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Joan Ryther (29) died after being sexually assaulted and beaten
Published: May 24, 2013 @ 2:22 AM
Joan Ryther (29)
May 21, 2013
Cause of Death:
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LOGAN murder victim Joan Ryther is believed to have been bashed and sexually assaulted, and police have confirmed she was pregnant.
Addressing a media conference today, Detective Superintendent David Hutchinson said: "At this stage I can say the victim did sustain some blunt force trauma to the head and we are of the view she was sexually assaulted. The post mortem is not completed at this point."
Blood was found on the opposite side of the street to where her body was discovered.
Asked if that was where she was initially attacked, Insp Hutchinson said: "We haven't established that at this point in time."
Ms Ryther came to Australia from the Philippines around 2009, met her husband in 2011 and they married last year.
Her husband's car was seized and their home searched as "normal procedure". He was due to talk to police again today.
"Any investigation of this type we would look at their premises, we would look at their car," Insp Hutchinson said.
He added: "He has co-operated with us and at this stage he's not listed as a suspect."
At this stage there were no suspects, he said.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service officers check rooftops in Leichhardt St, near the murder scene, for evidence.
"We currently today would have up to 40 investigators and intelligence officers and that's in addition to all the forensic police and uniform police who are out searching the area at the moment. We have a very large task force working on the job."
A car was stolen from across the road from Ms Ryther's home on the night of her murder.
"That's obviously one of our avenues of inquiry."
Residents should take the usual protective measures for their safety, he said.
Police are yet to hear from any witness who saw Ms Ryther walking to work.
Insp Hutchinson appealed for anyone who saw her walking around 8pm to 10pm to come forward.
"At this stage we haven't had anyone come forward who's actually seen her," he said.
"That's important for us to try to fill in the pieces.
"We would really like to hear from anyone who may have seen her walking along either Mayes Ave or Leichhardt St between 8 and 10 o'clock.
"The clothing she was wearing at the time was long dark trousers, a green-blue long-sleeve zip up top and a black McDonald's cap. The top covered her McDonald's uniform.
"Secondly we'd like to hear from anybody who may have been walking along Leichhardt St at any time throughout the night who may have located the McDonald's cap and potentially moved it.
"There's no issues with doing that but for elimination purposes we would like to speak to anybody who saw the cap and potentially moved the cap to the location it was when we found it."
The cap was found on top of a fence in Leichhardt St.
Police also wanted to talk to a sobbing man in a yellow top who went to a Mayes Ave house on Tuesday night and asked to be let inside, as reported by The Courier-Mail today.
Anyone in the vicinity of a rotunda at Mayes Park on Tuesday was also asked to come forward.
He confirmed Ms Ryther was due to start work at 9pm on Tuesday. Her husband was at work until after 9pm, he said.
Her husband had reported his wife missing around midnight and had since been co-operative with police, he said.
"As you would expect the husband under these circumstances was distraught."
At 1.25pm, it was reported that residents of a home where the body of Joan Ryther was found were watching a horror movie inside on the night she was murdered.
The trio of friends had just hired the DVD from a nearby store and may have missed Ms Ryther by only minutes.
Robert Kamu and his two housemates returned from getting DVDs just before 8.30pm.
Ms Ryther was due to work at the McDonald's restaurant a short distance down the road at 9pm but never made it.
"We walked around to Blockbuster around 8pm. We came back to try and make my mate's partner's program, the Kardashians, at 8.30pm," Mr Kamu, 27, told The Courier-Mail.
"She watched that and we watched movies all the way until 12am.
"We watched this horror called V/H/S."
He estimated they returned one within five minutes of the start of the Kardashians, which runs for an hour.
"We just made the Kardashians," he said.
"We didn't hear anything.
"We have dogs all over the street. But not a single one barked."
At 12.30pm, it was reported that the husband of murdered woman Joan Canino Ryther was at work at the time she would have made her way to start her 9pm shift at McDonald's Logan Central.
The Courier-Mail understands Cory Ryther's movements have been accounted for.
Mr Ryther, a chef, was not due to finish work until 9.30pm.
After staff at McDonald's raised the alarm, Mr Ryther joined a group of her colleagues in searching the neighbourhood for his missing wife.
They gave up at 6am, having driven the street where her body was found several times.
Mr Ryther was questioned for more than eight hours yesterday in what was described as normal procedure.
Logan District Detective Inspector Chris Jory said this morning police were yet to identify any suspects in relation to Mrs Ryther's murder after her body was found partially clothed in the front yard of a Leichardt St home early yesterday.
"We are broadening our net and starting to look further afield," Insp Jory said.
It is also hoped an autopsy today will shed some light on how Mrs Ryther died.
Inspector Jory said police were still appealing for witnesses who may have seen or heard anything unusual in the area between 8.30pm and midnight on Monday to come forward and contact police.
As forensic officers continue to scour the crime scene and the Rythers' Mayes Ave home, a man and a woman have come forward with a wallet they believe could help the police investigation.
Ana Rosa Farao lives about 1500m from where Ms Ryther's body was found.
About 9am yesterday, Mrs Farao found a man's wallet next to her two wheelie bins on her front lawn.
The wallet had photo identification, a bank card and medical cards inside.
"We thought somebody might have run and thrown the wallet there," she said.
"As soon as I heard the news I told my husband we had to drop the wallet off and see if it would help the policemen with their investigations."
At midday today she and her husband handed the wallet to uniformed police that are guarding the Ryther home.
Forensic police uniformed police and detectives have all been at the home today.
About five detectives walked from a park on Mayes Ave to the home this morning as they continue their investigations.
Police continued a forensic examination in the yard where Ms Ryther's body was discovered.
A series of 13 numbered yellow markers were laid out around the grassed area where she was found and next to the footpath at the front of the home.
Her body was found next to a bedroom of the home, but the residents did not hear a sound despite being home all night.
An officer was using forensic equipment to examine the outside walls of the house and fence.
A community vigil is planned this afternoon for residents to pay their respects.
The area of the street was blocked off Wednesday but residents can now move freely along the street.
Parents taking their children to a daycare centre on the same street said they feared for their own safety following the brutal murder.
Anyone with information should phone Logan CIB on 3826 1814 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Earlier, it was reported Ms Ryther had walked that road a thousand times and a thousand times she arrived without trouble.
But this time, the bubbly woman with the constant smile got within 100m of her work when she was attacked, killed and dumped in the front garden of a stranger's home.
When the 29-year-old failed to show for her 9pm shift at Logan Central McDonald's in Brisbane on Tuesday, colleagues immediately raised the alarm.
Joined by Ms Ryther's husband Cory, they scoured the streets in a desperate search, not giving up until the sun rose at 6am.
And as detectives took up the hunt for her killer, shocked residents yesterday told of a series of strange disturbances at the time when Ms Ryther would have been making her way to work.
Some spoke of seeing a person running from a nearby park, while police spent hours with a woman and her young son who reported hearing a man come to their door, crying and asking to be let inside.
Ms Ryther's workmates were the first to raise the alarm after she failed to arrive for her shift.
Police believe she left her Logan Central home in a nearby street about 8.30pm and walked the 1km to the McDonald's at the end of Leichhardt St.
At 7am yesterday, a passerby spotted her body in the front garden of a Leichhardt St home.
It was the street her husband Cory and friends drove down over and over the night before.
"I can still see her lying there," Robert Mills, who found Ms Ryther, told The Courier-Mail. "I thought it was a doll.
"I walked within a metre, two metres of the body ... and I just started screaming and I didn't know what to do. I rang the police."
Katie Emirali and her boyfriend Alastair Nua were inside the house when Mr Mills found the 29-year-old's partly clothed body outside their bedroom window.
"It was early and he heard a knock at the door. I told Alastair to go check what it was," she said.
"The man said 'hey, do you know what is out the front...?'
"Alastair went over to her, he checked whether she was alive, but she was dead.
"It happened right outside our bedroom window, we are really traumatised.
"We had been watching movies until late - maybe midnight. We heard nothing - not a single sound all night.
"We have dogs on either side of our house, dogs which normally bark, but last night not a sound. It is very strange we didn't hear anything."
Yesterday, distraught neighbours told of strange noises and a bizarre disturbance.
Two men were seen drinking in a nearby park between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, and one neighbour told of seeing someone running near the same park about 8.30pm. They also heard a woman shouting in what they thought was Chinese.
One woman and her young son, who live 200m from Ms Ryther, were interviewed by police for several hours after a crying man came to their front door asking to be let in.
"It was about 9pm, we were all in bed," she said.
"My son said there was someone at the door. I heard some noise, it could have been crying - it was weird.
"I peeked out and saw a man sitting on the chair."
The woman, who did not want to be named, gathered her children into her bedroom and called a friend for help.
"I wasn't sure if he was drunk but I didn't want to aggravate him, so I didn't yell out to him," she said.
"He was there for about 20 minutes. He was gone by the time my friend arrived."
Residents reacted angrily to what they described as "another murder" in the suburb.
Locals said the park near Ms Ryther's home was a known trouble spot, home to drug deals, fights and constantly littered with broken bottles.
The victim's devastated friends said it was beyond belief that someone could attack such a defenceless woman.
Jeffery King said he used to socialise with Ms Ryther a couple of years ago when she and his ex-girlfriend worked together at McDonald's.
"She was always the most sensible person in the group," he said. "It's really shocking.
She was the one who would be cleaning things up at a party and making sure everyone was OK.
"A lot of people come here and stay with their own culture - but Joan got out there and adopted the Australian culture and the Australian people quite quickly."
Ms Ryther's Facebook page showed her as a hopeless romantic who was ecstatic about marrying her Canadian boyfriend in October last year.
"Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep," she wrote in one post.
Colleagues paid tribute to her on social networking sites, describing Ms Ryther as a cheerful woman who always made them laugh.
"You were probably one of the nicest people anyone could possibly meet," one wrote.
"It's disgusting what some people can do - especially to someone so harmless."
Another grieving friend appeared to be part of the group who spent the night searching for Ms Ryther.
"RIP to my beautiful baby girl who taught me right from wrong when I started working with you three years ago," she said.
"You are a wonderful friend and my prayers are with your husband and family at this tragic time.
"Sorry we didn't find you earlier."
Mr Ryther, a chef, was questioned for hours yesterday and his car forensically tested in what police said were routine inquiries.
Police said they want to speak to anyone who saw Ms Ryther on Tuesday night.
"We are unable to say at this stage what the cause of death is," Detective Superintendent David Hutchinson said. "We will certainly be pulling out all stops to find out what happened."
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national-news/queensland/distressed-man-who-pleaded-to-be-let-into-house-near-murder-scene-key-to-police-investigation/story-fnii5v6w-1226648723921#ixzz2U6eExgkD
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