Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a new plan, on Thursday, to focus more attention on Ohio's unsolved homicides.
The effort includes listing every Ohio cold case murder on the Attorney General's website, as well as offering law enforcement agencies free, expert services from the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
Among the cases currently featured by the Attorney General's Office is the murder of a woman found by her 11-year-old daughter stabbed to death. Authorities with the Sylvania Police Department believe Patricia "Patty" Stichler, 30, struggled violently during an attack in her bedroom on January 2, 1985.
The girl found her mother's bloody and mostly nude body in their home's master bedroom, which was right next to the room where the girl and her two sisters were sleeping.
According to FBI statistics, there are 5,153 unsolved homicide cases in Ohio. The Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Unsolved Homicides webpage currently features 166 of those unresolved cases. Listing a cold case on the Attorney General's website is voluntary for law enforcement.
Stichler was divorced at the time of her death, had previously worked at 21st Century Health Spas, and had thrown a New Year's Eve party for at least 20 people the day before her body was found. Police said there were no signs of forced entry to the doors, but a bathroom window was found open. Knife cuts were found in the window's shades and in the shower curtain.
"By bringing attention to this cold case investigation and others like it, we hope to help give victims' families closure and justice," said DeWine.
Ohio law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved homicides can also request assistance from BCI experts who can:
. Review cases, assist with interviews, and provide follow-up support
. Identify evidence for submission to lab
. Analyze evidence that has been properly preserved
. Digitize and preserve case files
. Examine electronic devices
In addition, the Attorney General's Office will feature one unsolved homicide case each month, in an effort to draw public attention to the investigation. Those with tips can call the BCI tip line at 855-BCI-OHIO, and tips will then be forwarded to the original investigating agency.
In order to help educate the law enforcement community about this entire effort, BCI is also planning Ohio Unsolved Homicides Symposiums across the state beginning in 2013.