In 1980, the Toledo Police Department requested Lee's expert forensic-investigative advice. During this time, he helped to re-examine the scene and worked with the Toledo Police Department's cold case squad to delve deeper into the case. Compared to other agencies, Toledo's Police Department is fortunate to have such a resource.
Lee says that it would be beneficial for all police departments to have cold case investigation units like the Toledo Police Department. But in reality, large departments are only afforded such a luxury.
"Smaller departments always just have that one officer, one detective trying to coordinate the case," Lee says. "The federal government should allocate more money on cold cases because the homicide rate is above 70 percent in the United States."
There are alternatives, however. Lee recommends agencies recruit an outside consortium for additional investigation assistance or inquire at universities with teaching facilities.
For example, Lee says many local departments currently enlist the investigative expertise of the cold case center at the University of New Haven to assist with various investigations.
Lee offers a chilling and sobering fact about the amount of cold cases that go unsolved every year.
"The homicide clearance rate is barely is above 70 percent in the United States," he says. "Sexual assault is at 50 percent and burglary, less than 30 percent. Think about how many cold cases are unsolved every year."
For the families of murdered loved ones, unsolved cases takes its toll, and they often lose their faith in the way criminal investigations are conducted.
"With those victims' families waiting for 10, 20 or 30 years, they start losing the confidence and trust in the justice system," Lee says.
"When the citizens start to lose the trust of the system, then you have a major, major problem."Case solved, case closed
It took more than 26 years to solve the murder of Sister Pahl, but hard work and diligence from two generations of investigators finally paid off.
Cousino attributes the rigorous work ethic by everyone involved to the eventual success in solving the case, despite the challenges. He says investigators went to great lengths to work on this case in the 1980s, and it was impressive.
"But they just didn't have that one little thing they needed to solve the case," he continues. With the investigation of Sister Pahl, that "one little thing" was advanced technology and the science of DNA evidence.
"Sometimes another set of eyes looking at pattern evidence can shed some new light on a case," Cousino says.
In this particular case, the search for viable DNA evidence lead investigators to a more clues about the weapon used for the murder of Sister Pahl. This offers hope for other cold case investigations to be solved, if even many years after the crime was committed.
"There's a lot of satisfaction in finding someone who's gotten away with murder for many years," says Cousino. "Those cases are really satisfying to work on."