Federal judge clears police of wrongdoing in Grosse Pointe mom's death investigation

A judge has ruled in a federal lawsuit filed by the family of a Grosse Pointe Woods woman after her mysterious death.

JoAnn Matouk Romain, 55, disappeared after a church event near Lake St. Clair in January 2010. Seventy days later, her body was found floating in the Detroit River near Amherstburg, Ontario.

Grosse Pointe Farms Police, who initially handled the case, strongly suggested that the incident was a suicide, and her death was ruled a suicide by drowning. Her family, though, has always believed foul play was involved. 

They claim she feared a relative who was a police officer at a neighboring department at the time of her disappearance. Her daughter even hired a private investigator in hopes of proving her mother was actually murdered and that the crime was being covered up.

In the recent lawsuit, the family accused Grosse Pointe police of covering up the crime to protect a fellow officer. 

On Monday, a federal judge, though, cleared police of any wrongdoing.

A press release states several autopsies confirmed the cause of death was freshwater drowning, and the manner of death undeterminable. A report prepared by the Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office also stated that "the lack of significant injuries made homicide less likely." 

The judge concluded the family has no evidence, just speculation, that her death was being covered up as a suicide. 

Because there has been no formal declaration as to the manner of death, the Grosse Pointe Farm Public Safety Department case file remains open.