Suspect captured in 'horrific' 1985 murders

Suspect captured in 'horrific' 1985 murders
CHEHALIS, Wash. -- Sheriff's deputies flew to Alaska over the weekend to arrest a man they say is responsible for the robbery and murder of an elderly Lewis County couple more than 26 years ago.

Rick Riffe, 53, was arrested in King Salmon, Alaska, on Sunday and booked into jail for investigation of murder in the deaths of Edward and Wilhelmina "Minnie" Maurin.

Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said Rick Riffe's brother, John Riffe, was also suspected in the killings and deputies planned to arrest him as well, but he died the week before investigators purchased tickets to fly to Alaska.

Mansfield said the brothers were the primary suspects from the beginning of the investigation, but detectives did not have enough evidence to arrest them until recently when witnesses came forward with more information.

Investigators believe the witnesses stayed quiet for many years out of fear that the Riffe brothers might retaliate if they spoke to police, Mansfield said.

Mansfield said investigators believe the Riffe brothers kidnapped the Maurins from their home and drove them to a bank, where they forced Ed to withdraw $8,500 in cash.

Ed, 81, and Wilhelmina, 83, were then shot in their vehicle and their bodies were dumped in a wooded area where they were found by a passerby on December 24, 1985.

Rick and John Riffe moved to Alaska in 1987. Mansfield said prosecutors will move to extradite Rick Riffe to Lewis County to stand trial for the murders.

"The (Maurin) families suffered a horrific and tragic loss of their family members and now will be able to see justice served," Mansfield said.

Officials scheduled a press conference for Monday afternoon to discuss the case.