The Chronicle

UPDATED: Arrest Made in 26-Year-Old Cold Case Murder of the Maurins

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Posted: Monday, July 9, 2012 8:30 am | Updated: 9:35 pm, Mon Jul 9, 2012.

An arrest has been made in one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Lewis County history.

Investigators from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office arrested Rick Riffe, 53, King Salmon, Alaska, on Sunday for the 1985 murder of the elderly couple Wilhelmina “Minnie” and Edward “Ed” Maurin.

The bodies of Minnie, 83, and Ed, 81, were discovered Christmas Eve 1985 in a wooded area on Stearns Hill Road, west of Adna. The couple had been abducted from their home several days earlier.

“It has been 26 years and seven months,” said Dennis Hadaller, Minnie’s son. “I thought about it at least three or four times a day.”

Rick Riffe and his brother John have been the persons of interest in the double-homicide for decades, however detectives lacked the evidence needed to make the arrest. John died a week before the sheriff’s office bought tickets to travel to Alaska to make the arrests, according to a release from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

During the early 2000s, Hadaller, a former Lewis County Commissioner, announced he was offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest.

“At my mother’s funeral, I put my hand on her casket and I said, ‘I won’t ever give up as long as I live,’” Hadaller said.

Hadaller also hired private investigators more than a decade ago to investigate the murders.

The Riffe brothers allegedly held the elderly couple hostage in their home before abducting them about a week before Christmas in 1985. They then allegedly forced the couple to go to a Chehalis bank and withdraw thousands of dollars. The Riffe brothers then allegedly shot the couple in their car with a shotgun and dumped their bodies.

On Dec. 19, 1985, family and friends arrived at the Maurin’s home for a Christmas party, but the elderly couple were not home. Their car was found in the Yard Bird parking lot the following day.

“Closure will never come, but at least the guilty one was caught,” Hadaller said.

The Riffe brothers moved to Alaska in 1987, where they lived ever since, according to the release.

In King Salmon, Riffe had worked as a truck driver and crane operators for at least one company, Bristol Bay Contractors. He left the job several years ago, according to George Steinberg, who has worked for the company about 15 years.

When told Monday of the arrest and allegations against Riffe, Steinberg said he was "kind of surprised" and said it was the first he had heard about it.

"He was just a regular guy," he said, according to The Associated Press. "Hard working."

It wasn't immediately clear if Riffe has an attorney.

A press conference was scheduled for 2 p.m. in the sheriff’s office.

In 1991, sheriff’s detectives investigated new information provided by an informant, and reviewed more than 800 tips.

“We had an idea of who is was, it just took this long to get all the details and facts put together,” Hadaller said.

“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,” according to the release.

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

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