Murderpedia

 

 

Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

home

last updates

MALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
   

FEMALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 

Richard GRISSOM Jr.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide - Murderer
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - Rape - The bodies of the three young women have never been found
Number of victims: 4 +
Date of murders: 1966 / June 18/26, 1989
Date of arrest: July 7, 1989
Date of birth: 1960
Victims profile: Hazel Meeker (an elderly neighbor woman) / Joan A. Butler, 24; Theresa Brown, 22, and Christine Rusch, 22
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife / ???
Location: Johnson County, Kansas, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on November 20, 1990
 
 

 
 

photo gallery

 
 

 
 

Richard Grissom Jr.

In August 1999 a team of scientists, academics and homicide investigators searched a grassy field off of Douglas County Road 458 southeast of Clinton Lake dam. They were looking for the bodies of three women killed by Richard Grissom Jr. They were unsuccessful.

In 1990, even without the bodies, a Johnson County jury found Grissom guilty in the first-degree murder deaths of Joan A. Butler, 24, Overland Park; Theresa Brown, 22, and Christine Rusch, 22, roommates living in a Lenexa apartment.

The women disappeared in the summer of 1989. Grissom, a house painter and maintenance worker, liked to hang out at Lawrence discos. He was found at a Lawrence apartment complex with the car leased by Butler. He ran from a police patrolman trying to question him and then eluded a police search.

Grissom was later tracked to Texas where he was arrested at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Grissom never admitted his guilt and thus hasn't told police where the women's bodies were hidden. Lenexa Police Lt. Pat Hinkle wonders if he ever will.

"He's just your typical con man," Hinkle said. "He won't say anything unless there's something to be gained for him."

Hinkle led the investigation of the Brown and Rusch murders as well as multiple searches of the field near Clinton Lake. The field was searched because a resident in the area recorded a license tag on a vehicle seen there at the time of the murders. It turned out to be a stolen tag later found to be in Grissom's possession.

"He absolutely has no regard for anybody or anybody's rules," said Hinkle, who also has had visits with Grissom in prison.

2ljworld.com


Richard Grissom, Jr. (killed: 4+)

Ten years later, fates of murderer's three victims remain a mystery

By Tony Rizzo - The Kansas City Star

06/12/99

Theresa Brown. Joan Butler. Christine Rusch.

It was 10 years ago this month that the three young Johnson County women vanished, never to be seen or heard from again.

The secret of their fates remains locked away in a Kansas prison cell, along with the man who has kept it to himself for a decade.

His prediction to police, "You'll dig them up," remains unfulfilled.

Despite the lack of bodies, Richard Grissom Jr. was convicted of murdering all three. His first chance at parole will be in 2071, when he would be 110 years old.

[...]

When he was 16, he beat and fatally stabbed an elderly neighbor woman [Hazel Meeker] near his family's home in Lansing.

Court records are sealed because he was a juvenile, but two years later he was on parole.

Morrison said the case was a good example of why people mistrust the legal system.

"It had all the earmarks of somebody who is extremely disturbed," Morrison said. "If the system had worked right, four young women would be alive today."

The fourth woman Morrison referred to is Terri Maness. She was found dead in her Wichita apartment 11 days before Butler disappeared.

Like the woman in Lansing, her body was mutilated after she was dead. Wichita detectives joined their colleagues from Lenexa and Overland Park in the Grissom investigation.

Although Grissom was named as a suspect in the Maness killing, charges have never been filed.


Richard Grissom Jr. -- 20 years later

Blogs.kansascity.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Grissom, convicted in the 1989 murders of three young women, is one of Johnson County's most notorious killers. Found guilty on 11 counts during his 1990 trial, Grissom is serving a series of life sentences at El Dorado. He was 29 then. He's 48 now. The bodies of those women -- Joan Butler, Theresa Brown and Christine Rusch -- have never been found, despite all the years that have passed.

The conviction was especially noteworthy because of that. The prosecution -- led by then-DA Paul Morrison -- had to win largely on circumstantial evidence. The police found Grissom's prints, plus his wallets and checkbook, in Butler's rental car. And they found bank cards and keys from Rusch and Brown, who were roommates, in Grissom's car.

Here are links to the Charley Project, which has pages dedicated to Butler, Rusch  and Brown. A book, "Suddenly Gone," was written about the case.

Butler was 24 when she was killed. She lived in Overland Park and worked for an advertising firm in Kansas City, where she was a media buyer. She disappeared on Father's Day, the first that she hadn't spent with her family. She told friends, whom she'd gone dancing with that night, that she planned to call her dad, but she was never seen again. Instead, a series of withdrawals were made from accounts at ATMs in Johnson County that morning.

Brown and Rusch were a couple of years younger -- they shared an apartment in Lenexa. Rusch worked for her dad in North Kansas City, Brown was a dental assistant. Grissom, who owned a painting company, had done work at their complex and reportedly knew the women.

Those weren't Grissom's first murders, by the way. At the advanced age of 16, Grissom murdered an elderly woman in Lansing, Kan., by beating her to death with a railroad spike. After he was implicated in the 1989 homicides, he was questioned in a couple of other cases, but never charged.


20 Years Later, Killer Refuses to Reveal Bodies' Location

FoxNews.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

OLATHE, Kan.  Twenty years later, the secret remains locked away in a killer's mind.

The motive for his silence is as mysterious as the final fate of three young Johnson County women unfortunate enough to cross paths with Richard Grissom Jr. that June two decades ago.

The shockingly random crimes targeted young women with no known connections to their killer. New victims vanished even as police scrambled to hunt down Grissom. A pall of fear blanketed the city for nearly three weeks until authorities cornered Grissom at a Dallas airport after he attempted to coax another young woman to meet him there.

In his wake he left a trail of evidence that linked him to the missing women. But his criminal carelessness did not extend to their bodies.

No trace of Joan Butler, Christine Rusch and Theresa Brown has been found. Grissom never has revealed how he chose them, how he killed them or what he did with them.

For the women's families, the silence is a final and ongoing act of evil.

"He's arrogant," said Jim Brown, Theresa's brother. "In his little pea brain he still thinks someday he's going to use this bargaining chip to benefit himself."

For the law-enforcement authorities who put Grissom in prison for the rest of his life, that success is tempered by one lingering, haunting question: Where are the women?

"His only claim to fame is that people are still interested in what happened to them," said former FBI special agent Mike Napier. "He's hiding behind them. He's a real coward."

Joan Butler was 24 and ambitious. Following her father's career path, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a red more than an apartment. They were born on the same day.

Brown, a cheerleader and prom queen at Camdenton, Mo., High School, worked as a dental assistant and planned to become a dental hygienist.

Rusch, a Shawnee Mission South High School graduate, worked in retail marketing at the North Kansas City optics company owned by her father.

On the morning of June 26, she called in sick for both herself and Brown.

No friend, relative or co-worker ever spoke to either woman again.

With two more families reporting missing women, law enforcement officials geared up what was to be one of the most extensive criminal investigations in Johnson County's history.

Grissom, 28, was handsome and athletically built and dated numerous women. He owned a small painting and maintenance company that contracted with large apartment complexes around the area. The job gave him key access to hundreds of apartments.

He was also a career criminal on parole for burglary and theft. At age 16, he had killed a Lansing, Kan., woman. He had connections to a Wichita woman found dead in her apartment about two weeks before Butler disappeared. Someone had viciously mutilated the body of 25-year-old Terri Maness.

Dozens of officers on both sides of the state joined the investigation.

A day after the roommates vanished, authorities found Grissom's car abandoned at a Grandview apartment complex. Identification cards belonging to Rusch and Brown were inside, along with keys to the women's apartments.

Acting on tips from the public, police searched areas of southern Johnson County, around and in Longview Lakee Grissom may have been familiar.

As the search continued, prosecutors began preparing for Johnson County's first murder trial without a victim's body.

The fall 1990 trial proved to be one of the biggest and most complex in Kansas history. Officials summoned a jury pool of 600 because of the massive pretrial publicity. They also sequestered the jury, the first time that had been done in Johnson County.

Prosecutors called about 100 witnesses. The plethora of circumstantial evidence coupled with the things Grissom said during his interrogation convinced jurors he was guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and associated crimes.

Under the maximum, consecutive sentences imposed by the judge, Grissom will not be eligible for parole until 2093.

He did not respond to written requests for comment for this story.

Ralph Butler doubts his daughter's remains will be found, even if Grissom talks. Too much time has passed, he figures.

And even if she is found, he doesn't want to know how she died.

"I don't want any gruesome details," he said.

To this day, Bobby Brown pays close attention whenever she hears news about a body or other human remains being found. Like Ralph Butler, she doesn't think her daughter will be located, though she hopes it will happen.

"I'd like to have someplace to lay flowers on Memorial Day," she said.

David Rusch doesn't think Grissom will reveal his secrets unless he can benefit from it. And even if Grissom talks, Rusch doubts he could be believed.

"Just another piped-up jail story," Rusch said.

After the trial, Joan Butler's co-workers and families held a memorial service. Ralph Butler remembers that the sermon's theme was forgiveness. He didn't have it in him then and he doesn't now.

Bobby Brown said she simply had no feelings toward Grissom.

"I can't hate anybody," she said. "But forgive? That's hard to do."

The friendships forged in the shared tragedies have endured. They remain in touch, and the Brown and Rusch families gather annually to commemorate their daughters' shared birthday.

But with time, their circle has gotten smaller. Theresa's father, Harold Brown, died three years ago. Judy Rusch, Christine's mother, died earlier this year.

The families have honored their daughters' memories in different ways. The Butlers fund a scholarship at Joan's alma mater, the University of Kansas. The Browns do the same through Theresa's high school. And the Ruschs have contributed money to Safehome and the Ronald McDonald house in Christine's name.

As much as they would like to have the case's final question answered, none of the family members or police officers involved thinks Grissom should receive consideration for providing it.

Napier said Grissom just doesn't have it in him to empathize with others.

"If he had a typewriter, the letter 'I' would be worn off," Napier said.


Victims

Joan Marie Butler

Missing Since: June 18, 1989 from Overland Park, Kansas
Classification: Endangered Missing
Age: 24 years old

Butler was last seen during the early morning hours of June 18, 1989 while she was out with friends in Overland Park, Kansas. She apparently made it home from there, as the clothes she had been wearing that evening were found at her apartment, where she lived alone. Evidence indicates Butler was surprised at her apartment. A half-eaten slice of toast, a half-smoked cigarette and one contact lens were found at the residence, but Butler was missing and so was her red or maroon Chevrolet Corsica rental car, and approximately $900 from her bank account. Neighbors reported hearing a loud thud in the vicinity at approximately 4:30 a.m. on the day Butler vanished.

Butler's vehicle was found parked at an apartment complex in Lenexa, Kansas on June 25. As authorities were arriving, a man approached the Corsica and opened the trunk. When he realized the police were approaching, he shut the trunk and fled. The last trace of Butler was an automatic teller machine (ATM) security camera picture of her, taken on the night of June 26. She was wearing oversized sunglasses in the picture, but a large bruise could be seen on her forehead. She has never been seen or heard from again.

Richard Grissom Jr.'s fingerprints were inside Butler's car, as was his wallet, checkbook and driver's license. A witness later stated she saw Grissom driving a rental vehicle on June 20. An air pistol pellets and CO2 cartidges were found in the glove compartment of the vehicle, and a drop of Butler's blood was in the trunk. There was dust and gravel stuck to the underside of the Corsica, and scratches on the vehicle similar to those caused by branches and brush.

Grissom was arrested in Texas on July 7, 1989. In 1990, he was convicted of murdering Butler and two other women, Theresa Brown and Christine Rusch, roommates who disappeared from Lenexa on June 26.

Grissom, who was also convicted of eight charges related to the murders, was sentenced to four life terms in prison; he will not be eligible for parole until 2095. He is also a suspect in at least two other murders, but he has not been charged in those cases. He is a career criminal who committed his first murder at the age of sixteen.

Butler is a graduate of the University of Kansas. She is described as an ambitious young woman. Despite extensive searches, none of the missing women have ever been found. Dan Mitrione wrote about them in a book entitled Suddenly Gone - The Kansas Murders of Serial Killer Richard Grissom.

*****

Christine Rusch

Missing Since: June 26, 1989 from Lenexa, Kansas
Classification: Endangered Missing
Age: 22 years old

Rusch and her roommate, Theresa Brown, were last seen in their apartment at Trafalgar Square in Lenexa, Kansas on June 25, 1989. The following day, Rusch called Brown's employer and her own to state they would not be appearing at work, as both of them were feeling sick. Neither woman has been heard from again. Rusch was employed in the marketing division of her father's optics company in 1989. She is a graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School.

On June 28, authorities found Richard Grissom Jr.'s car, packed with his belongings, outside of an apartment in Grandview, Kansas. Brown and Rusch's jewelry and credit cards were in the vehicle, as was the key to their apartment and the apartment of another local missing woman, Joan Butler.

Grissom operated a painting company and, as a result, had master keys to many apartment complexes in the area.

*****

Theresa Brown

Missing Since: June 26, 1989 from Lenexa, Kansas
Classification: Endangered Missing
Age: 22 years old

Brown and her roommate, Christine Rusch, were last seen in their apartment at Trafalgar Square in Lenexa, Kansas on June 25, 1989. The following day, Rusch called Brown's employer and her own to state they would not be appearing at work, as both of them were feeling sick. Neither woman has been heard from again. Brown, a graduate of Camdenton High School in Missouri, worked as a dental assistant and planned to become a dental hygienist.

On June 28, authorities found Richard Grissom Jr.'s car, packed with his belongings, outside of an apartment in Grandview, Kansas. Brown and Rusch's jewelry and credit cards were in the vehicle, as was the key to their apartment and the apartment of another local missing woman, Joan Butler.

Grissom operated a painting company and, as a result, had master keys to many apartment complexes in the area.

CharleyProject.org

 

 

 
 
 
 
contact