Adam Walsh’s 1981 child abduction/murder case that spawned America’s Most Wanted, a database for missing children, books, a made-for-TV movie and police department changes has finally been solved.
Adam Walsh was taken from a Sears department store in Hollywood, Florida in 1981 while shopping with his mother. Two weeks later his head was found in a canal. The rest of his remains were never recovered.John Walsh, Adam’s father, was so enraged by the police mishandling of the case and the lack of coherent policies on handling missing children’s cases that he went on to start the popular television show America’s Most Wanted — a show that has led to the arrest of 1,049 fugitives to date.Serial killer Ottis Toole confessed to the killing twice while in prison for seemingly unrelated murders, but later recanted. Police were stymied by a severe mishandling of evidence — including losing not only blood-stained carpet found in Toole’s car, but the car itself — and the fact that Toole also confessed to hundreds of murders for which he was not responsible.”So many mistakes were made,” John Walsh said in 1997. “It was shocking, inexcusable and heartbreaking.”Now Walsh says, “From all of the evidence presented to us, we agree with the conclusion shared by the key investigators that it is clear and irrefutable that Ottis Toole was the abductor and killer of our son, Adam.””For 27 years we’ve been asking who could take a six-year-old boy and murder him and decapitate him? Who? We needed to know. And today we know. The not knowing has been a torture but that journey is over.”In 1983, the true story, made-for-TV movie Adam brought an awareness of child abduction to the forefront of the minds of American parents. John and Reve Walsh began a national database for missing children, lobbied congress for new laws and were partially responsible for putting the faces of missing kids on milk cartons.Toole died in prison in 1996.