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Indiana man, 59, arrested in 1988 murder of eight-year-old girl after cops find DNA evidence in suspect's trash during surveillance operation

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 7/16/2018 NY Freelance

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A man suspected in the 1988 slaying of an eight-year-old Indiana girl was arrested on Sunday.

Thirty years after the case was first opened, authorities say John Miller of Grabill made incriminating statements about abducting, assaulting and killing April Tinsley to police in Fort Wayne. 

An affidavit released by the Allen County prosecutor says investigators have DNA evidence linking Miller to the girl.    

A recent search of Miller's trash helped police make a DNA match. He was reportedly arrested at his home after detectives arrived to question him about the murder. 

According to, when investigators asked why he thought they were there, Miller answered 'April Tinsley.' 

Charges could be formally filed this week. It wasn't immediately known if Miller has a lawyer who could comment on the arrest. Miller, 59, is expected to appear in court on Monday. 

April's body was found in a ditch, about 20 miles from her Fort Wayne neighborhood, three days after she disappeared in April 1988.

Police said that Tinsley had been raped. The killer reportedly left behind DNA but investigators were unsuccessful in linking it to a suspect. 

The case found new interest two years later, when someone had written on the front of a Fort Wayne barn: 'I kill 8-year-old April Marie Tinsley. I will kill again.'

In 2004, a threatening note, nude photos, and used condoms were discovered on the bicycles of three young girls. 

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

DNA found inside the condoms matched that of Tinsley's killer. But it would be another 14 years until investigators would reopened the cold case.

Court documents state that in May 2018, a detective sent the available evidence in the case 550 miles away to Parabon NanoLabs, who narrowed the results to two brothers, one being Miller. 

That gave authorities enough cause to start conducting surveillance on Miller. On July 6, detectives collected three used condoms thrown out in Miller's trash. 

When police arrested Miller, he allegedly detailed how he killed Tinsley, telling investigators he choked her to death after sexually assaulting her.

Miller is currently being held at the Allen County Jail on suspicion of murder, child molesting and confinement.

April's family left Fort Wayne in 1991 but returned five years ago.


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