COLD CASE FILES Who murdered Ed and Minnie Maurin? Three-decade mystery haunts Washington town

It was one of the most baffling cases in Washington state history: Who murdered Ed and Minnie Maurin? The December 1985 killings went unsolved for nearly three full decades, thanks largely to a frustrating lack of evidence at the crime scene. With neither fingerprints to run down nor a murder weapon to trace, investigators from Lewis County and all over the state could only leave the Maurin murder case file open–in the hope that, one day, something would come along to help them close it.

The basic facts of the case are these. On Christmas Eve, 1985, the bodies of Ed Maurin, 81, and Minnie Maurin, 83, were discovered in the woods west of rural Adna, Washington. Five days earlier, on December 19, Ed Maurin had withdrawn $8,500 in $100 bills from a bank in nearby Chehalis. He and Minnie’s blood-stained car was discovered in a shopping center the following morning, but the couple were never again seen alive.

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At the time, investigators found no especially promising leads. That changed, however, when in 1991 authorities announced several new leads provided by an unnamed informant, and more than 800 new tips came in. And some of the new information put names and faces to suspects for the first time. Brothers John and Rick Riffe were allegedly seen around–or even in–the Maurin home during the week of their disappearance. But the brothers were never accused of any time–and, because they moved to Alaska in 1987, there was never a serious investigation into the two of them.

But in 2003, Daniel Hadaller, Minnie’s son, offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his parents’ murders. That reward led to a spate of even more information–including new eyewitness accounts alleging that the Riffe brothers had held the Maurins hostage in their home beginning on December 19, 1985, then forced them to go to the bank and withdraw the missing $8,500.

By 2012, Lewis County Police had enough evidence to bring a criminal case against John and Rick. However, John had died the year before, so Rick was arrested and extradited from Alaska back to Washington to stand trial. On November 18, 2013, he was found guilty on two counts each of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery, along with one count of first-degree burglary–and of first-degree murder.

Rick appealed the verdicts, but they were all upheld in a hearing two years later. He was sentenced to 103 years in prison.

The question of who murdered Ed and Minnie Maurin has actually been addressed by a true crime drama before. Investigation Discovery tackled the case in an Evil Kin episode late last year. You can watch that episode in full here; Cold Case Files take premieres Monday, March 6th, at 9 PM on A&E.

(Photo credits: Who murdered Ed and Minnie Maurin via Cold Case Files)

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