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Retired police detective thankful April Tinsley’s mother doesn’t have to go through trial

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – The man tasked with putting April Tinsley’s killer behind bars when she was kidnapped 30 years ago says the girl’s family has been put through enough.

Sergeant Dan Camp, a Retired Fort Wayne detective, worked Fort Wayne’s most notorious cold case for years, even keeping 8-year-old April Tinsley’s picture in his wallet until the day he retired.

MORE: Admitted April Tinsley killer pleads guilty in court

When he first heard the news that John D. Miller, 59, made a surprise guilty plea in court on Friday, Camp says he immediatly thought of Janet Tinsley, April’s mother.

Camp says he didn’t want the girl’s mother to go through the taxing process that a homicide case of this caliber would entail.

“I can only imagine what transpired in that trailer,” Camp said.

“I would rather Janet not know what all happened there.”

Those details would certainly come to light in a trial.

Camp told Fort Wayne’s NBC he knew a suspect would eventually be caught even though it didn’t happen on his watch.

“I think about April often. I carried her picture in my wallet for a long, long time,” he says.
Camp retired from the Fort Wayne Police Department in 2005 after spending years on the Tinsley case with too many sleepless nights to count.

Not any more.

John D. Miller, 59, was arrested on Sunday, July 15, in connection to the kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley in 1988.


Miller is admitted to 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.


In court on Friday, his defense team submitted his guilty plea to murder and child molesting.

If the judge accepts the plea, he could spend 80 years behind bars.

He will be sentenced on Dec. 31 at 1:30 p.m.

The father of April Tinsley, Michael Tinsley, believes that the trial should go forward.

He declined to go on camera with Fort Wayne’s NBC, but said through a Facebook message: “There was no justice for April. The bleeding hearts don’t want to punish criminals anymore.”

Janet Tinsley declined to talk to our reporters in the courtroom Friday.

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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