MA MA - Joan Risch, 30, Lincoln, 24 Oct 1961

Discussion in '1960's Missing' started by smellsarat, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Here's a link to another detailed news article that cleared up some questions:

    28 Oct 1962, 2 - The Honolulu Advertiser at Newspapers.com

    It says the fingerprints on the dial of the phone were JR's.

    It says the neighbor who saw the blue/gray car Hhad seen it a few times in previous months. She had even memorized three of the numbers on the license plate.

    The reporting is a bit inconsistent, so take some of it with a grain of salt. For instance, it says fingerprints were found and compared to others, then later says there were no fingerprints. Could just be a lack of clarity in writing.

    Harvard Med School said they couldn't tell if Joan's blood came from a wound or hemorrhage (epithelial)

    A search of the woods extending 100 yds from the Risch home found a woman's panty girdle and a pile of "girly magazines". I thought the latter was interesting. Was there a neighborhood stalker/peeping tom? Someone who might have snuck into the Risch home, or someone else's to steal undergarments? Kind of an isolated area, JMO, it would have been someone who lived (or used to) around there or visited regularly.

    JMO, it's possible there was a neighborhood stalker - someone's husband or adult son. This might have been hushed up. Kind of reminds me of theories about the killer of Valerie Percy - daughter of then Senate candidate & Bell & Howell exec Charles Percy. Valerie was bludgeoned and stabbed to death inside her bedroom in a very wealthy neighborhood north of Chicago. Her killer has never been determined, but one strong theory is that she was murdered by a mentally ill son of a wealthy corporate CEO who lived a few streets away. In some very wealthy communities, crimes committed are sometimes covered up to save reputations.

    Link to Valerie's thread here at WS

    IL - IL - Valerie Percy, 21, Kenilworth, 18 September 1966
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  2. scruffydog

    scruffydog Member

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    I have never hear about the girdle or the magazines!!! Wow!! I still believe this is a solvable case. Let's brainstorm.
     
  3. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    I've read the articles and I've reviewed the crime scene photos of the kitchen.

    I'm now convinced JR knew the person who was in her house that day, and on other days. I believe JR and the person had met on several occasions and had 'enjoyed each other's company' (implication intended) during those several occasions and not necessarily in the R house. Perhaps the encounters were a result of MR having been gone on too many occasions for days at a time. An old flame, or a then-more-recent acquaintance or a distant 'friend' from college or from her family's old neighborhood.

    I'm thinking JR may have been feeling guilty and attempted to end it and the person became angry. When the situation became overwhelming and argumentative JR threatened / attempted to call police and the situation escalated from that point forward.

    Attempts to clean up the kitchen were abandoned when the person frightened JR to the point where, in order to protect her children and to keep neighbors from finding out, she agreed to go with the person, as usual.

    JR must have been very distraught, crying from her injury. They eventually stopped at a motel, only JR entered the office and signed for the room. JR and the person then entered the motel room and....

    One hour later, they placed $5 on the bed and left in the person's vehicle. As they traveled JR became hysterical as she thought of her children and the bloodied kitchen, the damaged phone and the furniture strewn about. She realized she could never explain what happened without giving up the secret. Either JR convinced the person to stop and let her out of the vehicle or the person forced her to get out.

    By that point JR would have been an emotional mess, maybe reached a point of breakdown, knowing she could not face her children and husband. She wandered aimlessly for some time in complete despair, until finally ending up deep in the woods or in deep water.
     
  4. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I read that part about a year ago, the last time I checked on this case. Apparently LE didn't think it was relevant at the time. Maybe they found an explanation for it, but IDK. Can't hurt to revisit it.

    Let's say its a stalker who surprised her at home. Did he enter the house and wound her in some way? Stab her in the hand or arm? It would explain her neighbor's account that she came out of the house holding something red - could have been her hand. She would have tried to call police, prompting him to stab her while she was in the kitchen near the phone. There are blood tracks upstairs, in the baby's room, in the bedroom. Was she trying to get the baby and escape?

    Could he have taken her out the back way? She tried to run out the front, but returned because her son was still in the house.
     
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  5. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    The possibility of an affair seems plausible. Other accounts I've read elsewhere imply the wealthy, exclusive neighborhood saw a lot of philandering among residents. Not too surprising back in those days. It could also be that some local man expressed interest in her, but she refused him. That could account for stalking and sneaking into her house to confront her during the day.

    I've kind of discounted the witness reports of a woman walking down the road in various locations that day. The places and times she was alleged to have been wandering were logistically difficult, if not impossible. Would there have been enough time to take her away from the house, check into a motel, have sex, then leave her to walk down the road in the time frame allotted?

    I agree with her husband that someone put her in a car and drove her away. I can't imagine someone assaulting the wife of a wealthy person, injuring and possibly raping her, then leaving her on the side of the road. Too much risk that she would go to police.
     
  6. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    bbm

    There was no backdoor on the house, except for a below-grade-basement exit door ("Dorothy Doors").
     
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  7. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reminder. You're right. Seems odd for a house of that era. I suppose he could have come in through the basement doors. Otherwise, he came in the front way, but none of the neighbors saw him, only the blue/gray car. Why didn't Mrs. Barker see the blue car when she looked out and saw Joan running towards her own car. Did she actually see it (and recognize it) but left out that detail?

    Yeah, I think there's a good chance she knew the attacker.
     
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  8. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    Note there was not enough open space next (left side, right side) to JR's vehicle for another vehicle to have been parked next to it. Behind it and in front of it, yes. Next to it, no.
     
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  9. billhp

    billhp Member

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    I dont think so,light switchs are placed at 48"The phone dial in Joans kitchen would be eye level for average adults.Lillian would need a kitchen chair to reach the dial,all Joans kitchen table chairs seem to be neat and orderly.My thoughts determined by crime photos.
     
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  10. billhp

    billhp Member

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    But there is a back door on the garage which gets you to the breezeway door next to the garage and house.
     
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  11. flute4peace

    flute4peace Well-Known Member

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    Could the little girl have broken the phone while trying to get to it to use it? As in pulling on the handset in desperation?
     
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  12. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    Let's use the crime scene photo of the R kitchen as a reference.

    Referring to the attached photos:

    Yellow horizontal line, placed in visual perspective:
    • Typical stove height (floor to stove top) = 36 inches.
    • Base of the chair rail measures similar to stove top height = 36 inches.

    Orange vertical line:
    • Measures 1/2 the height of the stove top / bottom chair rail = 18 inches.
    • The line indicates distance between bottom of the chair rail to the phone dial.

    36 inches + 18 inches = 54 inches.

    Comparison:
    • Floor to the bottom of our wall-mounted phone = 50 inches.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering how a 4 year old could have attempted to dial the phone and be so careful so as not to step in or touch / lean against *any* of the blood since there was a pooling of blood extending from the corner on the floor under the phone and a smear on the wall under the phone approximately 20-22 inches above the floor.

    Forcefully detaching a handset cord from a phone (especially phones of that era) would be difficult even for an adult.

    The phone in the R kitchen appears to be an Western Electric Model 554 (A/B). 500-series phones were virtually indestructible, designed to last decades in-use, built so because the phones were owned by Western Electric and leased to consumers.

    Typical handset cord construction included a coiled thermoplastic cord containing four (1960 models) individual leads of insulated stranded copper wire which were interlaced with cloth thread to maintain bend-radius and stretch integrity.

    One end of the cord was hardwired (modular connector models were introduced 1968+) internally to the base phone and had a metal retaining ring crimped on it. The retaining ring was either attached to the base plate with a hook design or simply restrained by a metal tang attached to the top phone casing.

    That cord was designed to survive much abuse and to last.. and required significant pull force to detach it from the phone base. That would be difficult for a 4 year old, although not impossible. I expect LR would have had to almost pull-hang from the cord to detach it and that likely would have resulted in her falling on to the floor and landing in the corner-located blood pool.
     
  14. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    The back door led in to the garage proper but you could not then gain immediate access to the breezeway door from inside the garage unless a garage (vehicle access) door was opened. You had to exit the garage to access the breezeway door.

    Both garage (vehicle access) doors show as open in crime scene photographs but it is not known if either or both doors were opened when the event occurred of if LE opened the doors during the investigation.
     

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  15. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    In one of the articles I read, the person who saw the blue/gray car said it was parked behind Joan's car, almost to the road.

    Here's a link to Historical Aerial's photo of Old Bedford Rd in 1963

    NETRonline: Historic Aerials - Viewer

    I can't quite make out which house was the Risch's, but I'm trying to get an idea of how much the neighbors might have been able to see if they were looking out a window, etc. towards the Risch home that afternoon.

    ETA: Also adding that the many theories out there about JR having a "botched abortion", etc. A uterine rupture, which would occur in that scenario results in excessive bleeding. If JR had such a complication, there would have been much more blood at the scene. I'm not a health care professional, but was with someone who experienced this complication as a result of premature labor.

    JMO, JR was either cut, stabbed or struck in a way that caused heavy superficial bleeding. Also possible she could have been shot, but there was no evidence of it at the scene and no neighbors reported hearing gunshots.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  16. Betty P

    Betty P Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting this information! I was thinking the same thing. Those older phones were built to last, very strong. It would have been impossible for a 4 yo to pull the handset from the wall phone. I also don't see JR pulling it from the wall herself in order to stage the scene. It would have taken a lot of force, possibly several attempts by a woman her age and size. And if she were staging the scene (which I don't believe she did), why not just cut the cord with a knife?

    JMO, the only person strong enough to yank the handset loose from that phone would be a man, probably one who was angry and violent, who wanted to prevent JR calling for help.

    Joan's Coat

    Once the phone was ripped out of the wall, it seems Joan might have then run outside to escape the violent man. Ms Barker says she was wearing a trench coat when she saw her run outside. Would she have taken the time to grab and put on a coat before running outside? Doesn't seem likely, but possible.

    Had she just come from outside and was still wearing her coat when the killer attacked? Was she preparing to go across the street to pick up her daughter when the killer entered her home?

    If her attacker was someone she knew, a man she'd been having an affair with, would she put on her coat at his urging to leave and go somewhere? Seems unlikely she would have left her son there alone. More likely he may have been threatening physical harm.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  17. billhp

    billhp Member

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    We had a 1957 wall mount phone like Joans while living in Lincoln.Our cord took lots of abuse and I cant ever remember it disconecting from the phone base or receiver.Joans phone cord separated at the phone base so maybe Lillian could have pulled on it, if she could reach it,but it would take great force to disconect it,but unlikey since she knew you had to use the dial and have access to it for a call.
     
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  18. billhp

    billhp Member

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    The children said Joan was in and out of garage getting and returning landscape tools.
     
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  19. billhp

    billhp Member

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    ChuckMaureen,I dont think we can ascertain from the photo that there isnt a door in the right front of the garage leading to the breezeway.It would make great design sense so you didnt have walk into bad weather to get into the house.
     
  20. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    A back door for a house makes good design sense as well but, there is no back door.

    There is no door from the garage to the breezeway entrance.

    Another view:
     

    Attached Files:

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