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A look inside the minds of child killers

So many people, including April Tinsley’s mother, are asking why?
Why would someone kidnap, rape, and murder an 8-year-old girl?

We turned to Fort Wayne-based forensic psychologist Dr. Stephen Ross, who’s been court-appointed in the past to analyze child killers like Amber Pasztor and Simon Rios.

Dr. Ross has been a forensic psychologist for 24 years.
In addition to his private practice, he interviews, researches, and analyzes suspects going through the criminal justice system.
We asked him for his opinion about the type of person who would have kidnapped, raped, and murdered 8-year-old April Tinsley.

"I guess when you have to classify child killers and there’s sex involved, they might have a propensity, they do have a propensity for violence and for sexual aberration, and wanting to defeat and take over the victim," he says.
He says sex crimes are typically about asserting control over a victim.
"A lot of times sex offenders misread cues. I know I had one case where the offender thought that an 8-year-old could possibly give consent to sex, and that the 8-year-old could possibly have feelings for the offender. That’s a cognitive distortion to think that this 8-year-old actually wants me," Ross says.
And he says it is possible that a suspect in a case like this may not have committed another crime.
"They grow older, their life circumstances change. Dependent upon what their state of mind was at the time, it may not be the same way as it is now," he says.
The suspect’s brother told us that John D. Miller was born "a little slow."
A defendant’s IQ and other mental issues can have an impact in a trial.
"If there’s a cognitive impairment, low IQ, in conjunction with maybe another psychiatric condition that could explain away why it happened, why they’re not responsible for it, that’s something to consider," Ross says.
John D. Miller has been formally charged with murder and child molesting.
His initial hearing will be held Thursday morning.


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