Family Suing Police Over Mother's Unsolved Death

Law Firm Claims Police Turned Away Witnesses

DETROIT - The family of a Michigan woman whose death remains unsolved is suing two police departments on claims witness statements were either ignored or never taken.

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.

Two autopsies were conducted. Both concluded she died by drowning. Police suspect a suicide. But her family diagrees.

"We do not believe this was a suicide or an accident. This was a murder, Roman's daughter, Michelle, said.

Jeffrey Abood is the family's attorney. He has said that although Romain was about to file for divorce, the idea of suicide does not fit.

"She was a very upbeat person. She was close to her family. She cared for her kids. She lived for her children," Abood said.

Police have said they are sympathetic to the family's concern but add their investigations did not find evidence of foul play.

But Abood's law firm is now suing the Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Woods police departments. The Freedom of Information lawsuit requests that police turn over police reports and witness statements. In a release about the lawsuit, the law firm says some witness statements were never taken because witnesses were turned away by police. The firm also says Grosse Pointe Farms police never obtained any proof that Romain was suicidal.

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