Post: Woman Disappears 1st Day of Mold Trial~Detroit
Posted by Sharon on 2/05/10
This is an odd one:
Family says 'ulterior motive' behind woman's Jan. 12
Daughter of 55-year-old insists 'ulterior motive' is behind
the Jan. 12 disappearance
Christine Ferretti and charles e. ramirez / The Detroit News
Grosse Pointe Woods -- As weeks pass without word from
Joann Matouk Romain, relatives fear the 55-year-old mother
of three -- described as "the glue of her friends and
family" -- may have been kidnapped.
"She was taken for an ulterior motive. We all believe
that," said the missing woman's eldest daughter, Michelle
Romain, 29. "Everyone is wondering who could actually do
something like this to my mom.
"It's difficult not knowing if she's tied up and being held
somewhere right now. There are a million things going
through our heads."
The Grosse Pointe Woods resident was last seen visiting St.
Paul on the Lake Catholic Church on Jan. 12. By 10 p.m.
that day, her Lexus sedan was the only car left in the lot.
Her purse, wallet and about $1,500 in cash were locked
inside. Missing were Romain, her cell phone, keys and
Police first suspected a medical episode linked to
diabetes, or suicide, after they found a single set of
footprints leading from the car to an impression in the
snow at the bank of Lake St. Clair. A six-day land and
water search failed to yield concrete leads.
While police say they are exploring all avenues, relatives
and friends say they do not believe Romain took her own
A St. Paul parishioner saw Romain leaving the church before
she vanished. A couple others reported they heard the panic
alarm sound on her car.
Michelle Romain fears her mother may have been dragged into
a car while standing next to her own. She would have never
gone near the water, she added.
Weeks prior to her disappearance, Romain told friends and
family she thought she was being followed. It was unclear
who she felt was tracking her, or why.
Romain said she last talked to her mother in Wayne County
Circuit Court on Jan. 12 -- the day she went missing --
after the family's first day of a civil trial against an
insurer over a black mold problem at their home.
Kevin Kennedy, an attorney representing the Romains, said
the case devastated the family.
In the suit, which originated in April 2005, the Romains
sought hundreds of thousands of dollars for property
damage, distress, personal injuries, alternative living
expenses and money lost from having to sell the home.
"My opening argument to the jury was that because of
actions and inactions of (the defendant), it ripped the
family up," he said. "Since the family was forced to move
out, Joann and (her husband) Dave went through divorce
Michelle Romain said the case "troubled our family." The
judge declared a mistrial because Romain was missing; a
status conference is set for Feb. 25. The case will
continue, her attorney said.
"The fact this happened on the day of the trial is
questionable, however, we don't strongly feel that is the
reason for this happening -- it's being looked into,"
Michelle Romain said.
Family and friends are holding a prayer vigil at 7 tonight
at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Grosse Pointe Woods.
They have created a Facebook page and are offering a
$250,000 reward. They hired a private investigator and
local, state and federal authorities are investigating.
Relatives say Romain's cell phone hasn't been turned on
since she vanished, leaving no signal for authorities to
Investigators are following up on persons of interest,
offering polygraph tests and checking personal records and
psychic tips, said Lt. John Ross, acting director of Grosse
Pointe Woods Department of Public Safety.
"The longer it goes ... you do start looking at other
possibilities more seriously and closely," Ross said. "You
never take anything like this lightly."
Romain is described as a good friend who loved life and
devoted time to family and religion.
"She was the glue of her friends and family," said Sandy
Boehm, a long-time friend. "If somebody has her, please
just have a heart and reassess what you are doing."
Anyone with information is asked to call (313) 343-2400.
firstname.lastname@example.org (586) 468-0343 Detroit News Staff
Writer Doug Guthrie contributed.
From The Detroit News:
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