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SPENCERVILLE — A national television show aimed its spotlight on an unsolved murder in northeast Indiana Saturday night.

“America’s Most Wanted” reported on the killing of 8-year-old April Tinsley in 1988.

“It is our policy not to reveal any numbers when it comes to AMW calls, but I can tell you that the April Tinsley case pulled in more tips than any other story on our show that night,” said Angeline Hartman, the show’s reporter on the story.

“There were several investigators from both Indiana and here in the Washington, D.C., area at our hotline, and they were very pleased with the results. They now have a lot of follow-up to do so, overall, a very positive sign for this case,” Hartmann said.

Twenty-one years ago this month, someone abducted the 8-year-old girl in central Fort Wayne. Her abductor sexually molested her, suffocated her and left her body alongside C.R. 68 west of Spencerville. Police never found the killer.

Fort Wayne Police renewed their emphasis on the case after someone claiming to be the killer resurfaced in 2004 and wrote threatening notes to four little girls in Fort Wayne and Allen County.

Fort Wayne Police nominated the case for “America’s Most Wanted.” A crew from the TV show visited Fort Wayne, Allen County and Spencerville two weeks ago to prepare Saturday night’s segment.

Agencies joining the investigation include the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Unit and Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Saturday night’s TV broadcast revealed details about the case that police had not made public before.

“America’s Most Wanted” reported that through DNA, the man who wrote the threatening notes in 2004 has been forensically matched to April Tinsley’s killer.

In another new detail, police said that with two of the threatening notes, the killer put a used condom inside the plastic bag containing the note. The fourth note in the series included photographs showing a naked man from the waist down

The TV show reported that a blue-green, paisley-patterned bedspread is shown in parts of the photographs the killer placed with the final note. Police believe if they can find that bedspread, it may lead them closer to the killer.


Investigators in the April Tinsley murder case review hotline calls in the “America’s Most Wanted” studio. From left are Rob King of the FBI, John D. Zagelmeier of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and Lorna Russell or the Fort Wayne Police Department.



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