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April Marie Tinsley

 Source: AMW Fugitives Website:

Horrific Crime Shatters Indiana Community
April Marie Tinsley, 8, was abducted by an unknown suspect on April 1, 1988. She was found three days later, raped and murdered, on the side of a rural Indiana road.

Antagonizing. Frightening. Disturbing. All words to describe the sick message left on the front doors of an Indiana barn, more than two years after a young girl was brutally raped and murdered mere miles away.

A teenage boy living nearby first made the twisted discovery, and finally reported it to police after watching it take shape over a period of days. He never saw the mystery writer, but noticed the print got darker and more pronounced with each passing sunrise.

Originally written in pencil, the note’s author eventually traced over it with crayons and a black marker. The crayons had been left behind at the scene.

The girl referred to in the note, April Marie Tinsley, was a first grader at Fairfield Elementary School. After an early release for the upcoming Easter weekend, April arrived home at 11:30 a.m. on April 1, 1988.

Like most young children do, April went to go play with her friends, who we’ll call Jessica and Nancy. After lunch, Jessica’s mom gave the girls each a handful of Easter candy and they left to play at Nancy’s.

While on their way to Nancy’s house, located just two blocks away, April remembered that she left her umbrella back at Jessica’s house. That was at approximately 3:05 p.m. — the last time Jessica and Nancy ever saw April alive.

Cops tell AMW that April was abducted by an unknown person or persons in the 2300 block of Hoagland Avenue in Fort Wayne.

For the next 72 hours, April’s panic-stricken family did everything they could, scouring the neighborhood streets in hopes of finding their beloved April alive and well.

Tragically, her body was found by a jogger on Monday, April 4, 1988. She was clothed and placed next to a barbed-wire fence in a roadside ditch, about 20 miles northeast of her family’s home.

“Hi Honey I Been watching you I am the same person that kidnapped an Rape an kill Aproil tinsely here is a present foR yo you are my next vitem…”

Killer’s Taunting Message Haunts Indy Cops, Families

A disturbing threat was scrawled across a barn door in Fort Wayne, Indiana, two years after April Tinsley was brutally killed. Cops believe the person responsible for April’s murder is the same person who wrote this message.

Immediately, cops and K-9 units blanketed the area searching for clues, but the killer hadn’t left them with much. After taking her body to the lab, the coroner was able to determine her cause of death to be suffocation after she’d been brutally raped by her sadistic attacker.

Leads quickly dried up — until May 21, 1990, when police received a call from the teenage boy, reporting a taunting message scrawled on a barn off of a well traveled country road.

Though they analyzed the crayons left behind, hoping to find fingerprints or other usable forensic evidence, cops emerged empty-handed.

Nearly 14 years would pass until the next big break.

On March 25, 2004, almost 16 years after April’s abduction, rape and murder, things heated up when April’s killer left yet another creepy, taunting note.

This time, a 5-year-old girl found it, stuffed inside of a clear, resealable plastic bag, placed precariously inside of a bicycle basket her mother used as a flower pot.

The note read: “Hi Honey I Been watching you I am the same person that kidnapped an Rape an kill Aproil tinsely here is a present foR yo you are my next vitem…”

The ‘present’ the killer referred to? A used condom, stuffed alongside the note in the plastic bag.

The note went on to mention that the killer would blow the girl’s house up if the local media wasn’t notified.

The girl’s mother called the cops, who immediately showed up to investigate. Unfortunately, there was little they could do.

Two days later, a mail carrier on a rural road located yet another note placed in a mailbox situated halfway between the note-tarnished barn and the site of April’s recovered body.

This second note was slightly more aggressive in tone, and contained some of the same stylistic features as the barn note and the other note found just days earlier.

In it, the killer begins with “Hi Honey”, uses the phrase “ha ha” and again threatens to “blow up you hou[s]e” if the message isn’t passed on to the media. A used condom was also included in the bag.

Nearly 10 weeks would pass until a third note, similar in tone and style, arrived in Fort Wayne, placed on a 7-year-old girl’s bicycle which had been sitting on her family’s front lawn.

Thirteen days later, on June 25, 2004, a fourth and ghastlier note was discovered in Fort Wayne on yet another young girl’s bike. This one took a far more vulgar, explicit turn by stating precisely what horrific acts the killer intended to do to the young girl who he claimed to have been watching.

This fourth and final letter also included the phrase “Hi Honey”, but instead of including the used condoms inside the plastic bag, the killer left his most disturbing clue yet — Polaroid photographs of himself naked from the waist down.

Investigators Hunt For Diabolical Killer

Cops say this bedspread may be a key clue in identifying April’s killer. Included with the fourth and final note he left specifically for a young Fort Wayne girl to see, were pictures of the suspect himself lying on a blue-green paisley-patterned bedspread.

For years, detectives have been trying to determine the identity and precise location of the man who, through DNA, has been forensically matched to be April Tinsley’s killer. Unfortunately, they have yet to unearth any solid suspects.

They have a smorgasbord of clues, yet no one to match them to. After more than two decades, cops hope to find answers to this most puzzling of mysteries so they can bring justice to April and provide her grief-stricken and emotionally distraught family the closure they so desperately need.

Aside from the ungodly crime this person has committed against young April Tinsley, the fact that he’s been so brazen as to send taunting messages, along with his DNA and Polaroids of himself, to other children throughout the area has cops throughout northeast Indiana eager to take him down.

In addition to the killer’s braggadocio relayed throughout each and every note he’s left behind, investigators want to point out a handful of other choice clues they believe might lead to an identification of this most malevolently deranged suspect.

Some of the notes were dated, and instead of using a typical forward-slash ( / ) to separate the month, date and year, the killer used dashes ( – ). On most of the notes, the killer concluded them with two distinctive parallel, horizontal lines, which according to behavioral handwriting analysts, are highly peculiar.

One other major clue investigators would like to know more about is the blue-green, paisley-patterned bedspread found in parts of the Polaroid photographs the killer left behind.

They believe if they find out the location of that bedspread, it may lead them one step closer to April’s killer.

If you know anything about the mysterious abduction, rape and murder of young April Tinsley in April 1988, you’ve got to call our hotline right away at 1-800-CRIME-TV.