Jus­tice for April

Real Crime - - How They Caught The Golden State Killer -

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.

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