Private investigator, family working to prove woman was murdered

Private investigator, family working to prove Grosse Pointe Woods woman died by murder, not suicide

Posted: Updated:
  • Private investigator, family working to prove Grosse Pointe Woods woman died by murder, not suicideMore>>

  • New information on 2010 death of Grosse Pointe Woods mother

    New information on 2010 death of Grosse Pointe Woods mother

    Tuesday, January 7 2014 10:18 PM EST2014-01-08 03:18:51 GMT
    A Grosse Pointe Woods mother of three was found dead in the Detroit River nearly four years ago. Police say she died by suicide, but her family firmly believes she was murdered.
    A Grosse Pointe Woods mother of three was found dead in the Detroit River nearly four years ago. Police say she died by suicide, but her family firmly believes she was murdered.
(WJBK) -

A Grosse Pointe Woods mother of three, JoAnn Romain, was found dead in the Detroit River nearly four years ago. Police say she died by suicide, but her family and a private investigator believe the evidence shows she was murdered.

Michelle Romain, JoAnn's daughter, has not rested since her mother's disappearance. JoAnn's car was found at her church, St. Paul Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms. Footprints in the snow across the street lead to the water where it appears someone sat down. Police say JoAnn committed suicide; her body was found in Canadian waters near Bob lo Island 70 days after she disappeared.

"My gut feeling is that she was abducted, she was chloroformed; and that she was thrown in," says Michelle.
 
"JoAnn Romain did not commit suicide. I think there was foul play - in short, I think this was a murder," says private investigator Scott Lewis, also a former Fox 2 investigative reporter.

Lewis was hired to review evidence in the case. He says a photo of JoAnn's, then new, designer purse raises new questions about the case. The purse was found in the passenger seat of her car. No money was missing but the purse was torn, and Michelle says autopsy results show her mother had contusions on her upper left arm, where she carried her purse.

"She told me she was being followed and she also told me if something happens to her to make sure I follow through with it. And she actually gave me certain individuals to look at, and, those people, I did give to the police and they did not follow through as they should have," Michelle says.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch Fox 2's Amy Lange's report


Lewis says too many things don't add up.

"She stopped at a gas station on Mack Avenue, got full service, talked to the attendant. She was in good spirits. She went to the church service and then she disappeared. If you're going to go commit suicide, would you stop and fill your tank with gas?" asks Lewis.

Then there's the question of why her body wasn't found sooner.

"They had dive teams out there for seven days. They didn't find a body, and the diver said there was zero current and good clarity," says Lewis.

Police say a current is always there, but Lewis says another element is important, "Two witnesses saw a man in black clothing along the edge of the water right in the area where they believe that JoAnn Romain walked into the lake."

Lewis says, given all of this, they've asked Michigan State Police to re-activate the case, believing that a vendetta against one of JoAnn's brothers lead to her death.

"That looks like a staged crime scene to me. That looks like someone parked that car in an awkward spot, fairly close to the water, created some footprints down along the edge of the water to make it look like this woman had committed suicide," gathers Lewis.

Fox 2's Amy Lange spoke with the public safety director and the lead investigator on the case from Grosse Pointe Farms. They say, while the sympathize with the family, they stand by their investigation. They have had no new leads in the case. Michigan State Police also tell Fox 2 they are not involved with the investigation.

  • Amy LangeMore from Amy LangeMore>>

  • Two in custody after search connected to Armada teen's murder

    Two in custody after search connected to Armada teen's murder

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:24 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:24:06 GMT
    The FBI and state police were at a home on Marquette Road in Goodells, Mich. most of Wednesday executing an investigative search warrant related to the murder of 14-year-old April Millsap.
    The FBI and state police were at a home on Marquette Road in Goodells, Mich. most of Wednesday executing an investigative search warrant related to the murder of 14-year-old April Millsap.
  • Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:01:39 GMT
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
  • Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:10:35 GMT
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:55:10 GMT
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
  • Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:33:46 GMT
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
  • Detroit councilwoman dodges questions about Facebook photo

    Detroit councilwoman dodges questions about Facebook photo

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:27:05 GMT
    Councilwoman Mary Sheffield posted a photo with controversial figure Rayford Jackson, previously involved in the Monica Conyers scandal. Fox 2's M.L. Elrick wants to know why.
    Councilwoman Mary Sheffield posted a photo with controversial figure Rayford Jackson, previously involved in the Monica Conyers scandal. Fox 2's M.L. Elrick wants to know why.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices