Fort Wayne Police Department

April Tinsley Investigation


         Investigators have reason to believe that the same person who wrote a message on a barn door in 1990 claiming responsibility for the murder of 8-year-old April Marie Tinsley also left multiple notes at different residences in the Fort Wayne area in 2004. April was abducted  on Good Friday in 1988 as she walked from a friend’s house. Her body was discovered in DeKalb County three days later.

          Investigators are asking for the assistance of the public in answering two questions:


1) Do you know the author of these notes?

2) Have you seen other notes like these?


The assistance of the public in circumstances like these has proven to be invaluable in past cases. The Fort Wayne Police Department asks the public to report any information regarding the identity of the writer, the discovery of other communications, or any other piece of information that may be related to this case, even if it is believed that this information has already been reported or seems insignificant. The public is encouraged to provide information via any of the following methods:


Phone: 1-260-427-1404  



The following are some consistent characteristics found in the writer’s communications, which may be indicative of his personal style.



































Double Horizontal line at the end of the message- This is present in all of the 2004 notes


                 It is believed that many of the errors contained in the notes may have been made intentionally. However, even if a writer is attempting to disguise his identity, there will often be evidence of his normal, everyday writing style. In this case, someone acquainted with the writer may recognize the use of specific words, phrases, sentence structure, style or even mechanics that are unique to him. Such unique features are often habitual and may provide clues about the writer.


        This writer may have written other communications in a different context containing some of the same phrases, wording, style or mechanics seen in the published composite note shown above. For example, these other communications may have been written in connection with a personal or professional matter involving an employer, a neighbor, a coworker, or possibly a significant other.


          In addition the writer may have demonstrated an unusual interest in the media during this time frame. The writer may spend a significant amount of his time driving around in a vehicle, either because of his employment or personal preference.


          It is likely that additional similar notes, possibly even graffiti, have been left in neighborhoods in and around Fort Wayne or surrounding communities which were not reported to police. “It is understandable that a citizen finding such an item may not have recognized its significance because of the age of the Tinsley case and therefore may have discarded or even destroyed the note.” The police still need to hear from you if you think you have seen such a communication or have any information to provide.


The following were consistent with all of the 2004 notes:


The notes were inside a clear plastic ziploc-type baggie

The notes were written on yellow lined paper






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