Ottawa: The rape and murder case of a teenager which took place in 1975 in Canada‘s Montreal case has finally been solved after authorities exhumed the suspect’s body and conducted DNA testing, investigators have confirmed.
Sixteen-year-old Sharron Prior disappeared after setting out to meet friends at a pizza parlour near her home in the city’s Pointe-St-Charles neighbourhood, reports CBC News.
Her body was found three days later in a wooded area in Longueuil, on Montreal’s South Shore.
The suspect, Franklin Romine, an American national from West Virginia, was living in Montreal at the time of the incident.
He had a long criminal record and encounters with law enforcement in Montreal and West Virginia, including at least one rape conviction, but was not initially a suspect in Prior’s death.
He died in 1982 at the age of 36.
Romine matched the description of a suspect and his car matched tire tracks found at the scene where Prior’s body was recovered.
Despite investigating more than 100 suspects over the years, police never made any arrests.
In 1975, the amount of DNA gathered at the scene was insufficient to be tested or used in court but it was kept over the years in the hope that it could someday be used to find a match for a suspect as technology improved.
The samples were sent to a laboratory in West Virginia in 2019 and later matched to Romine’s relatives using data from genealogical websites, Sky News reported.Earlier this month, police exhumed Romine’s body from a West Virginia cemetery and found that his DNA was a match.
On Tuesday, Sarah Bourgoin, the director of the biology and DNA department at Quebec’s national forensic laboratory, said retrieving a full genetic profile from Romine’s bones was a difficult task.
“Happily, here it worked. We were able to establish a genetic profile by comparing it to the unknown profile in Sharron Prior’s case.
We remarked that it was identical, which confirmed that it was indeed Franklin Romine who left his DNA at the scene,” CBC News quoted Bourgoin as saying.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Prior’s younger sisters, Doreen and Moreen said Sharron was a kind, warm-hearted young girl who dreamed of being a veterinarian.
“She was a beautiful young lady with a heart of gold,” Doreen said.