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Alaska Beat

Man arrested in Alaska for 1985 murder of elderly Wash. state couple

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published July 9, 2012

The Chronicle reports an arrest has been made in "one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Lewis County (Wash.) history." On Sunday, the Lewis County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to King Salmon, Alaska, to arrest Rick Riffe, 53, for the murders of Wilhelmina "Minnie" and Edward "Ed" Maurin.

On Dec. 19, 1985, family members of Minnie, 83, and Ed, 81, reported that the couple was not home for a Christmas party. The next day, the Maurins' vehicle was spotted by witnesses. Upon investigation, blood stains were found in the car and the keys were found in the ignition. It is now believed that John and Rick Riffe kidnapped the Maurins and forced them to withdraw $8,500 in cash from a bank account; the investigation revealed that the Maurins were shot in the vehicle and dragged into the woods. Their bodies were found Dec. 24, 1985, by a passerby.

According to a news release from the Lewis County Sheriff's Office, Rick Riffe and his now- deceased brother John Riffe were primary suspects throughout the investigation, but probable cause was not developed until years later after gathering more evidence and witness accounts. "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," the press release states.

The brothers moved to King Salmon in 1987. John Riffe died the week before the Lewis County Sheriff's Office purchased tickets to travel to Alaska to make the arrest, the press release states.

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