Investigators have received nearly 60 tips that have created about 30 new suspects in the search for April Marie Tinsley’s killer.
Police received the tips after the case was featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” Friday night.
Tinsley, an 8-year-old Fort Wayne girl, was abducted, raped and suffocated in 1988. Her body was dumped in a DeKalb County ditch, where a jogger found her days after her disappearance.
Fort Wayne police, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and FBI have all received the tips, Fort Wayne police spokeswoman Raquel Foster said.
“The role of the detectives is to see how strong these suspects are,” she said.
Investigators will determine whether DNA samples from any of the 30 new suspects are in a national database and whether any match the suspected killer’s DNA profile, Foster said.
Someone scrawled writing on a barn in 1990 indicating he was Tinsley’s killer. Then in 2004, notes left on young girls’ bicycles and in a mailbox in northeast Fort Wayne and northeast Allen County contained the same writing and similar messages. Police revealed information about the notes in 2006.
In 2009, investigators said whoever left those notes also left used condoms containing DNA that matches DNA found with Tinsley’s body.
“This is one of those crimes where it really is a mystery,” Foster said. “We have the DNA and it’s just a matter of having that DNA profile and linking them.”
Foster said the suspected killer’s DNA profile also is checked against a national law enforcement DNA database every week to ensure the suspect hasn’t been arrested for a different crime.
Since the killing police have slowly allowed bits and pieces of evidence to trickle out to the public and investigators shared new information last week.
A sex toy was found about 20 or 25 feet from Tinsley’s body the day she was discovered. Investigators found the sex toy in a box inside a plastic Sears bag.
Investigators said they found no DNA on the sex toy and there is no evidence it was used on Tinsley, but they believe it did belong to the girl’s killer.
Anyone with information about who may have killed Tinsley is asked to call 1-866-60A-PRIL or 1-866-602-7745. People can also email email@example.com.
Also, people can call “America’s Most Wanted” at 1-800-CRIME-TV or report a tip through the show’s website at www.amw.com. Those tips can remain anonymous.