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  1. #46
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    I would also agree that it could be a abortion or possibly a miscarriage.
    But I been thinking about the books and her connection to here career.

    Perhaps she was researching or investigating a case. Maybe she got a little too close and perhaps there was some sort of witness protection thing underground type thing. Maybe it was all set up to run asap. So she was to set up her disappearance. So she went about her routine nervously not knowing home much time she had left with her kids. She has an encounter with a assailant in her home. She then as quickly as she could ran to the phone called whom ever it was (unmarked car in her drive way) to pick her upto take her somewhere safe.
    Later down the street or that construction spot. She jumps out because she wanted to say good bye to her kids. Then the encounter she had with the assailant Spots her. The unmarked car gets her inside the car and they go underground or in some sort of witness protection program.

    Meaning she leaves her life behind.....

  2. #47
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    This link found is interesting and mentions another wife leaving her children behind like in the case with Joan.

    Mrs. Susan Caira, 21, disappeared from her Newton Corner home, last Monday, leaving a three-year-old girl and a year-old boy alone

    There is also this in a paper.
    Fitchburg Sentinel
    January 19, 1972

    Belmont, Mass. (AP) Police called in heavy digging equipment today to renew a search for the body of a Newton mother of two who has been missing from her home since Sept. 16, 1968.

    Watertown police said an informant told him his conscience was bothering him, he knew where Mrs. Caira was buried and indicated an area at the bottom of a slope in the Beaver Brook Reservation off Trapelo Road.
    I wonder what came of that. Interesting in deed.
    Last edited by Rainstorm; 09-19-2013 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Added more to post.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stella View Post
    I don't recall any reference to a coat hanger in this case but I looked at the photo again and there it is. I completely overlooked it; apparently so did the police. Perhaps Joan picked up a couple while she was out with Lillian, then went to get one when the time came to self abort? Perhaps an abortionist (the person in the parked car?) brought it with him/her and left it there in case an extra one was needed? It could all be very innocent too but nothing screams 1960's abortion like a coat hanger.
    I agree. I think that is very odd. Here is a close up of the hanger from the same photo.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainstorm View Post
    This link found is interesting and mentions another wife leaving her children behind like in the case with Joan.

    Mrs. Susan Caira, 21, disappeared from her Newton Corner home, last Monday, leaving a three-year-old girl and a year-old boy alone

    There is also this in a paper.


    I wonder what came of that. Interesting in deed.
    Yes, very interesting indeed. I wonder if the cases may be related somehow? The 68' case may have been inspired by the Risch case, that is, if the mother had left willingly on her own.

  5. #50
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    Wondering if the fingerprint is from the missing woman herself?

    If she had never been fingerprinted before, there would be nothing to match it to. Perhaps they should now run it through AFIS?
    Six-year-old Shannon Sherrill disappeared from her front yard in Thorntown, Indiana in October, 1986. Someone knows where she is......

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...annon+sherrill

  6. #51
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    [
    QUOTE=Kodiak;9850075]Yes, very interesting indeed. I wonder if the cases may be related somehow? The 68' case may have been inspired by the Risch case, that is, if the mother had left willingly on her own.
    [/QUOTE]

    I have often thought this particular disappearance was related to an abortion, and it would not surprise me if there were quite a number of other such cases.

    Before Roe vs Wade, there were still plenty of abortions. They were just not legal. As a result, very often they were very dangerous and when the patient died, it was in the best interest of the abortionist to just dispose of the body. Because the "patient" had often kept the entire thing a secret it was not that difficult to hide.

    Back in the '70's I worked with a much older lady, she was in her late
    70's at the time. Before her 2 daughters were born in the 1930's she herself had had 5 abortions. She was married at the time, they just weren't ready for children and it seems it was often used as birth control.

    She told me the reason she stopped having them was that her younger sister died from complicaitions of one at about the same time her best friend, also married, disappeared. She said, although it was never proven, that those close to her friend all assumed she had died during an abortiion and the body disposed of. According to this woman anyway, it was pretty common.

  7. #52
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    I have always thought that the reason LE asked the husband whether Joan could have been pregnant is because they possibly suspected an illegal or home abortion had taken place or had been attempted. The husband stated she would not have been unhappy to be pregnant. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the husband state at one time that he believed she could still be alive? I don't have time right now to search for it, but if he did believe that, then I wonder why. You don't walk out on your family and stage a disappearance unless you are unhappy.

  8. #53
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    [
    QUOTE=dogperson;9858863]I have always thought that the reason LE asked the husband whether Joan could have been pregnant is because they possibly suspected an illegal or home abortion had taken place or had been attempted. The husband stated she would not have been unhappy to be pregnant. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the husband state at one time that he believed she could still be alive? I don't have time right now to search for it, but if he did believe that, then I wonder why. You don't walk out on your family and stage a disappearance unless you are unhappy.
    [/QUOTE]

    Or the husband simply lied about that. Perhaps he knew full well she was not happy about a pregnancy and also suspected a botched abortion. Abortioh was not only illegal back then, but a very shameful subject that I would suspect a family member would not want to broadcast. Especially when th woman in question was married wiith no apparent reason to be upset about another pregnancy.
    I have often wondered if this was a woman who gave up a career to live the life the times dictated that she should be happy with, and then she wasn't. She may have just not wanted any more children and this could have been the sad result.

  9. #54
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    I, too, think the abortion angle makes sense and it would explain why the perp might have boldly parked his car in the driveway, except that I can't imagine Joan would have an abortion in the house with children coming in and out. Her daughter could have walked in at any time and what if the baby had awoken and began to cry. It's not like she could have jumped up during the middle of an abortion to tend to the kids. I found it interesting in one of the articles above that mentioned a neighbor suspected somebody had been in their house while they were at work and police suspected someone may have been hiding out in the house watching for something. That sounds like a hit. What is the common denominator for so many murders of wives -- out of town husbands, this one being no different.

  10. #55
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    I'm new to this thread and am fascinated by this very sad story. Here are my comments, FWTW.

    --If Joan did have an abortion at home, I would think there would be evidence on one of the beds, yes?

    --If the police opined that the car in Joan's driveway that afternoon was an unmarked patrol car, was there a police report from that unmarked patrol car? If not, how do the police know it was an unmarked patrol car?? Huh?

    --The half hour the 4-year old spent in her house that afternoon between 4 and 4:30 (approx.) must have been traumatic, to say the least. Thinking of Joan's daughter searching the home for her mother, coming across the "red paint" in the kitchen, hearing her little brother crying upstairs, and then having to wait until her neighbor arrived back home--must have been agonizing. I wonder if she thought she couldn't try to get help from any other neighbors and that's why she waited for the return of her neighbor across the street.

    --The clothes hanger on Joan's car could have been the only weapon for self defense Joan could lay her hands on during the attack. Why it was left on top of her car is a real mystery.

    --I'm just guessing here--but I think it must have required quite a bit of strength to pull a wall phone right off the wall mount and rip away the connecting wires. Perhaps this is evidence of a male intruder?

    --If she had indeed had a botched abortion, I'm trying to think of a reasonable scenario of how blood from the lower part of her body could have left blood droplets on top of the trunk of her car. Blood smears, maybe. But blood droplets? I think the blood droplets on the top of the trunk of her car point to a source of the bleeding probably from her head. ?

    --Were the Risch's phone records examined by the police for leads?

    --The blood droplets in the upstairs bedrooms are as inexplicable as the "sightings" of the woman on the highway/road--if indeed it was Joan. What in the world was she doing in her upstairs bedrooms while she was dripping blood? The rooms upstairs weren't in disarray so it's less likely she was trying to evade her intruder during the attack. So does that mean she went upstairs, bleeding, after the intruder left? Was she looking out the windows to determine if the intruder and his car were gone, before leaving the house? I don't recall hearing about any missing suitcases or clothing, so she wasn't upstairs packing a bag. It's simply inexplicable.

    Thanks for listening!
    Last edited by DianeElaine; 10-27-2013 at 01:54 PM.


  11. #56
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    DianeElaine, those are some good questions. I suppose if she had an abortion they could have performed it on the kitchen table, but still you would expect some evidence on the table. Maybe she allowed someone to start the process but suddenly changed her mind? It could have been more painful than expected, or there could have been more blood loss than expected, or she may have been overcome with remorse. I have also wondered if maybe she actually miscarried and there never was an abortionist who visited the house. This could have been why police asked her husband about pregnancy. For example, maybe she was upstairs hanging laundry in the closet, checking on the baby, and noticed she was bleeding. She might have run downstairs to the phone with coat hanger in hand. Also, maybe nobody ripped the phone from the wall intentionally. She could have been holding onto the phone and maybe became faint or even slipped in her own blood. She could have fallen and pulled the phone onto the floor with her.
    As for running into the driveway, I wonder if she had the irrational thought of driving herself to the hospital, which wouldn't make a lot of sense in her bleeding condition, and with a sleeping child still upstairs. I can't recall if her car keys were still inside the house or if anyone mentioned them. The blood in the photos in one of the news stories definitely looks like more than a nosebleed to me. I have had some severe nosebleeds in the past but not to that extent. Maybe she became dazed/disoriented from loss of blood? Other conditions which might cause this is a high spike in blood pressure or even a brain disorder which could cause bleeding from the nose.
    Why didn't anyone stop when they saw a bleeding woman walking dazedly by the road? Why did nobody stop to see if she was okay or offer to run somewhere and call an ambulance? If they had, she might still be fine today and might have lived to raise her family. I tend to believe she passed away of whatever occurred this day, rather than that she faked her disappearance.
    Another thing which struck me odd is in the neighbor's testimony she stated her child said Mrs Risch cut the grass earlier in the day. It seems a little late in the year to be mowing the yard unless it had remained fairly warm that fall. Plus, did she normally mow the yard wearing a dress? It was stated she disappeared wearing a skirt.

  12. #57
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    Some of the info seems to point to a seizure/post-seizure event.

    Even without a history of epilepsy, a person can suddenly suffer an isolated seizure, for various reasons.

    I'm very close to someone who has seizures, have seen them be injured during a seizure, and have witnessed their post-seizure physical and mental state---their altered mental state lasts quite some time after the seizure ends.

    If Mrs. Risch had a seizure, alone (only very young children in the house, who may not have even witnessed the event), she could have injured herself causing bleeding (even superficial scalp wounds are known to bleed profusely, and the blood could run down onto the person's legs).

    When she "came to", very groggy, very confused & dazed, very uncoordinated, possibly with a minor head injury in addition to the after affects of the seizure---she may have stumbled in her dazed state around the house, gone outside, gone back in, tried to make a confused phone call, stumbled while holding onto the phone for support, ripping it out of the wall...then stumbled out of the house while no one happened to see her leave.

    When she dazedly made her way to the side of the road, several people saw her, none of those who reportedlater that they'd seen her, stopped to help. But someone may have then stopped and picked her up, and the person who at last stopped to pick her up didn't report it....they may have harmed her, or just dumped her off somewhere else and she then wandered into the woods, or water, or a construction area where she met w/ an accident, etc.

    After a seizure an individual can be so confused that they are very vulnerable to anyone telling them what to do, or stopping to give them a ride, they very likely might just dully say "ok" and get into a car.

    The unidentified fingerprints in the blood could have been Mrs. Risch's own, as in her uncoordinated post-seizure state she held onto areas that already had blood on them. Unless for some reason she already had her prints on record somewhere to compare them with, they would not be able to rule out the prints in the blood as being her own.

    as for the mystery/murder/disappearance books from the library? That puts her in a category with millions of others who are interested & read about the same subject matter---back then the only way to read about it was to check out all the books you could find, no internet to read on!
    Last edited by mom-a-licious; 03-19-2014 at 03:47 PM. Reason: spelling

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannahdd View Post
    From the Boston Globe

    Martin D. Risch Share E-mail Visit Guest Book
    RISCH, Martin D. 79, died on June 22 ,2009 after a long illness. Long time resident of Lincoln. Survived by 1 son; David Risch of Haverhill, 1 daughter Lillian Mowe and her husband Jon of Port Angeles WA, 1 brother; Grant Risch of Toms River NJ, 1 granddaughter; Heather Mowe and four nephews. Martin lived a difficult and a good life. He endeavored to make life better for himself and his family and those memories will be with us always. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to join with the family for a funeral mass on Friday at 10:00 a.m in Saint Joseph's Church, 142 Lincoln Rd. Lincoln. Burial will follow in Lincoln Cemetery on Lexington Rd. Arrangements under the direction of the William R. Short and Son Funeral Home of MARLBOROUGH.

    What a sad obituary.
    Just learned of this case, very sad and mysterious. The uid fingerprints make me pretty sure its actually foul play. The older I get, the more odd coincidences I notice. Haverhill NH is the area where Maura Murray disappeared from, and Port Angeles is where Israel Keys kept a cache of murder implements. I think I need a new hobby! Nite......

  14. #59
    Soooo fascinating. My take is abortion too. Someone "attempted to clean the kitchen" I have heard of two other cases where they had abortions on the kitchen table. The neighbor must have just stared outside all day to see her dazed at her car at 2:45, cutting grass at 12:15 etc. Perfect eye witness.....but cutting grass before an abortion, unaware of when your son will wake up and daughter come home. Were these abortions quick? Seems like you would need to rest afterwards. So maybe this wasn't abortion? Maybe this was a fling and she was pregnant and he tried to kill her? I dunno..

  15. #60
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    This case is both fascinating and creepy. I can't imagine that she just walked away from her children, but you never know. I don't know if her husband was in denial or maybe he did know something. I'm sure her children still think of her.

    Has anyone seen the 1970 TV movie "The House On Greenapple Road"? I've wondered if it was inspired by the Joan Risch case. The opening sequence especially.

    Here's the link to the first part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnU02BYs8f4

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