PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — A Putnam County man raped and killed a Canadian teen in March 1975, investigators told 13 News Tuesday.
Investigators said the DNA evidence found on a shirt showed that Franklin Romine was the one who killed 16-year-old Sharron Prior, of Longueuil, Québec, Canada.
On March 29th, 1975, officials said Prior left her mother’s home that evening to be with friends at a local pizza parlor, a normal routine for her. However, she never made it back home.
Her body was found three days later in a nearby park, partially nude with her underwear hanging on a tree. The investigation revealed that she had been sexually assaulted and murdered.
The case ran cold for nearly 48 years but it was reopened by Longueuil Police Cold Case Detective Sgt. Eric Racicot.
A shirt was collected as evidence along with a man’s DNA sample found on Prior’s underwear. Longueuil Police Department used this evidence along with modern technology and narrowed the search to the family name “Romine.”
After investigating further, a Putnam County man, Franklin Maywood Romine’s criminal history, including being convicted of rape and assault, made him a prime suspect.
However, Romine was 900 miles away in Putnam County, West Virginia, and dead. That’s when Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia came into the picture.
On May 2, Sorsaia, along with the FBI and Longueuil Police officials exhumed the body. Investigators were able to collect the DNA samples they needed.