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

Betty P

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Yes, I agree mostly, what I wrote was my theory before I read about the dogs not being able to track her scent.

There was an article with mention of an eyewhitness report though, she was seen coming outside her home and going to the car "with something red in her hands". I found that intereseting, but it doesn't really tell us much.

It's strange, we don't know. If she was the victim of the bloody attack inside her own home, she was the one most likely bleeding. It could be whoever saw her was seeing the killer forcing her out to the car to take her away. The scent dogs did find her scent coming out of her house to her driveway. If you look at photos of the house, there was shrubbery and trees in the front yard and along the driveway. It's possible whomever thought they saw her with something red only got a partial view of Joan, didn't see the person who was taking her away.

IIRC, LE scent dogs traced the trips she made to go across the street to the neighbors to drop off the kids, then traced back home. Then there was another scent trail that came out of her house and ended in the driveway. That's why police concluded that she left in a car. They took the dogs up and down the street outside her house and the road nearby, but could find no scent.

They also checked the back yard and all the woods behind her house, but also found no scent.
 

DD Byrd

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Based on the information from the book...this sounds like a familial or familial-organized altercation in the house. Perhaps Joan injured a hand fending off, or even attacking herself, an unwelcome but known visitor. Maybe she was offered an apologetic ride to treatment that wasn't so apologetic. That could explain her hustling around holding something red, i.e. a bloody towel, etc., but not screaming as if forced to a car. Of course, a gun in the ribs could also prevent screaming.

My only pause is a lack of prints on that bloodied kitchen floor. Someone was careful, but why? If Joan was bleeding, but not in immediate danger, an "allowed" check up to her son's room would make sense. "He's sleeping and fine, I can leave for a minute." More darkly, "I may not be back, I'm going to drip some blood for whoever finds this scene while I'm allowed to say 'goodbye'." Or Joan was already out of the house, likely dead in the trunk of the mystery car, and the perpetrator tried to leave a convincing "scene" while protecting his/her own shoes.

I'd like to think there was sufficient blood preserved, in anticipation of future advances in science, but 1961 is a reach even if they'd had the wherewithal to tag n bag JIC. The hanger on the trunk is deliberate, and it's rarely-mentioned existence seems deliberate. At the time, the only connotation left for "scene discovery" I can think of is abortion, based on the blood. So if abortion, the "message" was literal, or someone wanted to lead to the assumption it was abortion-related whether or not that was completely irrelevant.
 

Betty P

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Based on the information from the book...this sounds like a familial or familial-organized altercation in the house. Perhaps Joan injured a hand fending off, or even attacking herself, an unwelcome but known visitor. Maybe she was offered an apologetic ride to treatment that wasn't so apologetic. That could explain her hustling around holding something red, i.e. a bloody towel, etc., but not screaming as if forced to a car. Of course, a gun in the ribs could also prevent screaming.

My only pause is a lack of prints on that bloodied kitchen floor. Someone was careful, but why? If Joan was bleeding, but not in immediate danger, an "allowed" check up to her son's room would make sense. "He's sleeping and fine, I can leave for a minute." More darkly, "I may not be back, I'm going to drip some blood for whoever finds this scene while I'm allowed to say 'goodbye'." Or Joan was already out of the house, likely dead in the trunk of the mystery car, and the perpetrator tried to leave a convincing "scene" while protecting his/her own shoes.

I'd like to think there was sufficient blood preserved, in anticipation of future advances in science, but 1961 is a reach even if they'd had the wherewithal to tag n bag JIC. The hanger on the trunk is deliberate, and it's rarely-mentioned existence seems deliberate. At the time, the only connotation left for "scene discovery" I can think of is abortion, based on the blood. So if abortion, the "message" was literal, or someone wanted to lead to the assumption it was abortion-related whether or not that was completely irrelevant.

JMO, the hanger on the car outside is an unintended "red herring". The local dry cleaning company had visited the house earlier that day to drop off an order and pick up another. Its most likely the deliveryman accidentally dropped a hanger and didnt notice or forgot to pick it up before he left.

I've always doubted Joan left her home willingly. Her young son was asleep upstairs in his crib. Seems unlikely any young mom would voluntarily leave an infant alone in the house while she left to run an errand, etc.
 

DD Byrd

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We'd need to know why the hanger was placed, just so, ON the car. You don't accidentally drop something upwards. Unless it was dropped on the ground and then placed on the car, anti evidence collection 101, even in '61. But I'd think that would have been investigated through neighbors and others in the area. "Did you see/touch a hanger?" would have come out, even with those who may have and said "whoopsies" afterwards. Especially with random blood smears on several areas of the car itself.

Agreed, this was not a willing departure, or at least it was under false pretenses of return. It sounds like she'd done her errands and already removed the errand-clothing she had donned for the day. She was seen doing yardwork and unless she was June Cleaver, would probably not have jumped back into "town attire" for errands again.
 

Betty P

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We'd need to know why the hanger was placed, just so, ON the car. You don't accidentally drop something upwards. Unless it was dropped on the ground and then placed on the car, anti evidence collection 101, even in '61. But I'd think that would have been investigated through neighbors and others in the area. "Did you see/touch a hanger?" would have come out, even with those who may have and said "whoopsies" afterwards. Especially with random blood smears on several areas of the car itself.

Agreed, this was not a willing departure, or at least it was under false pretenses of return. It sounds like she'd done her errands and already removed the errand-clothing she had donned for the day. She was seen doing yardwork and unless she was June Cleaver, would probably not have jumped back into "town attire" for errands again.

Since the dry cleaning delivery guy is probably no longer living, he probably can't provide those details.

My guess from first time I read this detail is that he was carrying a bundle of dry cleaned clothes on hangers, a loose hanger dropped on the ground, he didn't want his feet to get tangled in it, so he picked it up and set it on the car, which was just in front of his vehicle. He probably thought he would retrieve it on the way out, but forgot. He was probably busy with other deliveries to make and likely had more than a few loose hangers in his van.

All of the evidence from the crime scene was tested. There was no blood, etc. on the hanger, only a pool of blood on the trunk of Mrs. Risch's car, which was parked in front of any car that was parked behind hers.

JMO, I find the persistent rumors about an alleged abortion (simply because a dry cleaning deliveryman probably dropped a stray hanger there) to be hurtful to surviving family members - eg Joan's children and grandchildren. What a nightmare it must be to have lost your mother to a violent kidnapper/killer only to have people speculate horrible stories on the internet, YouTube, podcasts, etc based on false accusations for the next several decades.
 
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