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Community rallies behind Tinsley family ahead of admitted killer’s sentencing

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – On Friday, one of Fort Wayne’s most infamous cold cases is expected to come to a close, and the community is reacting to how this is all unfolding.

In July, investigators arrested 58-year-old John D. Miller for the kidnapping, rape and slaying of 8-year-old April Marie Tinsley.

She was abducted 30 years ago, and investigators say DNA was the key component to making the arrest.

Community members are gathering for a show of support for the family and to voice their displeasure in the prosecutor’s decision to accept a plea deal in the case at the Allen County Courthouse lawn at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

RELATED: Admitted April Tinsley killer pleads guilty in court

Miller’s plea agreement calls for him to serve 50 years for April’s murder, and 30 years for child molesting.

That means he could spend up to 80 years in prison.

READ MORE: How DNA evidence linked John D. Miller to April Tinsley kidnapping, murder

Miller 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.

Over the years, April’s killer appeared to taunt authorities, scrawling on a barn in 1990 that he killed her, and would kill again.

In 2004, police believe he put threatening notes on girls’ bicycles along with other clues that contained his DNA.

READ MORE: “He killed her, I want his head.” – The family says justice wasn’t served in the rape and murder of April Tinsley

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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