Since JoAnn Romain’s “Lady in the Lake” episode of Netflix’s “Unsolved Mysteries Vol. 2” premiere in October, viewers have raised a lot of questions about her cousin, Tim Matouk, and his potential involvement in her mysterious death in 2010.
Among Matouk’s accusers are some of his own family members, including JoAnn’s daughter, Michelle Romain.
Matouk did not participate in his cousin’s episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” but he vehemently denies the accusations — some of which hinge on a phone call he made to JoAnn a few weeks before her death. Michelle overheard the conversation and said that afterward her mother seemed afraid. She also said that her mother warned that if anything were to happen to her, she should look to Matouk.
“I do know that she has a fear of him, and now she’s gone,” Michelle said in the episode.
Now, Matouk is opening up about his cousin’s case in a brand-new interview with “Unsolved Mysteries” co-creator Terry Dunn Meurer. In addition to maintaining his innocence, Matouk reveals what was said during that phone call and shares his own theory about what happened to JoAnn. You can watch the full interview here.
When he first learned that some of his family members believed he had something to do with JoAnn’s death, Matouk said he was “shocked.”
“Why point fingers at family members when you don’t have any evidence, you don’t have any motive? To me it was crazy, it was absurd that they would do that or say that,” he said.
He also denied that he and JoAnn’s relationship was ever “estranged,” and that they were on good terms until the infamous phone call. He said he called her after he heard from another family member that she had been talking behind his back.
“I had heard from my cousin Billy that JoAnn was going around saying that all of John Matouk’s problems were on account of me,” he said, referring to JoAnn’s brother, John, with whom she was very close. “For her to say that about me was, I thought, way out of line. So I figured it was OK to give her a call. We weren’t mad at each other, so why wouldn’t it be OK to call her and ask her?”
He added: “To my surprise, she said to me, ‘I don’t want to talk to you, you’re nothing but a trouble maker.'”
However, he denied that any “screaming or yelling” took place.
As for the warning Michelle said her mother gave her, Matouk believes it was a lie. “I don’t believe she ever said that. JoAnn had no reason to say that. In my opinion, that was made up,” he said. “Let’s go back to John Matouk. On your show, John Matouk said they were very close. Well, she never told him that I threatened her or if anything happens to her, look at me. I believe that was made up.”
Matouk also said he has a solid alibi for the night she disappeared. “I was working that night. I was working for a Michigan state narcotics task force, which is a four-year assignment,” he said. “That particular night, we were working an active target in the city of Warren. When I say active, that means you’re sitting on a location and you can’t leave that location because there’s activity going on, so you’re in constant communication with your partners. If people come and go, you’re following that person around. You gotta ask permission to leave to go to the bathroom — you just can’t wander off on your own.”
He also said this was corroborated by his phone records and by testimony from Michigan state troopers.
“There is no motive. There is no evidence,” he said. “Even their own investigator, the one that they hired, he’s a retired FBI agent — he said I was credible and I had nothing to do with JoAnn’s disappearance.”
As for what he thinks happened to JoAnn, Matouk sides with local Grosse-Pointe law enforcement, who have maintained from the beginning of their investigation that they believe JoAnn waded into the lake across from the church parking lot where her car was found and drowned. The police believe it was suicide, but Matouk said he thought it could be possible that she had accidentally fallen in.
JoAnn’s daughter and other members of the family have rejected law enforcement’s lake-drowning theory and are certain she was the victim of foul play. Backing up their theory is the fact that her body was discovered by fishermen in Canada 70 days after her disappearance and 30 miles away from where she was last seen, meaning it would have had to float that entire distance without being discovered during extensive searches of the lake.
“Unsolved Mysteries” volumes one and two are now streaming on Netflix.
How will Tim Matouk respond to questions from viewers like you? Watch his exclusive interview with Executive Producer Terry Dunn Meurer in the Unsolved Mysteries Case Files. https://t.co/zBIAlBYne7 pic.twitter.com/blkScatNX9
— Unsolved Mysteries (@Unsolved) November 24, 2020