air Drive died after their helicopter struck an influence line — her physique was discovered within the woods a couple of miles from her house.

Hoff, then 20, was within the Military and stationed on the Fairchild Air Drive base in Spokane County. He wasn’t recognized as a suspect in Sweet’s killing, although two years later he was convicted of assault after tying up a girl together with her personal garments and strangling her, the division stated.

Hoff was discharged from the navy and later labored at a lumber yard and as a door-to-door salesman earlier than dying by suicide, in line with the discharge.

This yr, a mixture of genealogical analysis, semen collected from Sweet’s physique and DNA taken from Hoff’s exhumed physique recognized him because the woman’s killer, authorities stated.

In response to the discharge, DNA testing confirmed the samples had been 25 quintillion instances extra prone to have come from Hoff than the final inhabitants, police stated.