New DNA technology has led to an arrest in a cold case involving an eight-year-old girl who was allegedly raped, killed and left in an in ditch 30 years ago.
John D Miller, 59, has appeared in court facing charges for the 1988 abduction, rape and murder of April Tinsley in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The killer apparently taunted police and threatened other little girls.
Miller has reportedly been charged with murder, child molesting, and confinement; and is expected to appear in court on Monday.
Documents show that the arrest was not the result of intense media attention over the years the case was featured twice on Americas Most Wanted as well as a 2016 episode of Crime Watch Daily nor the repeated pleas for information that followed the 30th anniversary of Tinsleys death last April. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Allen County Superior Court, Miller confessed when questioned about Tinsleys death. The defendant replied "yes" and said nothing else, CBS News affiliate WANE reported.
Thirty years ago, the 8-year-old Tinsley was abducted from her south-central Fort Wayne neighborhood as she walked to a friend's home to pick up an umbrella. Three days later, a jogger discovered April's body about 20 miles to the north in a ditch along a country road in DeKalb County.
After Tinsley was dead, Miller told police he sexually assaulted her body again.
Authorities said DNA testing this year finally led them to Miller.
Two years later in 1990, police came across a message scrawled on the side of a barn that read: "I kill 8 year old April Marie Tisley".
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In 2004, four notes were left at homes scattered around the Fort Wayne area.
Fourteen years after that, four taunting notes were found at various Fort Wayne residences, including several on bicycles that young girls left in their yards, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. Several of the notes referred to Tinsley.
"Hi honey. I been watching you", he wrote in one of the notes, according to information obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That is when a detective arranged for DNA testing and analysis to be done on the suspect's evidence sample at Parabon NanoLabs. That has helped police to narrow down the list of suspects to a much smaller number and allow targeted investigations. But the horrific messages did provide investigators with the DNA they would eventually use to zero in on the killer albeit once the right advanced science and technology came along.
The Allen County Prosecutor's office announced Miller's arrest about 12:45 p.m. today.
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In May, the Fort Wayne Police Department submitted the suspects DNA to Parabon NanoLabs.
On 9 July, investigators learned that the DNA from his refuse matched the previous samples.
Once the match was established, authorities approached Miller at his residence in Grabill, Indiana.
When police arrived at Miller's home Sunday and asked if he knew why they were there, he is said to have answered 'April Tinsley, ' according to court papers.
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For years after the eight-year-old's body was found in 1988, Miller allegedly haunted the community by sending sickening notes to potential victims along with pornographic Polaroids and used condoms.