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Lt. Ed Hall of the Llanview Police Department launched an investigation into Marcy's death. Though Steve proclaimed his innocence, Lt. Hall developed his own theory that Steve and Marcy were having an affair behind Viki's back, and when she planned to blow the whistle on him, Steve killed her. Viki watched in horror as her fiance was charged with first degree murder. Only Marcy's purse, containing an incriminating note saying that Niki Smith planned to kill Vince Wolek, could save him. On the waterfront, a mysterious, unshaven man who had read accounts of Steve's plight, located the missing purse in the belongings of his vagrant friend, Charley. This stranger held the evidence that could exonerate Steve Burke and that man was Joe Riley! Suffering from a potentially fatal brain aneurism, Joe stumbled into a Llanview diner and passed out, where Wanda Webb, a tough-talking waitress with a huge heart, nursed Joe back to health -- and fell in love with the handsome stranger in the process! Fearing that he was going to die, Joe did not want his family to know he was alive after all. But he had to get the purse to the authorities, and sent it to his brother-in-law -- Steve's lawyer, Dave Siegel -- and the evidence gained Steve's acquittal. Very weak, Joe lurked in the bushes at Llanfair to watch Viki marry another man. Steve and Viki left on their honeymoon just as Joe collapsed. The news of Joe Riley's amazing return delighted the residents of Llanview -- especially his devoted sister Eileen. Steve and Viki returned to Llanview to be greeted by the startling news about Joe. Viki promptly fainted, then raced to Llanview Hospital to see Joe. Viki and Joe stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. As she whispered his name, Joe took a step forward, then collapsed at her feet. His fate would soon be determined by a delicate operation to repair the aneurism. Joe regained consciousness, and at the sight of Viki, his will to live surfaced. Joe's operation was successful, and upon his recovery, Viki was forced to make a choice between her two men.