Police in Canada say they have identified the man who raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl in 1975.
Sharron Prior was on her way to meet up with friends at a pizzeria near her home in Montreal when she went missing.
His body was found three days later in a wooded area in Longueuil on the South Shore of Montreal but, despite investigating more than 100 suspects over the years, the police never made any arrests.
This week, however, they said they were 100% certain that Sharron was murdered by Franklin Maywood Romine.
Romine was living in Montreal at the time of Sharron’s death and had a lengthy criminal record, including a rape conviction in 1974.
He matched a suspect’s description and his car matched the tire tracks found near Sharron’s body.
Sharron’s younger sister, Doreen, said: “Solving Sharron’s case will never bring Sharron back, but knowing that his killer is no longer on this earth and can no longer kill brings us to some sort of closure.”
DNA was found at the scene in 1975, but it wasn’t enough to test or use in court.
It was kept safe, however, in the hope that one day better technology would mean it could be used to find Sharron’s killer.
The samples were sent to a lab in West Virginia in 2019 and were then matched to Romine’s relatives using genealogy websites.
Romine died in 1982 under mysterious circumstances, but his brothers’ DNA closely matched samples found near Sharron’s body.
Earlier this month, police exhumed Romine’s body from a West Virginia cemetery and found her DNA matched.
Mother received the news “with great emotion”
Yvonne Prior, Sharron’s mother, is over 80 and has spent her life trying to keep her daughter’s murder on the agenda in hopes that the killer will be found.
Police said she and other family members were immediately told the news in a private meeting “with a lot of emotion”.
Hope for families of victims seeking answers
They added that the technology used to solve Sharron’s case “undoubtedly will give hope to the dozens and dozens of families of victims who are still searching for answers today.”
“Although this technique is not applicable to all unresolved cases, (the police) undertake not to neglect any leads and to use all the tools at their disposal in order to allow the families and loved ones of the victims of these murders to get the answers they need.”