Teenage girl Sharron Prior’s cold case, which caused a stir in Canada, has been cleared after almost 50 years
One of the most high-profile cold cases in Quebec history was solved on Tuesday when Canadian authorities tracked down a West Virginia man who allegedly raped and killed a 16-year-old girl nearly 50 years ago.
Using DNA evidence, Longueuil, Quebec police identified Franklin Maywood Romine as the killer of teenager Sharron Prior in suburban Montreal in 1975.
Prior was killed after meeting friends for pizza near her home, and her body was found in a wooded area three days later.
The body of Romine, who was 36 when he mysteriously died in 1982, was exhumed for DNA testing in a West Virginia cemetery in early May.
Longueuil authorities said Romine’s DNA matched a sample found at the scene, confirming his connection to the crime.
It also matched the description a witness had given of the suspect.
West Virginia District Attorney Mark Sorsaia told WCHS earlier this month that the rape and murder of the teenage girl was “the most evil element in humanity.”
“It’s a combination of humanity’s most vicious element and exposure to humanity’s most innocent element — a child,” he said. “Some things are worse than death – to lose a child like that, for a family, for a mother. Knowing that your child died that way.”
Police have searched more than 100 suspects over the past 50 years.
The victim’s mother, Yvonne Prior, is in her 80s and still resides in Canada.
She has spent her life searching for the killer of her murdered daughter.
Romine landed on the Longueuil police radar last year when investigators combed criminal records and found he had an extensive history of violence, WCHS reported.
He attempted to evade prosecution by moving back and forth between Canada and West Virginia.
He was arrested in the United States in 1974 for breaking into a home in Parkersburg, West Virginia and raping a woman.
According to a previous Associated Press report, he was released on $2,500 bail two months later and fled to Canada.
Just months after Prior’s assassination, Canadian border officials arrested Romine and he was sent to West Virginia, where he served five to 10 years in prison for the 1974 Parkersburg rape.
He died shortly after being released from prison in Canada, although it’s unclear how.
With post wires