Police are ecstatic to have made progress in a 30-year-old cold murder case by using new genealogy techniques to identify a potential suspect through the killer’s DNA profile.
Eight-year-old April Tinsley was reported missing back in 1988, and the youngster’s body was tragically discovered dumped and abandoned in a ditch three days later. Investigators worked tirelessly to learn more about what happened to Tinsley, but their efforts came up short. Autopsy reports confirmed the child was sexually assaulted before being choked, but further leads eluded police for decades.
In 2004, police caught a break when they began discovering random handwritten notes regarding the unsolved case. Notes taunted authorities with photographs and physical evidence from the case. Police found used condoms in at least three different locations, and the DNA profiles were a match to the killer’s DNA.
In May of 2018, investigators learned about the case of the Golden State Killer and the methods police used to identify the suspect. They decided to pursue this method of using DNA samples and genealogy research to narrow down potential suspects. The new technology led authorities to John. D. Miller, a 59-year-old resident of Grabill. On July 6, authorities searched through the suspect’s trash in the hopes of finding a DNA sample. They successfully recovered used condoms with samples, tested the DNA and confirmed a match.
When police arrived at the suspect’s home on July 15, they asked Miller if he knew why they were there. Surprisingly, Miller immediately answered, “April Tinsley.” Court documents confirm the suspect began confessing to his crimes.