John Miller

John D. Miller was arrested on July 15, 2018 and charged in the April 1, 1988 rape and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tinsley had left a friend’s house to fetch an umbrella but never returned. She was last seen being dragged into an old blue pick-up truck. Her body was found three days later lying beside a rural road 20 miles outside of Fort Wayne by a jogger. She had been sexually assaulted and asphyxiated, and a sex toy was located near her body.

The community was long terrorized by this crime, not least because a male claiming to be the killer wrote threatening messages, one of which was written on the side of a barn door. He also left pictures of his body and used condoms on young girl’s bicycles, threatening them with being the next victim.

A DNA profile of the suspect was produced from semen found on April’s underwear. The FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs. The suspect list was narrowed down to Miller and his brother. The initial confirmation was made by the surreptitious sampling of DNA taken from trash left outside of Miller’s mobile home.
Miller confessed to police, and in December of 2018 he pled guilty to the charges.


Haag, Matthew. “Decades After Killing of April Tinsley, 8, DNA Leads to Suspect.” New York Times, July 16, 2018. Accessed December 26, 2020.

Inside Edition Staff. “April Tinsley Case: Man Tied to 8-Year-Old’s 1988 Murder Through Genealogy Website, DNA Technology: Cops.” Inside Edition, July 16, 2018. Accessed December 26, 2020.

Ryckaert, Vic. “Who Killed April Tinsley? Longtime Suspect John D. Miller Pleads Guilty to Girl’s 1988 Murder.” Indy Star, December 7, 2018. Accessed December 26, 2020.

Snow, Kate. “Putting a Face to DNA: How New Tech Gives Hope in Cold Cases.” NBC News, June 30, 2015. Accessed December 26, 2020.


First Name John
Last Name Miller
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started nd
Case Cleared 2018-07-15
IGG Org Parabon


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1097 April Tinsley 8 1988-04-01 Fort Wayne, IN Fort Wayne PD; FBI Second degree murder Guilty plea entered by defendant Allen CO CRIM DIV

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.