Marvin Risen

1916 - 1943

Special Agent (SA) Marvin Risen was assigned to the Memphis Field Office, Nashville Resident Agency, at the time of his death. On October 15, 1943, he was on official travel from Nashville to Memphis to meet with an assistant United States attorney (AUSA) concerning a bank robbery case. Risen’s flight on American Airlines encountered extremely bad weather during a snow storm. All indications are that the plane dove into the ground at an eighty degree angle and the accident occurred near Centerville, TN.

Investigators from the Civil Aeronautics Board, which preceded both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, opined that the aircraft had most likely tried to turn back to Nashville after encountering the inclement weather before it crashed. The captain made a request to climb to a higher altitude, and eyewitness accounts stated that the plane circled “desperately” as it tried to find an emergency landing spot. The report stated that “inability of the aircraft to gain or maintain altitude due to carburetor ice or propeller ice or wing ice or some combination of these icing conditions while over terrain and in weather unsuitable for an emergency landing” was the case of the crash.

The crash scene was such that no bodies could be identified, even with dental records. Risen was identified via his official FBI briefcase, which was found with serials matching those Risen was known to be carrying and documents meant for dictation in the AUSA’s office. Risen’s billfold, badly damaged service weapon, and SA badge were recovered later near the crash site.

Risen was born on October 4, 1916, in Williamstown, Kentucky. He entered on duty with the FBI on December 4, 1939.