April Tinsley cold case: DNA leads to arrest 30 years after murder

19 July, 2018, 16:07 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • April Tinsley cold case: DNA leads to arrest 30 years after murder

An Indiana cold case has been solved with the arrest and confession of the man police believe raped and murdered April Marie Tinsley, 30 years ago in Ft.

Miller, 59, of Grabill, was arrested at his home Sunday morning by members of the Fort Wayne Police Department and the Indiana State Police, according to court documents. In July 2018 police obtained Miller's DNA by collecting several items from his trash, including three used condoms, the affidavit said.

The judge denied his bond and gave the State of IN 72 hours to file formal charges. "John Miller then told Detectives that he had sex with April M. Tinsley, and then he killed her. John Miller advised that he choked April M. Tinsley to death ..."

Prosecutors say DNA evidence connects him to the 1988 death of April Tinsley, a young girl found dead three days after her family reported her missing.

The case began on 1 April, 1988 when April was abducted from her home while walking to a friend's house.

Janet told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette she was surprised when more than 70 people attended because after so many years she thought her daughter's story had been forgotten.

"Hi, honey, I been watching you", said a letter published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That led police to a trailer park in Grabill, Indiana, where they found used condoms in a garbage outside Miller's home. He also kept haunting investigators for 30 years with taunting messages and clues claiming he murdered Tinsley and "would kill again". "I been watching you I am the same person that kidnapped an [sic] rape an (sic) kill Aproil (sic) Tinsely". He answered "April Tinsley", before admitting the crime to investigators, according to court documents. These notes were left inside bags along with used condoms or Polaroid pictures of the killer's body, the F.B.I. The first-grader's body was found by a jogger three days later in a ditch along a road in southern DeKalb County.

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Note: A mugshot for Miller is not available at this time.

DNA from the condoms matched traces found on Tinsley's underwear.

The Fort Wayne Police Department submitted the suspect's DNA to Parabon NanoLabs, and this month the firm's genealogist CeCe Moore was able use public genealogy databases to narrow down the suspects to two brothers in the Fort Wayne area.

On 9 July, investigators learned that the DNA from his refuse matched the previous samples. When asked why police would want to talk to him, Miller offered "April Tinsley", according to court documents.

Genetic genealogy has already helped police identify suspects in five cold cases across the country including the alleged Golden State Killer, who is tied to dozens of rapes and murders in the 70s and 80s.

Miller was arrested on charges of suspicion of murder, child molesting and confinement.

Police released few details about Miller, but said that it appeared he lived by himself.

Miller told detectives that the next morning he dumped her body in a ditch and that he drove by the next day when he did not see it on the news according to the affidavit.


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