This is from the Spokesman Review
9-year-old's 1959 murder remains unsolved
John Craig • Staff writer
Published March 9, 2008
Dan Hite looks over his scrapbook of photos from the 1960s in his Springdale, Wash., home. The photos show him when he was active in the Spokane Motorcycle Club. He is haunted by the thoughts that he believed a member of the club was a prime suspect in the murder of several women in the area, including 9-year-old Candy Rogers in 1959. (Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review)
How you can help:
To report new information in the Candy Rogers case, call (509) 242-TIPS
DNA evidence in the Nov. 7, 1995, double homicide of 19-year-old Angela Stewart and 23-year-old Ronnie Armstead is in the beginning stages of being analyzed at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Cheney. Spokane Police detectives learned last week that the evidence, which was submitted three years ago, will finally be processed.
The 1959 rape and murder of 9-year-old Candy Rogers, arguably Spokane’s most infamous unsolved crime, has haunted Dan Hite.
Now 74, the former Spokane Motorcycle Club secretary remembers the day 49 years ago when he drove past the isolated spot where Rogers’ body would be found less than a month later.
Hite believes the man riding in the sidecar of his Harley 74 – a likable, “clean-cut guy” who turned out to be a serial killer – made a mental note of an abandoned rock quarry and returned with Rogers less than a week later.
“You’d never know it, to talk, that he was off his rocker,” Hite said of his companion, Hugh Bion Morse, whom he knew as Chris.
Hite and Morse had been marking the course for a “hare-and-hound” motorcycle event. Spokane Motorcycle Club members had to track the bags of red lime that Morse tossed out of the sidecar.
Rogers disappeared the evening of March 6, 1959, while selling Camp Fire mints near her home at 2106 1/2 W. Mission Ave.
The Holmes Elementary School student’s body was found about 3 1/2 miles northwest of Spokane Falls Community College – five miles straight north of Spokane International Airport – that March 22. The body was under a pile of pine needles and boughs about 200 yards south of the quarry and 130 feet off Old Trails Road.
Police later discovered that Morse lived within a couple of blocks of Rogers’ home.
Similarly, Morse lived within a few blocks of two Spokane women he later admitted beating to death and a third whom he nearly killed. And Morse vanished after each crime, popping up later at a different address.
Hite said he thought nothing of it at the time, but Morse’s first disappearance was on the day Rogers’ body was found.
Morse was helping the Spokane Motorcycle Club search for the missing girl when two marmot hunters found her shoes. Rogers’ body was found the next morning, and Morse was gone when Hite went to Morse’s home to tell him the search had been called off, Hite said.
That and other circumstantial evidence against Morse is so strong that Spokane Police Detective Brian Hamond isn’t willing to dismiss him as a suspect even though comparatively recent DNA evidence seems to clear him.
Hamond is the latest in several generations of detectives to work the Rogers case. He’s the only person assigned to a case that originally was investigated by dozens of police and sheriff’s officers.
DNA identification wasn’t possible when Rogers was murdered, but Rogers’ clothing yielded her rapist’s genetic profile in 2001 and it didn’t match a 2002 sample from Morse.
Morse died in a Minnesota prison in April 2003 while serving two life sentences for a September 1961 rape and murder in St. Paul. The Minnesota conviction ended a two-year, cross-country spree that put Morse on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.
‘Right on the money’
Eight women or girls were beaten, sexually molested or killed before Morse was caught.
Hite is “right on the money” in suspecting Morse, Hamond said last month. Coincidentally, the detective had just received a big box of prison medical and psychological records on Morse.
“I can’t wait to read it,” Hamond said. “That’s what I’m going to do this weekend.”
Hamond said his interest in Morse “blossomed all over again” about two months ago when someone called to tell him about Morse’s connection to the now-defunct Spokane Motorcycle Club. Detectives who investigated the Candy Rogers crime scene photographed what appears to be a motorcycle tire track in the vicinity.
Hamond’s tipster mentioned Hite as a motorcycle club member who might remember Morse. Hite now lives in Springdale, Wash., where he has operated a septic-pumping business and has served as mayor.
Independently, Hite called The Spokesman-Review to pass along his information about Morse.
“I’ve been trying to find somebody to tell it to,” Hite said. “I don’t want to go to my grave knowing nobody knew about it.”
He bows only grudgingly to DNA evidence that someone else killed Candy Rogers.
“I know, I just KNOW, that it was Chris,” Hite said. “But,” his voice trailing off, “I don’t know.”
Hamond knows the feeling.
He knows something else about Morse: “He had a penchant for grape gum. He chewed grape gum all the time.”
Investigative files indicate grape gum was found at the scene of attacks in which two Spokane women were murdered and a third was severely beaten. Grape gum also was found in Morse’s room when he was arrested.
And grape-smelling gum was smeared on Candy Rogers’ sweater, coat and, possibly, her corduroy jumper. There was “quite a large quantity of this on her white sweater,” sheriff’s Capt. James Allen reported in March 1962.
Hamond said he plans to submit the gum for DNA testing.
Motorcycle cop spent hours investigating
Long before Hamond got the case and long before DNA testing was possible, other officers had difficulty abandoning Morse as their prime suspect when evidence led them in different directions.
By the end of 1961, Morse had admitted to murdering the two adult women in Spokane nearly killing a third.
His first admitted Spokane victim was Gloria J. Brie.
The 28-year-old woman was raped and severely beaten in her apartment at 527 S. Lincoln St. on Nov. 7, 1959, eight months after Rogers was killed. Brie died 10 days later at Deaconess Medical Center.
Blanche E. Boggs, 69, died hours after a similar beating in her home at 807 E. Euclid Ave. on Sept. 27, 1960. An autopsy indicated she was the victim of an attempted rape.
A month later, on Oct. 26, 1960, 23-year-old Beverly A. Myers was awakened in her apartment at 1128 W. Eighth Ave. by blows to her head and face. Morse fled and the gravely injured Myers recovered.
“I … beat her with a metal object while I was attempting to rape her,” Morse later confessed.
He said he broke into Brie’s and Boggs’ homes to rape them, and beat them with a pipe wrench.
When Morse was caught, Spokane Police Detective Capt. O.K. Sherar credited motorcycle Patrolman John Grandinetti with identifying Morse as a suspect. Acting on a tip from Hite, Grandinetti spent more than 100 hours of his own time investigating Morse.
Hite was a mechanic at a shop that maintained the police motorcycle fleet, and the murders came up in a conversation with Grandinetti and other motorcycle officers.
“Well, you know, we’ve got this guy that joined the club,” Hite recalls telling Grandinetti. “Real nice guy, he’s clean-cut and everything, but after every one of these killings he disappears.”
Grandinetti asked where Morse was living, and Hite directed him to an apartment near the current Maple Street exit on Interstate 90 – not far from where Myers had recently been assaulted. The apartment had been vacated when Grandinetti checked it.
Long list of victims
Morse became a suspect in the Candy Rogers murder as well as the attacks on Brie, Boggs and Myers when police discovered he had attempted to molest two 8-year-old girls while they sold Girl Scout cookies in Fairfield, Calif., in 1955.
Morse was committed to the California State Hospital at Atascadero as a sexual psychopath in August 1955, and was released in January 1957. He was arrested four months later in Burbank, Calif., on suspicion of sex crimes, but no formal charge was filed.
Records also showed Morse had been dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1951 after he was arrested in Wilmington, N.C., on suspicion of assaulting a woman and indecent exposure.
Morse apparently came to Spokane because his mother lived here. Hite recalled that she was “really excited that we were accepting him into the motorcycle club” because Morse had few friends.
Hite said Morse avoided being photographed at club events and “was always hanging with the women folks. He never associated with the men too much.”
In 1979, while serving the two life sentences in Minnesota, Morse returned to Spokane and pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault in the attacks on Brie, Boggs and Myers. He agreed never to return to Washington without permission, and was sentenced to a lifetime of probation.
According to newspaper and crime magazine reports, Morse admitted the Spokane crimes shortly after his October 1961 arrest for murdering a woman in St. Paul, Minn. He reportedly also admitted:
• Breaking into an Atlanta woman’s apartment in April 1961 to terrorize her and her three daughters with a knife and molest one of the girls.
• Breaking into another apartment in the same building a week later to rape an 18-year-old woman at knifepoint.
• Breaking into a Dayton, Ohio, woman’s apartment in May 1961 to beat, rape and stab her. She survived.
• Crushing 31-year-old Bobbi Ann Landini’s skull with a pipe in Birmingham, Ala., in July 1961 and sexually molesting her after she was dead. The FBI put Morse on its Ten Most Wanted list in August 1961.
Morse was wanted on a federal fugitive warrant charging him with attempted murder of his estranged wife in Reseda, Calif., on Oct. 28, 1960 – two days after the attack on Myers in Spokane.
Inside Detective magazine reported that Morse was dressed in a cape and mask and claimed the incident was a prank. Authorities said he had a knife and tried to strangle his wife. He was driven off by his mother-in-law.
FBI agents said Morse also was wanted for questioning in the murder of a St. Louis woman.
By September 1961, Morse was living in a St. Paul rooming house under an alias: Darwin J. Corman. Social worker Carol Ronan lived four blocks away.
Morse later told police he was calling residents of Ronan’s apartment building in search of unoccupied units he could burglarize when Ronan answered and he was aroused by her voice. He entered her unlocked apartment on Sept. 19, 1961, and raped her.
She had been severely beaten and strangled when co-workers went to her apartment the next morning because she failed to show up for work. Morse said he used a homemade sap – a big padlock in a sock – to fracture Ronan’s skull.
Morse was caught on Oct. 13, 1961, after someone recognized him from an FBI poster.
When FBI agents arrested Morse in his room, they found a loaded .25-caliber pistol, a knife, a straight-edged razor and a dog-eared book of French pornography under his mattress.
Edmund Tallarico identified Morse as the stranger who had been hanging around in Ronan’s apartment building shortly before she was killed. Tallarico, the building’s caretaker, had ordered Morse to leave.
Confessed to all – but one
News accounts said Morse confessed to all the crimes in which he had been suspected – except the murder of Candy Rogers.
Authorities in Spokane said Morse passed two lie-detector tests about the Rogers murder, and a detective magazine report that he admitted raping Candy Rogers without killing her proved false. Morse consistently told investigators he had nothing to do with Rogers.
Spokane Police Chief Clifford Payne said in 1967 that he was attempting to contact the magazine writer who said Morse admitted raping Rogers. But Payne no longer believed Morse was “much of a suspect.”
With Morse already serving two life sentences and having confessed to so many other murders, Payne could see little reason for him to lie about Rogers.
However, Spokane County Sheriff William Reilly still considered Morse “a prime suspect.”
And Morse was still “the No. 1 suspect” for sheriff’s Capt. Allen, who interviewed Morse in the Minnesota State Prison at Stillwater, Minn., in 1962.
Allen told the Spokane Daily Chronicle that Morse denied killing Rogers, but was reluctant to talk about her.
He said Morse told him, “If I did rape and kill Candy Rogers, I would probably be too ashamed to talk about it.”
This is Candy. Let's bring the person who did this to justice if we can. Please help.
My son, Michael, goes to Holmes Elementary school. I read about this case in the local newspaper. After reading about it, going to that school, walking him to and from it, feels almost nostalgic. I can almost feel Candy's presence, can almost hear her laughter. She was a bright and happy, and shy child, at the school. Her mother had placed her into the campfire girls to try and get her to come a little more out of her shell, and to make friends. Back than, it wasn't uncommon to allow your child to go and sell campfire mints, door to door, and be sure they were safe. She let her daughter go and sell them, and it was the last time she ever saw that beautiful little girl. She disappeared.
What resulted was one of the biggest manhunts for that child that Spokane had ever seen. They even used helicopters. And when she was found, my God, what unspeakable horrors they found.
She was a child, a little girl, she could be your daughter or little sister or grandchild. A child, a mere child had been viciously raped, and than strangled to death. Grape gum had been smeared on her sweater. Almost like a calling card. And the guy who had been raping women, and leaving grape gum at the scene, was thought to have done it. He died in jail. But they dug up the body of that child, and there was "evidence" and "DNA" on her. I think we can all guess where they found the DNA on that poor girl.
And it didn't match the known rapist.
Just wondering if anyone lives in WA, or Spokane who can help me look into this case.
Lets put this twisted person behind bars. I don't care if they are ninety-two and sorry. They still need to be bought to justice. Think about this child and what she went through. What her mother and father went through. What the policemen, (I read some of them just started to bawl when they found out what happened to her) went through.
It is perplexing because a lot of things point to Morse - the grape gum found on Candy's clothes and the motorcycle tracks are telling. I bet the investigators were shocked when the DNA did not match his. I wonder if someone was trying to frame him. The perp knew Morse, knew he drove a bike and was known fo rchewing grape gum so he planted those things in an attempt to frame him if it came to that.
'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated'
You know, I almost thought of suspecting one of the police officers. Because they knew that the rapist was leaving grape gum, etc.
According to the March 2008 article, the detective indicated he was going to have the gum tested for DNA. Does anyone know if this in fact occurred? It's possible the intial DNA test was flawed-or that Morse wasnt working alone....
They have not been done yet. Hoping they will be done soon, and that these tests will show that either more than one person was involved or something new to go off of. Bumping up right now do not want her to be forgotten.
I just read about more rapes and murders that may have been done by the same person who killed Candy.
In later years, the account inevitably included comparisons with the murder of 13-year-old Nanette Martin. She was abducted early on April 3, 1976, while delivering The Spokesman-Review – 12 blocks from where Rogers was last seen.
Spokane Police Detective Robert Bailor found Martin’s dismembered body two days later when he followed up a hunch that she was the victim of a copycat crime. Thomas Edward Mahrt, now 60, pleaded guilty in June 1976 to kidnapping and murdering Martin. He is serving two consecutive life terms at the Airway Heights Corrections Center and won’t be eligible for release until 2096.
Spokane got another shock in October 1978 when the mostly nude body of 16-year-old Krisann Baxter, 4222 W. Rowan Ave., was found in a pine grove near Whitworth University. Like Rogers and Martin, Baxter had been strangled.
One of the suspects in Baxter’s murder also was investigated in connection with Rogers, but he was ruled out in both cases.
There was yet another echo of the Rogers case exactly six years after Nanette Martin disappeared.
An 8-year-old Brownie Scout was kidnapped and raped on April 3, 1982, while selling Girl Scout cookies in front of a 7-Eleven store at the corner of Monroe and Garland.
Her attacker took the $46 she had earned in cookie sales before releasing her on North Division Street.
Very sad I just read that Candy Rogers's father killed himself a few years after his daughter was brutally murdered. He had divorced the mother around a year after she died, the two of them could not handle it anymore. Incidentally, candy's mother died of cancer a couple of years back.
Just bumping this case up! Really need some help to get this one solved! Not sure where to go from here.
In Spokane, WA, back in 1959, a little girl named Candice "Candy" Rogers was selling campfire mints for her troop. She was just nine years old. A huge search ensued. When she was found, it was two weeks after she had gone missing. Her little body was found under a pile of pine needles in an abandoned rock quarry. Many people have been checked into. Most of them have been cleared. On Candy's sweater, grape gum had been smeared. A man who had the same mo at the time was cleared recentally when DNA samples were compared. They were not a match. Candy, who again, was just a 9 yr old little girl and should have been at home playing with Barbie dolls, climbing trees, and trying on new dresses, had been brutally raped and strangled. And her little body was thrown away like trash. Lots of leads were checked and nothing ever panned out.
Check out the video via the above link.
It is a tragic story and justice should be done for little Candy and her family. Her father was so devestated by what had been done to his little girl, he ended up killing himself not too long after the murder.
Just a note --- Morse was cleared recentally, after DNA tests were done.
I want to bump this little girl up. Too many years have gone without an arrest in this case.
Yes, this is certainly tragic. It also upsets my worldview. I didn’t think such things occurred during my beloved Leave it to Beaver days, which I so often wistfully yearn for. I thought all this came in with 1968. Apparently, I was wrong. I suppose I have romanticized the times with the passing years.
I’m not surprised that this Morse character was cleared, however. From the way the video describes him, he doesn’t strike me as a true pedophile; i.e., one who lusts for prepubescent children.
It’s kind of you to seek justice and closure for this little angel, but with a case this old the chances look bleak to reach any definite conclusion. The prep is probably long since dead and has gone on to his infernal reward. We can keep her in our memories, though, as I’m sure does whatever family she has left.
Here is the first thread that was started on Candy Rogers in the Cold Case section. A very sad case. I was sure it was Morse because of the grape gum. I'm glad they are still actively working on this case.
Thanks for posting, Laura_Bean -- I had never heard of this case before. And yes, the grape gum does seem to be too unique to not be associated with this person.
You mentioned that Candy's parents are no longer living. Do we know if she has any other close family still around to keep the cause going? Did she have any siblings, for instance?
I dont know if she does or not. I am sure this some family leftover somewhere.
Here is what I was thinking. I believe that the person may be alive, as this isn't that old of a case. It happened in 1959. If the perp was 25 in '59, he would be 75 yrs old. If he was 20, he would be 70.
Now I had some thoughts about this case. I think the grape gum was used by a copycat killer. Someone who knew about the other murders. Which makes me think, welp I read that a lot of the information was not shared by the public about the murders done by Morse.
So if it was kept quiet, hush hush kind of stuff... We are talking what? A police officer? A family member of a police officer? Or someone a police officer told to at a bar or something? Your talking a police officer or someone who knew a police officer who talked too much. That's what I think.
And... Welp... This area is for cold cases. That means old cases. We've tackled older ones before. Why not tackle this one?
I also believe that the person who did it was a male, (he had to be because the girl was raped without the use of a condom, so there was specimen). He had to have known the area, to know that the rock quarry was abandoned and was where it was to leave her body there. Which means he had to be a local person. Also, it probably means he was very familiar with this area and knew it well. Probably means he never left Spokane, never moved away, and if he is still alive is still living here. It could have been a cop and in fact I think it was a cop not someone who knew a cop. The reason is that the whole force at the time was supposed to keep quiet about the rapist with the grape gum, and also because Candy went missing in broad daylight with people around while she was selling campfire mints. Going missing in broad daylight and no one noticed, makes me think the person didn't have to grab her and drag her away to be raped. I think it means she went willingly. And who would a child go willingly with? A man with authority. A cop in full uniform would make that child a very easy target. She thinks he's a police officer. Maybe he tells her something like, your parents were in a car accident come with me, and she does. Willingly. Quietly. No one notices the police officer with that specific child because he's a police officer. She isn't yelling or trying to get away, at least not until they end up in the woods and not at the hospital. That is what I think happened or something similar. I think we can find out who was on the case at the time of the rapes.
Maybe even a cop who lost his job for molestation of children or someone on the force who someone or more than one someone pointed a finger at and said he did something to a child but was never convicted of it. This crime is solvable and I hope the person who did it IS still alive so some justice can be served
Laura Bean I read all of your post with great interest as this murder haunted me as child I was a year younger than Candy and lived down on the 400 block of W. Maxwell at the time not that far from where she was grabbed. About a year later a good friend of mine and I were down at the river trying to catch pigons we were little river rats back then.
A hobo was helping us get up on bridges until we got by the tresel that used to be by the Post street bridge. He helped my friend up on the bridge and then ask me if I'd like a new knife. coming from a poor family I'd never had a pocket knife so i was excited.
He pulled it out and before i knew what was up it was at my neck and he was forcing my pants down.
He made a big mistake he started taking down his pants and he was on the down hill side of a steep embankment over the river. I kicked him as hard as I could and he fell back trying to catch his balance but he had no chance, down the hill over the edge into the very swift moving spring time river. By the time I got to the river he was going over the falls. I've never believed anyone could ever survive that trip over the falls.
He used to chase me in my dreams or nightmares at night with that knife. I used to tell myself maybe he was the one who killed Candy but I think that was simply a was of justifying in my mind what happened to him.
Anyway as retired police officer I'm very aware that there have been bad cops everywhere even here in Spokane. I know a lot better than most how bad some can be, but I'm sorry you feel it was a police officer. It possible but I know many officers from that era agonized so deeply for so many years over that one cases. I don't think anyone that a part of that case ever got over it. They worked that case and are still working that case. Frankly the one gentleman from Springdale would be an excellent place to go for a DNA sample. He likely very innocent but you can't over look he;s saying he rode by the place the body was found with this Morse. He claims to know about the gum. He attempted back at the time to interject himself into the investigation by giving information to motor officer. Of all the people possible he stands out someone that needs a look by his own admissions of knowledge of the crime that no one should have had? I hope as much as anyone that this crime gets solved as it is the crime that took away Spokane's innocence and the life of a wonderful little girl, resulting in her fathers death and life of pain for her mother. All of us that lived here suffered from this one case. I've seen a lot of cases over the years that when they can't be solved someone comes with the suggestion oh it must be a cop. I've yet to see a single one of them turn out that way. Examples Green River Killer must be a cop, Spokane Killer must be a cop! Hillside Strangler must be a cop! on and on and on like a broken record. Somewhere it must be written that this is the fall back position. I guess because they issue tickets and bust people for smoking dope they are responsible for everything!
Xcop, please let me first welcome you to the board. I hope some of the material here will grab your interest as it has mine.
With regards to the reasons why some people come to think that perpetrators of certain unsolved crimes could be cops my feeling is that the belief stems from the fact that those crimes are, well, unsolved. This fact may cause some to suspect that the reason the perp doesn't get caught is because he or she is somehow privy to details of the investigation.
Personally I think that some criminals can be clever without necessarily having any "inside knowledge" of an investigation, and others are just plain lucky. When you think about it cops who have been convicted of heinous crimes are extremely rare, most dirty cop stories deal with corruption and related economic crimes, rarely violent crimes and as far as I know no cop has ever been involved in serial murder other than in fiction (vigilante cop and such), but I could be wrong.
I don't think that's the case here.
Xcop, I hope you will stick around. I've been doing some thinking about this case and I'm going to have some questions about how things were/are done, but I want to get my thoughts organized first.
Timeline of Hugh Bion Morse
1951 Morse is dishonorably discharged from the Marines after being arrested for assault and indecent exposure.
1955 Morse attempts to molest two 8 year old girls selling Girl Scout cookies.
Aug. 1955 Morse committed to the California State Hospital at Atascadero.
Jan. 1957 Morse is released from Atascadero.
March 6, 1959. Candy Rogers. Raped and murdered. Not proven to be Morse.
Nov. 7, 1959. Gloria J. Brie. Raped and murdered.
Sept. 27, 1960. Blanche E. Boggs. Attempted rape and murder.
Oct. 26, 1960. Beverly A. Myers. Beaten severely and rape attempted.
Oct. 28, 1960. Attempts to murder his ex-wife.
April, 1961. Breaks into an Atlanta woman’s apartment. Terrorizes her and her three daughters with a knife and molests one of the girls.
April/May, 1961. Uses knife to rape an 18 year old female. This happens a week after the previous attack and in the same building.
May, 1961. Breaks into a Dayton, Ohio woman’s apartment. Beats, rapes and stabs her. She survives.
July, 1961. In Birmingham, Alabama, he beats Bobbi Ann Landini to death and molests her afterwards.
Sept. 19, 1961. Rapes and murders Carol Ronan in St. Paul, Minnesota
Oct. 13, 1961. Arrested by the FBI.
I hope others find this timeline helpful.
Last edited by Bargle; 09-20-2009 at 08:51 PM. Reason: Small addition
There is also a print article by John Craig that mentions some things not spoken of in the video. Link below.
He mentions, both in the article and the video, 2 other suspects.
James Howard Barnett. Committed suicide while in jail for suspicion of a sex crime against a child. Happened on Feb. 7, 1960.
Alfred Graves. Committed suicide on the day Candy's body was found. Had newspaper articles about molested females, both adult and children, in his apartment.
Candy's body had possible rope marks around the waist. There was rope found with the body. Suspect Graves had pieces of rope in the trunk of his car.
A woman tipped police that she had seen a green car driving slowly towards a girl she believed to be Candy on the day of the abduction. A green car seat cover was found near the crime scene. Children's clothing was found in the car by a subsequent owner.