A polygamous preacher grew to become the key suspect when one particular of his wives disappeared from their San Diego household. How did it materialize?
Mates explained Joy Risker, 25, as a bubbly lady who sought out a father determine after her biological dad left the family members when she was a teen. Risker surrounded herself with pals and manufactured common appearances close to the 1990s rave circuit ahead of her mom encouraged her to sign up for her at church. There, she achieved charismatic youth pastor Sean Goff, who took a liking to the younger woman.
“Joy was straddling that line of getting a kid and obtaining exciting while also seeking to maintain regard for her mom,” Risker’s pal Lora Logan instructed “Killer Romance with Religion Jenkins,” airing Sundays at 7/6c on Oxygen.
Risker’s mother was delighted when Goff entered their life, believing he may possibly be just the person who could guide Risker from her partying techniques. For a time, she was suitable. Risker enrolled in the church’s youth team to be closer with Goff, and Goff helped Risker turn towards the Lord for advice, embodying the father determine that was lacking from her life.
“He was a very good-wanting dude,” explained Goff’s buddy Leif Wright. “He had the energy of a Pentecostal minister, but the intelligence of an individual who has truly accomplished the investigation and the analyze on the doctrines he is espousing.”
Risker even went on to become Goff’s personalized assistant, and the two turned inseparable. Quickly after Risker turned 18, Goff invited Risker to reside in his residence, which he shared with his wife, Sheila. Sheila, who religiously stood by her husband, also appeared satisfied to welcome Risker into their growing loved ones. In trade, Risker agreed to assist care for the couple’s newborn child.
But in 1997, 1 year after Risker moved in, Wright received an electronic mail in which Goff accidentally included a letter to someone else. In the concept, Goff described he’d secretly officiated a relationship ceremony amongst him and Risker. Goff was then married to both equally women of all ages as a polygamist, an unlawful follow that could be damning for his ministry.
“Each of the wives lived in a separate bedroom, and Sean would just alternate concerning bedrooms,” said Wright. “And Sheila agreed with it because she was elevated to consider that the male was the greatest authority.”
But Wright gave Goff an ultimatum: Convey to the congregation, or he would. Goff remained resolute in taking Risker as his spouse and was subsequently kicked out of the church when Wright discovered his solution.
Friends and beloved types who’d known the pair had been shocked and involved, but it seemed as if no just one could transform Risker’s head.
“She just swore, like, ‘No, he has a major coronary heart, and he’s a superior individual,'” mentioned her pal Zeon Santos.
In 2000, Risker and Goff welcomed a son. When Risker’s mom passed away just one day following the beginning, Risker noticed no preference but to count on Goff and Sheila much more, even more isolating her from individuals who cared about her the most.
Yet another yr later, Risker experienced a second youngster with Goff. Close friends saw her from time to time, but Goff never left his bride’s facet. Through a wedding, close friends discovered Goff acted additional controlling and dominant than at any time prior to. That was the past time they saw Risker ahead of she disappeared in September 2003.
“Joy’s buddies begun calling Sean, stating, ‘Where is Pleasure? What occurred?’” reported Wright. “He informed them that Joy had run off to Europe and that she had remaining the little ones at the rear of and that he was distraught.”
People who knew Risker did not think she’d leave her small children and operate absent. They described her missing on Oct. 5, 2003, but unsuccessful to explain to legislation enforcement that she was involved in a polygamous relationship. When San Diego investigators interviewed Goff, he gave them the same tale: He said Risker decided to backpack through Europe and further more claimed that Risker was with an old boyfriend.
Times afterwards, Risker’s good friends obtained emails from Risker’s account, exactly where she mentioned she’d operate off with the ex and necessary time away. But not everybody thought the e-mails have been despatched by Risker.
Investigators seemed into the ex-boyfriend, who lived in Massachusetts, and identified he hadn’t been in contact with Risker in yrs.
“Now we knew we had to get heading on this just one,” explained Detective Deanna Warrick of the San Diego Police Department. “We essential to discover her instantly.”
Law enforcement appeared into Risker’s cell phone data and learned her previous connect with was to Goff on the night of Sept. 19, 2003 one thing Goff withheld from authorities. Goff then modified his story and reported he and Risker acquired into an argument but that she came back that evening. The very last time he saw Risker was the subsequent day when she took two suitcases and got into a automobile, he claimed.
“To me, it was odd that he waited so extended to go into detail on how he realized that Pleasure had left,” said investigator Linda Koozin. “The simple fact that she packed and bought into a auto and drove off.”
Then investigators finally acquired from Risker’s mates that Goff had an additional spouse. Could Sheila be associated?
Police visited Sheila, who reported she was in Santa Barbara with the three youngsters when Risker disappeared. The reason for the weekend getaway, she claimed, was mainly because Goff wished some exclusive time with Risker.
Feeling the heat of the investigation, Goff walked into the police section in an try to demonstrate himself. But once again, his story adjusted. This time, he said Risker experienced an incident at house and “was killed.”
“When I then employed the term ‘murdered,’ he then corrected me and reported, ‘No, she was killed,’” mentioned Detective John Tefft. “And so we would dance all over this.”
When Detective Tefft pressed Goff about the locale of Risker’s body, Goff asked for an lawyer. Authorities put him below arrest on the partial confession but could not nevertheless demand him with murder. With only 72 several hours to get proof that could be employed in opposition to Goff, investigators went to the home.
There, Sheila claimed that even though she was in Santa Barbara with the children, Goff referred to as her to say Risker would no for a longer time be living with them, and that there’d been an accident. Goff questioned his obedient wife to aid clean up up the blood when she obtained house.
“Sheila had been controlled by his manipulations for a long time,” mentioned Wright. “So at that place, she was inclined to imagine him pretty much no make a difference what he reported.”
Sheila sat with investigators and was open up with her account. Eventually, law enforcement found cell tower information and facts and receipts that verified Sheila was in Santa Barbara when Risker disappeared.
“We were pretty self-assured that Sheila was not included in earning Pleasure vanish,” mentioned Tefft.
With Goff in jail, investigators obtained Sheila’s permission to research the house. There, they found evidence of blood in many rooms as perfectly as important computer system evidence.
“When we collected the pc, a forensic examination was carried out,” mentioned Detective Warrick. “And the emails that had been sent to Risker’s good friends arrived from this computer system that belonged to Sean.”
Detectives formally charged Sean Goff with murder, but without having Risker’s overall body, it appeared authorities confronted an uphill struggle towards securing a murder conviction. As the investigation continued, police sifted via Goff’s credit score card documents and located he manufactured questionable buys at a components keep.
“A hacksaw, a shovel, an icepick, a sledgehammer, a tarp,” Warrick shown off. “We in no way located individuals merchandise afterward. So Sean realized he was heading to kill her ahead of time.”
Investigators also uncovered Goff rented a automobile the weekend Risker disappeared. The mileage confirmed he traveled 800 miles, main investigators to consider he disposed of the system some 400 miles absent.
Goff refused to give the area of Risker’s overall body. It appeared legislation enforcement experienced hit a dead conclusion, until finally 3 months later, when two hikers stumbled on bones in the desert of Maricopa County, Arizona, 400 miles absent from San Diego. The skeletal stays experienced been combined with stones positioned to look like a makeshift grave. The enamel and fingers had been absent from the stays, but DNA verified the continues to be have been Pleasure Risker’s.
Two years later, Sean Goff stood trial, declaring he killed Risker in self-protection just after the pair fought more than a knife. Goff testified that he unintentionally stabbed Risker but then stabbed her once again out of stress.
“At that stage, she just variety of went limp,” Goff mentioned when he took the stand. “I could not consider that she was dead.”
Authorities believed Risker intended to close their romance, but Goff convinced Risker to meet him for supper. At their household, he attacked her with a knife. Law enforcement say he then dismembered her physique in the toilet, in which large quantities of blood ended up later on detected.
In 2006, a jury found Sean Goff responsible of murder. Goff was sentenced to 26 a long time guiding bars, where he is now housed at the Valley Point out Jail in Chowchilla, California.
“Joy was way too lively,” claimed her close friend Jason Broome. “She was far too major for someone as small-minded as Sean.”
For additional on this scenario and others like it, watch “Killer Marriage With Religion Jenkins,” airing Sundays at 7/6c on Oxygen, or look at episodes on the web or in our totally free app.