The Journal Gazette
Saturday, August 04, 2018 1:00 am

Chilling '04 note still affects family

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Brock Humphries doesn't remember much about the moment in 2004 that would change his childhood.

He was just 4 years old when his older sister Emylee found a note in the basket of her bicycle at their home in Grabill claiming to be from the person who killed 8-year-old April Tinsley in 1988.

Humphries, now 18, said he was at home with his sister and their mother when the discovery was made. The memory is hazy, but the after effects were immediate.

“It affected us a lot,” he said. “We never played in the front yard after that.

“My best friend lives down the street, and I wasn't allowed to walk down (there).”

April disappeared April 1, 1988, from her neighborhood on the south side of Fort Wayne.

Years later, notes purportedly from the killer appeared – sometimes on the bikes of little girls and once scrawled on a barn door near Schwartz Road and Indiana 37.

The note left for 7-year-old Emylee – blonde, just like April, her brother said – threatened that she would be the killer's next victim.

“Hi honey,” the note read. “I been watching you.”

Humphries said he has since read about the case, which stumped investigators for three decades.

John D. Miller, 59, was arrested at his home in Grabill – less than a mile from where Humphries lives – July 15 and charged with April's murder.

Investigators used DNA and genealogy data to implicate him.

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