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Decade-old death with ties to Ontario seeing renewed interest, thanks to 'Unsolved Mysteries'

The decade-old unsolved death of JoAnn Matouk Romain, which has ties to southwestern Ontario, is seeing renewed interest after being featured on the hit show, Unsolved Mysteries.

'Credible tips' coming in after the 2010 case was profiled on popular show, daughter says

Michelle Romain is seen with her mother, JoAnn Matouk Romain, in an undated photograph. Michelle hopes the mystery of JoAnn's death will be solved after it was profiled on an episode of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries. (Submitted by Michelle Romain)

Michelle Romain believes the decade-long mystery of her mother's death won't go unsolved for much longer.

That's in large part due to the case being profiled on a new episode of the long-running TV program Unsolved Mysteries, now on Netflix.

"There are some credible tips coming in," Romain told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive. She said that Unsolved Mysteries fans from as far away as Portugal and China have contacted her with messages of support since the episode went live on October 19.

"With all the spotlight on it at this point, I know that action will be taken."

In January 2010, JoAnn Matouk Romain of Grosse Pointe, Mich., disappeared after attending an evening church service. Local police believe she walked into Lake St. Clair, fewer than 100 metres from the church, to take her own life.

Her body was discovered more than two months later off Bois Blanc Island (commonly known as Boblo Island) in Amherstburg, Ont., more than 55 kilometres from where police believe her body entered the water, which was no more than a few feet deep and had no wind current at the time, according to investigators featured in the episode.

Michelle Romain has been trying to disprove the police theory ever since, hiring private investigators and soliciting tips from the public through social media pages, including the Justice For JoAnn Matouk Romain Facebook page.

As Romain explained to CBC, she's convinced her mother was murdered and believes her mother would never take her own life.

"She was a happy person. She was a religious person," Romain said. "This is something that she would have never done to herself. We know that there's people responsible for her murder, and there is going to be consequences at the end of this."

A screenshot of the Unsolved Mysteries episode 'Lady In The Lake,' where Michelle Romain visits the location where her mother's body was found, off Boblo Island in Amherstburg, Ont. (Netflix)

A trip to Boblo Island

As part of the Unsolved Mysteries episode, Michelle Romain paid her first visit to Boblo Island to see where her mother's body was found.

"It was definitely difficult knowing that was where her lifeless body was found. It's hard to think about," Romain said. "But it's something I had to do. I needed to experience that. I needed to know where her body was found. And we needed to take a look at every aspect of this case."

According to the Detroit Free Press, Romain sued Grosse Pointe police departments for $100 million US, alleging a cover-up of her mother's murder. A federal judge dismissed the suit and a subsequent appeal, but said the case cited "disputed facts" that are "very disturbing."

Have a listen to Michelle Romain's full interview with CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive.

A decade-old unexplained death with ties to southwestern Ontario is seeing renewed interest after it was profiled on Unsolved Mysteries. Michelle Romain joined Afternoon Drive to discuss whether she feels closer to finding out what happened to her mother. 8:06

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