GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich. – It’s been a mystery for 11 years since 55-year-old JoAnn Matouk Romain was found dead in the Detroit River 70 days after she disappeared following a church service she attended in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Police believed she walked into Lake St. Clair and killed herself. Her family believes she was murdered. Her daughter said that her mother got into a fight with her cousin, Tim Matouk, and for more than a decade they have accused him of having something to do with her death.
Tim Matouk has stayed silent for years but that has now changed. He said he has been the victim of a witch hunt and it’s ruining his life and reputation. The 64-year-old has never been arrested or charged with the death of his cousin. Despite that, his name has been brought up as a person JoAnn Matouk Romain feared, causing controversy.
Local 4′s Karen Drew sat down with Tim Matouk recently to get his version of the mysterious death of JoAnn Matouk Romain.
Watch the interview in the video above.
“Now that the lawsuits are over, there really is nothing more for me except for trying to clear my name,” he said.
Tim Matouk is an investigator for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office. He’s worked on many notable cases and has been in law enforcement for more than three decades. When JoAnne Matouk Romain died, he was a Harper Woods police officer.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with JoAnn,” he said.
He said his image has been tarnished because of accusations from JoAnn Matouk Romain’s daughters.
“I never thought we had an issue. That’s why I made that phone call asking her why would she go say that,” he said.
The phone call he is referencing happened a few weeks before JoAnn Matouk Romain died. Her daughter said they remember it well.
“We all just start hearing yelling at this person. And we’re like, ‘What the heck is going on?’ And she’s like, ’I never said you were the root of everyone’s problems ... You just need to keep your nose out of everyone’s business,” one of her daughters said.
Michelle Romain said her mother never gave her specific details but was worried. Weeks later, JoAnn Matouk Romain was found dead.
Tim Matouk said the call was about a family fight over JoAnn’s brother John, who has a criminal record. He said John was writing checks with insufficient funds.
“I said, ‘JoAnn, why would you go around telling people that I’m the reason why John Matouk has so many problems?’” he said. “She responded that she didn’t want to talk to me and that I was a troublemaker and she hung up the phone. The conversation couldn’t have lasted more than a minute.”
JoAnn Matouk Romain went missing in January 2010.
“I was working. I was on duty working with a Michigan State Police Narcotics Task Force. I was in the city of Warren,” Tim Matouk said.
He said phone records from that night show he was in Warren, and he wants the accusations to stop.
The case of JoAnn Matouk Romain is still open.