Family suing police over Grosse Pointe Farms mother's unsolved death

JoAnn Matouk Romain found dead in 2010; Police rule it suicide

JoAnn Matouk Romain
JoAnn Matouk Romain

DETROIT – The family of a Michigan woman whose death remains unsolved has filed a $100 million lawsuit against two police departments on claims the defendants conspired to cover up her murder.

Read: Full lawsuit

Grosse Pointe Farms resident JoAnn Matouk Romain was last seen Jan. 12, 2010, at a prayer service at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church.

Her car, with her purse, wallet and cash inside were found in the church parking lot.

Investigators said they tracked footprints in the snow from the lot to Lake St. Clair and searched the waters, but no traces of Romain were found. Then, in March, her body was found by fishermen in a channel of the Detroit River near Amherstburg, Ontario.

Her death was ruled a suicide by drowning. But her family disagrees.

"After a lacking 48-hour investigation, the Grosse Pointe Farms Police Department turned the case over to Grosse Pointe Woods Police Department, despite the disappearance occurring in Grosse Pointe Farms. Both departments treated the investigation as a suicide by drowning from the moment JoAnn went missing. JoAnn did not commit suicide; none of the facts or evidence support the absurd conclusion that she committed suicide; and the named police departments ignored witness statements, falsified their police reports and their investigation to make her murder appear to be a suicide," the lawsuit states.

Attorney Solomon Radner told reporters Wednesday the evidence shows Romain was abducted, struggled, was killed and then her body dumped.

"The body moved 30 miles, with zero current, doesn't make any sense at all," Radner said. "There are police officers out there who know what happened to JoAnn. We're asking you now to please do the right thing and call us."