In 1981, John Walsh was just a hotel marketing executive, but that all changed when his wife, Reve, and son, Adam, visited the Hollywood Mall in Florida. Reve left six-year old Adam in the toy section of the Sears department store, the young boy content with pounding his fingers away on the video game systems on display. When she returned from a minutes-long shopping excursion, Adam was gone. Two weeks later, his severed head was found in a canal, the rest of his body never to be found.
Without hard evidence, several theories and suspects floated around the Hollywood, Florida police department. One probability occurred in 1991, when a serial killer was arrested in Wisconsin with 17 murders to his credit. After his picture was posted in newspapers, several people contacted the authorities claiming they had seen that man at the Hollywood Mall around the time of of Adam Walsh’s disappearance. That man was Jeffrey Dahmer. He had been working only several minutes away from the mall when Adam was taken.
FBI agent Neil Purtell interviewed Dahmer about Adam’s case, the killer denying any connection at all to the crime. “You know, Neil,” said Dahmer, “anyone who killed Adam Walsh could not live in any prison, ever.” Agent Purtell took that as an admission of guilt.
Police had one other suspect though, and that was Ottis Toole. Toole was already in prison by 1983 — for murder — when he admitted to cutting the child’s head off with a machete. He would later deny the confession on tape, but in 1991 Toole admitted to the murder once again. Detectives found blood in his vehicle, but DNA tests could not prove if it was Adam’s. Then, once again, Toole denied having killed Adam.
Witnesses at the mall that day corroborated Toole’s confession, saying they saw him at the mall, one witness saying he even saw him talking to Adam. In September of 1996, Toole’s travel companion and fellow serial killer Henry Lee Lucas — he claimed the two committed over 200 murders together — admitted to police that Toole had shown him Adam’s body. This confession, though, occurred just days after Toole had died in prison from cirrhosis.
In 2008, after 27 years, police finally closed the case of Adam Walsh, claiming they had enough evidence to pin the murder on Toole. “If Ottis Toole were alive today, he would be arrested for the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh,” Hollywood police chief Chadwick Wagner stated. “What was there was everything that was in front of our face for years. This case could have been closed years ago.”
Several weeks ago, at an event hosted by Starz, John Walsh came forward with a heartbreaking detail about his murdered child following the tragic discovery of his remains.
People don’t know this, but [police] kept Adam’s severed head in the morgue for 27 years, saying you can’t bury your child because it’s an open capital murder. We could never get Adam’s remains while the case was botched.
In 1984 — in memory of his son — John Walsh started the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, and helped start the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. America’s Most Wanted debuted in 1988, and his efforts, combined with police resources, rescued over 130,000 children while putting more than 1,000 criminals behind bars.
Now check out…
Back Off Man, These Are Peter Venkman’s Top ‘Ghostbusters’ Quotes
by Jason Tabrys
Whether you like or don’t like Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot, you have to admit that it’s going to feel weird to see Bustin’ going on without the presence of Dr. Peter Venkman. Thankfully, however, we’ll always have the first two films (back off, man, I’m classifying Ghostbusters 2 as a good thing) to remind us of Murray’s dominance in what may be his greatest role. So, with that in mind, here are Peter Venkman’s best quotes from the first film.
“I don’t know. I don’t know.”
As Ray freaks out about the gang’s dimming career prospects in light of getting canned from the university, Pete has a crazy, “let’s join the circus” kinda look on his face that is only enhanced when he takes slugs off of a bottle of bad idea juice. Where’s the money coming from? He doesn’t know, but he has faith in a robust return on the adventure they’re about to throw themselves into.