DNA advances bring hope to families of homicide victims

In 1988, when April Tinsley went missing, DNA was just becoming a tool for law enforcement.

Posted: Jul 17, 2018 9:58 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 9:42 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The Fort Wayne Police Department caught a big break in finding a suspect in the murder of April Tinsley 30 years ago thanks to DNA advancements over the years.

In 1988, when April Tinsley went missing, DNA was just becoming a tool for law enforcement.

Thirty years later, police used publicly available genealogy database research to lead them to John D. Miller.

Families of murder victims hope this new practice will be used in more cases in Allen County.

"It absolutely gives me hope," said Stacey Davis whose son, Codi McCann, was shot and killed outside the State Bar and Grill in 2016.

Davis is still waiting for an arrest in her son's murder, but she's optimistic with the advancement of DNA.

"It gives me hope my case will be solved. It also gives me hope I won't have to wait 30 years," she told FOX 55 Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Fort Wayne police hired Parabon Nanolabs to run DNA found on April Tinsley in 1988.

"We are providing a genetic tip. This is not the end of an investigation. Police still need to build a case," said Steven Armentrout, Parabon NanoLabs CEO.

Armentrout said they are working with police departments from across the country to run DNA, helping solve cold cases.

A success he didn't see coming.

"If you would've asked me five years ago, if we would have this kind of success, I would not have been able to say yes," said Armentrout.

Allen County prosecutor Karen Richards said this new technology will be used again, and should be a message to other criminals in the community who might think they got away.

"This case should tell them something different," Richards told reporters during a news conference.

It will also bring closure to families across the summit city.

There are a lot of moms out there, I know personally, where it will help in their case," Davis said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 93°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 95°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 91°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 91°
Few Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events