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Woman helped out of Lake St. Clair

January 24, 2013
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — A 30-year-old woman gave no sound reason for jumping into Lake St. Clair off St. Paul Catholic Church early afternoon Thursday, Jan. 17, according to multiple police officers.

Patrolmen from one end of the Pointes to the other responded at 1:16 p.m. to multiple 911 callers reporting the incident, which missed by less than a week the three-year anniversary of Joann Matouk Romain, 55, of Grosse Pointe Woods, disappearing off the breakwall in the same location.

Her body was found three months later off in the Detroit River near Boblo Island. Police ruled it a suicide.

“I had that gut feeling, again,” said Farms Lt. Jack Patterson, second officer on scene last week.

Officers responded from as far away as Grosse Pointe Park and Shores.

Patterson arrived and saw another Farms officer speaking from shore to the woman standing in the shallows below.

“I heard the other officer ask her how she got there,” Patterson said. “She said she jumped. That’s all she said.”

The woman, from Grosse Pointe Woods, stood drenched on a submerged concrete block. The lake is so shallow this time of year that, coupled with system-wide drops of the Great Lakes, her feet and little else were under water.

She wore “regular clothes and a jacket,” Patterson said.

He called for an ambulance. Two responded.

“I also called for a fire engine because I figured we’d need a ladder to get her out,” Patterson said. “She even told me she needed a ladder to get out.”

It’s tough getting out of the lake these days because of low water levels.

The concrete sea wall in many cases is a smooth, 5-foot cliff, angled outward from shore with nothing to grip.

“There was just enough of a gap between the concrete and breakwall that we couldn’t reach out and pull her across,” Patterson said. “We threw her a nylon strap to put around herself and lowered 14-foot ladder into the lake.”

The woman climbed out.

“She said she was cold and didn’t feel well,” Patterson said.

A passerby reportedly gave the woman a Hello Kitty blanket for warmth.

Medics took her to Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe.

Officers found her car parked at Grosse Pointe Academy, next to the church.

Police notified the woman’s mother. She went to the hospital, then retrieved the car, according to police.

With numerous officers from different agencies coming and going from the scene, it was difficult to determine how many responded.

“We had plenty of people there, no matter what would have happened,” Patterson said. “Everybody worked together without being asked.”

Police have the blanket at headquarters for the passerby to retrieve.

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