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Polygamy, A Body In The Desert — What To Know About The Joy Risker Case Before 'Killer Relationship'

Joy Risker’s relationship with Sean Goff began in church. It ended in a grave in the desert. 

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Watch An Exclusive Sneak Peek Of Oxygen’s New Show ‘Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins’
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Watch An Exclusive Sneak Peek Of Oxygen’s New Show ‘Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins’

As a former Wall Street litigator, prosecutor, and divorce court presiding judge, Faith Jenkins has seen all kinds of relationships begin in bliss and end in turmoil. Don’t miss Oxygen True Crime’s “Killer Relationship with Faith Jenkins” premiering Sunday, January 16th at 7/6c.

Every couple experiences relationship hiccups. But for some, the turbulence actually turns deadly. The new series “Killer Relationship with Faith Jenkins,” premiering Sunday, January 16 at 7/6c on Oxygen, offers in-depth looks at cases of fatal uncoupling.

One such case covered in the show is the murder of Joy Risker — a horrifying story with twists including polygamy, mutilated remains in the desert, and a horrible confession. Before "Killer Relationship” debuts, get you up to speed on the Joy Risker murder case.

Who was the victim?

Joy Risker, 25, vanished on September 19, 2003, following dinner with her youth pastor husband, Sean Goff, at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California. Sean, 36, a polygamist, had two children with Risker and one with his other wife, Sheila Goff. Risker, Sean, Sheila, and their children lived together in southern California, the San Diego Source reported

How was her disappearance explained?

Sean told friends and family members that she’d left him and their young sons and taken off with an old boyfriend, NBC News reported. To support this claim, he produced emails they allegedly exchanged. 

“I have to get out and experience the world around me and know that there is life outside of those four walls,” she supposedly wrote. “I am so sorry I couldn’t make you happy,” Sean responded. A forensic computer expert found that the emails were from the same computer.

How was the crime discovered?

Risker’s buried body was found three months later in the Arizona desert by a camper who stumbled upon it. The camper said the site of the grave “had a faint smell like rotten meat.” She had been stabbed multiple times, her fingertips were chopped off with a meat cleaver, her teeth had been sawed out, and her face was mutilated.

Who were the suspects?

Spouses are always a suspect in homicides of a partner and evidence did point to Sean Goff, including some suspicious purchases, according to a case document. But was he really behind the murder, and if so, did he act alone? And why was Risker killed?

To learn more about the case and how justice was finally served, watch “Killer Relationship with Faith Jenkins” airing Sunday, January 16 at 7/6c on Oxygen.

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