Chehalis, Wash. -- Authorities arrested a man in Alaska on Sunday in connection with the murder of an elderly couple who vanished before their Christmas party in 1985.
Deputies arrested 53-year-old Rick Riffe for the murders of Wilhelmina and Edward Maurin, both in their 80s. The case had been cold for 26 years.
In December of 1985, Family members of the Maurins grew concerned after the couple did not come home for a family Christmas party, Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said.
The following day, witnesses saw the couple’s vehicle parked at a shopping center. When authorities searched the car, they found the keys still in the ignition and a large amount of blood inside.
“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 dollars in cash,” Mansfield said in a statement to KGW.
On December 24, 1985, deputies found the Maurins’ bodies in a wooded area of Chehalis, Washington. They had been shot in their car with a shotgun and dragged to the end of Sterns Hill Road.
Detectives said they suspected the Riffe brothers early on in the investigation but did not have sufficient evidence until witnesses came forward later on.
“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,” Mansfield said.
The Riffe brothers moved to Alaska in 1987 where they have lived since. John Riffe died the week before sheriff’s deputies came to arrest him and his brother.