Many years ago, 30 to be exact, back in the era when children didn’t have their pictures taken every hour, with video every day, an 8-year-old girl in Fort Wayne was abducted, raped and murdered. Her name was April Tinsley. This weekend, police made an arrest. The suspect still lives in the area.
The picture at that link is burned into my brain. It is the only photo anyone had of her, and because the crime was so heinous and went unsolved for so long, it ran dozens of times, in both papers, on all the TV stations. I never heard what happened to her family. They were poor. The neighborhood wasn’t the best. But she was loved, and this was a horrible thing. This part interests me:
In a probable cause affidavit provided by the prosecutor’s office, city police said they obtained a DNA profile from an unknown male from April’s underwear.
In 2004, the affidavit said, police were dispatched to a Fort Wayne address and two Grabill addresses and recovered one used condom from each scene. Notes at each scene were found stating the person who left the condoms had raped and killed April M. Tinsley. A DNA profile was developed from the condoms, which was determined to be consistent with the profile developed from Tinsley’s underwear.
In May of this year, the affidavit said, a police detective arranged for genetic DNA testing and analysis to be done on the suspect’s evidence sample. On July 2, using open public genealogy database research, the contract laboratory narrowed the DNA recovered in the case to two surviving brothers.
On July 6, the affidavit said, a covert trash search was conducted at Miller’s residence in an attempt to locate any items that might contain his DNA. Several items were collected, it said, including three used condoms. The affidavit said the DNA was consistent with the 2004 profile and the DNA from April’s underwear.
Another case solved by DNA and 23andme, or Ancestry, or one of those. But it’s the 2004 anecdote that interests me. Who wrote those notes? An angry lover, or the culprit himself? And all those condoms — what’s that about?
His name is John Miller, and he lives in Grabill, an Amish town. I wonder if he’s an ex-. He’s also 59, which would make him roughly 29 at the time of the crime. Imagine growing to the cusp of old age, carrying that around. When the police showed up at his trailer and said they wanted to talk to him, they asked if he knew why. He replied, “April Tinsley.”
What a world.
Some other things that happened in it over the weekend:
A jaguar escaped its enclosure at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and killed eight animals. #badass
This column, by the widow of John McNamara, one of the journalists killed in Annapolis last month, will gut you if you have a soul.
Finally, another argument to abolish the electoral college: In about 20 years, half the U.S. population will live in eight states. Demography is fascinating.
Gotta run. A good week ahead to all.