FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Virginia-based DNA technology company that last year released a next-generation forensic composite of what young April Marie Tinsley’s killer could look like has released an updated – and more detailed – image of that suspect.
On Tuesday, Fort Wayne Police released the updated computer-aided rendering developed by Parabon. The image was extrapolated using genetic history and traits from DNA that police have gathered since Tinsley’s abduction April 1, 1988 from her south-central Fort Wayne neighborhood.
Tinsley’s abduction and death has become Fort Wayne’s most notorious cold case since she disappeared that Good Friday as she walked to a friend’s home to pick up an umbrella. The first-grader’s body was found by a jogger three days later in a ditch along a road in southern DeKalb County.
She had been sexually molested, suffocated and dead for at least two days.
In the nearly three decades since, police have investigated at least five separate written taunts and threats, made years apart, that they believe were scrawled by the 8-year-old’s killer. Investigators have followed tips to some 600 people, each have which have come up empty. Police have a several-inch-thick case file now.
When Parabon contacted Fort Wayne Police last year to offer its services, Captain Paul Shrawder, a deputy chief of investigations at the Fort Wayne Police Department, said the image would allow his investigators to eliminate people off their suspect list.
With a clearer picture now, that list should shrink more.
To enhance their images, Parabon hired a forensic artist to humanize the photo and also age progress it.
The suspect, according to Parabon, is a white man between the age of 45 and 55, with hazel or green eyes and brown to black hair. Parabon warned that its genetic history-based rendering is based on percentages and is not guaranteed to be a match for the actual suspect.
That said, though, Shrawder has said that the image has allowed Fort Wayne detectives to eliminate some of the 700 potential suspects and people police have talked to since 1988 regarding the case.