Callers Flood FWPD with Tips on April Tinsley Murder Case

By Scott Sarvay
By Corinne Rose
By Rachel Martin

August 20, 2012 Updated Aug 22, 2012 at 11:18 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The Fort Wayne Police Department say they’ve received new information in the April Tinsley case since “America’s Most Wanted” visited Fort Wayne Monday.

It's a cold case that's heated up in the last few days, and it's keeping FWPD busy. New evidence was exposed Monday, and police say they have more information. Wednesday, FWPD confirmed dozens of people have been flooding the police station with calls regarding the 24-year-old murder case of 8-year-old April Tinsley. Tinsley was abducted, raped, and murdered in 1988.

Police will not disclose any details about the tips they’ve received, but say they will tentatively release more information on Friday.

On Monday, John Walsh and crews with "America's Most Wanted" highlighted the new evidence when they came to Fort Wayne looking to gather tips on the case.

Crews from "America's Most Wanted" will air a story nationally this Friday at 9 p.m. on Lifetime to try to gain new information about exactly what happened to the girl.

The new information -- the killer left a sex toy at the scene. A manual one with a hand crank, in a box, in a plastic Sears bag. Police hope a previous sex partner might recognize it.

Chris Miehls is a FWPD crime scene technician. He says, "It's a Ben Wah squirmy. In 1988, there can't be too many places that were selling those in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And he's not going to buy it off the internet, because the internet didn't exist in 1988."

In 2004, the killer left several notes in the area, along with used condoms and even a Polaroid photo of him from the waist down.
After the first "America's Most Wanted" episode aired, DNA samples taken from April's remains matched the DNA in the condoms in 2004, 100 percent.

The first time April's case ran on "America's Most Wanted," it generated more than 700 tips, with more than 500 suspects. That list has been whittled down to 81, and about a dozen have refused to volunteer their DNA for comparison, even though it's illegal for authorities to use it to link the men to any other crimes.

"They're probably afraid that it might link them to other cases. Fort Wayne PD and the prosecutor want to say that we are only linking it to this case. We would not prosecute you for any other cases," says John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted."

Retired Detective Sergeant Dan Camp carried April's picture in his wallet for years... giving it to the detective who took over the case when he retired in 2005.

"You can bet everything you have that I will be in that courtroom every day when he is on trial," Camp says.

An FBI profiler estimates the killer is now about 45 to 60 years old, 180-190 pounds with perhaps a reddish tint to his hair. Because of the way his notes were written in 2004, he also may not be highly educated, but will be highly interested in pre-pubescent girls.

And based on today's technology, police and "America's Most Wanted" are confident the killer will be caught, but they need that one last tip to help close the case.

You can call 1-800-CRIME-TV with your anonymous tip. No arrests have ever been made.

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