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

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The dark object under the towel is a toy tractor made by the Auburn Company.


Auburn Farm Toy Tractor

The paper roll probably was used by the children for drawing pictures. It was likely standing on end and got knocked over during the attack. When it fell, it began to roll on the floor, unrolling the paper until it stopped in the corner. It is not paper towel type of paper, but heavier. Perhaps wrapping paper or paper meant to be fed through a printing press of some sort.

The phone receiver being perched on the full trash can seems odd. Why would someone take such care to hang it there in light of the violence and struggle that took place?

If someone threw that toy tractor it could cause serious injuries. Even if a child was holding it waving it around they could cause injury if they whopped someone on the head with it accidentally. Imagine her son lying in his cot or on a change table waving it around while Joan was changing him and he accidentally hit her with it. Head wounds do bleed profusely even if the wound is superficial. If Joan had an anesthetic when at the dentist that could cause her to bleed even more. I like your scenario with the roll of paper. It never looked like a paper towel roll but I couldn't figure out why it was on the floor without knowing where its home was.

I know I've said it before way back in the threads but I know for a fact that back in those days the idea of preserving a possible crime scene was sadly lacking in LE circles. Numerous cops have traipsed through crime scenes, even those who are not actively investigating it, because they could. They picked stuff up and didn't return it to its original place, the tromped over existing footprints, used the bannisters going up and down stairs effectively obliterating any useable prints.

I don't know what happened to Joan. Posters have come up with many viable scenarios which probably have already been thought of by LE. One thing that always troubles me when reading about possible crime scenes like this, a respectable middle class woman with a sterling reputation, is that many of the articles related to this possible crime scene, talk about a woman preserving her honour as if to banish the idea that JS could have manufactured her own disappearance (which I don't think she did) or was involved in an affair.
 
If someone threw that toy tractor it could cause serious injuries. Even if a child was holding it waving it around they could cause injury if they whopped someone on the head with it accidentally. Imagine her son lying in his cot or on a change table waving it around while Joan was changing him and he accidentally hit her with it. Head wounds do bleed profusely even if the wound is superficial. If Joan had an anesthetic when at the dentist that could cause her to bleed even more. I like your scenario with the roll of paper. It never looked like a paper towel roll but I couldn't figure out why it was on the floor without knowing where its home was.

I know I've said it before way back in the threads but I know for a fact that back in those days the idea of preserving a possible crime scene was sadly lacking in LE circles. Numerous cops have traipsed through crime scenes, even those who are not actively investigating it, because they could. They picked stuff up and didn't return it to its original place, the tromped over existing footprints, used the bannisters going up and down stairs effectively obliterating any useable prints.

I don't know what happened to Joan. Posters have come up with many viable scenarios which probably have already been thought of by LE. One thing that always troubles me when reading about possible crime scenes like this, a respectable middle class woman with a sterling reputation, is that many of the articles related to this possible crime scene, talk about a woman preserving her honour as if to banish the idea that JS could have manufactured her own disappearance (which I don't think she did) or was involved in an affair.
Good points! That would explain a lot of the blood evidence and possibly her confusion.
 
If someone threw that toy tractor it could cause serious injuries. Even if a child was holding it waving it around they could cause injury if they whopped someone on the head with it accidentally. Imagine her son lying in his cot or on a change table waving it around while Joan was changing him and he accidentally hit her with it. Head wounds do bleed profusely even if the wound is superficial. If Joan had an anesthetic when at the dentist that could cause her to bleed even more. I like your scenario with the roll of paper. It never looked like a paper towel roll but I couldn't figure out why it was on the floor without knowing where its home was.

I know I've said it before way back in the threads but I know for a fact that back in those days the idea of preserving a possible crime scene was sadly lacking in LE circles. Numerous cops have traipsed through crime scenes, even those who are not actively investigating it, because they could. They picked stuff up and didn't return it to its original place, the tromped over existing footprints, used the bannisters going up and down stairs effectively obliterating any useable prints.

I don't know what happened to Joan. Posters have come up with many viable scenarios which probably have already been thought of by LE. One thing that always troubles me when reading about possible crime scenes like this, a respectable middle class woman with a sterling reputation, is that many of the articles related to this possible crime scene, talk about a woman preserving her honour as if to banish the idea that JS could have manufactured her own disappearance (which I don't think she did) or was involved in an affair.
"Preserving her honor” to me means she was trying not to be raped.
 
"Preserving her honor” to me means she was trying not to be raped.

Yes, I'm aware that's what they were referring to. But I always get the impression that some people think dying preserving your honour is better than being fouled by the act of rape. I worked with a guy who's cousin got raped walking back to her residence while attending university in Ontario. Instead of providing a safe harbour to her, her family shunned her and she killed herself. The guy confided that her committing suicide preserved their honour and obliterated the shame she brought to her family. Needless to say, I was gobsmacked.
 
Yes, I'm aware that's what they were referring to. But I always get the impression that some people think dying preserving your honour is better than being fouled by the act of rape. I worked with a guy who's cousin got raped walking back to her residence while attending university in Ontario. Instead of providing a safe harbour to her, her family shunned her and she killed herself. The guy confided that her committing suicide preserved their honour and obliterated the shame she brought to her family. Needless to say, I was gobsmacked.
Gross.
 
risch_joan4.jpg

Joan Carolyn Risch, age 30, missing since 24 October 1961
 
I haven’t written on this thread in a while, but one aspect of this case raises questions with me, and that is the various time frames that people give on their errands and trips. Maybe it’s minor, but in particular Joan’s trip to the dentist and Barbara Barker’s last shopping trip that afternoon, the time frames they give seem to be extremely tight.
 
the various time frames that people give on their errands and trips
Good point. IMO, life moved more slowly then, people weren't as wedded to multi-tasking and feeling virtuous for being go-go-go every waking hour. Not to say they didn't wear watches or weren't punctual, but there weren't timestamps EVERYwhere in one's field of vision...the TV, car, phone, tablet, laptop, etc. with myriad timers and reminder dings. In general, I don't think people were in as much as a chronic hurry or literally able to see minutes ticking by as often.

All to say that "oh, I had an appt, and then some errands...so it must have been around x o'clock" could easily be a much longer timeframe. Added to the fact that the urgency is in hindsight, that day neighbors weren't thinking "I'd better jot down what time I saw Joan chasing something red."
 
Good point. IMO, life moved more slowly then, people weren't as wedded to multi-tasking and feeling virtuous for being go-go-go every waking hour. Not to say they didn't wear watches or weren't punctual, but there weren't timestamps EVERYwhere in one's field of vision...the TV, car, phone, tablet, laptop, etc. with myriad timers and reminder dings. In general, I don't think people were in as much as a chronic hurry or literally able to see minutes ticking by as often.

All to say that "oh, I had an appt, and then some errands...so it must have been around x o'clock" could easily be a much longer timeframe. Added to the fact that the urgency is in hindsight, that day neighbors weren't thinking "I'd better jot down what time I saw Joan chasing something red."
Rereading many of the old posts in this thread has been fun. I really wanted to "like" so many of them.
But from 2004 ? . What's the point
When I realized yours was brand new I got to smile! Yay, I really liked your post.
 
I can't get over the fact, from the Ahern book, that Joan's friends from the neighborhood, Mary Jane Butler and Barbara Barker, actually went inside what must have looked like a murder scene inside the Risch house. How in the world did they not think a killer might still be in there, waiting to get them too? And why did Barbara Barker not call the police immediately, instead of running around the neighborhood looking for Joan? I've only read the parts of the book available for preview online but I intend to order it next month. It's got great reviews and apparently contains info the public hasn't been privy to.
 
I can't get over the fact, from the Ahern book, that Joan's friends from the neighborhood, Mary Jane Butler and Barbara Barker, actually went inside what must have looked like a murder scene inside the Risch house. How in the world did they not think a killer might still be in there, waiting to get them too? And why did Barbara Barker not call the police immediately, instead of running around the neighborhood looking for Joan? I've only read the parts of the book available for preview online but I intend to order it next month. It's got great reviews and apparently contains info the public hasn't been privy to.
I think they were in some sort of denial. A neighbor being attacked and kidnapped wasn’t something they could ever imagine. They were trying to find some rational answer for her disappearance and the blood in the kitchen. Messing with a crime scene wasn’t unusual back then. The public wasn’t aware of the need to leave everything untouched, in place.
 
And why did Barbara Barker not call the police immediately, instead of running around the neighborhood looking for Joan?
In that very second, she couldn't call because the phone was ripped out of the wall. But as @Betty P said, I think the initial understanding of the scene was "somehow Joan has hurt herself and must be outside somewhere". I can see running out to look for her, especially having found David in his crib seemingly fine.

The reports said it looked like someone had tried to clean the blood with towels, etc. It likely appeared that way to them as well. There was no dripping switchblade or smoking gun, so to speak, so the assumption would be Joan did it, and so was not completely incapacitated. They'd have likely thought she was on her way to someone else's house to get bandages, cleaning supplies or use the phone and they had missed her, and set off to check the homes. Having not seen the mystery car, and certainly not knowing what else is in the book we know in hindsight, they'd have no reason to think she was kidnapped, let alone never to be seen again.
 
The dark object under the towel is a toy tractor made by the Auburn Company.


Auburn Farm Toy Tractor

The paper roll probably was used by the children for drawing pictures. It was likely standing on end and got knocked over during the attack. When it fell, it began to roll on the floor, unrolling the paper until it stopped in the corner. It is not paper towel type of paper, but heavier. Perhaps wrapping paper or paper meant to be fed through a printing press of some sort.

The phone receiver being perched on the full trash can seems odd. Why would someone take such care to hang it there in light of the violence and struggle that took place?
I did this with my boys and they were born in 96 & 98. Bought the huge printer rolls and just rolled some out for them to draw on. I think that’s exactly what that roll is
 

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