Justice for April
A long- cold murder case of a young Indiana girl in April 1988 has been given new life by this new technique
She was an eight- year- old girl living in a safe community in Fort Wayne, Indiana, surrounded by family and friends. Today, she should have been in her late 30s, probably still living in that community, perhaps married and with children of her own. Instead, her life came to an abrupt and violent end one day in April 1988.
It was April Fools’ Day, and April Tinsley was walking to a friend’s home when she was accosted by a man and abducted. It was three days before her body was found lying in a ditch some 32 kilometres from her home. She had been raped and strangled, and her killer had also sexually assaulted her after she died.
DNA evidence was retrieved from her underwear as part of the initial investigation into her death, but despite this police were unable to track down a suspect in the case. The murder became a notorious cold case, despite the killer apparently leaving goading messages for law enforcement officials: two years after
April’s death, a message was found on a barn near to where April’s body had been found. In crayon was written an admittance of guilt over the murder and a threat to kill again. Then, over a decade later, other, frightening notes were found on the possessions of young girls, threatening them. Some also had used condoms or photographs of the writer’s body with them. In at least one note, the writer claimed to have raped and killed April, with the recipient being ‘ my next victim’. The notes were badly written – the writer didn’t use joined- up writing and had poor spelling.
After using techniques similar to those used in the GSK case, John D Miller, by now aged 59 but only in his 20s at the time of April’s death, was charged with murder and child molestation. Her mother Janet, who feared nobody would ever be arrested in connection with her daughter’s death, now knew justice might be within reach after 30 long years.