Stranger Things In The D: Matouk Romain Case Marks Twelfth Anniversary, Only Alleged Witness To Disappearance Found Dead In Detroit

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January 13, 2022 — Just a month removed from the strange passing of the only alleged witness in the case, the disappearance and death of Metro Detroit housewife JoAnn Matouk Romain marks its 12th anniversary this week. The Matouk Romain case was the focus of an Unsolved Mysteries episode on Netflix back in the fall of 2020 and Channel 4 won Emmy awards for its coverage of the case last year.

The 55-year old Matouk Romain vanished after attending a church service in swanky Grosse Pointe Farms on the night of January 12, 2010 and wasn’t found until almost three months later when Canadian fishermen came across her floating dead body in near pristine condition on the Ontario, Canada side of the Detroit River. The “Grosse Pointes” are an affluent cluster of neighborhoods resting on Lake St. Clair, just to the east of the Detroit city limits.

The Matouk family was at war with each other in the years preceding her death over a wine-store and real estate fortune estimated between $10,000,000 and $20,000,000. The cause of death was immediately ruled a suicide by drowning despite the fact that an independent autopsy conducted by pathologists at the University of Michigan ruled that there was no water in her lungs at the time she stopped breathing.

Matouk Romain feuded with her first cousin, Tim, a decorated cop and lead investigator for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, in the weeks leading up to her going missing and told friends and those closest to her that she feared for her life. On January 7, 2010, Matouk Romain had a face-to-face meeting with members of federal law enforcement, per sources. What was discussed at this meeting remains unknown.

Tim Matouk denies any culpability in the disappearance and death of JoAnn Matouk Romian. He did an interview with both Unsolved Mysteries last December and with Dateline Detroit this week offering his side of the story and refuting the allegation that he ever threatened Matouk Romain

s life.

Art gallery owner and former high school football star Paul Hawk signed an affidavit claiming to have seen a man resembling Tim Matouk standing next to JoAnn Matouk Romain near the banks of Lake St. Clair around the time she vanished. Hawk’s allegations came under scrutiny for first identifying Matouk’s brother John as the man he had seen that night and maintaining a questionable timeline in relation to the time the sun set on January 12, 2010.

Hawk, 55, was found dead in his Grosse Pointe Farms home December 8, 2021. His cause of death is unclear, although initial reports stated that no foul play was suspected. Hawk was one of the greatest running backs in Grosse Pointe South High School history and played at Western Michigan and briefly at the University of Michigan. Hawk’s step brother, Tony Volpe, died suddenly in November.

Matouk Romain’s children and brother John have accused their cousin of murdering their mother and the Grosse Pointe Police Department of covering it up, allegations dismissed by federal judges in civil litigation seeking damages of $100,000,000. Grosse Pointe was long known as Ground Zero for Detroit’s Italian mafia, with all the dons of the crime family building an enclave known as “The Compound” on Middlesex Road in the 1930s.

Local mob shot callers began moving further north and then west in the 1990s and 2000s. One of those questioned in the case was an alleged mob-connected bookmaker tied to a number of members of the Matouk family, including John, who had a gambling debt with the bookie. The Matouks are of Syrian descent.

If anyone has information on what Matouk was meeting with the FBI about or why she was in fear for her life, which leads to arrests, they can collect the award as well. Information to claim the $200,000 reward can be sent to infor@ScottLewisPI.com or phoned into 855-411-LEWIS.

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