DNA test solves 1988 cold case rape, murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley, suspect arrested

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Suspect John D. Miller, 59, was arrested Sunday at his home in Grabill, Indiana, and made a court appearance Monday in Allen County on charges related to the 1988 rape and murder of April Tinsley, WANE-TV reported.

Tinsley was walking to a friend’s house in her Fort Wayne neighborhood when she was allegedly abducted and subsequently killed by Miller, authorities said.

Police used DNA from the victim and from messages and condoms Miller left at three homes in the early 2000s to match Miller and his brother’s DNA in a genealogical database. Once they narrowed the suspect field down to two, it was just a matter of time before they were able to catch Miller, CNN reported. Miller’s DNA was found to be a match with DNA recovered from the victim’s underwear.

>> Related: Police seek to ID Zodiac Killer through DNA after success with Golden State Killer

When police showed up at his mobile home on Sunday and asked Miller if he knew why they were there, he reportedly said, “April Tinsley” and then confessed to the crime, according to local media reports.

Miller’s next scheduled court appearance is Thursday.

>> Related: ‘Golden State Killer’ suspect tracked down using DNA on genealogy website, officials say

The Golden State Killer was finally caught in California in April after terrorizing the state between the mid-1970s and mid-80s. Investigators also used a genealogical database to match Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.’s DNA with evidence left at the crime scenes. DeAngelo is charged with killing 12 people and is accused of 50 rapes and more than 100 burglaries.

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