Rick and John Riffe, who are brothers, murdered a married couple, Ed and Minnie Maurin, after they abducted them from their home in Chehalis, Washington.
On Dec. 19, 1985, a Christmas party was supposed to be held at the Maurins’ home, but when family and friends arrived, Ed, 81, and Minnie, 83, weren’t there to answer the door.
Their family and friends began to worry, so they contacted the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and reported Ed and Minnie Maurin missing.
The following day, police officials discovered their vehicle in the Yard Bird Mall parking lot.
ABC News reported that police found “large amounts of bloodstains” in the vehicle and “the keys were discovered in the ignition,” but Ed and Minnie were nowhere to be found.
It was later uncovered that a week before Ed and Minnie disappeared, they withdrew $8,500 from their account and told bank officials that they were going to use the money to purchase a new vehicle.
Relatives told the Spokane Chronicle in 1985 that Ed had no plans to replace his 16-year-old car because it was still running well.
On the morning of Dec. 24, 1985, Ed and Minnie were found dead. A man driving through a wooded area on Stearns Hill Road near Adna discovered their bodies near the end of the roadway.
An autopsy performed by Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson revealed that Ed and Minnie died from shotgun wounds to their backs.
The Riffe brothers were suspected of murdering the couple, but because of lack of evidence and witnesses, police officials weren’t able to make an arrest, according to The Lewiston Tribune.
Twenty-six years after the Maurin murders, Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said their investigation was complete when “additional evidence and witnesses came forth to collaborate and provide more information.”
Authorities finally had enough evidence to arrest the Riffe brothers for the murders of Ed and Minnie Maurin.
On July 8, 2012, officers with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office bought a plane ticket to King Salmon, Alaska, where the Riffe brothers relocated in 1987.
When they arrived, they learned that John had died of natural causes a week prior.
Rick, who was 53 years old at the time, was arrested and extradited to Lewis County to stand trial.
While in Alaska, Rick worked as a truck driver and a crane operator for 15 years. When his co-worker found out about the murder charge, he was stunned, as he considered Rick a “regular, hard-working guy.”
A police investigation revealed that about a week before Christmas in 1985, the Riffe brothers entered the Maurins’ home and held them hostage.
They then forced the couple to drive to their local bank and withdraw money.
Rick and John shot the couple inside their vehicle, then dragged their bodies to a wooded area.
The brothers were walking free for nearly three decades before more witnesses came forward, but initially, they were reluctant.
They feared that Rick and John, who were purportedly well-known drug dealers in the area, would retaliate if they spoke out.
During the trial, a woman named Deborah George said she and Rick formed an “intimate online relationship” in 2010 after he sent her a friend request on Facebook.
That account was shared with her husband, Leslie George, who knew the Riffe brothers in the 1980s. He said he “did drugs with them,” according to his testimony.
Leslie stated that in 1984, he let Rick and John borrow a shotgun. When they returned it in 1986, he said the “barrel had been sawed off.”
Before that, Leslie recalled driving past the Maurins’ home and telling the brothers that “they [the Maurins] likely had a lot of money.”
He went on to say that he did not approve of his wife accepting Rick’s friend request, but she did it anyway.
Deborah told the jury that she was “curious about Riffe because of the rumors she heard about him being involved in the Maurin homicides.”
During their year-long romance, Deborah claimed that he told her details of the murders, but she was afraid to go to the police with what she knew.
A computer forensics expert examined Rick and Deborah’s computers and confirmed that there was regular contact between the two and that it appeared to be “an intimate relationship.”
Donald Burgess, a former drug dealer who had a drug-related relationship with Rick, was the 76th witness.
Police questioned him throughout the years, but he claimed he knew nothing about the murders.
Burgess testified that he was afraid to come forward because Rick threatened his life. He said, “I was scared. I was scared for my family and my kids. I didn’t want to end up the same way (the Maurins) did.”
After the murders, Burgess said Rick and John went to his house, boasting about how they were going to get away with it.
Minnie’s surviving children read the following statement in court:
“This will never be forgotten for generations to come. How could anyone be so cruel and act with such malice to shoot two elderly and trusting people in the back and dumped them in the forest?”
Before Minnie was buried, her son, Dennis Hadaller, placed his hand on her casket and promised her that he would get justice for her murder.
On Nov. 11, 2013, a jury deliberated for a day and a half before finding Rick guilty of seven felony counts, including murder, kidnapping, robbery, and burglary.
“That took a big load off of my shoulders because I made that promise and I was getting worried as I got older that maybe I was going to fail.” Hadaller said.
“But I had strong support from the prosecutor’s office and the sheriff’s office, and we were able to get a conviction.”
The following month, Rick was sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court to 103 years in prison for the murders of Ed and Minnie Maurin.
Rick maintains his innocence. He told his attorney that he was not remorseful or sorry for something he did not do.