April Tinsley: DNA snares man in IN girl's 1988 murder

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

Police make arrest in April Tinsley murder, 1988 Fort Wayne cold case

Police in IN say they've made an arrest in the decades-old rape and slaying of a little girl whose death was used to taunt not only police but also other young children. He attended an initial hearing Monday morning, and is scheduled for another one scheduled to take place Thursday, according to IN state records obtained by Law&Crime.

Over the next few months Miller was quietly investigated by authorities, who collected three used condoms from his trash at a Grabill trailer park on July 6.

For decades, the case remained cold, though periodically police received messages - such as graffiti on a barn and notes with DNA samples - from someone claiming to be her killer. It is thought that formal charges will be brought against Miller this week. It took 10 minutes to kill April, Miller allegedly said.

Tinsley's mother reported her missing back on April 1, 1988 from their home in Wayne, Indiana, said the affidavit.

The last time 8-year-old April Tinsley was seen alive, a man was dragging her into a beat-up blue pickup truck in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

April left her family's home on West Williams Street on April 1, 1988.


One chilling note released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation reads: 'Hi honey.

IN police say cutting-edge genealogy and DNA techniques helped solve an infamous, 30-year-old cold case.

But finally, after 30 years of searching for answers, investigators experienced a significant break in the case.

"I kill 8 year old April Marie Tisley I will kill agin", the message said.

An autopsy revealed April had died from asphyxiation and likely has been sexually assaulted, the affidavit said.

In the spring of 2004, four notes appeared on bicycles belonging to young girls living in the Fort Wayne area. Her body was found three days after her disappearance in a ditch by a jogger. "That'd be the main question I would ask him over and over and over again - why?" DNA evidence was recovered in April's underwear, but a match was never found.


It's still unclear how detectives Brian Martin of the Fort Wayne Police Department and Clint Hetrick of the Indiana State Police used DNA information in the Tinsley case, but the affidavit says they worked with "highly trained genealogist" CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist.

On July 9, investigators learned that the DNA from the used condoms found in Miller's trash matched the DNA from the condoms found in 2004, and the DNA found on the victim.

Sunday, Miller was called in for questioning and when asked if he knew why the police wanted to talk to him - he replied "April Tinsley".

Miller, 59, was arrested on preliminary murder, child molesting and criminal confinement charges in Tinsley's death.

Upon pressing, Miller admitted that he kidnapped the eight-year-old and later killed her so she would not report him to police.

Police released few details about Miller, but said that it appeared he lived by himself. She had been raped, strangled and then dumped, police said.


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