April Tinsley: Suspected killer taunted police for years with cryptic messages, left notes in baggies with used condoms

A suspected murderer’s taunts and cryptic messages are in part what helped detectives capture him on Sunday, more than 30 years after he reportedly murdered and raped 8-year-old April Tinsley in 1988.

CNN reports that authorities used DNA testing while piecing together several disturbing notes to connect John D. Miller, 59, to the Good Friday murder of April Tinsley in Fort Wayne, Indiana. April was walking in her neighborhood when Miller allegedly abducted her and raped her.

Investigators found Miller’s DNA on trash and other evidence obtained from the crime scene, as well as the taunting messages left behind. The first cryptic message appeared two years after April’s death, when the killer scrawled, “I kill 8 year old April Marie Tisley I will kill agin [sic],” in crayon on a barn door, close to the area where April’s body was found.

[Photo: FBI]
Around 14 years later, the killer began pinning notes in several places, including inside baggies with used condoms and on girls’ bicycles left in their yards. The suspect also allegedly left behind Polaroid photos of April’s body in baggies. The DNA found in the used condoms matched the DNA found inside April’s underwear, according to authorities.

“Hi Honey I Been watching you I am the same person that kinapped an Rape an kill Aproil Tinsely. You are my next vitem [sic].”

[Photo: FBI]
By 2009, the FBI joined the search and although the killer stopped leaving notes at the point, authorities said the case was “highly solvable,” which proved true in 2018. On July 2, the DNA had been narrowed down to two people: Miller and his brother. DNA from found in Miller’s trash led to detectives asking him to submit a DNA sample. Miller complied and later, while being questioned be investigators, reportedly admitted to the crime.

John D. Miller [Photo: Police Handout]
Fort Wayne’s ABC21 reports that Miller’s brother, who doesn’t want his name revealed, stated that Miller was “a little slow” and never dated or had a girlfriend. The brother also said he had no idea that Miller murdered or raped anyone, although he was certain that the handwriting on the messages were from his brother.

“The handwriting on the paper that I seen on the news yesterday, that’s his handwriting,” the brother said. “What he did is just sick… I’m done with him.”

Miller remains behind bars without bond. His next hearing is scheduled for July 19 at the Allen County Superior Court in Fort Wayne.

[Feature Photo: April Tinsley/FBI]