By Ralph Iannotti

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s a case that’s stymied police for 20 years: a Pittsburgh native, shot and killed in Ohio.

Decades later, his mother has made it her personal quest to bring her son’s killer to justice.

Kathy Perla has marked a somber anniversary; it was May 9, 1997, when her 18-year old son, Nick Paolone, was shot and killed in his home in Youngstown, Ohio.

Paolone attended Brentwood High School, then moved to Ohio, where he married his Pittsburgh girlfriend, Michelle Franklin. The couple had a son.

Perla thinks there’s a definite Pittsburgh connection to her son’s death. And, Pittsburgh Police early on were involved in the investigation.

Perla told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti there was never a motive established, after her son was found shot to death on May 9, 1997. She said his wife had gone out for pizza, and when she came home, she found him dead. Police said originally it was a suicide, but no weapon was ever found, and they later said it a homicide.

“There weren’t many clues, so what we really need is for someone to confess or give us information,” Perla said.

She’s put up a $5,000 reward of her own money for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Perla also said that her son’s wife “failed a lie detector test, but, you can’t use that in court.”

Perla said there were no drugs or alcohol found in her son’s body, “so, at least as far as Nick was concerned, [his death] was not something alcohol or drug-related.”

She says she’s lost contact with her former daughter-in-law, but, her grandson is very much as part of the family; he was adopted by a relative.

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