A Crime That Occurred on Both Good Friday and April Fools Day

April 1, 1988

Fort Wayne, Indiana

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Fort+Wayne&rls=com.microsoft:en-u

aprilApril 1, 1988 ~ 8 Year old April Tinsely was abducted while walking home from a friends home in Fort Wayne Indiana, her body was found three days later. She had been sexually assaulted by an unknown perpetrator.

It was good Friday back in 88 on the day that April vanished, it was also April Fools Day. Her body was found on the side of the road some 20 odd miles away from her home. She was found in a rural area which as the FBI put it was “dotted by Amish farms.”

Initially tips poured in, not one led to a suspect, in fact law enforcement had little to nothing to go on as far as a suspect went. The case left many feeling at a loss with no solid leads, no description of a suspect and no witness to speak of.

Tinsley suspectAmerica’s Most Wanted featured April’s story twice and still nothing new came in. Initially police said the murderer was either white or Hispanic and eventually came up with a sketch of what they thought resembled the suspect.

Two years after April’s abduction and murder a message with regards to her murder appeared on a barn door near where her body was found. barn

note_front

In 2004 the case took an even more unusual turn when 4 notes turned up at various homes. The notes are believed to have come from April’s killer. Several had been placed on bicycles that belonged to young girls, each was written on lined yellow paper and placed in baggies, along with used condoms and Polaroid pictures of the killers body, several of the notes referred to April.

The killer hasn’t been heard from since 2004. Investigators did release a picture of a distinct bedspread that appeared in one of the Polaroid pictures in 04.

bedspread

Investigators do believe the case is solvable and I believe them to be correct. In fact, the killer may have been right under the noses of investigators the entire time because it is someone who is familiar with Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas. These are area’s that the killer is comfortable moving around in, being seen in. In a clever way the killer told us more about who he is or was by leaving the notes.

It has been rumored that writing experts believe the killer to have a writing disorder called dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is best described as the inability to write legibly and is a symptom of brain damage or disease.

A really good place to look is within closed communities, if one were to believe that the author of the notes is suffering from some sort of brain dysfunction. Those that live in isolated groups sometimes suffer from genetic disorders or have been known to show signs of other brain disorders.

This killer was someone who lived in such a way that he could mask his disorder, most likely with the help of others or it simply wouldn’t have been noticed because of the way he lived or lives. This would afford him the opportunity to be both seen and unseen, meaning if you met him as a person you wouldn’t pick up on any type of brain dysfunction, you basically would never know.

As disturbing as the notes that were left were, they still hold the best insight into who this killer was at that time. While they show clear signs of someone who is deranged they also show some key information:

They are adolescent in nature, the condoms contained the killers DNA, which was a match to DNA found with April and they prove one of two things to us. 

  1. The killer was not worried about his DNA because he was so far diminished in some way mentally that he knew he would face absolutely no punishment for his crime because he would die before a match could be made, or be mentally incapacitated in some way, leaving it impossible to charge and convict him of the crime.
  2. The killer had no understanding what-so-ever of what DNA is or how it could potentially tie him to the crime.

The FBI back in 09 released a profile of the killer, I believe the profile that was released is your A-Typical fit into a box type of profile.

Killers don’t often fit into any box I find, this one is particularly unique and that is precisely why the FBI’s profile to date has not been very fruitful.  Think about it, what killer sends his DNA to potential victims? They simply were never potential victims and this guy didn’t fear the notion of getting caught for very obvious reasons.

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

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https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/april/tinsley_040309

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/april/amw_041409-part-2

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2009/may/april-tinsley-murder-pt.-3/tinsley_051909