Alaskan arrested in 1985 Chehalis deaths

Cold Case: Sheriff says witnesses finally came forward

rboone@theolympian.comJuly 10, 2012 

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office believes it has cracked a decades-old cold case, resulting in the arrest of an Alaska resident wanted in connection with the 1985 murders of Edward and Wilhelmina “Minnie” Maurin.

Rick Riffe, 53, of King Salmon, Alaska, was arrested on suspicion of murder by the Lewis County sheriff’s investigative team and will be processed for extradition back to Lewis County, according to a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office news release.

The Maurins were both in their 80s at the time of their deaths.

“We have developed evidence that Rick and his now deceased brother, John Riffe, kidnapped the Maurins from their residence and drove them to (Sterling Savings and Loan), forcing Ed (Maurin) to withdraw $8,500 in cash,” Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said in a statement.

The Maurins’ bodies were found at the end of Stearns Hill Road in Chehalis on Dec. 24, 1985. Both had been killed with a shotgun and were found by a passerby, according to a news release.

“The Riffe brothers have been our primary suspects throughout our investigation,” Mansfield said in a statement. “However, probable cause for their arrest was not developed until much later on, when additional evidence and witnesses came forth to collaborate and provide more information to complete the investigation. Detectives feel many witnesses did not come forward during the time of the initial investigation due to being fearful of the Riffe brothers and possible retaliation for speaking out.”

Both Riffe brothers moved to Alaska in 1987; John Riffe died the week before the Sheriff’s Office purchased tickets to travel to Alaska to make arrests.

“It is through the tenacious, patient and diligent work of detective Bruce Kimsey, private investigator Chris Peterson, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Ed and Minnie’s son, Dennis Hadaller, that this day has finally come,” Mansfield said in a statement.

“The Maurin/Hadaller families suffered a horrific and tragic loss of their family members and now will be able to see justice served.” 360-754-5403 @rolf_boone

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