Arrest made in 30-year-old child murder in Indiana after DNA match

Written by on July 16, 2018

FBI(FORT WAYNE, Ind.) —  Police arrested an Indiana man on Sunday for the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl who was found dead in a ditch 30 years ago.

John Miller, 59, was arrested on Sunday morning after DNA evidence linked him to the rape and murder of April Tinsley, whose body was recovered three days after her family reported her missing in 1988, according to charging documents.

Investigators with the Fort Wayne Police Department and the Indiana State Police said they arrived at Miller’s home on Sunday morning and asked him if he “had any idea why the police wanted to talk to him,” according the documents.

Miller answered “April Tinsley” and told police that he abducted the young girl on April 1, 1988 and took her to his trailer, where he said he sexually assaulted the young girl and choked her to death, according to court documents.

He told police that it took 10 minutes for the young girl to die and said he kept her body for a day before dumping it.

Police said they received their first lead in the case back in 2004 — 16 years after April’s murder — when the self-proclaimed killer left notes, images and used condoms at three different locations, taunting police and threatening to kill again, police said.

Some of the notes, which were handwritten on lined yellow paper, were inside baggies along with Polaroid pictures of the supposed killer’s body, according to the FBI, which has also been investigating the case.

“Hi honey. I been watching you,” one note released by the FBI read. “I am the same person that kidnapped, raped and killed April Tinsely. You are my next victim.”

Investigators said they arrested Miller after using a genealogy database to narrow down the DNA match to either him or his brother. The DNA was taken from the used condoms and evidence from the crime scenes, according to court documents.

Miller was taken to the Allen County Jail in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he is being held on preliminary charges of murder, child molesting and confinement. It was not immediately clear if he had obtained an attorney.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

The case had echoes of the arrest of the alleged “Golden State Killer” earlier this year, who was arrested and charged in California earlier this year after police used DNA and a genealogy database to match Joseph DeAngelo to the killing of at least 13 people from the 1970s and 1980s.

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