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Category: Blog Posts

Arrest Made in Child Murder More Than 30 Years Later.

Tenacious detectives in Fort Wayne, Indiana made an arrest in the cold-case murder of a beautiful little girl.

When detectives picked the suspect up and asked if he knew why they were there, he said, “April Tinsley.”

It seems apparent he’s been expecting this; especially with all the arrests being made around the country in cold cases.

Hopefully all the bastards that commit crimes like this lie awake at night, dreading the knock on their door.

The news article on this case is here.

The Affidavit at the bottom of the article details the steps detectives took to clear the case, and the suspect’s admissions of the horrible things he did to this poor little girl.

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39 Year Old Infant Murder Charged

I’ve investigated a lot of child murders over the years, including the murder of infants.  The problem comes when the child is passively suffocated.  It leaves no physiological signs, and in 1979, (and still sometimes today) is lumped into the SIDS category.

What people don’t understand about SIDS is it’s not a disease that can be diagnosed with tests or physical signs.  It’s  the result of a lack of a finding.  Often times it becomes a catch-all dumping ground for infant death.

Most cases that are ruled as SIDS are the result of accidental suffocation, where the child is overlaid by an adult, or stuck between a mattress and a wall or other object.  It’s clear from the scene investigation.  Some pathologists don’t want parents to blame themselves and rule SIDS to spare them that blame.

The problem is, people are then in fear that this “boogey man” named SIDS will take their child, when instead, it should foster education about safe sleep practices for new parents.

When there is no sign of accidental suffocation,  the detective must do a thorough investigation to find out what happened.

Several years ago, a nine-month-old baby died in a flea-bag motel in Seattle, where she was under the care of her “father”.  (He ended up not being her father).  We didn’t respond to dead baby cases then unless homicide was suspected. Seattle PD goes to all now, regardless of the apparent cause.

The first red flag was the age of the baby.  Nine-month-old children can roll, turn their head, etc.   They’re generally to old too be ruled SIDS, but that’s what happened in this case.

The “father” was a transient, so it took me several months to find him.

I brought him in for an interview where he confessed to suffocating the little girl.

He pled guilty.

Here’s a link to the story of the 1979 case here.

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Another Big Cold-Case Arrest

Another big arrest announced today by the Tacoma Police Department.  Twelve-year-old Michella Welch was found murdered in Puget Park in Tacoma in March of 1986.

The suspect, believed to be a man in his 60’s, was arrested locally.

This case tugged at the heartstrings of everyone involved, along with the murder of Jennifer Bastian, another little girl who was found murdered in Point Defiance Park.  For years, detectives believed they may have been committed by the same person. DNA tests more recently proved that samples collected came from two different males.

This case highlights that any case can be solved with persistent work by detectives.  Never give up.

Here is a link to the story reported in the Tacoma News Tribune.

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Upcoming Event

I’ll be at Seaport Books, (106 1st St., La Conner, WA) on Thursday, August 16th for an “Author Event”.  The link to their website with the details are here.

If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi.

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Cold Case Child Murder, Springfield, MO.

I was interviewed last week, by a news station in Springfield, MO. for a blog they run.

The topic was a more than 40-year-old murder of an innocent little girl, still unsolved.

I had some suggestions about how to move the case forward.

I’ll post a link to the podcast when it’s posted.  In the meantime, you can read about the murder here.

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Is it a Serial Killer or a Spree Killer?

Great blog post in Psychology Today about the difference between serial and spree murders, written by my friend, Katherine Ramsland.  Read it here.

The Café Racer shooting  (detailed in my book) is a good example of what started as a mass shooting when Ian Stawiki shot almost everyone in the café, and then drove downtown, where he shot a woman for no reason and stole her car, thus making him a spree killer.

Stawiki killed himself when confronted by officers in West Seattle later that afternoon.

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Pang to be Released.

On January 5th, 1995, Martin Pang torched his parent’s frozen food warehouse to collect insurance money.  While fighting the fire, four Seattle firefighters died.

Pang was originally charged with First Degree Murder under the Felony Murder Rule. (He committed First Degree Arson, and because firefighters died, it became four counts of Murder 1).  Had he been convicted of the four murders, he would have spent the rest of his life in prison.

He fled to Brazil, and country with which the United States had no extradition treaty.  Brazil, which does not recognize felony murder, would only allow extradition for the Arson.

Pang pled guilty to four counts of Manslaughter.  Because of that, this narcissistic psychopath will be released from prison in September.

I wrote about working this case in my book.

You can see a report from KING-TV in Seattle here. 

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Familial DNA Interview

I was interviewed by Amy Clancy of KIRO7 News, along with retired King County Sheriff’s detectives Tom Jensen and Jim Allen, about Familial DNA, and why it’s not allowed or used in Washington State.

Watch the interview here.

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