Missing since October 24, 1961 from Lincoln, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Circumstances of Disappearance
Joan Risch was last seen by neighbors on October 24, 1961. Her 4-year-old daughter was playing at a neighbor's house, her 2-year-old son was napping in his crib, and her husband was away on a business trip in New York. Her daughter left the neighbor's house at 16.00, but returned a half hour later stating that her mother was gone and that the kitchen was covered with red paint.
The paint turned out to be Joan Risch's blood.
The telephone was ripped from the wall and tossed in a nearby wastebasket. A chair had been overturned. The phone book lay open to emergency numbers. Police lifted a bloody left thumbprint next to the telephone mount. Over 5,000 sets of fingerprints were processed in an effort to identify it, but to no avail. No weapon was ever found. A trail of blood led from the kitchen to the driveway, ending abruptly. Droplets of blood were found on the side of Risch's parked car. However, investigators found no footprints on the bloody kitchen floor.
Investigators disclosed that someone had made the effort to clean up the blood with paper towels and rags. They also determined that the amount of blood found probably came from a superficial wound and it appeared that Risch had not been shot or stabbed, although hemorrhaging or a blow could not be ruled out.
Neighbors said they saw a bluish-gray Sedan in the driveway about an hour before Risch disappeared, but police determined that it was probably an unmarked cruiser. Another neighbor said she had seen Risch outside the house that afternoon, running and looking dazed. She had assumed Risch was chasing one of the children. A few motorists said they had spotted a bloody woman looking dazed near the site where Route 128 was being built, but no one had stopped to help her.
An air and ground search was conducted of the surrounding wooded area, reservoirs, and buildings, but no clues as to Joan Risch's whereabouts were found.
Investigators Lincoln Police Department
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Lincoln Police Department
Boston Globe Archives - April 2, 1989 & August 28, 1996
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