We are getting answers in the 1975 rape-murder of Sharron Prior (Feb 9, 1959 – March 29, 1975) from Longueuil, Quebec, Canada.
Sharron was sixteen years old when she left home to meet friends at a nearby pizzeria. She never arrived. She was abducted, raped, beaten, and murdered. Her body was found three days later.
The autopsy showed the cause of death was asphyxiation. She had many facial fractures.
In 1975, we did not have DNA to bring us answers. But properly preserved evidence can be checked for materials that may give us a profile.
Police said “white tape, which they believe was used to restrain her, was stuck in her hair and on her wrists. A blue T-shirt also had been used to restrain her.”
That t-shirt, combined with Sharron’s pants and underwear, are now giving us answers.
DNA found on those items leads us to West Virginia, to Franklin Maywood Romine, who passed away in 1982 at the age of thirty-six. Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia immediately collaborated with the Canadian authorities when he got the call. He filed a petition to exhume Romine.
Romine has a long record. He was never on the radar in Sharron’s case. However, he had been criminally active in the Montreal area in the 70s. His cause of death is unknown at the time of writing.
Franklin Romine has two brothers. These two cooperated with police and voluntarily gave samples back in December 2022. Noah and Michael Romine are NOT suspects.
“The comparison of the profiles showed several similarities between the profiles of Noah and Michael and the suspect’s profile that was also linked to the blue shirt sample of the victim’s and from the samples taken from the victim’s pants and panties. The results showed that it is 140 million times more likely to come from the brother of Noah and Michael Romine than any other random person in the Caucasian population,” court documents stated.
To get the final answers for the Prior family, exhuming Franklin Romine was the only option. On April 6, 2023 Det. Sgt. Eric Racicot from the Longueuil Police Department spoke in Putnam County Circuit Court. The brothers had strong reservations. Their mother’s grave is right next to his. They did not want her to be disturbed. Judge Phillip Stowers granted the petition to exhume.
The exhumation took place May 2, 2023. It was a collaborative effort of the Longueuil Police, the FBI, West Virginia State Police, and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by a local funeral home.
Whether the authorities got a good DNA sample for comparison to their evidence remains to be seen. They expect results within the coming weeks. West Virginia authorities will now check other unsolved rape and murder cases as well for a possible Romine connection.
To be continued.
Rest in peace, Sharron Kim Prior.