The Trail Went Cold – Episode 43 – Joan Risch

October 24, 1961. Lincoln, Massachusetts. 30-year old housewife and mother Joan Risch vanishes from her home and the evidence at the scene suggests a violent abduction. Witnesses report seeing a bloody, disoriented woman matching Joan’s description walking down the road that day, but this woman is never found. Over one year later, evidence is uncovered to suggest Joan might have decided to stage her own disappearance. Was Joan Risch abducted, did she disappear voluntarily, or is there an altogether different explanation for what happened? We shall explore all the different angles of one of our most baffling and requested cases on this week’s episode of “The Trail Went Cold”.

Additional Reading:

“The Search for Joan Risch: Presented by New England’s Untold Stories”

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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.

2 thoughts on “The Trail Went Cold – Episode 43 – Joan Risch

  • It has to be one of two things: a botched medial procedure, or murder. When she brought the kids over to the neighbor’s yard, it seemed to be with the intention of picking them back up soon after, which means she needed them out of the house while she dealt with something. There are many posts on Reddit from a person who says they grew up in the neighborhood around that time, and it was no secret she (and indeed, many others) was having an affair at the time. The sedan seen parked in the driveway that afternoon (and 5 days earlier, according to the milkman) could have been her lover coming by, and the state of things in the house could indicate a struggle occurred.

    However, while I think Robin is correct here in dismissing the idea of a botched home abortion surgery, I don’t think the idea of a miscarriage or abortion can be totally ruled out either. Redditors have posited the idea of abortificient drugs and herbs, which were being used in the 60’s and often had disastrous side effects. This is where the alleged sighting of her appearing to be carrying something red in her hands by her car makes sense. She could have started feeling the effects of something going wrong, got the kids out of the house for a bit to deal with it, but it started getting worse and worse, and she called someone to help who ultimately took her away and just laid low afterwards. Ultimately, I feel it comes down to one of these scenarios.

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