April Tinsley was 8 when she was murdered in 1988.
Photo: FBI
Photo: FBI

DNA helps Indiana police make arrest in 1988 murder of 8-year-old girl

Aided by DNA testing, Indiana police arrested a man in connection to the 1988 rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl, WXIN reported.

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John D. Miller, 59, of Grabill, Indiana, was arrested Sunday by Fort Wayne police and charged with the murder of April Tinsley, according to court documents. The girl was abducted from her Fort Wayne neighborhood on April 1, 1988, according to the FBI. Her body was recovered three days later in a ditch 20 miles from her home, according to court documents.

The arrest came hours before the cold case was to be featured in a prime-time crime documentary, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Authorities extracted DNA evidence out of Miller’s trash earlier this month and returned to his residence Sunday, according to a probable cause affidavit.

When police asked Miller if he knew why they were there, he answered “April Tinsley” before he admitted to committing the crimes, the Star reported.

Miller was charged with murder, child molesting and confinement , WXIN reported.

The alleged killer wrote a note on a barn door in 1990, that said, “I kill 8-year-old April Marie Tinsley. I will kill again."

In 2004, the man allegedly left threatening notes, photos and used condoms on three girls’ bicycles. DNA in the condoms matched what was found on April’s body, the Star reported.

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

In May, a detective arranged for DNA testing at a laboratory. On July 6, the DNA sample was narrowed to two brothers, one of whom was Miller, the Star reported.

While checking Miller’s trash on July 6, investigators found three used condoms, the newspaper reported. Three days later, results from DNA testing matched the used condoms found in Miller’s trash to the condoms found in 2004 and DNA found on April, the Star said.

The arrest was made hours before Investigation Discovery's "On the Case with Paula Zahn" was scheduled to air an episode about the case.

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