Police make arrest in connection with 30 year old cold case

Posted July 17, 2018

Miller, of Grabill, Ind.is alleged to have abducted, raped and murdered the little girl in April 1988 as she walked home from a friend's house in Fort Wayne.

On Sunday, two detectives approached Miller outside his trailer and asked him to come to the police station to talk.

Miller was booked into Allen County Jail Sunday on charges of murder, child molesting and criminal confinement.

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

April Tinsley cold case: DNA leads to arrest 30 years after murder

April 1, 1988, is the last time anyone saw 8-year-old April Tinsely alive. Early the morning of April 2, 1988, he put her body in his auto and drove to DeKalb County Road 68 near Spencerville, where he dumped the body in a ditch along the road. The DNA matched that found on April's body, and police say testing of evidence samples led them to Miller, who was placed under surveillance earlier this month.

Two years later, the words "I kill eight-year-old April Marie Tisley [sic] I will kill agin [sic]" were found scrawled in crayon on a barn wall near the ditch where April's body was found, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. In 2004, he again left threatening notes, nude photos and condoms on bicycles belonging to three girls.

That led police to a trailer park in Grabill, Indiana, where they found used condoms in a garbage outside Miller's home.

According to court documents, a detective sent the available evidence in the case to Parabon NanoLabs in May.

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Suspected serial killer Joseph James DeAngelo, known as the Golen Stater Killer, was arrested after police used the same technique to track him down in April.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Detectives told him they had a DNA match in the rape and murder of Tinsley.

Paul Helmke, who was Fort Wayne's mayor when Tinsley was slain, said the community always held out hope that there would eventually be an arrest in the disturbing case. Police said April had been raped. She had been assaulted and strangled. He then found her shoe in the auto and tossed it out in a ditch, as well, the affidavit said.

From there, police recovered three used condoms from Miller's trash. The forensic exam also found DNA from an unknown male person in the girl's underwear, the affidavit said.

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"Hi honey. I been watching you", he wrote in one of the notes, according to information obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Police said the DNA extracted from the condoms was consistent with the DNA found in the condoms in 2004 and the DNA recovered in Tinsley's underwear in 1988, according to the affidavit. Using public genealogy databases, the firms researcher CeCe Moore was able to narrow the possible suspects down to two brothers in the Fort Wayne area.

On July 6, police secretly collected trash from Miller's residence to see if they could find any items that contained his DNA.

He then allegedly confessed to her abduction and murder, saying he took her from Hoagland Avenue in Fort Wayne to his mobile home in Grabill, where he sexually assaulted her and then choked her to death so she wouldn't report him to police.

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