Skip to Content

DIGGING DEEPER: Brother of April Tinsley murder suspect says ‘my brother died’ yesterday

In an exclusive interview on Monday, the brother of child murder suspect John D. Miller said he’s "done" with him.

"As far as I’m concerned, when they told me that he confessed to this crime, my brother died. I’m done," he says.

John D. Miller is the man arrested for the 1988 abduction, rape, and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley.

His brother asked that we not use his name or show his face.
He says John stopped by his house at about 7:30 Sunday morning, as usual, to pick up some meals and the Sunday paper.
Police arrested him at his Grabill trailer about an hour later.
The brother rushed there after a neighbor called, and says police questioned him for about an hour and a half, and that he willingly gave a cheek swab for a DNA sample.
"They asked have you heard of the April Tinsley murder? And I said, ‘Don’t tell me he’s here for that,’" he said.
The brother says John was born a little slow, and never had a girlfriend.
He says John has worked at the Kendallville Walmart for about a dozen years, stocking the electronics department on overnight shifts.
He also says in the early 70’s, when he was a young teenager, John Miller spent time at Wood Youth Center, then a reform school, but he doesn’t know why.
His mom told him some information.
"I don’t know if she knew for fact, but she said he got molested in there. If that happened, maybe that triggered something in him that he thought was all right or something. I don’t know," he said.
He says John’s always had a temper, but he never imagined he might be involved in this case.
"What he did is just sick… I’m done with him. Like I said, his arraignment was today, I didn’t go to that. If they want me for a witness or something in court, they’re going to have to subpoena me or something because I don’t have any intentions of going and seeing him or anything," he said.
The brother says in hindsight, he should have picked up on an important detail years ago, but didn’t.
"The handwriting on the paper that I seen on the news yesterday, that’s his handwriting," he said.
He says he’s glad their parents didn’t live to see this, adding that, like everyone else, they both knew about the TInsley case.
And he says the whole thing makes him sick to his stomach.
"Whatever he gets, he deserves. I just wish he would have got caught a long time ago… He’s going to have to pay for what he did. Even if that’s the death penalty? That little girl died, didn’t she?" he asked.


The younger sibling, whose name ABC21 has agreed to withhold, learned about Miller’s arrest when he received a call shortly after police arrived at a Grabill mobile home park to take the 59-year-old into custody.

In an affidavit, police said Miller confessed to the rape and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley in 1988. Newly acquired DNA evidence helped link Miller to the crime.

His brother tells ABC21 he met with police and provided them with a DNA sample of his own, noting he did so readily and willingly.

In his interview with ABC21 reporter Corinne Rose, the brother expressed shock — but accepted the notion that investigators had the right man.

"As far as I’m concerned, when they told me that he confessed to this crime, my brother died," he said. "I’m done."

The brother shared photos of Miller from the late 1980s, about the time of April’s abduction and murder.

ABC21 will have more on this developing story in newscasts at 5 and 6 p.m.


Skip to content