FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) -A day to say “thank you” to the law enforcement agencies that helped get an arrest in the April Tinsley murder case.
Things became emotional during a news conference Tuesday at Fort Wayne police headquarters downtown, including for investigators who retired, never knowing if the case would be solved.
“The abduction and death of 8-year old April Tinsley, that finally culminated in an arrest on Sunday, has haunted this community for over 30 years,” said Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards.
She shoulders the burden of trying to win a conviction in this case against 59-year old John Dale Miller of Grabill, who on Sunday was arrested after police say he confessed to kidnapping, raping and murdering the girl inside his trailer home in 1988.
DNA evidence was key in helping police focus on Miller.
Richards commanded the podium at the Rousseau Center, for what amounted to a “shout out” to local and state police, the FBI, and other agencies that worked for decades in the painstaking pursuit of justice.
“Today is a big win for law enforcement. And this investigation illustrates the dogged determination of the investigators who never wavered, never gave up, and kept moving forward for the last 30 years,” said FBI agent Jim Keszei.
Richards admits the news that finally somebody was in custody for April Tinsley’s killing impacted her to her core.
“It was emotional, it still is, I mean, if you don’t have emotion for the abduction and the murder of an 8-year old, then you don’t belong in this business,” she said.
Here in 2018, with a suspect charged and in jail, it’s easier for investigators to put a positive spin on how this has all come together.
But you can’t forget that for the longest time, there was no way to know whether we’d ever see such progress in the case.
Gary Grant, a FWPD detective who worked the case at the time, daydreamed about this breakthrough.
“I was hoping it would come while I was still alive, but I figured someday it would come, the technology has grown so much with this DNA,” Grant said.
Retired detective Danny Jackson was at the scene where April’s body was found in a DeKalb County ditch.
“You don’t forget, you try to put it out of your mind, but it’s always back there. If I was an artist, I could still draw just exactly how they found her.,
The picture right now, not nearly as unsettling as it was just three days ago, before Miller was in custody—looking back to Saturday suddenly seems like a long time ago.