Miller pleads guilty in Tinsley slaying; to serve 80 years

December 7, 2018

John D. Miller will serve 80 years in prison after pleading guilty this morning to murder and child molesting in the 1988 death of 8-year-old April Tinsley.

A plea agreement calls for him to serve 80 years. He is to be sentenced Dec. 31 in Allen Superior Court.

Miller was arrested in July in Tinsley’s death.

April disappeared from her neighborhood on the city’s south side on April 1, 1988, and her body was found along a county road in southern DeKalb County three days later. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled, and police collected DNA from the scene.

Investigators also found DNA at sites in 1990 and 2004 in Fort Wayne and Grabill, where someone claiming to be April’s killer had left notes. Detectives didn’t have anything to compare the samples to until this year, when police arranged for genetic testing through a Virginia company that analyzes DNA using a public genealogy database.

That led police to Miller, who was arrested July 15 at his Grabill home on Main Street. He confessed to kidnapping April, assaulting and killing her there and dumping her body in a ditch, a probable cause affidavit alleges.

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