Friday, December 19, 2008

Hero Of The Week: John Walsh

The news on the murder case of Adam Walsh was both wonderful and tragic.

One of America's most notorious child murder cases was finally solved after a 27-year saga that led to the dead boy's father becoming the nation's leading anti-crime crusader.

John Walsh, host of the television show America's Most Wanted, wept as police in Florida announced that his six-year-old son Adam was killed by Ottis Toole, a cannibalistic drifter who died of liver failure in 1996 while serving life sentences for seven other murders.

Since the boy's disappearance during a shopping trip with his mother, RevĂ©, in 1981, and the discovery two weeks later of his severed head, Mr. Walsh and his wife have been high-profile advocates for victims' rights. They founded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), launched a “Code Adam” program for helping children lost in department stores and helped to get the faces of thousands of missing children onto milk cartons and shopping bags. Their activism led to the creation of child fingerprinting programs, new safety codes for schools and the creation of missing persons units at every major police department in the country. In 2006 they watched President Bush sign the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act into law, which instituted tougher penalties for crimes against children and established a national database of child predators.

Through America's Most Wanted, launched in 1988, Mr. Walsh has helped to reunite many missing children with their families and prompting the capture of more than 1,000 fugitives.
We often hear about turning tragedy into triumph. If anyone exemplifies that, it's John Walsh. He is my Hero of the Week.

1 comment:

michael sean morris said...

Unfortunately, the only evidence that Toole was the murderer was his own deathbed confession - the same confession he'd made and then recanted twice before.

I greatly admire Walsh and his work on behalf of missing kids, but that's the only evidence that even links the killer to the case. Toole was unable, for instance, to lead authorities to the place where Adam Walsh's body was buried.

One theory blames Jeffrey Dahmer for the murder, as he was living in Hollywood, Florida, at the time, drove a grey van like the one witnesses saw, and was known to shop at the Sear's from which Adam Walsh disappeared.

Still, if the Walsh family can get its closure this way, why not?