Indiana Man Arrested In 1988 Rape, Murder Of 8-Year-Old April Tinsley
John D. Miller allegedly taunted the community for years after the murder.
Police have made an arrest in the 30-year-old rape and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley, using DNA evidence combined with new technology.
As WANE-TV (Ft. Wayne) reports, John D. Miller, 59, was arrested without incident at his Gabrill trailer on Sunday morning. When police asked him if he knew why they were there, he reportedly answered “April Tinsley.”
Back in 1988, April Tinsley was abducted from the street in her Ft. Wayne neighborhood as she walked to a friend’s home to grab an umbrella. Her body was found three days later by a jogger; she had been sexually assaulted, strangled, and left for dead.
Unfortunately, the case went cold. Making matters worse, the alleged murderer taunted the community: Two years later, a cruel message was found scrawled onto the side of a nearby barn.
“I kill 8 year old April M Tinsley did you find her other shoe haha I will kill agin”
According to The Washington Post, that wouldn’t be the last time April’s murderer taunted the community. He allegedly sent what the Post describes as “grotesque messages” using condoms and Polaroid pictures. They were addressed to other little girls whom he claimed were on his list.
Meanwhile, police went through hundreds of suspects – none of them Miller – and cleared them all due to lack of evidence.
Fortunately, there were no subsequent rapes and murders of little girls in Ft. Wayne that could be tied to April’s murderer.
Meanwhile, the murder captured the attention of the nation. It was featured on America’s Most Wanted and Crime Watch Daily, and even as police were putting the cuffs on Miller, the case was scheduled to be featured on an upcoming edition of On The Record With Paula Zahn, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Law enforcement’s big break in the case came via new DNA technology. Police had hung on to evidence collected from the scene of April’s murder, as well as from later taunting messages sent to the community. With the help of a Virginia-based DNA analysis company, police were able to complete a genetic profile of April’s murderer. They were even able to produce images of what the suspect might look like.
Cops closed in on two men: Miller and his brother. Police began staking out both men’s homes and searching their trash. When a DNA match was found, Miller was arrested.
Miller allegedly admitted to police that he abducted April, raped her, murdered her by choking her to death, and then left her body.
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