Monday, August 28, 2017

Mystery Monday: Joan Risch

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

BUT FIRST...I just need to take a second to congratulate Cathrina Constantine. She won the autographed copy of Best. Night. Ever. from the recent blog tour!

The 50s and 60s were an interesting time for women. It was normal for a woman to stay home and take care of the kids while the man worked. Joan Risch was a typical 1960s housewife...with one big exception. One day in October of 1961, Joan's husband left on a work trip and never saw his wife again.

Joan Risch was the mother of two young children, Lillian and David. In 1961, they moved to a city just outside of Boston and were an active part of the community.

On the morning of October 24, Martin left early for the airport to fly to New York City. Joan fed the children breakfast and left her son with a neighbor before heading to the dentist with her daughter in their 1951 Chevrolet.

Front of Risch home. Image credit: I Can't Believe It's Nonfiction

By 11:15 a.m., Joan was back home and her daughter was playing outside with a neighbor's son. Soon after she returned, a dry cleaner arrived to pick up some of her husband's suits. He entered the house and said he saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Just before 2pm, Joan took her daughter and her neighbor's son across the street to the neighbor's house. At approximately 2:15 pm, that neighbor said she saw Joan walking up her driveway in a trench coat, carrying something red. She looked like she was chasing someone. That was the last time Joan was ever seen.

The Risch Driveway. Image credit: I Can't Believe It's Nonfiction

At 2:45, a woman was spotted walking along the road on Route 2A in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She wore a trench coat and was hunched over as though she were cold. Between 3:15 and 3:30, a similar-looking woman was spotted on the Route 128 median strip in Waltham. She had blood running down her legs and was holding her stomach as though cradling something.

Joan's car in her driveway. Image credit: I Can't Believe It's Nonfiction

At 3:40, the neighbor dropped Lillian off at her house on her way to the store. When she returned at 4:15, Lillian came over and said, "Mommy is gone and the kitchen is covered with red paint." The neighbor crossed the street and found David crying in his crib and blood in the kitchen. She called the police.

Warning: Crime Scene Photos Below!!!

In the kitchen, the phone receiver had been ripped from the wall. The phone book was open to a page listing emergency numbers. There was blood in the kitchen and on the driveway all the way to the road. One thumbprint was found in the blood in the kitchen that could not be traced to anyone.

Her husband was initially suspected, but he was eventually cleared. But prior to her death, Joan had checked out 25 books on disappearances and missing persons cases over the summer. Did she orchestrate her own disappearance?

Was this an abortion gone wrong? Or was it a case of attempted murder where she got away, only to be tracked down later by her killer while walking down the road?

What do you think happened to Joan Risch?