High Profile Quebec Cold Case of Teen Rape and Murder Cracked After Nearly 50 Years

The man whom police claim killed 16-year-old Canadian Sharron Prior in 1975 after raping her was identified as Franklin Maywood Romine.

Mr. Romine’s identiy was determined through DNA linking him to the callous crimes committed a half-century ago, police said.

The West Virginia man fled to Canada in 1974 while out on bail for raping a woman in Parkersburg, West Virginia, ABC News reported. The fugitive was captured by Canadian border guards months after Prior’s murder.

Canada extradited him back to West Virginia where he received a five-to-10 year prison sentence, the report noted.

The New York Post further reported:

One of the highest profile cold cases in Quebec history was cracked Tuesday when Canadian authorities pinpointed a West Virginia man who they say raped and killed a 16-year-girl nearly 50 years ago.

With the help of DNA evidence, police in Longueuil, Quebec identified Franklin Maywood Romine as the murderer of teenager Sharron Prior in 1975 in the Montreal suburb.

Prior was killed after she went to meet friends for pizza near her home and her body was found three days later in a wooded area.

The body of Romine, who was 36 when he mysteriously died in 1982, was exhumed from a West Virginia cemetery in early May for DNA testing.

Longueuil authorities said Romine’s DNA matched a sample found at the murder scene, confirming his link to the crime.

He also matched the description a witness gave of the suspect.

Local West Virginia prosecutor Mark Sorsaia told WCHS earlier this month the rape and murder of the teen girl is “the most evil element in the human race.”

“It’s a combination of the most evil element in the human race, contacting the most innocent element in the human race – a child,” he said. “Some things are worse than death – losing a child like that, for a family, for a mom. To know that your child died that way.”

Police ran through more than 100 suspects over the last 50 years.

The victim’s mother, Yvonne Prior, who is in her 80s, still lives in Canada.

She has spent her life searching for her slain daughter’s killer.

Romine landed on Longueuil police’s radar last year when investigators combed through criminal records and found he had an extensive history of violence, WCHS reported.

He tried to evade law enforcement by moving between Canada and West Virginia.

He was arrested stateside in 1974 for breaking into a Parkersburg, West Virginia house and raping a woman.

He was released on $2,500 bond two months later and fled to Canada, according to a past Associated Press report.

Just months after Prior’s slaying, Canadian border officials arrested Romine and he was sent to West Virginia where he served five to 10 years for the 1974 Parkersburg rape.

He died in Canada shortly after his release from prison, though it’s unclear how.


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