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Lewis County Sheriff's Office Arrests Suspect in 26-Year Old Homicide

7/9/2012 8:46:25 AM

After an extensive cold case investigation that the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has tenaciously worked on for over two and a half decades, my team of investigators was dispatched to Alaska on July 8th to make an arrest for the 1985 murders of Wilhelmina “Minnie” and Edward “Ed” Maurin.

On July 8, 2012, Rick Riffe, 53, of King Salmon, Alaska, was arrested for murder by the investigative team and will be processed for extradition back to Lewis County to stand trial for these horrific crimes.

Minnie was 83 years old and Ed was 81 years old at the time of their deaths. On December 19, 1985, family members reported that they were not home, as expected, for a family Christmas party. The next day, witnesses reported seeing the Maurins’ vehicle parked at Yard Bird’s. Search of the vehicle revealed a large amount of blood stains and the keys were in the ignition.

As the initial investigation proceeded, various witnesses came forward to report the sighting of the Maurin vehicle on December 19th, including seeing the vehicle at the Sterling Savings and Loan in Chehalis. We have developed evidence that Rick and his now deceased brother, John Riffe, kidnapped the Maurins from their residence and drove them to the bank, forcing Ed to withdraw $8,500.00 in cash.

The Maurins’ bodies were located at the end of Stearns Hill Road, in Chehalis, on December 24, 1985. The investigation revealed that the Maurins were both shot inside their vehicle, with a shotgun, and then dragged to the wooded location where they were later found by a passerby.

The Riffe brothers have been our primary suspects throughout our investigation. 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 where they have resided since. Ironically, John Riffe died the week before the Sheriff’s Office purchased tickets to travel to Alaska to arrest both him and his brother.

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

A press conference will be held on July 9th, at 1400 hours, in the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Training Room. I, along with Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer, and Ed and Minnie’s son, Dennis Hadaller, will speak further about the investigation, the prosecution of Rick Riffe and what this arrest means to our community and the Maurin & Hadaller families.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield