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Genetic genealogy used to help make arrest in April Tinsley case

Genetic DNA testing helped lead investigators to John Miller of Grabill in connection to the death of April Tinsley.

Posted: Jul 17, 2018 11:30 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Genetic DNA testing helped lead investigators to John Miller of Grabill in connection to the death of April Tinsley.

The testing is rather new to the criminal investigation world.

Ellen Greytak with Parabon Nanolabs says it has helped them expand how they're able to help in criminal cases.

"In a lot of these cases we've helped do DNA phenotyping for them and we've helped narrow down the possible individuals this could be using physical appearance but we haven't gotten down to a single individual," Greytak said. "What genealogy can do is really come in and figure out the identity of that person whose been out there for in some cases twenty, thirty, forty years."

The lab searches a public DNA database that helps lead them to people who might be connected to the case.

Greytak says many cold case investigators are turning to this to help them get answers.

"We've seen huge uptake," Greytak said. "People are so excited about this because it's really offering an entirely new type of analysis and as we've shown so promising that these cases that are being solved a lot of times the investigators are saying I really don't think this could have been solved any other way."

Greytak says they're thrilled to be able to help in cold cases like the April Tinsley murder.

Helping people all across the country get answers they've been looking for.

"Every case that we work on it's so, it's so incredible to see the difference we can make whenever we first upload the sample and see whether there are matches whether genealogy will be possible," Greytak said. "If we get a good match it's so hard to stop. You just want to work on it until it's done because you know that that family has been waiting thirty years for this answer."

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