Joan Marie Butler
Butler, approximately 1989; Richard Grissom in 2007
Date reported missing : 06/18/1989
Missing location (approx) :
Overland Park, Kansas
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
DOB : 03/28/1965 (56)
Age at the time of disappearance: 24 years old
Height / Weight : 5'6, 110 pounds
Description, clothing, jewerly and more : A 1957 Great Bend High School class ring with a black panther face on her left pinky finger.
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos : Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Butler wears eyeglasses or contact lenses. Her ears are pierced.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : 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 tEthnicity : of Butler was an 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 photo of him is posted with this case summary. A witness later stated she saw Grissom driving a rental vehicle on June 20. An air pistol pellets and CO2 cartridges 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,┬áTheresa Brown and┬áChristine 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 at the time of disappearance: 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.
Other information and links : ncy
Overland Park Police Department
September 2021 updates and sources
The Doe Network
The Wichita Eagle
The Kansas City Star
Unsolved in the News
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2ľ5% of missing children in Europe. By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends. Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
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