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Who Killed April Marie Tinsley?

Updated on March 15, 2018
April Marie Tinsley
April Marie Tinsley

April 1st, 1988 was just like any other day. April was out playing with her friends after school when she remembered she had left her umbrella at another one of her friends homes. She told them that she was going to go get her umbrella and head home. That is the last time that anyway saw April again.

Around 3 or 4 pm a witness stated that they saw a white man in his mid-30's, driving a light blue pickup forcefully pull April Tinsley into his truck and drive away. Neither the man nor the truck have been located to this day.

Three days after her abduction, April Marie Tinsley's body was found in a ditch near Spencerville, IN. She had been raped and suffocated. Tips immediately started coming in, but they led to dead ends and the case eventually went cold. For two long years, there was nothing in the way of new evidence or even a breakthrough in the case, but in May of 1990, some new and disturbing evidence had come in.

A teenager had been riding his bike and came across a message on a barn door. He than contacted police right away by what was on the door.

This is what the barn door says: "I Kill 8 yea old ApriL marie tisley I Will kill again."

As you can see by the photo, you can see where the killer had rewritten this multiple times, I have heard that he first wrote it in pencil, came back wrote it in crayon, and than came back a third and final time and wrote it in black marker. A crayon found nearby had DNA that matched DNA found on April's body as well. So they do know that the killer is the real one and not a copy cat seeking attention.

Three weeks after the barn door message, another Fort Wayne area girl went missing, her name is Sarah Bowker, a 7 year old, from her area apartment complex. Her body was found the next day in a nearby ditch, she was also raped and suffocated. The FBI declared that the two cases are not from the same killer, but the local coroner had a different opinion on it. He had looked after both bodies and he reported saying that he believes the two cases are linked and killed by the same person.

Fourteen years had passed and nothing had come up from the killer or any breakthroughs in the case. Everyone thought that the killer had just stopped, but his reign of terror was not over yet.

March 25, 2004 a 5 year old girl had noticed a ziplock bag in her bicycle basket, what was inside the baggie was a note and this is what is read," Hi Honey I Been watching I am the same person that kidnapped an Rape an kill Aproil tinsely you are my next vitcom if you dont report this to police an I dont see this in the paper tommrow or on the Local news or i well BLow ur yoy." This is what I make the note out to be, see for yourself with the picture below.

The killer had sent out several other notes to young girls with the same type of note and used condom in the baggie. One of them being a 7 year old girls bike, that was right on the families front lawn, but not a single soul saw anything at all. The very last note that the killer would send to potential victims was the most vulgar of them all. He would still write the same type of message on every letter, but instead of him putting a used condom inside the baggie, he actually took a Polaroid photo of himself naked from the waist down and put in the baggie for the little girl. That was the last night that he wrote, or that was brought to the media. That was the last time that anyone had heard anything from this man as well.

bedspread the killer used to take vulgar picture
bedspread the killer used to take vulgar picture

This bedspread is what the suspect had taken the pictures on. If or anyone you know has seen this bedspread any tips about this case at all, don't hesitate to call. This man is very familiar with the Fort Wayne area of Indiana and even more familiar with the smaller cities and towns near Fort Wayne. He could have a writing disability, or not properly schooled.

Forensic testing has stated that the killer was the one that sent the notes, but no strong leads have been made to whom the suspect could possible be.

We need help bringing this man to justice. This case has been on "America's Most Wanted," twice and also Crime Watch Daily has done a special on this case, but nothing is coming up at all. Next month will be 29 years since April Marie Tinsley and Sarah Bowker were taken from this world way too soon. They need justice, along with every other woman, child and man that has not had justice done!

If you have any tips whatsoever about this case or even think you know the person that did this, do not hesitate to call the Indiana State Police, their contact info is below. Thank you for reading and let's get justice.

Indiana State Police
District Investigative Commander
5811 Ellison Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46804
1-260-432-8661 or 1-800-552-0976


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