Fort Wayne Police and Indiana State Police detectives then put John D. Miller under surveillance at his mobile home in the 13700 block of Main Street in Grabill, where he was the only occupant.
April went missing on April 1, 1988, and her body was found three days later in a ditch about 20 miles from her home in Fort Wayne.
He faces felony murder, child molestation and criminal confinement charges.
He is set to appear in court on Monday.
The 8-year-old girl disappeared on April 1, 1988 in Fort Wayne as she was walking home from visiting a friend. Early the morning of April 2, 1988, he put her body in his vehicle and drove to DeKalb County Road 68 near Spencerville, where he dumped the body in a ditch along the road.
Police in IN say they've made an arrest in the decades-old rape and slaying of a little girl whose death was used to taunt not only police but also other young children.
According to the affidavit, in May of 1990 police found a note in a barn saying "I kill 8 year old April M Tinsley did you find her other shoe haha i will kill agin".
In 2004, the suspect sent notes to other young girls in the region, some with used condoms and nude photographs.
Police in IN believe they have finally caught a suspect whose sickening crime has haunted investigators for more than 30 years. He answered "April Tinsley", before admitting the crime to investigators, according to court documents. "I been watching you I am the same person that kinapped an rape an kill Aproil Tinsely you are my next victim (sic)". "I will kill agin".
As it turned out, the DNA was a match.
John D. Miller was arrested in connection to April Tinsley's 1988 murder
Those were the two words Miller had for investigators who knocked on his door Sunday and asked him why he thought they were there.
On Sunday, detectives arrested Miller after DNA from his garbage matched evidence from the crime scene and the sick messages.
Fort Wayne Police have made an arrest in one of the most famous cold cases in the city's history.
He said he choked her, and that it took ten minutes for April to die.
On July 9, police received news from the Indiana State Police lab that the DNA profile extracted from the condoms in Miller's trash matched the DNA profiles of the condoms found in 2004 and the DNA found in Tinsley's underwear.
April's parents, Janet and Michael Tinsley, identified the body later that day as their daughter. Investigators pulled trash from the location, including three used condoms Miller had allegedly discarded.
On 11 May 2018, detective Brian Martin contracted Parabon NanoLabs - a Virginia-based DNA company involved in a number of cold cases - to analyse the samples, the affidavit states. Authorities plan to offer additional information at a news conference on Tuesday.
After Tinsley was dead, Miller told police he sexually assaulted her body again.
The DNA technique used to catch him sees investigators cross-reference samples members of the public have uploaded to publicly-searchable websites.
He said he then sodomized the deceased body, according to the affidavit.
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