DNA site helps make arrest in 1988 slaying

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A suspected killer in IN who menaced the community for years by leaving threatening notes was arrested Sunday for the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in 1988.

The Fort Wayne Police Department and Indiana State Police on Sunday arrested 59-year-old John D. Miller, of Grabill, for the 1988 homicide of 8-year-old April Tinsley. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Allen County Superior Court, Miller confessed when questioned about Tinsley's death. Detectives ran surveillance on this suspect's home, took trash from his residence, and collected several items-including three used condoms, police said.

The case came back to life in 1990 when a message was daubed on a barn door that said: "I kill eight-year-old April Marie Tinsley". It claimed responsibility for her murder and warned of further killings.

The judge denied his bond and gave the State of IN 72 hours to file formal charges.

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April left her family's home on West Williams Street on April 1, 1988.

Explicit photos of a man's privates were also left, as well as notes, one of which read: 'Hi honey.

IN police say cutting-edge genealogy and DNA techniques helped solve an infamous, 30-year-old cold case. Prosecutors and police have declined to comment before a news conference scheduled for Tuesday morning.

According to the affidavit, Miller's DNA was matched to DNA recovered from Tinsley's underwear in 1988, CBS affiliate WANE reports. Miller added it took 10 minutes for her to die and that after she was dead he violated her corpse, the affidavit said. In 2004, four notes were left at residences around the Fort Wayne area, several of which were put on bicycles belonging to young girls, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 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. "I will kill again". Miller then allegedly confessed kidnapping Tinsley and bringing her to his home where he raped, strangled and killed the girl.

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Miller was arrested on suspicion of murder, child molestation and confinement.

DNA from condoms found in 2004 matched the DNA found in Tinsley's underwear, and in 2018 the suspect's DNA was narrowed down to two surviving brothers - John D. Miller was one of them. In this case and in the Golden State Killer case, investigators had DNA evidence but could not match it to a specific person using state or national databases.

During the interview with police, Miller at first said, "I can't", when asked to explain what happened to Tinsley.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Detectives told him they had a DNA match in the rape and murder of Tinsley. When detectives asked him if he had any idea why there were there, Miller reportedly responded, "April Tinsley", the affidavit said. He then told police that he drove April's body to Spencerville the next morning and dumped her in a ditch.

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