Special Reports

Detective gives keys to untangling murder mysteries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - "Never give up."  A motto cold case detectives like Pat Postiglione live by.

Postiglione is a legend in Metro police crime solving. Before he retired in 2013 and took a job with the Davidson County District Attorney's Office, he served as Detective Sergeant of the Homicide Cold Case Unit and was the lead detective on at least 130 cases. 

"Because it's a cold case and the case becomes one year, two years, three years old, and you have to have that mindset of never giving up because sometimes it's easy to say this case is ten years old. It's never going to get solved," Postiglione said. "But a cold case, you can create information. You can create, they call it luck. You can be very create with cold cases. There's a lot of avenues you can go down to resolve a cold case. But it's a relentless pursuit that solves these cases."

Postiglione gave News 2 unique insight into what it takes to solve cold cases. 

"Witness statements are good. We've had them. But physical evidence is better. A finger print, for example. A blood finger print, for example. Anything that the suspect possibly denies even being on the crime scene, but now we have that person's finger print inside the crime scene now or we have that person's DNA inside the crime scene. That very same person denied ever being inside this building. Well, then this person's now going to have to explain how his finger print got there or how his DNA got in there."

MORE: Legendary detective says genealogy DNA kits will help solve more murders

DNA evidence is just one tool used in untangling murder mysteries.  Postiglione said detectives need to have relentless pursuit of justice, "They all do keep you up. And I found that when I was working, when I went to sleep, my brain was still going. It was still thinking about this angle and that angle or this person and the other person. And I would think  along those lines, and I would never stop thinking about these homicides. I mean, it really does. It engulfs you. And you think about these homicides, trying to bring closure to the families because I used to deal with families every single day."

Watch the full interview at the top of this story.

News 2 is investigating local cold cases. We have special reports all day Thursday in every newscast digging deeper into homicides that have stumped investigators for years. 

Cold Case stories featured include:

Case remains unsolved nearly 40 years after sisters killed

Young woman's murder remains mystery after body found at Nashville trash facility

Retired Clarksville couple's murder unsolved for nearly a decade

North Nashville man murdered while getting pizza for family 

13-year-old DNA under woman's fingernails may solve one of Nashville's most gruesome murders

Family desperate for answers after man shot, killed along Ellington Parkway


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