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posted by mrpg on Wednesday July 18 2018, @03:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the gotta-attac dept.

Murder suspect due in U.S. court after DNA cracks open 1988 case

A 59-year-old Indiana man will be formally charged on Thursday with the 1988 murder of an eight-year-old girl after the decades-old cold case was cracked open by DNA evidence linked to a genealogical website, authorities said on Tuesday.

John Miller of Grabill, Indiana, was arrested in nearby Fort Wayne on Sunday after DNA evidence and records on publicly accessible genealogical websites helped investigators track him down. Investigators followed a pattern similar to that used to track down the "Golden State Killer" in California earlier this year.

Miller on Monday was preliminarily charged with murder, child molestation and confinement of someone under 14 years old, 30 years after eight-year-old April Tinsley was found dead in a ditch. He has been ordered held without bond.

If you don't hand over your DNA, you want child murderers to frolic in freedom.

Related: DNA From Genealogy Site Led to Capture of Golden State Killer Suspect
GEDmatch: "What If It Was Called Police Genealogy?"
DNA Collected from Golden State Killer Suspect's Car, Leading to Arrest
Another Alleged Murderer Shaken Out of the Family Tree
'Martyr of the A10': DNA Leads to France Arrests Over 1987 Murder
DNA Methylation Can Reveal Information About Criminal Suspects

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19 2018, @12:33AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19 2018, @12:33AM (#709102)

    Now I know that I was busy in high school as a young kid when the victim died and a week later back in '88 it would have been trivial to prove I was in class when the victim was killed, but there's no way in hell I (or probably anyone else) could possibly provide any alibi 30 years later. My history teacher is almost certainly dead or senile or won't remember I was in class on one specific day when the crime happened, etc.

    Perhaps you could. 20 years ago I was helping write software for schools, part of which enabled teachers to record each day for each student whether or not they were present. This was because state funding was tied to attendance -- every day, or even part of a day, that a student was in school, meant the school qualified for more money. (What, you thought the school cared so much about the students that they wanted to see their smiling faces each day? No, it's just money.) I don't know if every state does that, but at least one did.

    That data, even down to the individual student, was sent to the state education agency. For each school, every month. There might still be an archive of that data around somewhere.

    Even before computerization, there were paper forms -- because we in part got the software's requirements by reviewing the existing paper documents. That might still be around somewhere, on microfiche, or perhaps sucked into an imaging system by now (I've worked on imaging systems, too; lots of formerly microfiched documents are digitized now).

    So if you ever ARE accused of something from when you were back in school, dig for the documentation. It just might save your ass.

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  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday July 19 2018, @01:03AM (2 children)

    by sjames (2882) on Thursday July 19 2018, @01:03AM (#709119) Journal

    The secret to "your permanent record": If it didn't burn in a fire, get erased to make room for newer data, recorded in a format nobody knows anymore, or get destroyed in a basement flood, nobody knows where it is.

    • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Thursday July 19 2018, @02:29AM (1 child)

      by captain normal (2205) on Thursday July 19 2018, @02:29AM (#709158)

      Unless of course you are named Archibald Buttle and the authorities are after Archibald Tuttle because a computer glitch spit out your name instead of Tuttle. []

      When life isn't going right, go left.
      • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Thursday July 19 2018, @02:36AM

        by captain normal (2205) on Thursday July 19 2018, @02:36AM (#709163)

        Hint... the song is a clue.

        When life isn't going right, go left.