Tuesday, September 10, 2013

John Walsh

April 20, 1985, Sun Sentinel, Hollywood Police Chief To Retire, by Stephen Wissink,
May 12, 1985, Sun Sentinel, Retiring Police Chief Had Stormy Tenure
September 10, 1985, Sun Sentinel, Police Chief Tells Hollywood Officials He`ll Retire Jan. 15
January 16, 1986, Sun Sentinel, Retiring Chief Tries To Leave As Quietly As He Found Respect,
October 1, 1986, Sun Sentinel, Adam Sequel Locates Boy Missing 3 Years
October 10, 1987, Sun Sentinel, Adam Walsh Center Moves To Wpb
May 24, 1988, Sun Sentinel, Walsh Legacy Thrives
June 7, 1989, Sun Sentinel, Hollywood Police Doggedly Pursue Adam Walsh Tips,
August 4, 1991, Sun Sentinel, Adam Walsh, Dahmer: Is There A Connection?,
June 13, 1995, Sun Sentinel, Detective Protects Walsh File
June 14, 1995, Sun Sentinel, Police Keep Quiet On Walsh Case
June 14, 1995, Sun Sentinel, Time Is Right To Open Police Files On Adam Walsh...
September 13, 1995, Sun Sentinel, Adam Walsh Center Changes Name
October 19, 1995, Sun Sentinel, Police Given Date To Solve Murder Or Release Files,
December 8, 1985, Sun Sentinel, Artist Unveils Bronze Bust Of Adam Walsh, by John Kennedy, staff writer,
September 29, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Suspect's Death Won't Put End To Walsh Case,
February 13, 1996, Sun Sentinel, State Aims To Block Walsh File,
February 14, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Police Have Had 15 Years To Find Adam's Killer,
February 15, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Walshes Ask Judge To Keep Files Secret,
February 17, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Police Files On Adam's Disappearance Give Suspects, Leads...
February 17, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Adam: A Shy, Respectful Boy
February 18, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Searches, Suspects, Evidence- All Fruitless In Walsh Case
February 18, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Media Claims No Privilege In Walsh Case But Serves Public's Right to Know, by Earl Maucker and Editor
February 20, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Police: Blood In Car May Not Help Walsh Case, Sun Sentinel,
February 22, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Detective Linked To Suspect In Walsh Case, Memo Says Officer May Have Offered Information In Deal, by Scott Glover and Evelyn Larrubia, Staff Writers and Staff Writer Warren Richey,
February 22, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Detective Linked To Walsh Case,
March 2, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Tenacious Detective Dives Into Walsh File,
September 25, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Drifter Dies, Was Linked To Death Of Adam Walsh, by Tao Woolfe and Sarah Ragland,
September 29, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Suspect's Death Won't Put End To Walsh Case,
July 22, 2001, Sun Sentinel, Opinion, The Tragedy Of Adam Left Us On Guard, by Gary Stein,
July 22, 2001, Sun Sentinel, Boy's Slaying Stirred A Nation, by Jonathon King,
July 23, 2001, Sun Sentinel, For The Walshes, A Lifetime Of Grief, by Robert Nolin Staff Writer,
July 24, 2001, Sun Sentinel, Boy's Slaying Baffles Police 20 Years Later, by John Holland
August 6, 2001, Sun Sentinel, Adam's Murder Burdens Police, Sun Sentinel,
June 16, 2002, Sun Sentinel, Police Welcome Tracking Service's Assistance, by Elizabeth Roberts, Special Correspondent,
July 26, 2006, Sun Sentinel, Law Will Track Sex Offenders, by William E. Gibson Washington Bureau Chief,
July 27, 2006, Sun Sentinel, Marking Adam Walsh's Memory, by Ihosvani Rodriguez, Staff Writer,
October 2, 2006, New York Times, Democrats See a Chance to Turn the Tables, by Raymond Hernandez,
February 6, 2007, Sun Sentinel, Does Walsh slaying have a Dahmer link?, by Tim Jones Chicago Tribune and Staff Writer Sofia Santana contributed to this report,
February 14, 2007, Sun Sentinel, Walsh, officials not swayed by author's Dahmer theory, by Marlene Naanes, Staff Writer,
April 17, 2008, Washburn Law Journal, vol. 47, pp. 471-503, The Adam Walsh Act: The Scarlet Letter of the Twenty-First Century, by Lara Geer Farley,
December 22, 2008, Tampa Bay Times, Safety and fear make up Adam Walsh's legacy, by Michael Kruse,
December 17, 2008, The Associated Press, Walsh murder finally "solved",
December 17, 2008, Sun Sentinel, What is purpose of Adam Walsh theater?, by Tom Jicha,
December 17, 2008, Sun Sentinel, Announcement brings closure to family tragedy, by Macollvie Jean-Frangois Staff Writer,
December 18, 2008, Sun Sentinel, Parents' crusade is Adam Walsh's legacy, by Gary Stein Senior Editorial Writer,
October 12, 2009, Oprah.com, John Walsh on Child Protection Legislation Video,
March 27, 2010, The Miami Herald, Adam Walsh murder revisited: The case against Jeffrey Dahmer, by David Smiley and Arthur Jay Harris,
June 3, 2010, Sun Sentinel, Lawsuit: Copies of report that played role in closing of Adam Walsh murder case destroyed or in Cuba,
n.d. [November 21, 2010, 1st archive.org] Oprah.com, Justice for John Walsh,
January 6, 2011, Sun Sentinel / Broward Bulldog, Long lost police photos said to show Adam Walsh's face 'etched in his own blood', by Dan Christensen,
March 2, 2011, ABC News, Adam Walsh Murder: John and Reve Walsh Re-Live the Investigation, by Dan Harris and Claire Pedersen,
March 4, 2011, Sun-Sentinel, Detective, author detail how Walshes finally got answer, by Chauncey Mabe,
March 7, 2011, Associated Press, The Columbus Dispatch, Book Review | Bringing Adam Home: Notorious crime against boy led to changes in police work, by Bruce DeSilva,
May 16 2011, Inside TV, Fox cancels 'America's Most Wanted,' plans specials, by James Hibberd,
May 16, 2011, Associated Press, 'America's Most Wanted' Canceled, but Host John Walsh 'Not Ready to Throw in the Towel',
May 17, 2011, Washington Post, Why Fox is wrong to cancel 'America's Most Wanted', by Alexandra Petri,
January 6, 2012, Sun Sentinel / Broward Bulldog, He was a 'Wanted' man, by Tom Jicha, Staff writer,

February 22, 1996, Sun Sentinel, Detective Linked To Suspect In Walsh Case, Memo Says Officer May Have Offered Information In Deal, by Scott Glover and Evelyn Larrubia, Staff Writers and Staff Writer Warren Richey contributed to this report.

A former Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective who hoped to profit from a book deal in the Adam Walsh case fed a suspect secret information about the boy's murder, then went to Hollywood police and said he had obtained a confession to the crime, police investigative files show.

In 1983, Jacksonville Homicide Detective Jesse "Buddy" Terry was among a team of investigators who met with suspect Ottis Toole about the murder of 6-year-old Adam, who disappeared from a Hollywood Sears store on July 27, 1981.

"Apparently believing he could enrich himself, Terry entered into an arrangement with Ottis Toole in regards to book and movie rights to Ottis Toole's life story," says an internal Broward Sheriff's Office memo that was included in the 10,000 pages of the Adam Walsh police investigative files released on Friday by order of a Broward circuit judge.

"Detective Terry then provided Ottis Toole with confidential information he had obtained from the Hollywood Police Department. [He) then contacted Hollywood and told them that Toole had confessed to the Adam Walsh murder," according to the memo from then Broward Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Scheff to then Capt. Walter Laun.

"Detectives from the Hollywood Police Department then responded to Jacksonville and invested one year in the investigation before uncovering Terry's actions," the Oct. 24, 1988, memo states.

"Ottis Toole's statements were dismissed, and Detective Terry was removed from the homicide unit," the memo says. "From this historical perspective one can readily detect the ease with which Toole, a brain-damaged and troubled man, can be manipulated by others."

The memo may help explain why Toole - who twice confessed to killing Adam, then twice recanted - was never charged with the crime. Toole, who is still a suspect in the case, is serving five life sentences in state prison for unrelated arson homicides.

Terry, who now works as a bailiff at the Duval County Courthouse, is also embroiled in a controversy over some lost evidence in the Walsh case. He did not return several telephone messages left for him on Thursday.

However, in a 1983 interview with Hollywood police homicide detectives, he said he was not familiar with the details of the case before hearing Toole's confession.

The Broward Sheriff's Office was briefly involved in the investigation after a prison informant said Toole was willing to confess to Adam's murder for personal gain. Toole has not sold his story.

Stephanie Norris, a Hollywood police spokeswoman, declined to comment on the memo about former Detective Terry.

But according to another memo contained in the Adam Walsh file, Hollywood police homicide Detective Mark Smith was aware of such allegations when he took over the case in 1994.

"One of the beliefs by the original investigators was that Toole was confessing for publicity fueled by specific facts furnished by an overzealous Jacksonville detective," Smith wrote in an Aug. 16, 1994, memo.

Norris said Toole's confession is not the only reason he remains a suspect. She pointed to blood recovered from the floor of Toole's 1971 Cadillac and on a machete he once told police he used to cut off Adam's head.

There was not sufficient technology then to determine whether the blood belonged to Adam.

Toole was also able to identify the Hollywood Mall as the scene of the abduction.

And Toole described in detail a dirt road where he said he decapitated the boy. That road is just four miles from a drainage canal where Adam's head was found by two fishermen.

Terry, who may have been privy to detailed information about the slaying, was always near when Toole felt like confessing, files show.

In at least two instances, Toole changed his story after brief conversations alone with Terry, who he had known since about 1965 from having crossed paths on occasion in Jacksonville.

During his first confession, on Oct. 19, 1983, Toole said it was his lover and best friend, Henry Lucas, who abducted and later killed Adam and that he just accompanied Lucas.

After the confession, detectives discovered Lucas had been in jail in Maryland when the murder was committed.

Detectives confronted Toole, files show, and he recanted.

But after being alone with Terry, Toole again was ready to confess, files show.

A week later, Toole was again recanting to Hollywood detectives. Terry interjected and started badgering Toole.

"Ottis, were you lying today? Are you sure you didn't kill Adam Walsh? Now, come on now, let's don't do this way. Look at me. Look at me, Ottis," Terry said, according to the files. "Just tell me the truth."

Reduced to tears, Toole responded: "No, I didn't kill Adam Walsh ... I made it all up."

Detectives thought they were done for the day but after 12 minutes alone with Toole, Terry told them he wanted to talk some more, the documents show.

In that interview at 10:42 p.m. on Oct. 26, 1983, Toole gave one of the most detailed descriptions of how he got to South Florida and committed the crime.

It was also Terry who led Hollywood detectives to the 1971 black and white Cadillac Toole claimed to have used to kidnap Adam.

Years later, Terry's name arises again in files related to the loss of seven pieces of bloody carpet cut from the car in which Toole at one time told police he had placed Adam's severed head.

The carpet evidence is thought by Hollywood detectives to have been misplaced in the property room of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

A September 1995 memo written by Hollywood Detective Smith says that the carpet evidence and the Caddy were transferred from a Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on May 24, 1984. Smith's memo says the FDLE official signed over the evidence to someone with the initial "J."

The memo continues: "It is believed that this individual is either Det. J. W. Terry or Det. James Geisenberg of Jacksonville [Sheriff's Office)."

Smith's memo says in part: "Det. Terry had no independent recollection of taking custody of these items and there is no documentation to date to confirm this on the part of Jacksonville ... or the Hollywood Police Department."

In an interview Tuesday night, Geisenberg, now retired from the Sheriff's Office, said he had no memory of signing for the evidence.

But their investigation appears no further along that it was 12 years ago, when one investigator summed up Toole's connection to the case in a memo this way: "MAYBE HE DID AND MAYBE HE DIDN'T."

July 24, 2001, Sun Sentinel, Boy's Slaying Baffles Police 20 Years Later, by John Holland,

He may be dead, in prison or stalking another victim. The only thing certain is he got away with murder.

Twenty years after someone snatched Adam Walsh from the Hollywood Mall and decapitated him, police haven't caught his killer and probably never will.

They have plenty of suspects -- some buried, some crazy, some little more than hunches by frustrated detectives around the country.

But none strong enough to be charged in an investigation marred by lost evidence, sloppy police work and time, which has eroded memories and most hopes of finding out what really happened.

"It's been 20 years, and I think it's going to be very difficult to pull together a case and make it stick," said Hollywood Lt. Tony Rode. "There were mistakes made, we admit that. And people's recollections of events aren't the same."

Not much is the same since the July 27, 1981, afternoon when Adam Walsh vanished. His father, John Walsh, has become a celebrity, an energetic new detective is in charge of the case, and the best suspect is long dead.

What remains constant is the jarring description of Adam circulated by police during their search. "The Walsh boy was described as a white male, 45 pounds, 31/2 feet tall with sandy blond hair, hazel eyes and missing two front teeth," the Fort Lauderdale News reported in its first story about the case.

Two weeks later, on Aug. 10, fishermen found Adam's head floating in a Vero Beach canal, 124 miles north of Hollywood. The rest of his body was never recovered and the case remains open, even though there have been no developments in years.

The prime suspect, a Jacksonville drifter named Ottis Toole, died in prison in 1996 after confessing to more than 100 murders. Toole, a self-described transvestite and lover of Texas serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, claimed to be a cannibal and twice confessed to killing Adam, only to recant each time.

His admissions remain tainted, in part because a Jacksonville detective fed Toole inside information and manipulated the dimwitted man in hopes of selling the book and movie rights, according to Broward Sheriff's Office investigative files.

It wasn't the only misstep in the case, which a Walsh family attorney said was conducted by "the biggest bunch of bungling idiots since the Keystone Kops."

Bloody carpet from Toole's 1971 Cadillac disappeared -- as did the car itself. Blood found on a machete that may have been the murder weapon also vanished, and early clues became blurred by poor record-keeping and little follow-up, police now say.

Each day brought seemingly stranger twists, with oddballs and well-intentioned residents calling with tips, confessions and spiritual visions.

More than two dozen psychics offered to help John and RevM-i Walsh find their son, some even holding a seance at the Hollywood Mall.

A tough case

One Hollywood man claimed to know what happened and told police he had seen pictures of the killing. Days later, he admitted making up the whole story because police were about to tow his car and he thought they would be more lenient with him if he could help solve the Walsh murder.

Even Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer made the list of suspects who were questioned.

But overlooked in the craziness, police say, was that the crime was so simple and so dastardly that there was little detectives could do to solve it and even less the family could do to keep it from happening.

"Unfortunately, we have a lot of sick, deranged people out there who don't need a reason for what they do," said Hollywood Police Detective Sgt. Mark Smith, who took over the case in 1994. "That's what makes this a difficult case."

Within hours of Adam's disappearance, friends and relatives started searching the family's McKinley Street neighborhood, the number of volunteers swelling to about 50 by nightfall. A police helicopter and 22 off-duty officers joined the search, which lasted until about 2 a.m.

One of those searching was Smith, a rookie officer working the midnight shift. He remembers being approached by John Walsh, who asked how the hunt was going.

"I had a picture of Adam up over my visor and I flipped it down and told John that we're all looking for him, so don't worry," said Smith, who 13 years later picked up the foundering case and became one of the few Hollywood detectives praised by Walsh. "I just wanted to make sure he understood that we cared and everyone was trying."

Over the next decade, it often didn't seem that way to Walsh, who strongly criticized both the department and the detectives who preceded Smith. A review of the case file and interviews with Hollywood police officers show that Walsh's complaints may be justified.

Days after Adam disappeared, police started hypnotizing witnesses, including a 10-year-old boy. The tactic added little except confusion to the investigation.

'No clues, no leads'

Despite a flood of tips, detectives were soon stumped.

"It's extremely frustrating," former Hollywood Detective Jack Hoffman said at the time. "We've got no clues, no leads, no evidence and no motives."

The case was only a few weeks old and already going nowhere. Then, on Aug. 27, one month after Adam had disappeared and about two weeks after his head was found, police cut the investigation to three detectives.

"It can't go on forever. The manpower is needed in other places," said Hoffman, who was heading the investigation.

Detectives had too many leads to chase and sometimes became overwhelmed, Hollywood police now say. Records show they may have overlooked some of the best tips while following more questionable ones.

In one instance, detectives drove to Vero Beach and spent two days following a lead from a man who said the CIA had killed Adam. The man claimed the agency was sending him a warning to keep him quiet because he knew the real secrets of Watergate.

Hoffman went searching for the supposed CIA agent. He couldn't find him at first, but eventually reached him for a full interview before clearing him.

Here we need names, because the crazy Watergate paranoid really was referring to an actual CIA agent, "cleared" after a "full interview." You are either in that organization or out. No one, especially crazies, straddles a weird fence.

In November 1981, attention turned to Edward James of Pompano Beach. He had been arrested for abducting a 10-year-old boy, and a cellmate at the Broward County Jail said James had confessed to killing Adam.

Police learned James had disappeared from his apartment for two weeks around the time of the murder. They also found that he had installed a new seat cover in the front seat of his 1973 Plymouth Fury on Aug. 27, 1981.

Police interviewed the cellmate, John Russell Terry, whose account of the killing -- including a description of the crime scene and James supposedly kicking the head into a canal -- was very similar to the physical evidence.

They got a search warrant for James' car. But the investigative notes don't have a transcript of James' interview and don't explain why he was ignored after that.

Those types of mistakes bothered Smith when he took over the dead-end case in August 1994. While he is careful not to criticize Hoffman and others, he wonders if the massive, nationwide search proved too much for what was then a small police force.

"The investigation of Edward James was not handled to my satisfaction, and let's just leave it at that," Smith said in a recent interview.

Hoffman, who was removed from the detective bureau in 1994 and plans to retire next month, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

In 1995, Smith tracked down James and interviewed him, coming away convinced he probably didn't kill Adam.

"I think the biggest weakness I found would have been the lack of follow-up on some leads," Smith said. "The department was pretty overwhelmed by the case. This is one of the biggest murder investigations ever, really, and it was probably too big for us at that time."

Once he took over, Smith spent weeks reading through the case file, which fills more than a dozen large folders. He excluded no suspects and began looking closely at Toole, who had confessed and recanted twice.

That's when the mistakes jumped out.

In 1983, Toole was sitting in a Jacksonville jail awaiting arson and murder charges that would eventually land him a life sentence. By that time, he and Lucas were infamous, having confessed to some of the nation's most gruesome killings, more than 100 in all.

But many of those confessions were bogus, prompting great skepticism when he confessed to killing Adam. Then, in one interview, he said Lucas killed Adam, even though investigators knew Lucas was in a Maryland jail at the time of the murder.

While some detectives discarded Toole completely, others said he knew too much to be lying. Over the course of several interviews, he provided particularly gruesome and accurate details, and a search of his car found a bloody passenger-side carpet where he said he had placed Adam's head.

At the time, there was no way to determine whether the blood was Adam's. That changed with the advent of DNA testing, and in 1995, Smith decided to test the carpet.

Only he couldn't find it. It had bounced around among three agencies and disappeared. Toole's beat-up old Cadillac also was gone, having been sold and eventually junked for scrap.

"There is absolutely no excuse for losing evidence, no matter how busy the detectives were," Smith said. "I've seen people trying to shift the blame but it was our case and we are the only ones responsible. That was ridiculous."

No deathbed drama

By 1995, Toole was dying of hepatitis and other ailments, leaving Smith to hope for a deathbed confession that could be verified. That chance slipped away when state prison officials didn't notify detectives that Toole's death was imminent.

Smith won't say who he thinks killed Adam, afraid his opinion could taint an eventual case. But he isn't convinced Toole is guilty and said detectives were right not to charge him without more evidence. He'll consider the case closed when he has enough to prove someone guilty, whether dead or alive.

Tips still come in, mostly from fans of John Walsh's television program America's Most Wanted, but none have been useful.

"Personally, I haven't interviewed anyone in three years," Smith said. "I'm of the belief that you never say never. There is somebody out there that knows what happened and we're going to keep working until we find some answers.

"I really believe we're going to close this case someday."

John Holland can be reached at jholland@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7909.

October 2, 2006, New York Times, Democrats See a Chance to Turn the Tables, by Raymond Hernandez,

Democrats See a Chance to Turn the Tables

Representative Mark Foley, right, at a signing ceremony in July at the White House for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. President Bush greeted Adam’s parents, John and Reve Walsh.
Tim Sloan/Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — In their efforts to keep their party in power, Republican leaders have not hesitated to hit the Democrats hard when it comes to the issue of protecting children.

The strategy was on display in Indiana, where the National Republican Congressional Committee recently ran a series of television spots showing a man accused of child molesting who was inadvertently released under the watch of Brad Ellsworth, a county sheriff and a Democratic candidate for Congress.

Now, Democrats are suddenly seeing an opportunity to turn the tables, questioning the actions of Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, the chairman of the Congressional committee, and other top Republicans who have acknowledged that they had been aware for months of e-mail exchanges between Representative Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, and a former teenage page.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Mr. Reynolds said that when he first learned of the issue, he personally brought it to the attention of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert. Republican leaders have described the e-mail messages that initially came to their attention as “over-friendly” and said that they were not sexually explicit, like the messages between Mr. Foley and other pages that were disclosed later.

But Democrats are accusing Republican leaders of keeping silent about Mr. Foley and allowing him to remain as chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children until the disclosure on Friday of the more sexually explicit e-mail messages. Carl Forti, a spokesman for Mr. Reynolds, defended the actions of Republicans, emphasizing that there was nothing overtly sexual about the e-mail messages they had initially seen. He also defended the advertisements sponsored by the Republican House campaign committee.

The Democrats, Mr. Forti said, are “trying to take advantage of a very tragic and wrong situation.”

After years of defending themselves against Republican charges that they are soft on crime and generally out of step with the nation’s values, Democrats are criticizing Republicans on one of their core issues. While commercials and mailings attacking Democrats as weak on issues like child protection appear to occur only sporadically, Democrats contend that it is a tactic that Republicans fall back on regularly.

Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said concerns about the Republican leadership’s handling of the accusations made their campaign attacks on Democrats seem hypocritical.

Not all rank-and-file Republicans have been happy with the efforts of party strategists to feature the issue of sexual predator legislation in campaign commercials.

In a closely watched race to fill a Congressional vacancy in San Diego this past June, the Republican candidate, Brian P. Bilbray, protested when the National Republican Congressional Committee ran an advertisement attacking the Democratic candidate, Francine Busby, a local school board member, for praising an elementary school teacher who was subsequently accused of trying to obtain child pornography.

The advertisement grew out of a newspaper article in 2004, when Ms. Busby was asked her reaction to reports that an elementary school teacher in her district had been arrested for trying to obtain child pornography. Ms. Busby said she was stunned and noted that she had always found the teacher to be dedicated and supportive of his students.

After the spot began running, Mr. Bilbray expressed displeasure with it and, referring to national Republicans, said he “would sure prefer that they keep the message positive.”

In 2004, protecting children against lurking threats was a theme with the Republican House committee running advertisements against several Democratic candidates in Texas, Kansas and Indiana, accusing them of being out of step with "family values" because the candidates would “allow the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games and movies to our children.”

That theme has resurfaced this year. In the contest for Nevada’s Third Congressional District seat, the Republican incumbent, Representative Jon Porter, is running a spot that notes his work to crack down on pedophiles.

"As parents, we need to know that our schools are not hiring teachers that are sexual predators," Mr. Porter says in the advertisement, which was paid for in part by the Congressional committee. "That's why I wrote a law in Congress that gives our local school districts the information they need to ensure that sexual predators are not teaching our children."

And in mailings sent in recent months to voters in Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District, the Republican incumbent, Representative Michael G. Fitzpatrick, criticized the Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy, who had raised objections to legislation seeking to protect children from online predators that Mr. Fitzpatrick proposed. Democrats said Mr. Fitzpatrick distorted the position of Mr. Murphy, who they said did not believe Mr. Fitzpatrick’s measure went far enough.

Since the revelations of Mr. Foley’s behavior, Democrats have been particularly forceful in singling out Mr. Reynolds, whom they see as an architect of Republican attacks against them. Mr Reynolds is facing a challenge from Jack Davis, a wealthy businessman who has vowed to spend at least $2 million of his own money in the contest and whose campaign has seized upon the Foley episode to attack Mr. Reynolds.

February 14, 2007, Sun Sentinel, Walsh, officials not swayed by author's Dahmer theory, by Marlene Naanes, Staff Writer,

Riviera Beach — America's Most Wanted host John Walsh took time out Tuesday from filming this weekend's episode to give his thoughts on a recently revisited theory in his son's abduction and murder.

One thought: It was painful for his family to rehash old facts. Another: It's always good to shine a light on an open, unsolved murder case in hopes that someone with helpful information finally finds courage to come forward.

Adam Walsh was abducted from a Hollywood mall in 1981. The 6-year-old's head was found in a Vero Beach canal two weeks later, and a killer was never arrested.

Miami author Arthur Jay Harris recently published an article in the Daily Business Review, presenting a theory that serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer may have killed Adam. A media storm ensued, but Walsh, Hollywood police and the Broward State Attorney's Office were not swayed.

The State Attorney's Office offered to look over some evidence in the case as a courtesy to the Walsh family, a representative said in an e-mail. And police were baffled at the timing of the revelation.

"It was a nonissue to us," said Capt. Mark Smith, the lead investigator in the case. "The way this came out it seemed like it was this late-breaking stuff but it really wasn't."

Harris, who also wrote a book manuscript on the Walsh case, briefly got the lifeblood pumping in the cold case two years ago when he presented police with two witnesses who placed Dahmer at the mall the day Adam was abducted.

But those witnesses, whom police interviewed in 1992 after Dahmer was arrested in other murders, Smith said, didn't provide any new leads. Dahmer repeatedly denied his role in Adam's death.

America's Most Wanted receives about 20 tips a year on the case and will continue to forward tips to Hollywood police, Walsh said.

Marlene Naanes can be reached at mnaanes@sun-sentinel.com or 954-385-7922.


December 22, 2008, Tampa Bay Times, Safety and fear make up Adam Walsh's legacy, by Michael Kruse,

Reve Walsh displays a photo of her son, Adam, as her husband, John Walsh, discusses the 1981 murder of the boy at a news conference in Hollywood on Tuesday. [Associated Press]

We've never been more safe.

We've never been more afraid.

That's the paradox we're left with now that police have finally named a killer in the murder of Adam Walsh.

For 27 years, it seemed that the freckle-faced 6-year-old was snatched by the bogeyman Out There Somewhere. Last week, we got a name: Ottis Toole, drifter and serial killer, who died in 1996 while in prison for other crimes. But since 1981, when Adam was kidnapped from a Sears at a South Florida mall, we've become irreversibly more watchful, and more worried, and more aware of dangers both real and imagined.

We search for missing kids better now. We find more of them. But we're also a little paranoid. We put kids on leashes and track them by satellite. We teach them the world can be mean.

The legacy of Adam Walsh isn't fixed. It pulses on a sliding scale between cautious responsibility and hypervigilance.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, credits Adam's father, John Walsh, for changing the way parents and lawmakers think about and respond to the threat.

"Adam's story captured the attention of the American media and moms and dads all over the country," Allen said. "The results have been overwhelmingly positive."

A leading criminologist says not so.

"John Walsh, if he had raised awareness in a more rational, considerate and moderate way, he might have done some good," said Richard Moran, a sociologist and criminologist at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. "But he raised awareness in this hysterical way and he created enormous anxiety among parents.

"It robbed a lot of children of their childhoods."

The changes — in law, and in perception — started almost immediately after Adam Walsh went missing.

John Walsh and his wife lobbied Congress to pass the Missing Children's Act in 1982. It required the FBI to enter data about missing children into a national crime database. They also helped found the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 1984.

Security tightened at stores and schools. Pictures of missing kids appeared on milk cartons and shopping bags and fliers in the mail.

In 2006, on the 25th anniversary of Adam Walsh's kidnapping, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was passed, expanding the national registry of sex offenders and stiffening penalties against them.

These days, Amber alerts go out, practically instantly, all over the country, when a kid goes missing. Code Adam is an alarm set off in stores that alerts employees to a missing child and locks the doors.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show that since the mid 1970s violent crime has gone down, down, down.

The Department of Justice estimates that 115 kids a year are kidnapped in what are labeled "stereotypical" kidnappings — a stranger taking a child with intent to keep or harm or kill. Fewer than half of those cases end in deaths.

In 1990, police recovered 62 percent of missing kids. Now it's about 96 percent, according to Allen, the president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

It's impossible to say exactly how much of this has to do with Adam Walsh.

On Tuesday, though, Allen's group called Walsh's parents "true American heroes" who "deserve the gratitude of every person."

It's safer now. Kids are far more likely to die by drowning, choking or in a car crash than they are to be kidnapped, raped and killed. Even accidental deaths are on the decline, thanks to bike helmets and seat belts and pool fences. It just doesn't feel safer.

Moran blames John Walsh.

"He created a sense of panic that was unrealistic," Moran said, "and he inflicted it on the nation."

Said author Richard Louv, who writes about overanxious, overprotective parents: "I'm not saying there's no risk out there, and I'm not saying the fear people feel is silly. But the stats in no way match the amount of fear parents feel."

In Florida a generation ago — before Carlie Brucia was taken and killed in Sarasota, before Sarah Lunde was taken and killed in Ruskin, before Jessica Lunsford was taken and killed in Homosassa — kids built tree forts and rode bikes all day till dark and played cowboys and Indians with cap guns in orange groves.

Not anymore.

Now we scan mug shots on sheriffs' Web sites.

Now we check for area pedophiles on the national sex offender registry.

America's Most Wanted, hosted by John Walsh, is on still, and has been for two decades.

Nancy Grace is on CNN every night talking about Orlando girl Caylee Anthony, confirmed dead.

Malls offer fingerprinting and DNA swabbing. Dentists can put ID chips in kids' teeth. Parents can buy GPS-based homing devices with names like Toddler Tag to stitch into their kids' clothes.

"This is all about this little boy," John Walsh said at last week's news conference.

More than 27 years had passed since a voice came over the loudspeaker at the mall.

"Adam Walsh," the voice said.

"Please come to customer service."


December 17, 2008, The Associated Press, Walsh murder finally "solved",

A serial killer who died more than a decade ago is the person who decapitated the 6-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh in 1981, police in Florida said Tuesday.

Meghan Walsh, left, and her parents, John and Reve Walsh, attended a news conference Tuesday officially announcing Ottis Toole as the murderer of Adam Walsh in 1981.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — A serial killer who died more than a decade ago is the person who decapitated the 6-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh in 1981, police in Florida said Tuesday.

The announcement closed a case that has vexed the Walsh family for more than two decades, launched the television show about the nation's most notorious criminals and inspired changes in how authorities search for children.

"Who could take a 6-year-old and murder and decapitate him? Who?" an emotional John Walsh said at Tuesday's news conference. "We needed to know. We needed to know. And today we know. The not knowing has been a torture, but that journey's over."

Walsh's wife, Reve, at one point placed a small photo of their son on the podium.

Police named Ottis Toole, saying he was long the prime suspect and they had conclusively linked him to the killing. They declined to be specific about their evidence and did not note any DNA proof of the crime, but said an extensive review of the case file pointed only to Toole, as John Walsh long contended.

"Our agency has devoted an inordinate amount of time seeking leads to other potential perpetrators rather than emphasizing Ottis Toole as our primary suspect," said Hollywood Police Chief Chadwick Wagner, who launched a fresh review of the case after taking over the department last year. "Ottis Toole has continued to be our only real suspect."

Toole twice confessed to killing the child but later recanted. He claimed responsibility for hundreds of murders, but police determined most of the confessions were lies. Toole's niece told John Walsh her uncle confessed on his deathbed in prison that he killed Adam.

Toole, a self-described transvestite, also claimed to be a cannibal and was the lover of infamous Texas serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.

Wagner acknowledged numerous missteps in the investigation and apologized to the Walshes.

"I have no doubt," John Walsh said. "I've never had any doubt."

Ottis Toole died in prison more than a decade ago.
Many names have been mentioned in connection to the case in the years since the killing, including serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, but Toole's has persistently nagged detectives.

John Walsh has long said he believed the drifter was responsible, saying investigators found at Toole's home in Jacksonville a pair of green shorts and a sandal similar to what Adam was wearing.

Toole, 49, died in prison of cirrhosis in 1996. He was serving five life sentences for murders unrelated to Adam's death.

The Walshes, who appeared Tuesday flanked by their three children, long ago derided the investigation as botched. Still, John Walsh praised the Hollywood Police Department for closing the case.

"This is not to look back and point fingers, but it is to let it rest," he said.

Adam Walsh went missing from a Hollywood mall on July 27, 1981. Fishermen discovered his severed head in a canal 120 miles away two weeks later. The rest of his body was never found.

Authorities made a series of crucial errors, losing the bloodstained carpeting in Toole's car — preventing DNA testing — and the car.

For all that went wrong in the probe, the case contributed to massive advances in police searches for youngsters and a notable shift in the view parents and children hold of the world.

Adam's death, and his father's activism on his behalf, helped put faces on milk cartons, shopping bags and mailbox fliers, started fingerprinting programs and increased security at schools and stores. It spurred the creation of missing-persons units at every large police department.

The case also prompted national legislation to create a national database and toll-free line devoted to missing children, and led to the start of "America's Most Wanted," which brought those cases into millions of homes.

Information from the Sun-Sentinel is included in this report.

December 17, 2008, Sun Sentinel, What is purpose of Adam Walsh theater?, by Tom Jicha,

The murder of Adam Walsh was a heart-rending tragedy.

As a parent, I cannot imagine the grief his parents have to endure every day of their lives. My heart goes out to them.

That said, would somebody explain to me the purpose of the press conference Tuesday to announce the case is closed.

It isn't as if this is an ongoing investigation, like the Cayley Anthony case in Orlando.

Given the transient nature of South Florida, a goodly portion of the population, perhaps a majority, has no frame of reference to the crime more than a quarter-century ago. People might know John Walsh from America's Most Wanted without having an idea how the Fox series came about.

Ottis Toole, who has been designated the killer, is dead. So is Jeffrey Dahmer, another animal mentioned in connection with the crime. So there is no justice to be served, at least not in this world.

The only plausible explanation is that it was nothing more than a grandstand play for attention by the Hollywood police, who admittedly botched the case in the first place.

Shame on them and shame on the media who gave them the attention they sought.

December 18, 2008, Sun Sentinel, Editorial, Parents' crusade is Adam Walsh's legacy, by Gary Stein Senior Editorial Writer,

If you wanted to know the real legacy of Adam Walsh, you only had to view the tiny, cramped training room at the Hollywood police station Tuesday.

There were maybe 60 media people shoehorned into the room. More than a dozen TV cameras. Satellite trucks lined up outside the station. Reporters preparing to get their stories into cyberspace. The whole world wanted to hear about the Adam Walsh case being officially closed.

Twenty-seven years ago, the Fort Lauderdale News ran a few paragraphs about a missing Hollywood kid the morning after Adam disappeared. When I got to the Walsh home that morning, I didn't see an overwhelming throng of TV cameras, no law enforcement covering every inch of the place.

For several crucial hours, until things got hectic later, what you had were two desperate parents trying to figure out where to turn, petrified that everyone would lose interest soon.

Today, parents in a similar situation have many places to turn, thanks to John and Revi Walsh.

"We educated law enforcement," said John Walsh, and indeed, the Hollywood police have a long trail of bungling evidence in the case. "We changed the way we do business and look for missing children."

Because of the crusade of the Walsh family, you have outreach centers for missing children. You have virtually immediate coordination nationally between police agencies searching for a child. You have a national database of sex offenders. Remember: Before Adam Walsh, you had never even heard of Amber alerts or pictures on milk cartons.

John Walsh got child protection legislation passed. He met with presidents. You see him on America's Most Wanted, but years before that, he was counseling other parents of missing kids.

Just as important, the case instilled more parental awareness. If people hold their kids a little bit closer in crowded stores these days, thank the Walsh's.

The Walsh family seemed content with the case being closed, even though there was no new evidence. Just a confirmation that everything points to Ottis Toole, who has been dead for 12 years.

Only the Walshes know if this eases their pain. But they should know the work they have done for 27 years has saved countless families from similar pain.

Senior Editorial Writer Gary Stein can be reached at gstein@SunSentinel.com or 954-356-4616.

October 12, 2009, Oprah.com, John Walsh on Child Protection Legislation Video,

After the show, John Walsh , host of America's Most Wanted and the father of an abducted child, continues the discussion of child protection legislation. Plus, how police investigations have changed since his son Adam was kidnapped and murdered 28 years ago. How to support the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act

From the video: John Walsh: When Adam was taken 28 years ago, this country had a policy of waiting 24 hours before they even took the report, and they didn't enter it into the National Crime Information computer

June 3, 2010, Sun Sentinel, Lawsuit: Copies of report that played role in closing of Adam Walsh murder case destroyed or in Cuba,

All copies of an investigative report that played a key role in the Hollywood Police Department's closing of the unsolved 1981 murder of Adam Walsh have either been destroyed or relocated to Cuba, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in Broward Circuit Court, demands a copy of retired cop Joe Matthews' documents detailing his independent investigation into the case of the 6-year-old boy who was kidnapped from a Hollywood Sears and decapitated. Matthews is a confidant to John Walsh, father of Adam and host of America's Most Wanted.

Police and prosecutors cited Matthews' report as a key factor in closing the case in December 2008 and naming deceased drifter Ottis Toole as Adam's killer. However, neither agency kept Matthews' files, and a Miami Herald investigation found large holes in the case against Toole, who confessed and recanted multiple times to the murder and was never prosecuted before his death.

Thomas Julin, a first amendment attorney, filed the complaint on behalf of Willis Morgan, a witness who has told police he saw serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the Sears from which Adam Walsh was abducted on the day the child went missing. The lawsuit states that Matthews' report is public record, and names Hollywood Police Chief Chadwick Wagner, Broward State Attorney Michael Satz and Matthews as defendants.

"They made a mistake in giving that material back to'' Matthews, Julin said of police and prosecutors. "If they were going to use that to evaluate whether to close the file, it was their obligation to maintain a copy of their files and they failed to do so." Julin said both agencies have demanded that Matthews make his files available, despite not keeping their own copies of the records.

According to the complaint, Matthews spoke to Julin on May 13 and said "he had destroyed all electronic copies of the report due to the fear that [Morgan] would break into his office and steal the report, asserted that one written copy of the report remained, and claimed that he had given that copy of the report to his 'co-author' and that the co-author had taken it to Cuba."

Julin, who represented several media outlets in a successful 1996 lawsuit that led to the first release of the case files to the media, said he was skeptical that Matthews did not have access to his documents.

"It seems odd to me that someone who prepared something like that would risk its loss by giving it to someone to take to Cuba," Julin said.

Attempts to reach Matthews were unsuccessful, and the lawsuit does not name his coauthor. Wagner declined comment through a spokeswoman. Ron Ishoy, a spokesman for Satz's office, called the files a "manuscript" and wrote in an e-mail that Matthews planned to write a book.

Ishoy wrote that "all the parties in the suit continue to have discussions with Mr. Matthews regarding his manuscript. The State Attorney's Office has no authority in this matter to compel him to do anything with it."

n.d. [November 21, 2010, archive.org] Oprah.com, Justice for John Walsh,

When Oprah Show viewers are called to action, there's no limit to what they can achieve. In September 2008, Oprah asked viewers at home to contact their senators and demand that Senate Bill 1738, The PROTECT Our Children Act, be passed into law. Nearly half a million people contacted their senators, and on September 15, 2008, the bill passed. Now, Oprah and John Walsh are asking you to take more action on behalf of the nation's children.

In 1981, John's son Adam was shopping with his mother when he disappeared from a Florida department store. A nationwide hunt for the 6-year-old followed, but the ending wasn't what anyone had hoped for. Sixteen days after Adam went missing, fishermen discovered his severed head in a canal 120 miles away from the store where he was last seen. "For almost three decades, his case was one of our nation's most well-known and also heartbreaking unsolved mysteries," Oprah says. "Adam's body has never been found, and for 27 years, his case was unsolved."

After Adam's death, John became a champion for child safety and crime victims everywhere. As the host of America's Most Wanted, John has helped rescue dozens of missing children and has brought more than 1,000 criminals to justice.

John helped solve crimes for more than 20 years before the case nearest to his heart finally came to a close. In December 2008, police named convicted serial killer Ottis Toole, who had died in prison in 1996, as Adam's murderer.

Though the case wasn't officially closed until 2008, John says he always thought Toole was to blame for his son's death. "Toole's niece had called America's Most Wanted three years ago and said: 'Before [Toole] died, he confessed to me, and no one has ever talked to me. No one has ever come to see me from the Hollywood Police Department,'" he says.

After Adam's abduction, John says the police investigating the case made many mistakes, including losing evidence. "I've been so angry over the years," he says. "[The police] lost the bloody carpet from Toole's car. The FBI said, 'We would have tested that carpet in one day.'"

After remaining a cold case for 27 years, John says the new chief of the Hollywood Police Department, Chad Wagner, finally set out to make things right. "[He] said: 'I believe that this police department has made some huge mistakes, and we want to reopen the case. I want to look at it from a different perspective with fresh eyes,'" John says. "He said: 'We're going to close this case. We lost evidence. We took a defensive position. We're going to close the case and apologize to you at a national press conference.'"

John says when that day finally came, he was incredibly emotional. "The most ironic thing is that I fought so hard for justice to get closure for other people, and it isn't about closure. ... It's about justice. It's about ending that journey," he says.


The road to justice was long for John and his family, but he says he isn't bitter. "I've never been a vigilante. I've never believed in that," he says. "This chief manned up, and he said, 'We have two detectives who were trained at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that you and your wife created years ago.' And he said: 'We owe it to you. It's going to be tough. [But] I've got broad shoulders, and I'm going to do it on national television.'" Source,

Though John and his wife, Reve, never stopped fighting for Adam, their lives have changed a lot in the past 27 years. "We have a beautiful daughter who is an artist in New York, Meghan. Callahan, who just graduated from college, is a 24-year-old, beautiful boy. And we have a 14-year-old," he says. "They lived under the specter of Adam and seeing us go through the ups and down. And [wondering]: 'Boy, are Mom and Dad ever going to get justice? We never met this brother.'" Source,

Though John's story has made plenty of headlines, he says people must not forget that the real victims are the kids who go missing or get abused. "In the beginning, I was so mad. I was so angry. There was nobody to help us out," he says. "But Reve was the first one who said: 'You know, John, we've got to remember who the real victim is here. It was Adam. So let's saddle up and do something.'"

All the fighting John does is to make sure children don't die in vain, he says. "You don't want to make people paranoid or terrify them. You want to say: 'This is serious business. This happens in America. It can happen to anybody,'" he says. "You try to honor your child." Source,

One of the scariest things about Adam's case is that it happened before the Internet even existed. In today's world, there are so many more outlets for predators to find and exploit children. "I hunt these guys down for a living," John says. "They're everywhere, and they're better than anybody at it. They know the laws. They know what applies to them. ... [The Internet] is their private hunting ground."

In order to make the world a safer place for children, John says people need to take action. "Knowledge is power," John says. "People need to get busy ... you are a champion for your kids."

One thing viewers can do today, John says, is write to their senators and state representatives and demand that the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act gets funding and reauthorization by the July 2009 deadline. The act was passed on July 25, 2006—20 years after Adam's abduction—and it established a National Sex Offender Registry law. However, recent news reports reveal that most states will not be in compliance with the law by the upcoming deadline. If senators and state representatives don't comply with and fully fund the act, it will run out.

Write to your senator and state representative today!

Don't know what to write? Use our sample letter!


November 13, 2009, ABC News, Nightline, 'America's Most Wanted,' John Walsh turns personal tragedy into hunt for justice,


by Ryan Owens

1984 Texas State Rangers

Texas Rangers: Have you ever wished you hadn't killed someone?

Ottis Toole: Well I kind of feel bad about that Adam Walsh kid.

Texas Rangers: That's the only person you've ever killed that you feel bad about?

3:34 Ottis Toole: That is the youngest child I ever killed. He was only six years old.

Male Host: Knows things about the crime that only the police do

Dec. 16, 2008, ABC News, Nightline, Adam Walsh Case Closed, Introduced by Terry Moran, Reported by Jeffrey Kaufman,

John Walsh: For twenty-seven years we've been asking, 'who could take a six-year-old boy and murder and decapitate him? Who?' We needed to know. We needed to know. And, ah, today we know.

Jeffrey Kaufman: There isn't any startling new evidence, just a thorough review of police files and police mistakes, ordered by chief Chad Wagner, who took the helm of the Hollywood, FL police department a year ago.

Chief Wagner: I want you to listen carefully to this next sentence because it is very important. Through a lengthy process of exclusion over an entire investigative period of twenty-seven years, the direction of this investigation has always continued to focus on Ottis Toole as the perpetrater of this horrific crime.

Jeffrey Kaufman: There were other suspects including the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmler, who was also living in Florida at the time. But from the beginning, Ottis Toole, a convicted pedophile and serial killer had been the main suspect. He confessed and recanted several time. He died in prison in 1996.

Chief Wagner: If Ottis Toole was alive today, he would be arrested for the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh on July 27, 1981.

Jeffrey Kaufman: For John and Reve Walsh, this day, that announcement brought a sense of relief, of closure

Reve Walsh: There's no words that can tell you how I feel. Listening to the words that came off Chief Wagner's lips just penetrate my soul. This is a wonderful, wonderful day, in spite of why we're here.

John Walsh: The not knowing was almost as bad as the murder, but today is a good day; today's a wonderful day. We can end this chapter of our lives. It's not about closure. See that picture of that little boy? We'll always be the parent of that murdered boy. It's about justice, and to the other victims who haven't gotten justice, I say one thing: don't give up hope; don't give up hope.

Toole was a "a convicted pedophile"

Toole died in prison 15 years before.

1994: Walsh helped found the Center for Missing and Exploited Children

December 19, 2009, ABC News, Good Morning America,

Good Morning America

We're joined now by John and Reve Walsh. After twenty-seven years they believe they have the closure they've been waiting for: what happened---who killed their son Adam. Can you believe that you've finally gotten the word you've been waiting for twenty-seven years

John Walsh: And then, when the files were opened...Adam's murder case is the only capital unsolved murder case that the media was successful in getting the files to--twelve years ago, and reporters such as yourself all over the country said, 'Ottis Toole...it's clear.'

John Walsh: Joe Matthews, who put this together (Holds up fat binder from coffee table) 27 years of pro-bono work

Host: Confessed twice..

John Walsh: Twice...

Host: Recanted twice

Walsh: (to Host) I've worked with your brother on legislation

Host: We've spoken many times, it's a pleasure to have you here today.

wiki.question: How much does John Walsh make a year?

wiki.answers: John Walsh made $135 million from Fox in 2008.

Wikipedia: Murder of Adam Walsh

Wikipedia: America's Most Wanted

Wikipedia: Ottis Toole

n.d. [May 14, 2008, 1st web capture] TruTV, Henry Lee Lucas: Prolific Serial Killer or Prolific Liar? by Katherine Ramsland,

November 29, 2011, This Week with George Stephanoupolus, 'America's Most Wanted' Celebrates 25 Seasons, John Walsh talks about his show moving to the Lifetime Channel,

September 5, 2008, Amazon, Tears of Rage, From Grieving Father to Crusader for Justice: The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case by John Walsh, with Susan Schindehette,

The host of the America's Most Wanted, John Walsh tells for the first time the full story of the 1981 abduction and murder of his six-year-old son, Adam. This is the heartbreaking chronicle of John Walsh's transformation from grieving father to full-time activist -- and the infuriating conspiracy of events that have kept America's No. 1 crime-fighter from obtaining justice and closure for himself and his family.

From the day Adam disappeared from a mall in Hollywood, Florida, John Walsh faced a local police department better equipped to track stolen cars than missing children -- and a criminal justice system that would work against him in unimaginable ways. Outraged but determined, he ultimately enlarged the search for Adam's killer into an exhaustive battle on behalf of all missing and abused children, beginning with his efforts to put missing children's faces on milk cartons. Today, John Walsh continues the fight for legislative change and public awareness, driven by his own personal tragedy.Tears of Rage is the story of a true American hero: a man who challenged the system in the name of his son.

January 21, 2008, New York Book Times,

Book Review: Tears of Rage by John Walsh, Reviewed by S. Michael Wilson,

Don’t ask me why, but John Walsh has always rubbed me the wrong way. That’s the main reason I read this book, because if I’m going to have an opinion on somebody, I’d rather it be an informed one. And that’s really the only difference this book has had on my opinion: it has informed it.

John Walsh isn't a bad guy, and it is undeniable that both his political movements and his television shows have helped people and changed awareness and legal procedures for the better. But despite all he has done, it''s hard to actually like him.

The first fifty pages or so of the book deal with his personal background and personal history spanning from his childhood through the early years of Adam’s, and it is this completely self-indulgent section that really displays Walsh’s personality. By his own account, he is street-smart, a tough and skilled fighter, a great athlete as well as extremely bright, has never known fear or a lack of confidence, has saved lives without even thinking twice about it, and has never failed in any endeavor that he has pursued. Basically, he’s perfect. But what bleeds through this is the reality that he suffers from an oversized ego that motivates his self-centered world view. This self-centered (bordering on selfish) attitude is apparent in stories related by him in such away that you must assume that he doesn't see it himself. When Adam is born, for example, he is told by the hospital where his sick father is that he can not bring the child into the cancer ward, at the risk of infecting the floor full of patients with little or no immunity left. Knowing only that he wants his father to his grandson before he dies (which he would have anyway, as later they all go to Disney world together), he sneaks the newborn into the hospital via fire escape, regardless of the risk he puts the others in the cancer ward. Also, it is impossible that anything done by him or his wife could be wrong or ill-informed. When mentioning Adam’s natural birth without the aid of Lamaze, he makes a point of saying “I don’t even think there were those classes back then.” Being 1974, Lamaze was already a string movement, especially on the east coast where they were. Later, for their second child, he states that she started Lamaze classes then, but only in her eight month, when the fifth or sixth is when you usually begin. Nothing out of the ordinary there, right?

This self-centered egotism extends immediately to his son, whom he declares was the perfect one in the hospital. “All the other little babies, some were splotchy, others a little misshapen. Adam was the perfect little baby everyone was looking at.” Granted, every parent feels that his or her child is special, but by John Walsh’s factual depiction, it is quite possible the Adam, had he lived, would have been revealed as the Second Coming. Apparently, Adam did not share a single negative trait with the other dirty, filthy, and ill-mannered children that wander the planet. And everybody loved him and wished he were theirs, and all of their adult friends felt more comfortable talking to him than to other adults, because he was that well-mannered and mature and responsible and perfect. Blech. Some of his praise towards Adam also reveals a sort of class elitism, as he takes great pride that “Adam had sharp clothes. On the playground all of the other kids looked kind of scruffy compared to him.” It seemed important to Walsh that his son wore “not sneakers, but Top-Siders. And small Izod shirts instead of regular tee’s.” And let’s not forget about the Captain’s Hat, “…an expensive one with a black braid and a visor.” In the course of Reve Walsh’s description of the day that Adam disappeared, she makes mention of the hat at least three times, pointing out at each instance that it was “a nice one, not a cheap knock off version” like the other children wear. She even goes as far as to complain that this detail (among others) should have been used when the store attempted paging Adam.

The actual disappearance of Adam at Sears is, of course, the reason for anything, and it is also the main reason that I lose respect for John Walsh, as the one the fact that he and Reve refuse to admit, to themselves or anybody else, is that they (or, more directly, she) are just as much at fault as anybody else. The simple fact is that Adam’s mother leaves him alone in the store for a period of time that, while she is unclear about (“I was gone a few minutes. Five. Maybe ten altogether.”), can logically be clocked at a good ten or fifteen minutes by examining the list of things that she claims happened while he was from view. Also, during this time, she points out that she had made sure that he was close enough that she “could have” peeked around the corner at any time to check on him, which of course means that she didn't. Then, when she suddenly can’t find the child she had left alone in the store, she becomes frustrated and angry when her situation isn’t immediately made top priority. This may seem a bit harsh on my behalf, but anybody who works in retail can tell you that negligent parents let their children run around stores all the time, then automatically assume that it is the store’s responsibility to play babysitter and round up their strays. And this is the same attitude that Reve, understandably yet at the same time predictably and unfairly, assumes almost immediately when her initial concerns are not met with the utmost urgency. John is quick to say that this is because his wife “She had on shorts, she was a woman, and she looked nineteen years old”, but the truth is because she was acting like your typical negligent parent. They goes out of his way to imply that the store and the police were slow and unwilling to help, yet neither of them knows who called finally called the police (which would mean that the store did, and means that they certainly didn’t), and neither do they know who first informed the media during the first few hours of the search (which would mean that the police did, and again, that they didn’t). Does this make them bad parents? No, but their refusal to admit that others did take immediate steps to help them that they did not take themselves makes them stubbornly reluctant to share in blame. When they eventually dropped the lawsuit they brought against Sears, they claimed that they did so because the Sears lawyers were going to drag their names through the mud, and so they dropped the suit to protect their family as well as Adam’s Foundation. The truth hits a bit closer to home, that Sears was no more responsible than the mother who left the child unattended for up to a quarter of an hour.

Another distasteful trait of John Walsh's is his tendency to use his dead son to win arguments. It is very evident throughout the book that Walsh has a short temper and a lack of emotional control, and in fact seems almost boastful of it. And while I like a “man of action who doesn’t play nice” as much as the next person, I tend not to trust people who describe themselves as such. And while Walsh rightfully argues against the bureaucracies and politics that repeatedly impede him, his arguments always seem to be punctuated with phrases indicating that not he, but his innocent, brutally murdered son, demands that justice be served. Being the savvy advertising executive that he never tires of describing himself as, Walsh seemed to learn early on that while you can argue with a hot-headed activist, you can’t argue with a dead child.

Again, I’m not painting Walsh as a demon, as he has done much good. And I am also not implying that he is completely bull-headed. He is the first to admit that he wouldn’t have gotten a fraction of the media coverage he did if Adam were a lower-class minority child, and I agree with him completely for his criticisms of the psychics and religious fanatics that attempted to use the situation for their own advantage, as well as when he defends his wife against claims by the media the Reve didn’t act the way a grieving mother should act, as if there is a right and wrong way for individuals to handle emotions that very few of us ever (thankfully) have to contend with. And while he at times seems to bend over backwards to both slam the cops and FBI for their bungling his son’s murder investigation while at the same time praising both agencies for the good they do, it never appears phony or heavy handed. And, unlike Jon Benet’s parents, both John and Reve were quick to cooperate when the investigators turned their attention to them, knowing that the quickest way was to eliminate themselves as suspects. You see? I’m not out to get the guy. But when he talks about teaching his six year old son how to use a diving knife (yeah, that’s safe), and when he recalls the humorous story of when he left his six month pregnant wife alone in shark infested waters, I can’t help but feel a little contempt for him.

Oh yeah, a pretty good book, tends to cover all of the bases. Just beware that it isn’t an objective view of the Adam Walsh case, but rather one man’s crusade to tell his own story the way he sees it.

Reviewed by S. Michael Wilson

Posted by NY BOOK TIME at 4:29 AM

September 29, 2007, AMW Fugitive Data File For, The Unknown Adam Walsh Killer,

The Story Of Adam Walsh

In the summmer of 1981 the Walsh family was living the American dream. Adam was a happy 6 year old. John was building a successful marketing career and Reve was soon to learn that they were expecting their 2nd child.

The abduction and murder of Adam Walsh is perhaps one of the most famous child abduction cases. It is certainly one of the most frustrating. Over the years a grotesque serial killer confessed and recanted several times. But 25 years later, Adam's murder is still unsolved.

In the summer of 1981, Adam Walsh was a typical six year old boy whose life revolved around baseball and Star Wars. Adam lived with his parents, John and Reve Walsh, in a comfortable three bedroom home on McKinley Street in Hollywood, Florida, a growing city with a small town feel. In the Walsh household that summer, Reve and John had celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, and they had decided to have another baby, a brother or sister for Adam.

July 27th started like any other summer morning for the Walshes. John, a marketing director, went to work at his office in Bal Harbor. Reve planned her day over a cup of tea, while Adam watched cartoons on the family couch. Reve was heading to the gym, but needed to run a few errands before dropping Adam off with John's mother, who they all affectionately called "Gram."

Reve fed Adam a hotdog and told him to get dressed. She had laid out for him a red and white striped short-sleeved IZOD shirt, green running shorts and his sneakers. Instead of his sneakers though, Adam put on his yellow flip flops. Rushed for time, Reve let it go. Adam was also wearing his beige captain's hat. It was way too big for him, and almost covered his eyes, but he loved it. And besides, it was hot, in the 90's already. Reve and Adam got into the family car, a grey Checker cab, and took off to run errands.

After dropping off Adam's tuition check at his school, St. Mark's, Reve drove to the Sears and Roebuck store in the Hollywood mall, to see about some brass lamps they had on sale. Reve parked the Checker where she typically parked at the north side of the receiving dock. They entered the store and walked past receiving and the catalogue desk and entered the toy department. It was around 12:15pm.

There was a display of new video games at the toy department and Adam asked if he could stay there and play with the other boys. Reve said it was okay. She told Adam she would be in the lamp department -- only three aisles away. After shopping, Reve promised her son they would go into the mall and get ice cream.Adam's Last Known Moments

Only minutes after Reve left Adam in the toy department, a fight broke out between the boys over the controls of the video game. Sears personnel called for security to break up the fight. 17-year-old Kathryn Shaffer-Barrack, who had only been a security guard for a short time, responded.

Approaching the boys, Kathryn told them fighting wasn't allowed in the store. She asked two black boys if their parents were in the store and they said 'no.' She assumed the two blond, white boys -- a 10 year old and 6-year-old Adam -- were together, and asked them if their parents were in the store. The older boy answered no. Kathryn directed the black boys and the white boys to leave by separate exits of the store.

Adam didn't tell the security guard his mother was in the lamp department; he followed the older boy out of the West exit of Sears into the parking lot. John and Reve believe Adam didn't tell the security guard about his mother, because he was a timid child and mindful of authority. Knowing their son, they believe he may have been too scared to say anything.

Whatever the reason, 6-year-old Adam Walsh was now standing outside of Sears at an entrance he was unfamiliar with, quite possibly waiting for his mother to find him.

The story Toole told detectives that night is what would lead the Hollywood Police Department to announce a few days later, that they had their man.

Where Could He Be?

This is the last known photo of Adam. Taken about a week before his murder, it shows his new missing tooth.

Only five to ten minutes after Reve left her son in the toy department she returned. Adam was nowhere to be found. Reve's frantic search for her son that hot July afternoon has grown into a 25-year search for answers: Who took her son? Why did they kill him?

On July 27th 1981, John and Reve Walsh launched what is still considered today the largest manhunt for a missing child in the state of Florida. But two weeks later when Adam's severed head was discovered in an irrigation canal by two fisherman, one hundred miles away in Vero Beach, the harsh reality set in. Ronald Wright, the Broward County medical examiner ruled Adam's death a result of asphyxiation; the severing of his head was done post mortem. But Wright believes that Adam was more than likely murdered the very day he disappeared.

Mindful of the fact that Adam's remains could help catch his killer, the Walshes held a Mass of Angels for their son days later with only a symbolic casket. No burial followed. Adam's skull rests, to this day, at the Medical Examiner's office in Broward County.

On November 14, 1981, Adam would have turned seven. A few weeks later, around Thanksgiving, Reve discovered she was pregnant. Meghan Walsh was born to John and Reve on July 15, 1982. Reve told the local newspapers "there is no substitute for Adam. The new baby "will make me miss Adam more. He always wanted a sister."Finally, A Break?

Two years went by with little progress on Adam's case. Then a drifter from Jacksonville, Florida named Ottis Elwood Toole confessed to killing Adam. It was the beginning of a whole new emotional roller coaster for John and Reve Walsh.

On October 10, 1983, Toole, the crime partner and homosexual lover of infamous serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, was serving a 20-year sentence for arson at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida. He'd been in and out of the system most of his life and had known Jacksonville Detective Buddy Terry for 18 years. He told Det. Terry that he was responsible for killing a young boy in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

At the time, Henry Lucas, was on trial for the murder of a ranch owner in Williamson County, Texas. During the summer and fall of 1983, the two men confessed to committing hundreds of murders during a four-year crime spree across the US.

Hollywood Detectives quickly traveled to interview Ottis Toole. In a midnight interview, Toole told Det. Jack Hoffman and Det. Ron Hickman the lead detectives on Adam's case, that he and Lucas had abducted a young boy they saw running frantically around a Sears parking lot.

Toole implicated his partner Lucas in the abduction of the boy. Toole said he drove their 1971 white Cadillac north on the turnpike toward Jacksonville, while Lucas terrorized the child, who was sitting between them in the front seat of the car. Toole said it was Lucas who had cut off the boy's head in a wooded area they found off the turnpike. He said Lucas used a machete; Toole said he held the boy down.

Toole described the boy as being between the ages of 7-10. He said he was "pretty" looking and was dressed in dungarees, a blue shirt and sneakers. The detectives were skeptical of Toole's story. Adam was only 6 and a half and was wearing shorts and flip-flops that day. When they showed Toole a picture of Adam he did not initially think he was the same boy.

Shortly after the interview, detectives learned that Henry Lucas couldn't have been involved in Adam's abduction and murder, because at the time he'd been in a Virginia jail for car theft. When confronted with this information, Toole admitted to the detectives he had lied. He now said the he, not Lucas, had abducted and killed the boy.

The story Toole told detectives that night is what would lead the Hollywood Police Department to announce a few days later, that they had their man.

Ottis Toole's Twisted Tale

Over the years, Ottis Toole confessed and recanted time and again to the murder of Adam Walsh. To this day he is still the prime suspect.

Toole claimed to Dets. Hoffman and Hickman that he abducted and killed Adam Walsh. He said he had seen the child on the west side of Sears. He said he coaxed the boy to his car after 15 minutes of conversation in the Sears parking lot. Toole said he had promised Adam candy and toys. When he got Adam in his Cadillac, Toole locked the windows and doors, then drove 10 minutes on Hollywood Blvd to the turnpike entrance and got on heading north toward Jacksonville.

Toole said Adam was initially quiet but became restless and wanted to return to the store after they stopped at the toll booth. Toole continued driving, but Adam started yelling and Toole said he had to slap him several times because "the kid was getting on my nerves." Toole said he pulled off the turnpike at a service plaza and choked the boy to knock him out. Toole said he drove an hour looking for a place to kill the child. Toole was fearful because he felt the boy was smart and would have recognized Toole if he let him go.

Toole said he found an area where he could pull his car off the turnpike and be protected by the cover of woods. He laid Adam on the ground and using a machete, he kept under the driver's seat of the Cadillac, he chopped the boy's head off. Toole said it took 4 to 5 blows to sever the head and he had to use two hands. Toole said he buried the body and placed Adam's head first on the front floorboard and then on the rear floorboard of the Cadillac.

Toole said he threw the head in a canal a short distance from where he left Adam's body, and then returned to Jacksonville.

"Had the boy regained consciousness after Toole choked him?" investigators asked. "No," Toole said. Detectives thought it was quite reasonable to assume that Adam was probably already dead in the car, long before he and Toole even reached the woods.

Toole told detectives he took the boy because he wanted to raise him as his own son. He said he had lied about Henry Lucas' involvement to "get even with his ass." Lucas had recently admitted to murdering Toole's favorite niece, 15-year-old Becky Powell. Like Adam, Becky had been decapitated.

Detectives noted Toole's demeanor while talking about Adam. He was crying and remorseful. A much different Toole, than what other detectives had seen. In confessing other homicides Toole openly bragged about what he had done, relishing the grizzly details of mutilation, including in some cases, acts of cannibalism.

Detectives noted that Toole's description of the murder weapon and the number of times he used it to sever Adam's head was consistent with the Medical Examiner's findings. There was no mistaking that Toole knew details of Adam's murder that only the killer would know.

The Infamous White Cadillac

Detectives quickly located the 1971 Cadillac Toole had once owned. It was in a Jacksonville car lot. Initial luminal testing indicated the presence of blood on the front and rear floorboards of the car -- exactly where Toole said he had laid Adam's head. The Hollywood Police department asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab in Jacksonville to handle the evidence for them. The Cadillac was sent to the FDLE lab for processing and seven squares of carpeting were removed for further testing.

On October 21, 1983, under tight security, Toole was taken to Hollywood, Florida. He walked detectives through his steps that fateful July afternoon. Toole identified the correct Sears store where he said he had abducted Adam. He correctly identified the canal where he said he had thrown Adam's head. Toole also showed detectives a woody area in a citrus grove where he said he had severed Adam's head and then buried the rest of Adam's remains.

Short-Lived Closure

That very night at a dramatic news conference, Hollywood Police Chief Sam Martin told South Florida citizens what they'd been waiting two years to hear: The man responsible for Adam Walsh's murder had been located and he had confessed. A photo of Ottis Ellwood Toole was released to the media. John and Reve Walsh thought they were on the way to closure in the case.

John Walsh addressed the media the following day, "My heart will always be broken for the rest of my life. I miss Adam more now, than when he went missing, because the reality hadn't set in at that time." John said he prayed that the "criminal justice system will not break down and that Adam will receive justice."

But 25 years later, there is still no justice for Adam Walsh. Without physical evidence to tie Toole to the murder, the State Attorney refused to prosecute the case.

An exhaustive search of the wooded area where Toole said he had buried Adam's body turned up nothing. Then, Toole's story started to change. He began to wonder aloud to police whether he had in fact killed Adam, "because if I had killed Adam, I would be able to find his body." Toole later told police he had taken Adam's remains with him to Jacksonville and cremated him in an ice box in his mother's backyard, then discarded the charred remains at the city dump.

On January 6, 1984, three months after his first confession, Toole recanted, saying he did not kill Adam Walsh.

Evidence Lost, A Painful Mystery Remains

What may be the most bizarre twist in the Adam Walsh case occurred a few weeks later. The FDLE transferred the carpet samples and Toole's 1971 Cadillac to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Since Toole had recanted his confession, someone deemed the evidence no longer viable and the carpet samples were thrown out. The vehicle was sold to a used car lot and eventually junked for scrap.

With the loss of evidence, the opportunity to do DNA testing of the carpets to determine once and for all if Adam was ever in Toole's white Cadillac is now gone.

Ottis Toole died at Raiford Prison in September 1996, taking the truth of whether he was Adam's killer or just a false confessor to his grave. His family said he suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and AIDS and had been ailing for many years. However, Toole's death took Hollywood Police by surprise and now they had lost their opportunity to do a death bed interview.

The investigation of Adam's murder was riddled with mistakes and missed opportunities, not because of a direct maliciousness towards the family, but because like many small town police departments the Hollywood Police Department held onto their pride, wanting to handle the case their way. Many believe Hollywood PD lacked the experience to investigate a homicide, and now as it is painfully aware, they lacked the experience to even know when to ask for help.

It is a heart break for John and Reve Walsh, who will never know what really happened to Adam, why it happened, and most importantly to have his remains so that they can lay him to rest.

Information valid as of last update.

Abduction/Homicide, Hollywood, FL; Jul 27, 1981

May 19, 2011, Palm Beach Post, Father of slain Jupiter girl starts campaign to save 'America's Most Wanted, by Alexandra Seltzer, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer,

May 18, 2011, WAVY.com, Some locals want tokeep America's Most Wanted,

May 18, 2011, Worldnews.com, Campaigns start to keep 'America's Most Wanted',

May 17, 2011, kens5.com San Antonio, Campaigns start to keep 'America's Most Wanted',

AR15.Com, Campaigns start to keep 'America's Most Wanted' on air,

WVUA, Campaigns start to keep 'America's Most Wanted',

www.policeone.com, Campaigns start to keep 'America's Most Wanted' on air,

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