Suspect in 1988 killing of in girl arrested using DNA, genealogy databases

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

John Miller, 59, of Grabill was arrested and preliminarily charged, in nearby Fort Wayne, with murder, child molestation and confinement of someone under 14 years old, 30 years after April Tinsley's body was found in a ditch.

Court papers say Miller confessed that he strangled Tinsley so she wouldn't tell anyone he had molested her. Police said Miller was responsible for several incidents in which he wrote notes claiming to be the killer throughout the past three decades.

She was then raped and murdered. It is thought that formal charges will be brought against Miller this week.

The message on the barn read: "I kill 8 year old April M Tinsley did you find her other shoe haha I will kill agin".

"Hi honey", one note read, according to a picture released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Genealogy data also was used to narrow the search, police said. Prosecutors and police have declined to comment before a news conference scheduled for Tuesday morning. "I been watching you I am the same person that kinapped an rape an kill Aproil Tinsely you are my next victim [sic]".

Miller was arrested on suspicion of killing April Tinsley Sunday after he was traced using DNA samples uploaded to public databases.

Fourteen years later, four messages were sent to other young girls in the area, along with used condoms and polaroid photos, promising that they were next on the killer's list, the Post said. Three days later, a jogger found her body along a country road 20 miles away. "That'd be the main question I would ask him over and over and over again - why?" Two years after the horrific murder took place, police discovered a note in a barn near the place from where Tinsley's body was recovered. Police said she'd been raped, but were not able to track down a suspect through DNA.




Investigators were able to match the DNA on the condoms to DNA recovered April's underwear, providing a concrete link between the messages and the gruesome murder.

On 9 July, investigators learned that the DNA from his refuse matched the previous samples.

This is the second time this year that genealogy information has led to a major arrest; Joseph DeAngelo, the alleged "Golden State Killer", was arrested after being matched to 13 murders through a similar genealogy database.

Last April, to mark the 30th anniversary of April's murder, Janet Tinsley chose to hold a balloon release in a small neighborhood park dedicated to April near her home.

Tinsley cried as Miller - charged with murder in the abduction and killing of 8-year-old April Tinsley in 1988 - took his seat on the left side of the courtroom. He had choked Tinsley to death after raping her and after she died he had sex with the deceased body before discarding it.

According to court documents, upon being asked if he knew why the police had arrived at his house, Miller replied "April Tinsley" before admitting to the murder.

Miller said he then drove Tinsley's body to C.R. 68 in Spencerville and dumped her.

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