Icy Deathly Waters: An Unsolved Mystery

“On an icy night, police find JoAnn Romain’s abandoned car and assume she drowned in a nearby lake by suicide. But her family suspects foul play.” 

A car’s lights are flashing and the alarm is going off, signaling that something is wrong. It’s dark outside and no one is in sight. “My mom is the most cautious and overprotective person in the world.” (So right away we know that whatever happened, happened to somebody’s mother.) Instantly, this person- woman, details the facts of this case. That her mother seemingly got out of church, walked across the street and got into the lake in icy and cold conditions, and just… vanished. Off the bat, we’re told that this is a case of suicide, but the woman explains that there’s no possibe way that her mother committed suicide. When asked in an old interview if her mother might have been afraid of anyone, the woman responded that it was a sensitive subject. The interviewer probed more, asking if she was afraid of anyone from inside the family. Shaking her head, the woman calmly just replied, “I can’t say that right now.” Cue the title credits. 

For this case, we find ourselves at the St. Paul Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. Immediately, an old taped recording of Chief Daniel Jensen (his title is director of public safety for the city of Grosse Pointe Farms) comes on screen and he’s being asked about how “her” car was found. He gives his answer- “It was on a one-way exit drive adjacent to the church, approximately one hundred feet from the lakeside. It was the only car on that exit drive. It was almost ten o’clock at night, the church appeared dark, and there was no good reason for it to be there..”- and as he does, we’re informed by white intertitle that this all happened on January 12th, 2010. Chief Daniel details that the officer first checked the interior of the vehicle and found a woman’s purse. But then, he checked down by the water and found footprints in the snow. A couple eerie evidence photos are shown, and we’re given an idea of what the crime scene looked like. Based on the imprints left in the snow, Chief Daniel informs us that whoever was there sat down in the snow and also left behind hand prints. The butt prints and hand prints were on two levels of the lakeside. The officers at the scene thought that maybe the person was trying- and succeeded in getting into the lake. “It went to an immediate request for help for a search and rescue operation.”

The woman from the beginning of the documentary is Michelle Romain, JoAnn Romain’s daughter. Michelle informs us that her mother attended a 7 p.m prayer service at church the night that she disappeared. She mentions that, “at this point it’s 9:20”, and I’m just going to assume that it was then that she first found out that something was wrong with her mother. Michelle goes on to say that at this point in the night her brother was upstairs sleeping while she was in her pajamas. She saw from inside the house that a squad car had pulled in, and an officer knocked on the door. When she opened up the front door and asked “Can I help you”, the officer replied that they had found her mother’s abandoned car near the church, and asked if she was missing. Kellie Romain, another one of JoAnn’s daughters picks up the story from there, stating that the very moment the officer showed up at the house is when she started calling her mother’s cellphone. Kellie says that the phone calls kept going straight to voicemail, indicating that JoAnn’s phone was off. Michelle says at the time of JoAnn’s disappearance, she was 29, her sister Kellie was 27, and her brother Michael was 20. Michelle also lets us know that her parents had divorced and “didn’t really get along that well.” Michelle goes on to say that she lived with her mother, along with her siblings, so when her mother disappeared, they all immediately started to call family members and close friends, hoping to get a figure as to her mother’s whereabouts. Kellie says that each person she contacted had told her that they hadn’t heard from JoAnn, or haven’t seen her. 

At this point, we meet John Matouk, JoAnn’s brother. He says that he had received a phone call from Michelle, telling him to get to the house and that her mother- his sister- was missing. John informs us that Michelle was freaking out (as any normal daughter whose mother was missing would) and that police were at the home asking questions. Michelle had told John that she was planning on going to the church to see for herself and was hoping that maybe she would be able to find JoAnn. 

Michelle tells us that JoAnn was 55 years old. “She was full of life. The best mom. Just the warmest heart. And we were just really a close knit family.” Kellie gives the same sentiments as her sister did about their mom, and went further to say that JoAnn was a friend to anyone. Their house was the house that everyone wanted to go to, and that JoAnn was happy when her kids’ friends came by to visit. Tim says, “She was an angel,” and “She was my favorite sister,” and “the closest person to me.” 

When Michelle and Kellie arrived at the church they found that their mother’s car was blocked off by yellow crime scene tape and that there were police officers all over the place. Kellie remarks, “What is happening right now?” A map of the area comes on screen and we can very vividly get an idea of how close the lake is to the church, and where on the map her mother’s car was found. The lake is in fact, right across the street from the church. Michelle informs us that the car was locked, but that the police made their way into the interior of the car and found JoAnn’s purse on the front seat and that her mother’s car keys and cell phone were missing. Michelle says that her mother has never left her purse behind- signaling that all these clues are not giving us hope for a happy ending. Kellie says that officers and family went looking for JoAnn using flashlights on the church property and looked inside and outside the building. Kellie says once they reached the three hour mark since anyone had heard or seen her mother, she got nervous and instantly knew something was wrong.

John’s shocking next statement, “It was a shit-show.” He says that police officers, divers, helicopters and just regular civilians were all over the place searching for JoAnn. JoAnn’s family asked the police why divers were searching the lake, and were given the response that they believed that JoAnn had gone into the water. The family immediately thought that idea was ludicrous because of how utterly cold it was outside. Michelle says that the water was partially frozen and was only one to two feet deep. We see more of Chief Daniel’s old interview, and this time he’s detailing that there were no signs of a struggle either inside or outside of JoAnn’s vehicle. (We get the idea that the cops were already dead-set on the idea that JoAnn had simply just walked from her car, across the street and into the lake and committed suicide by drowning.)

Michelle says that by 4 a.m, the search was beginning to end. The police had her mother’s car towed to the police station. But what was baffling to her was that her mother’s body still hadn’t been found. They were more worried and confused than before. For the first time we meet Richard Rosai, Detective Lieutenant for the City of Grosse Pointe Farm. He’s giving a formal taped interview and details that he had conducted the fingerprinting done on Joann’s car. He states that no usable fingerprints came from the wheel or the handles from the car doors. 

Michelle lets us know that her mother worked part-time at a clothing and accessory boutique in the city of Grosse Pointe. She gives details of the area- stating that Grosse Pointe is a rich community a couple miles outside Detroit. It’s a tight community and like we’ve heard in other documentaries, “Everyone knows everyone’s business.” Michelle details her mother’s usual movements; telling us that she normally had lunches and meetings with her girlfriends, constantly invited family and friends over for dinner and that JoAnn lived a very active and loving lifestyle. Because JoAnn had so many friends, and between the family members, they all got together and organized a mass search and put missing persons flyers up all over Grosse Pointe. An extensive three day search was conducted on the area in which the police believed JoAnn entered the water. Michelle also goes into detail that at the time of her mother’s disappearance there wasn’t much of a current in the water. One begs to ask, so IF her mother did in fact enter the water where the police believe, then why hasn’t her body turned up yet? Michelle also goes on to say that her mother was wearing a black coat, black pants and a pair of black high heels, so it should have been fairly easy to find her since the water was pretty clear. Michelle and her family hired private investigators who sent out their own diving team and they also searched for three days. When they came back to give their findings to Michelle, they had told her that no one had been found and that her mother was NOT in the water. 

Enter William Robinette, the director of the Midwest Technical Recovery Team. He states that his team conducted a thorough search of the lake, and is proud of his team in the work that they were able to do although they couldn’t find JoAnn’s body. He thinks that JoAnn was never in that location. 

We’re back to Chief Daniel’s videotaped interview, and we’re witnessing the interviewer ask him that there wasn’t any indication JoAnn entered the water since the ice wasn’t disturbed and no personal items were found in the water. Chief Daniel responds “Correct” twice. (At this point, it’s clear that the suicide theory is beginning to fall apart.) 

Michelle says that her mother would have had to cross the initial two lane traffic, get to the median, then cross another set of two lane traffic. She would then have to walk over the embankment which is very steep, and at the time- icy, then get into the water. Kellie says that her mother wouldn’t have gone near the water, especially since she could have possibly slipped and fell into- considering it had been snowing and was icy out. Kellie states, “Somethings wrong. Someone took her, she’s somewhere. And we’re going to find her.” 

An old news archive of Michelle giving an interview comes on screen. She’s walking down the sidewalk next to a man- seemingly the interviewer- and she’s telling him that she can’t believe this is her life right now. “We’re talking about a lady that went to church and cooked. That’s all she did.” It’s reiterated that the police and authorities think that JoAnn committed suicide, but the family is adament that she didn’t. JoAnn’s brother John is back, and he says, “JoAnn is probably the one person that I know that would never commit suicide. She had such great faith. There’s no way that she was gonna, ya know, end her life and walk away from her kids. Never happened.” Michelle says that there was no suicide note, and that she never took any kind of medication that would induce any sort of depression or suicicial tendencies. She mentions that her mother was a devout Catholic- and if you’re aware- anyone who is a devout Catholic strongly believes that if anyone is to commit suicide then they’re going straight to hell and that suicide is against all beliefs. (Just for the record- this is not something I believe.) Anyways, she didn’t just attend church on Sunday’s- she actually attended church services throughout the week. 

Say hello to Nancy Milligan, PhD and also one of JoAnn’s very close friends. We learn that Nancy and JoAnn had known each other since the fourth grade, and that she had talked to JoAnn just three days before she had disappeared. Nancy says that JoAnn was “upbeat”, and that they “had a good laugh” about something that had happened to Nancy, and at the end of the conversation JoAnn told Nancy “I love you and see you soon.” Just like JoAnn’s daughters and brother, Nancy says that JoAnn never displayed any signs that she was depressed and says that JoAnn would NEVER have voluntarily left her children. “They were her life. They were her everything.” Michelle says that once the police came to the conclusion of suicide, the case was closed. Michelle states that she believes there was foul play involved because again, “she would have never just disappeared.” 

A church bell rings. Someone says “January 12th, 2010. The family’s nightmare began.” This person is Salvatore Rastrelli and he’s an investigative consultant. He’s at the scene where JoAnn disappeared, and he points to where the car was found. We learn that Michelle had hired Salvatore to come out to help solve her mother’s case because he’s a crime scene expert as well as a water expert. Salvatore informs us that he has traveled all over the world and has experience in cases just like JoAnn’s. He says he’s seen before officers who arrive on scene and immediately jump to the conclusion that it was a suicide without properly vetting and investigating the case. He says that all the evidence the police found was geared to help prove their conclusions. Salvatore says that when he looked through the evidence photos of the tracks in the snow, he says that it’s simply just tracks of someone or something just walking through. “It could have been anybody or anything based on those photographs.” Salvatore informs us that the police never took 90 degree photos of the tracks in the snow and he says that normally that’s something that is automatically done. (He’s basically saying that the police dropped the ball on this case.) We’re back to Chief Daniel’s videotaped interview, and again he’s questioned as to why certain procedures weren’t done in JoAnn’s case. Chief Daniel is just sitting in his chair with his hands folded together while he’s just staring at the person asking the questions with a look of annoyance on his face. It’s starting to become clear that Chief Daniels is getting some heat from the lack of investigating his team has done. It’s beginning to seem like he’s the fall guy. 

Salvatore takes us to the steep embankment of where the grass meets cement near the water’s edge of where police believe that JoAnn had entered the water. It becomes obvious right off the bat that if she had indeed entered at this spot, she would have busted her rear end. Salvatore reiterates that JoAnn was wearing four-inch heels at the time of her disappearance. Salvatore brings along an unknown woman who puts on a pair of black high-heeled shoes (like the ones JoAnn was wearing) to prove, or disprove the police’s theory that she entered the water at that exact location. The look on the woman’s face proves to us watching that she already knows the outcome. She starts to descend the steep slope, but cannot do so without Salvatore’s help as he explains that JoAnn allegedly did this alone, at night and while there was snow and ice on the ground. As the woman (along with Salvatore’s help) tries to get closer to the water, she almost trips and falls and it’s evidently clear that there’s no way JoAnn could have made it into the water at that spot. Salvatore says that the Chief of police said that he knew in five minutes that JoAnn had committed suicide and entered the water, and Salvatore suspects that the Chief must have a crystal ball then because to him, there’s no way you can figure something like this out in five minutes. 

Michelle says, “You always have a glimpse of hope that they’re still alive. But as the days turned into weeks turned into months, you realize your odds are slim. It’s just a very traumatic event to happen..” Michelle lets us know that her brother Michael is having a hard time dealing with the events that happened to their mom. She says that it’s very hard for him to talk about, so one can assume that’s the reason why he didn’t participate in this documentary. Michelle says that because she’s the oldest, she knew that she had to be the one to take initiative and get justice for their mother. She figured out that she needed to seek out any potential witnesses that might have seen something. She goes on to say that she needed to go back to that night and rewalk her mother’s steps in hopes that she’ll learn something new and possibly determine the truth to what had happened. 

Michelle details the day that her mother disappeared. JoAnn dropped Michael off at home at 6 p.m. At 6:25 p.m she got gas so she didn’t have to get any early the next morning. We meet Mike Beydoun, the gas station manager, who says that JoAnn was a regular customer and someone that knew JoAnn fairly well. Mike says that the night in question JoAnn seemed like her normal self- happy and bubbly and lively. He went out and pumped her gas for her and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. They had a quick conversation about how each of them were doing and how their families were. Once he was done, she left. At 7:05 p.m JoAnn attended a prayer service at church. Michelle notes that the service normally lasts between 15 and 20 minutes. Michelle says that not a lot of people attended the prayer service that night- between 10 or 15 people. A witness identified JoAnn and Michelle says that the witness sat at the front of the church while JoAnn sat in the back. At 7:15 p.m JoAnn left. 

Enter William Randall, a private investigator that Michelle and Kellie hired. We first see him getting up out of his chair and pulling out a manilla folder from his filing cabinet. He says the first thing that he needed to do was get a hold of JoAnn’s cell phone records. He says that when he looked through the records he found a number that sparked some interest. Turns out it was a number to a security company. About a week before her disappearance, JoAnn had telephoned and left a voicemail to this number and William theorizes that she thought that she was being followed by a person(s) unknown. Michelle says that in the weeks prior to her disappearance, JoAnn seemed nervous and cautious. Michelle admits that she wasn’t paying enough attention to the situation. John also says that JoAnn seemed troubled, and that she wasn’t acting like herself. He also says that normally she told him everything, however in this case, she wasn’t telling him what might have been bothering her. (Hindsight is always 20/20) John thinks that maybe the reason she didn’t confide in anyone was maybe because she didn’t want to put anyone’s lives at risk. 

Throughout his own investigation, William reached out and contacted JoAnn’s boss and coworker from the boutique. One of the person’s he had reached out to told him that around January 7th and 8th JoAnn had received more phone calls than normal. During these phone calls, JoAnn would walk away and have them in private so no one knew exactly who she was conversing with, and what it was about. This person William talked to said that this was not normal of JoAnn and that again, hindsight. William also says that JoAnn thought that someone was messing with her mail, and that she felt like she was being followed to and from the post office. “She also indicated that she felt like her phone was being tapped.” Michelle says that during this time frame her mother didn’t want to go anywhere alone. “And the place she truly felt safe was church.” Just like Michelle, William got ahold of the people that attended the prayer service the night JoAnn went missing. William discovered that around 7:20 a witness overheard a car alarm go off. Michelle says that this witness saw the lights flashing and the alarm was going off for approximately 15 seconds before the panic alarm was turned off. The witness didn’t think anything of it at the time because nothing else seemed to have happened and they went about their business. Another witness from the church that William talked to said that they left the church around 7:25 p.m. This person was one of the last to leave the church. This person told William that she felt uneasy leaving the church because it was so dark, so as she left the building she looked to her right and left- scanning the area to make sure it was safe. At this point it was 7:35 p.m and the witness said that the driveway was empty. Michelle fills in the obvious- that after the car alarm had gone off, someone- or JoAnn herself- had left the church. John says that whoever took JoAnn’s car then brought it back and tried to park it in the same spot she was in previously, but it wasn’t exactly the spot. Michelle says that no one can understand why someone would do this. 

March 20th, 2010 marked 70 days after JoAnn disappeared. Michelle says that it was a Saturday when a detective had called her. She admits that at that moment she knew that they had reached the worst case scenario and that something bad had happened. Kellie says that she had watched Michelle emerge from her bedroom that day and told her that “they found mom.” Kellie remarks that it was a sinking feeling. JoAnn’s body had been found by two fishermen at Boblo Island near Amherstburg, Ontario. Michelle says that where JoAnn’s body was found was 35 miles from where police alleged she entered the water. Kellie says, “Our worst fear came to light at that point.” Michelle says that once they heard that her mother was deceased, she felt like her world was falling apart and had lost everything because JoAnn was the backbone of the family. John says that although they were all devastated, they didn’t stop the search to uncover what the hell happened to JoAnn. Although her body had been found, it still didn’t give any details as to what exactly had happened. “I want justice for JoAnn, that’s the bottom line.” 

We head to southwest Boblo Island- where JoAnn’s body was found. We’re with Michelle as she looks out over the water on a boat and you can sense from just looking at her that she’s still so full of loss, confusion and anger. She’s with yet another hired private investigator who she hoped would uncover new details about her mother’s case. This private investigator is Scott Lewis and he says that JoAnn’s body was found on the Canadien side of the Detroit River. He informs us that the island that JoAnn’s body was found near is an historic island that once housed a park reminiscent of Six Flags, but now has become an island devoted to a housing community. Michelle says that until she took the trip she never really understood just how far it was from where JoAnn allegedly entered the water. Scott Lewis agreed with her, saying that on a map it doesn’t look far, but when you’re traveling it, it’s a long distance. Scott says that for him, it’s a stretch to believe that JoAnn entered the shallow water along the shore (with no current) to then get to and travel along the shipping channel and continue to travel down. At first, Scott was apprehensive to get involved with JoAnn’s case and warned to Michelle that if he ever found any evidence that it was a suicide then he was out, but if he learned that it was a possible homicide, then he’d stay and work on it. Very quickly, Scott says, “I didn’t see anything that points to a suicide.” 

Scott says “To begin with, who fills their gas tank on their way to commit suicide? That was the first red flag for me.” He goes on to say that if JoAnn had filled up her gas tank then driven into her garage and closed the door then let the car run, he’d buy it. He says that if she shot herself, he’d buy it. “I don’t believe for a second that she walked into that lake.” Michelle says that out of all of the private investigators that she hired, none of them believe that JoAnn entered the water where the police think she did. Michelle goes on to say that she- and her hired private investigators think that whoever murdered her drove to Detroit (or somewhere close to) and dumped her body into the water there, which then would better explain why she ended up near Boblo Island. Michelle can’t help but to wonder her mother’s last thoughts and what she might have been thinking before she was put into the water. 

For the first time during the episode, we see the clothes that JoAnn had been wearing the night she disappeared. We’re informed for the first time by Jeffrey Jentzen, MD, PhD that JoAnn’s body was found in the late stages of decomposition. They could not, however, make a definitive determination when she had died, but guessed that her body had been there for a considerable amount of time due to the algae that was present on her legs. In Jeffrey’s opinion, JoAnn’s cause of death was by fresh water drowning, but he says that it’s very possible that she could have died prior to her body entering the water. On the autopsy report, the manner of death was labeled as undetermined. If you didn’t know, labeling someone’s manner of death as undetermined makes it so much harder to seek justice because it means that it’s unknown if it was suicide or homicide- so even if you could get a figure as to who the suspect is- there’s no evidence to prove he/she did anything. Jeffrey says that there were two bruises found on JoAnn’s upper left arm and he says that it’s very possible that she received the bruises from an attack from a person(s), but she also could have received them from being in the water and moving downstream. Jeffrey suspects however, that she received the bruises before her death. 

We very quickly transition to Michelle getting her mother’s black designer purse off a shelf and she informs us that her mother had bought the purse just six weeks before her disappearance. She notes that the purse is ripped- showing us in detail the damage and remarks that her mother always wore her purses on her left shoulder. (uhh… coincidence much? Do ya remember where her bruises were found, if not, double back a few lines…) Michelle says that the evidence of how the purse was found and the fact that her mother had bruising on that arm indicate that her mother was grabbed. 

We again are brought back to Chief Daniel’s interview. He’s asked about the purse and how it was left and where the tears of the purse were. He tells the interviewer that the reason why he doesn’t think she was a victim of any kind of struggle was because of where the damage was on the purse. He claims that because there was no damage done to the strap then, it basically just means that her purse is a red-herring. (For the record, his claim is BS.) Michelle shockingly tells us that the police never even fingerprinted the purse for evidence, or never tested for DNA. (Why am I not surprised?!) 

Michelle tells us that when they found JoAnn’s body, her car keys were zipped up in her coat pocket. (And when I did some further digging, I learned that Michelle and Kellie reported that a spare set of their mother’s car keys went missing in the weeks before her disappearance. Those same set of car keys eventually found their way to the police station the day after she went missing with no report of where they came from. Was this lazy police work, or a cover up??) Michelle says that not just the coat pockets were zipped, but her coat jacket was zipped to her chin. The reason why this small tidbit of information is disturbing is because Michelle claims her mother never zipped up her coat pockets or jacket. “It’s not something she would have done.” Michelle notes that her cell phone was missing (we already were told that) but also her rosary. Michelle says that both of those things would have been in her coat pocket. Michelle also points out how in-tact her mother’s shoes were- and one begs the question- if she had made it into the water down the steep slope like the police claim, then shouldn’t her high-heeled shoes be all torn up? Wouldn’t there be any evidence of having walked far over rocks and ice? 

Michelle believes that her mother was grabbed as she was walking out of the church and as she was getting into her car. (Which explains the damage to the purse and the bruising to her arm.) She thinks that her mother was pushed into her own car and the abductor drove the car, taking her somewhere along the Detroit River, rendering JoAnn unconscious, killing her, dumping her body, then driving back to the church to make it look like she had never left. They then staged the tracks in the snow to make it look like JoAnn walked into the water and committed suicide. 

John thinks that more than one person was involved in JoAnn’s disappearance and eventual death. He thinks that these people abducted her to scare her, but then lead to having to murder her to keep her quiet. Salvatore is back and mentions that most of the time in these kind of cases, a family member is involved and it’s the first time since the beginning of the documentary that we’re given any sort of nugget of information into whom may be responsible. Michelle lets us know that she initially thought there were a few family members that could have been responsible for her mother’s death. First, there’s her father. She says that her parents were married for 25 years, and towards the end JoAnn just got fed up. (SCALDING HOT TEA ALERT! Upon further digging, I learned that he had an affair with her best friend.) Michelle’s father was pissed that JoAnn had left him. The second suspect Michelle had came up with was her Uncle John (yes, the same one that has been in this documentary.) She thought that he didn’t necessarily commit the murder himself, but because he was involved in some shady dealings that maybe someone was out to get him and might have murdered JoAnn as an act of revenge. John admits that he was having financial problems at the time of JoAnn’s disappearance and admits that it’s very possible that someone kidnapped and murdered his sister because they knew how close the two of them were and wanted to send a message. “I can’t control that,” he says. Michelle says her third suspect, and the one she believes was the one most likely to have done this, was her mother’s cousin Tim Matouk. We’re told that he was a police officer in a neighboring county at the time of JoAnn’s disappearance and death and that he had reason to murder JoAnn. Tim and JoAnn had an estranged relationship. After JoAnn’s mother had passed in 1994, the family fell apart after a lawsuit between the siblings over the inheritance. (Allegedly JoAnn and Tim were fighting over the inheritance of a family wine store called Woods Wholesale Wine Store.) Michelle says in the weeks prior to her disappearance, JoAnn had a conversation with Tim over the phone and the two had gotten into an argument. Michelle isn’t privy to that conversation, but she remembers that her mother was screaming at him and asked him how he had gotten a hold of her. She told him to never contact her again and to leave her family alone. After she hung up on Tim, JoAnn turned to Michelle and told her that if anything ever happened to her, Michelle was to look at Tim as the suspect. (When I did more research, I learned that Michelle told a CBS affiliate in Detroit back in 2018 “She also had indicated that she was reluctant to go to the local police because they were friends with this estranged family member that was a police officer, and they would not do anything to help her.”) Because of all the in-fighting within the family, the investigators that Michelle had hired have had a hard time differentiating who is and who is not a suspect in this case. Michelle just can’t get the conversation about Tim with her mother out of her head. 

Again, we find ourselves watching Chief Daniel’s videotaped interview, and again we hear him stating that JoAnn committed suicide. When asked why, he believed that the pressure John was putting on her with his financial troubles, and the fracture within the family was why she would have committed suicide.

“Michelle Romain and her family sued the City of Grosse Pointe Farms and additional defendants for conspiracy to cover up JoAnn’s murder. The lawsuit and subsequent appeal were dismissed by the courts. The US District Court judge also stipulated: “There are disputed facts in this matter that are very disturbing and to this day remain unsolved.””

Kellie is back for seemingly the final time and says that her mother had a very strong spirit. She says that although they miss her every day, they still feel her a lot. She says that it doesn’t feel like she’s completely gone. John shows us the rosary that JoAnn had gifted to him and that he always keeps it with him. He says that he’ll never move on until they get justice and expose the people that had any and all involvement in his sister’s case. Michelle says she misses everything, but mostly the love and comfort that her mother had provided for her and her siblings. “That’s something you can never get back.” 

**Here is the list of things that I found out after doing some further digging which were not included in the episode.

  • David Romain reportedly had an affair with JoAnn’s best friend.
  • John Matouk ran a muli-million dollar company at the age of 29; John and JoAnn had a difficult relationship with their brother Bill.
  • John and JoAnn once sued their brother Bill, but JoAnn had later met with Bill at the wine store and spoke to him about the conversation she had with Tim and his threatening comments. Michelle claims that her mother “came out more freaked out than when she went in,” and states that “I don’t know what she saw. I don’t know what she heard… she just wanted to go to church and pray.” It was after this event that JoAnn called the security company.
  • A dismissed witness identified Tim Matouk as a suspect. The police ended up deeming this witness unreliable, and Michelle’s family only learned about the man’s statement after filing a lawsuit to access police documents.
  • Michelle states that she was the legal owner of JoAnn’s Lexus, so she was baffled when police showed up at her home asking questions about JoAnn’s disappearance. Meaning, the license plates would’ve led authorities to Michelle, but why did they already know about JoAnn being missing?

“If you have any information about JoAnn Romain’s disappearance and death, go to unsolved.com”

From left: Michelle, JoAnn, Michael, Kellie
St Paul Catholic Church. Take note of where the long driveway meets the section of two lane traffic, the median, then another set of two lane traffic. From this image, it also depicts the slope of land that leads to the lake.
Crime scene evidence of where JoAnn parked her car the night she disappeared.
The tracks in the snow that apparently led the police to believe that JoAnn committed suicide.
Investigators searching the lake for JoAnn’s body.
The interior of JoAnn’s car, after investigators swept for fingerprints.
JoAnn’s purse. The strap is intact, put the ripped fringe of the purse is evident at the top of the picture.
Salvatore showing the camera how hard it would have been for JoAnn to take that slope all alone, in the dark and in the middle of winter with those type of shoes.
JoAnn’s shoes that were found on her body. Notice how intact they are considering police think she entered the water of ice, and rock and boulders.

Published by caitiejobug

I’m a SAHM of one, a loving wife, daughter, and sister. Reading and writing are my favorite hobbies, along with watching true crime documentaries.

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