Three decades after the murder and rape of 8-year-old April Tinsley in Fort Wayne, Indiana, by a man who goaded investigators with cryptic promises of further murders to come through messages scribbled in crayon, police say that DNA evidence has finally allowed them to track down the depraved killer. The alleged murderer, John D. Miller, 59, was identified just this month by a DNA profile recently uploaded by detectives to a genealogy website. According to police, they visited Miller at his home in a trailer park northeast of Fort Wayne and asked him why he thought they were there — to which he immediately replied, “April Tinsley.”
Until Miller’s abrupt arrest this past Sunday, it appeared as though Tinsley’s case might have forever gone unsolved. Anger in the Indiana community over the heinous killing of the 8-year-old, who was last seen alive being pulled into a pickup truck by a man in his 30s who then abruptly drove off, had been stoked by subsequent messages — apparently posted by the killer — in which he taunted police and promised to kill again. In 2004, similar messages were found in plastic bags attached to young girls’ bicycles outside homes in Fort Wayne — along with used condoms and Polaroid pictures of a man’s body.
“Hi Honey, I have been watching you,” one of the messages read. “I am the same person that kidnapped an rape an kill Aproil tinsely you are my next victim.”
Police have said that Miller confessed to the murder and abduction of Tinsley after they told him he had been identified by genetic records. At a court hearing on Monday, Miller was ordered held without bond while prosecutors prepare to file murder, child molestation and criminal confinement charges against him.
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