For many years, America’s Most Wanted has been a staple on television, identifying the most wanted men in America and asking for the people’s help to catch them. John Walsh has hosted this program and used it to become a staple for justice, since his television career began in the worst way possible.
When his son, Adam Walsh, was kidnapped and killed in a case that began over 25 years ago, Walsh struck back by targeting all the fugitives out there who thought they could get away with their unsolved crimes. But the unsolved crime that started it all for Walsh may finally be closed today.
The murder and kidnapping of Adam Walsh has been unsolved since 1981. But Hollywood police are finally prepared to close the case and announce that Adam’s killer was Ottis Toole, who has long been believed to be the killer.
On July 27, 1981, Adam Walsh was abducted. Two weeks later, his severed head was found near Vero Beach. This set off one of the country’s biggest manhunts, and put John Walsh into the spotlight for the first time.
John Walsh and his wife Reve became national icons, and the symbols of a growing epidemic of missing children. Over the years, the Walshs founded charities and resource centers to help families find their missing kids.
John Walsh, in particular, became the driving force for political change on the issue of child protection. Having earned honors from the last four presidents, and having become the third honorary U.S. Marshal in history, Walsh most famously used his celebrity to create and host America’s Most Wanted on the FOX network.
For the last two decades, Walsh and America’s Most Wanted have helped track down and catch over 1,000 wanted fugitives. But the search to find the true killer of Adam Walsh has hit several roadblocks.
Ottis Toole was a drifter who confessed to the murder and abduction in 1983. However, elements of his story kept changing, and without the DNA testing that we have today, Toole could not be proven to be the killer. Evidence also disappeared over the years, and the case continued to be labeled as unsolved.
Toole died in prison in 1996, when he reportedly made a deathbed confession of the Adam Walsh murder to his sister. Walsh announced in 2001 that he believed Toole was the killer, though nothing could still be proven.
However, that is expected to change today, as Hollywood police are ready to close the case, and speculation is that Toole will officially be declared the killer. John and Reve will be present at the announcement this afternoon.
Though closure may finally come to the Adam Walsh case today, John Walsh’s mission of justice and child protection that was formed after his son’s death will certainly remain alive.
Miami Herald- “Hollywood police to close Adam Walsh murder case” www.miamiherald.com/416/story/814837.html
AMV.com- “About John Walsh” www.amw.com/about_amw/john_walsh.cfm