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

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

  1. Ozoner

    Ozoner Well-Known Member

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    It's entirely possible. However, I wouldn't underestimate how far someone—even an injured person—can walk when adrenaline kicks in.
     
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  2. scruffydog

    scruffydog Well-Known Member

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  3. scruffydog

    scruffydog Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think any of the supposed sightings were real... I really believe she was killed in her house. No abortion, etc., just plain murdered.
     
  4. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    But why disappear her body? Given the copious amount of blood at the primary crime scene (assume the Risch kitchen) would a killer risk such blood contamination of their vehicle? An argument for might include, to hide COD and/or to retrieve evidence (lodged bullet/s, broken knife blade) and/or to make it appear JR left the dwelling under her own power.

    Police report documents floating around the internets has not provided significant clues to bolster any specific theory and the alleged sightings of JR at various locations deepens the mystery. Someone seeking help would not bypass their neighbor's doors and passing motorists, much less hide themselves deep in the woods.

    Blood-loss disorientation is a possibility, and might bolster a theory of delirious wandering and eventual disappearance but, the how/why cause of significant blood loss still remains.

    A staged crime is also a possibility, noting a report of evidence that JR had researched crime stories books and at least one included a similar disappearance scenario but would JR want her children to endure such an experience?

    One opinion holds that this is a rape/abduction case; JR would have fought an intruder (to protect her children) and after having been injured with significant bleeding I suspect JR would have left semi-willingly to ensure the assailant would no longer be in the house.
     
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  5. scruffydog

    scruffydog Well-Known Member

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    I think she was wrapped in a tarp, blanket, etc., placed in a trunk, and buried somewhere away from the scene. My take on the books is she was a bored housewife, with no friends around. I don't see it as any type of a fake death set up.
     
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  6. ChuckMaureen

    ChuckMaureen Well-Known Member

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    A point to ponder: why would someone go through such an effort to disappear her body from the house and into a vehicle and risk discovery by a mail carrier, a delivery person, a neighbor, a passerby? Carrying a bloodied body is a cumbersome effort at best; carrying a body wrapped in a tarp, a blanket or carpet is even worse.

    As far as we know, police reports (in public view) do not indicate missing items such as a tarp, blanket, carpet, etc. but LE may be withholding that information along with other significant detail(s).
     
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  7. scruffydog

    scruffydog Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe she was wrapped up in something from their house. but perhaps something the killer brought with them. Maybe they were in a work vehicle, had tarps, etc..... many people have a blanket in their car.
    She was an attractive woman and her husband seems to have travelled somewhat for work. maybe someone developed a crush on her, and watched and waited for her husband to be absent from the house. A romantic advance or planned rape could have gone wrong and ended up as a murder.
     
  8. 18thcenturylady

    18thcenturylady New Member

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    Like so many for some reason this case really sticks with me. What a tragedy for her whole family. It's so frustrating because I believe that it could possibly be solved now. I wish some cold case officers would take it on. My own feeling about what happened is that it was some type of home accident/medical emergency. Middle of the day. No screams from the home. ONLY Joan seen outside once near her car with "something red" in/on arms. (Probably blood). I can't think of anyone who wouldn't fight or scram blue murder if being attacked. Her daughter could have come in at any moment. You are going to try to fight and alert anyone anyway you can. Someone who attacked is not then just going to let her wander out the door to her car. She then went back INTO the house. I think this was just a perfect storm of totally freaky circumstances. Somehow she injured herself and possibly had a reaction to drugs used in her dental appt. Maybe she had a beer with her lunch and the combination caused some reaction. She perhaps left by the back door. It seems she was not able to think too clearly. I do not believe the so-called sightings of her along the road. I am sure people are well meaning but it could have been anyone and a couple were just too far away. The phone was not "ripped from the wall", the cord from the handset was detached. I know how easily that can happen. When I saw the handset in the bin, it was hung over the side, as you would hang up a phone. Very odd. I don't think an attacker would do that. They would just fling it away.
    The beer bottles could have been there for days. I don't think the Risch's were heavy drinkers, but perhaps Joan bought some beer who knows when and the empties could have accumulated. This is a non issue in my opinion, and the LE seems to agree. Joan had lived there only 6 months. She probably didn't know all her neighbors all that well, but even if she did, I think she was in a state where she simply was not thinking clearly. I feel that her body is somewhere not far from home. It just has not been found. Well, that has happened thousands of times to many.
    Boy, if every woman who loves mysteries and murder books is a 'bored housewife with nothing much in her life' then there are millions out there. I personally love murder mystery/disappearance stories and love to try to solve them. So does everyone who watches ID Discovery TV, or for that matter, members here! I do not believe that Joan left to start a new life. Let's give some credit to the people that really knew her best and who said she would never do that. Those fingerprints that were not Joan or her husbands were NOT in the blood. They could belong to her father in law (who I heard had been there not long before) or any one of many innocuous people. I think this kind of case always brings out some conspiracy theorists. I sadly think that this was just a normal weekday for Joan and family that somehow went horribly wrong, and she was unable to get help or think coherently for some reason. I just wish LE would look again at this case now. Start from the beginning and go over everything. Re-test everything.
    By the way, her friend Sabra is 88 and lives in Hanover NH. It's a shame a podcaster or PI can't go and at least talk to her before it's too late to get her take on her friend...
     
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  9. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Joan Carolyn Risch
    • [​IMG]
    • [​IMG]
    • [​IMG]
    • [​IMG]
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    Risch, circa 1961

    • Missing Since 10/24/1961
    • Missing From Lincoln, Massachusetts
    • Classification Endangered Missing
    • Sex Female
    • Race White
    • Date of Birth 08/04/1931 (age today would be 88)
    • Age 30 years old
    • Height and Weight 5'7, 120 pounds
    • Clothing/Jewelry Description A gray cloth coat (possibly Peck and Peck brand), a blouse, a sweater, a charcoal-colored wool skirt, blue sneakers with white piping, a slim platinum wedding band with five diamond chips, and possibly a scarf on her head. Her shoes have been variously described as blue high heels, flats, or sneakers with piping.
    • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Risch's blood type is O. Her birth name was Joan Bard, and she was later adopted by a family named Nattrass and took that name; this was her maiden name. She has a filling in her left upper molar and her ears are pierced. When nervous she may break out in a red rash on her neck below her chin; the rash requires medication to clear.
    Details of Disappearance

    Risch was a homemaker in Lincoln, Massachusetts in 1961. She was married and had two children. The family had moved to Lincoln from Ridgefield, Connecticut about seven months before.

    Her husband was out of town on a business trip on the day of her disappearance, October 24, 1961. She went with her four-year-old daughter to the dentist that morning, cashed a check and went shopping. She returned home for lunch at 11:00 a.m., put her two-year-old son in his crib for a nap. Her daughter played outside with a neighbor boy.

    At 1:55 p.m., Risch took her daughter and the neighbor boy to his parents' home and left them at the swingset in the yard, without saying anything to the boy's parents. She told them she would be back, then returned home alone. At 2:15 p.m., a neighbor saw Risch standing next to her blue sedan outside the family's residence on Old Bedford Road. She was carrying something red and appeared to be dazed.

    This is the last time anyone saw Risch. Her daughter came home from the neighbor's at 4:00 p.m., then immediately ran back to say that her mother was missing and "red paint" covered the kitchen walls. The "paint" turned out to be type O blood, Risch's type.

    The Risches' telephone had been ripped from the kitchen wall and thrown in a wastebasket. The wastebasket had been moved from the corner to the center of the room, and a nearby telephone book was found opened at the emergency numbers section. There was a single bloody thumbprint on the phone mount, and two fingerprints and a partial palm print on the wall; they were not Risch's prints, and have never been identified. The only other sign of a struggle was an overturned chair in the kitchen. Risch's son was still in his crib upstairs.

    The blood trail led from the baby's room to the kitchen and then outside to the Risch family' driveway, where it stopped near her parked car. Blood drops were found on the hood and trunk of the car itself, but there were no bloody footprints inside on the kitchen floor. There was no sign of Risch herself inside the residence.

    Investigators thought there was about a pint of blood spread throughout the house. Someone had made efforts to clean up in the kitchen with paper towels and a pair of Risch's son's coveralls.

    Witnesses reported seeing an unidentified dirty blue/gray 1954 or 1955 sedan parked behind Risch's car in the Risches' driveway at 3:20 p.m. the day of the disappearance. Drivers also saw a woman walking along the road where Route 128 was under construction later in the day. No one stopped to assist the unidentified female, who was disheveled, appeared confused or dazed, and was holding something against her abdomen. Blood was running down the backs of her legs.

    After these initial reports, sightings of Risch ceased. She has never been heard from again.

    Risch's husband was in New York on October 24 for a business trip; he had left early that morning. He was questioned by investigators but was cleared of any involvement in her disappearance. Authorities did learn that Risch checked out over 25 library books during the previous summer, all of them related to murder or unexplained disappearances. Her husband described her as an avid reader who enjoyed suspense stories.

    Some people theorized that Risch chose to stage her own disappearance because she was unhappy with her life. She had worked in the publishing field in New York prior to her marriage. She chose to end her career to raise her family. Although many described her as a devoted mother who had a happy marriage and was deeply attached to her husband and children, some friends claimed Risch was very ambitious and was not fulfilled with her home life.

    Others speculated Risch was attacked and was suffering from amnesia as a result. Another hypothesis in the same vein is that Risch was not assaulted at all, but simply suffered an episode of some type and left her residence.

    Both of these theories could suggest the possibility that Risch wandered into a pit on the Route 128 construction site the night she disappeared and was unknowingly buried. She has no history of amnesiac experiences, however, and no history of mental illness in either herself or her family.

    Newspaper reports from 1961 state that Risch may have been sexually abused as a child. Another account stated that her parents died in a strange fire in New Jersey in 1940, when Risch was nine years old; she was raised by an aunt and uncle after that. Both of these reports suggest that she may have had personal reasons for wanting to stage her disappearance.

    Risch was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Wilson College in Pennsylvania in 1952, with a degree in English. Her case remains open and unsolved.
    Investigating Agency
    • Lincoln Police Department 781-259-8111
    Source Information
     
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  10. branmuffin

    branmuffin Well-Known Member

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    I lived in a house like this growing up. It had a breezeway with a side door and a front door, no back door. The garage had a door leading to the breezeway to avoid inclement weather. We may not be able to see the interior garage door but I bet it's there. This image is a bit different from the usual one we see, but when I look at it, it looks like the frame of a door appears further to the back of the garage. The door from our garage to the breezeway was also set back a bit. The door was centred in the garage wall but the garage was set back a couple of feet from the line of the front of the house like this home is.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. branmuffin

    branmuffin Well-Known Member

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    The following statements are my opinions only. MOO

    A couple of things bother me about the interview with MR. I don't mean him referring to his spouse in the past tense. But his referral to David as 'the boy' and Lillian as 'the other child'. He sounds so impersonal you'd be hard pressed to realize he's talking about his own wife and children. He makes it sound like JR rarely looked after her own children saying 'the other child always went across to the neighbors'. I wonder what arrangements were made that BB agreed to look after JR's children. Was it beneficial for both women? As for MR, based on his aloof assessments of his family, I speculate sometimes whether he thought the children were his.

    There's been discussions as to whether the mystery car in the driveway was from out of state. Considering that everyone who DID see it said it was quite dirty (enough that no-one's quite sure what colour it was) it's quite possible the car was from out of state. Here are two 1961 licence plates from Massachusetts and New York, respectively. They look very similar if viewed briefly.

    Almost everything we know about the timeline of Joan's day after her visit to the dentist is based on BB's narrative. Her narrative has always been the standard of what happened and when. I'm not sure why she says things like "about 1:55" when discussing a timeline. Most people providing a timeline would say 'about 2'. Plus she's changed some of her timelines over time where even a 15 minute change could be impactful, especially considering the issue of the mystery car leaving JR's driveway.


    Regarding the (bloody) fingerprints in the house, I can't remember where I read that BB was not fingerprinted which if true is very odd, considering how many people were.

    And based on any numerous cases where first responders have compromised a crime scene, it's possible the redacted name relating to the bloody fingerprint on the phone is one of their own.

    I'm not sure of the source of the blood on the floor in the kitchen but there is a possibility that the anesthetic used during her dentist visit had methylparabens, a preserving agent, which is no longer used. There are certain side effects of this additive, one being spontaneous abortion in the first trimester.
    First trimester anesthesia exposure and fetal outcome. A review. - PubMed - NCBI
    It is surprising how poor JR's dental hygiene was considering her economic status.

    As to the Event: I think it's possible JR was in the process of putting her son down for a nap, maybe taking off his overalls and and under pants if he'd needed a change when she realized she was bleeding, perhaps droplets at first and tried to get to the bathroom. I'm not sure if the bathroom was on the ground floor but if it was, she probably came down the stairs and got to the kitchen when she started to bleed heavily; she may have even used her son's overalls to stanch the blood flow. If she was having a miscarriage but didn't even realize she was pregnant I can see how she may have panicked and fainted or felt woozy at the very least losing her balance, knocking things over. Her husband mentioned in his statement that JR had a reaction to stress where she broke out in a skin rash and perhaps that issue could exacerbate any bleeding she experienced. It's a known fact that stress can have adverse effects on menstruation from stopping it altogether to causing heavier bleeding. The blood stains on the walls and floor, the turned over phone book table, the displaced phone receiver can be explained as a woman experiencing a medical emergency panicking, fainting or falling and grabbing something for purchase just as easily as a struggle between two people.

    I don't believe she orchestrated her own disappearance based on her reading choices; I'd be guilty of espionage and murder based on mine. But she went missing from her home. She didn't walk out so she ended up in a vehicle that drove away. But who's?
     
  12. scruffydog

    scruffydog Well-Known Member

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    I have to ask-what "poor dental hygiene"?? The only thing mentioned was that she had a filling in a right upper molar. Sounds like some darned good teeth for an adult...
     
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  13. branmuffin

    branmuffin Well-Known Member

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    According to the dentist, Dr. Goldstein, JR had one cavity filled and another appointment set up for October 31 because she had six other teeth that needed work. This is in the PDF (page 42) of the timeline of JR's day. There is also a dentist chart of her teeth in the PDF and you can see where she has more cavities. Here's a link to the PDF.
    joan risch.pdf
     
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  14. billhp

    billhp Member

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    As a contractor who has worked on many capes like JRS ,with a garage attached. I have never come across one that didnt have a garage without an enterence to the house in Lincoln or surrounding towns.Because of the darkness inside the JRS garage, there very well could be a door hidig in the shadows!
     
  15. Seratonin

    Seratonin Well-Known Member

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  16. scruffydog

    scruffydog Well-Known Member

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    I still feel like this case is solvable. I cannot remember-is the neighbour still living? What about Joan's son and daughter? I would love to walk the neighbourhood, and also go through Joan's house.
     
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  17. jgfitzge

    jgfitzge It's complicated! No, It really isn't

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    Barbara Barker, the neighbor as of 2019 was still alive but I believe she was 90. Joan’s kids are still alive. The son is local, daughter lives on the west coast. Joan’ house is no longer there.
     
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  18. Andreee

    Andreee Well-Known Member

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    There is an article a page or two back about the son, who has memory impairment of some kind, and who had been missing from where he was living for awhile but returned later.
     
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  19. bettyboop

    bettyboop Active Member

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    This case is so intriguing to me because I live in Massachusetts
    and only learned of the case when I came to this website. It is one of the reasons I became a member.
     
  20. Skigirl

    Skigirl Verified expert in neuroscience

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    Interesting observations!
    I think that the crack of light around the door frame suggests that the door goes into a lit room, though it's certainly possible that the breezeway had flood lights aimed at the door, creating the frame of light.
     
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