With nearly a quarter-century passed since the horrifying slaying of 8-year-old April Tinsley, city police and advocates for justice and children are making another attempt – perhaps a Hail Mary – to find her killer or killers.
When America’s Most Wanted contacted city police with the proposal to again cast its spotlight on the unsolved murder of April, investigators decided they had nothing to lose by releasing additional evidence to the public. Police usually keep secret some of the details of murder cases – particularly those that garner much attention – so they can determine through interviews whether a suspect knows something only the killer would know or is someone making a false confession for attention.
But because police have a positive DNA profile of April’s killer, a false confession can easily be detected.
So police, with the involvement of a former FBI profiler, decided they had more to gain than to lose by showing for the first time a photograph of a unique sex toy found near April’s body. The hope is that the image or description – along with other information previously released – will jog someone’s memory and lead police to the killer.
The case took on new urgency in 2004 when the killer left notes and condoms containing his DNA in northeast Fort Wayne and Allen County. But police didn’t reveal the fact that the killer had re-emerged until two years later, and it wasn’t until 2009 – when America’s Most Wanted first featured April – that police acknowledged the DNA evidence.
John Walsh, the TV show’s host, said the case has disturbed him for several years. The new show will be part of a series about fugitives who have taunted police.
Like Walsh, countless area residents were disturbed by April’s murder and by the fact that the killer might still be on the streets of Allen County. Regardless of the reason or the timing, Walsh and his show should be commended for reviving the case.
The case is cold with no leading suspects, and odds are against police ever finding the killer. But America’s Most Wanted has beaten the odds before, and police are right to make another attempt to bring the case to the public. For the sake of justice – for April and her family, and for her community – with luck, tonight’s show will make a difference.