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Trio of Fort Wayne Police detectives receive awards for work on April Tinsley case

INDIANAPOLIS (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Three Indiana State Police officers were commended at an awards ceremony for their work on the April Tinsley case.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter presented the Awards to First Sergeant Kevin W. Smith, First Sergeant Mark R. Heffelfinger and Detective Clint M. Hetrick for their work on with DNA and genealogy to crack the cold case.

April Tinsley, an 8-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered back in 1988. The case went cold until May of 2018.

In May of 2018, DNA evidence which had been collected was submitted to Parabon Laboratories, which utilized DNA testing and genealogy websites to help identify two brothers as potential suspects.

Further investigation by Smith, Heffelfinger and Hetrick, based on the results provided by Parabon, ultimately resulted in the positive identification of 59-year-old John D. Miller of Grabill, Indiana.

Miller is accused of kidnapping April Tinsley and taking her to his mobile home in Grabill, where he said he sexually assaulted, then suffocated her before dumping her body in a DeKalb County ditch.

According to online court records, he filed for a change of venue. His team will have until Nov. 21 to present the court with evidence that warrants this request.

The judge will consider the defense’s request on Dec. 7.

His trial is set for Feb. 11, 2019.

See a full timeline of the case here:

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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