Updated: Tuesday, 21 Aug 2012, 5:59 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 31 Mar 2009, 5:25 PM EDT
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Twenty-one years ago, this week, eight year old April Tinsley disappeared, only to be found dead four days later.
It's a story that haunts the public and authorities all over northeastern Indiana. Now the cold case is getting national attention.
A crew from America's Most Wanted came to town to gather information for a show devoted to finding answers to April Tinsley's case. Several agencies are participating in the show, including Fort Wayne Police, Indiana State Police and the Allen County Sheriff's Department.
"We couldn't intervene in time to save her, so now at least we can try to get some answers for her," said Allen County Sheriff, Ken Fries.
On April 1, 1988, the Fairfield Elementary first grader left her friend's house, never to be seen again. The young girl's body was found in a Dekalb County ditch, after someone molested and suffocated her.
"We'll never know why, we just want to know who," said Fries.
That's the question a crew from America's Most Wanted hopes to help answer. Back in January, show Producer, Jenna Griffiths and her crew began gathering information for this case. They will interview a large cast of local and state authorities.
"It's really important to get this case on a national level because he could be answer," said Griffiths. "When our story airs on April, 11, we're portraying the best story we can, the most accurate information we have... Viewers will hopefully recognize something and call in with a tip."
It's the history of this case, and the killer's actions that has everyone so engaged.
Two years after April's body was found, someone scrawled the message "I kill April Marie Tinsley" on the side of a Fort Wayne barn. Then, just five years ago, notes mentioning April's murder appeared on young girls' bikes and in a mailbox.
"Even though this case is 21 years old, we have the killer taunting us... He clearly wants to be in the press. He wants the media exposure. Now we're giving that to him and maybe this time we'll win," said Griffiths.
Investigators think the killer could still be living in the area. They hope national attention will inspire someone to come forward.
"[The killer has] been living with this for 21 years. They know what they've done and I'm certain it couldn't be a good thing for them to try to live with," said Fries.
Later this spring and summer, a group of around 30 investigators will deploy throughout the area looking for answers. They hope to use any tips collected from the show at that time.