CHEHALIS, Wash. – A man was arrested in Alaska for a 1985 kidnap-robbery that left a couple in their 80s dead from shotgun blasts, authorities said.
Rick Riffe, 53, of King Salmon, Alaska, a longtime suspect, was arrested Sunday in connection with the killings. His brother, John, another suspect, died the same week officers bought their tickets to Alaska, Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said in a statement.
"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."
In December 1985, 81-year-old Edward "Ed" Maurin and his wife 83-year-old Wilhelmina "Minnie" Maurin were reported missing after they were not home for a family Christmas party, the Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/LYBTfc ).
The sheriff's office alleges the Riffe brothers kidnapped the couple at their residence then forced them to drive their car to a bank and withdraw $8,500. The couple was then shot inside their vehicle and their bodies were taken to a wooded area, authorities said.
When their car was found, there were blood stains inside.
Authorities said the brothers were primary suspects throughout the investigation, but probable cause for their arrest was not developed until evidence was later uncovered and witnesses came forward.
"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.
Mansfield said extradition proceedings will be initiated to bring Riffe to Lewis County to stand trial.
The Riffe brothers moved to Alaska in 1987.
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. "Hard working."
It wasn't immediately clear if Riffe has an attorney.