John Walsh Started 'America’s Most Wanted' while Trying to Solve a Tragic Case for His Own Family
John's six-year-old son, Adam, disappeared from a well-known department store in Hollywood, Florida, when he was shopping with his mother.
The host of "America’s Most Wanted" for over 25 seasons started his one-man crusade to make sense of his own pain.
As the FBI credits him, John Walsh has helped them arrest 17 of the most famous criminals on the list of the 10 most wanted and thanks to his show he has managed to put behind bars more than 1000 criminals.
On July 27, 1981, Adam Walsh was abducted from a Florida shopping mall and brutally murdered.— NCMEC (@MissingKids) July 27, 2019
Today, July 27, 2019, we honor his legacy and his memory. Follow along as Adam’s father, @john_walsh shares Adam’s story in his own words. 💛 pic.twitter.com/5Zs3r5Eukx
In July 1981, his son Adam disappeared while visiting a mall with his mother, and due to a series of inconsistencies, bad practices, and misunderstandings, the culprit was never found.
THEIR SON WAS TAKEN FROM THEM
Sixteen days later, when John and his wife begged on television for their little son to be returned to then, a human head was found in a navigation channel 130 miles from the place where Adam was last seen.
Forensic reports would confirm that it belonged to little Adam, and a couple of days after his funeral, John would begin his pilgrimage to update the laws and procedures in case of disappearances of children and make it more efficient.
I went on to testify on Capitol Hill to get legislation passed to help other families and other victims. After that, I began hosting “America’s Most Wanted” and catching real criminals.— NCMEC (@MissingKids) July 27, 2019
Today, my son @CallahanWalsh and continue that mission on “In Pursuit with John Walsh” pic.twitter.com/T3PCCZEhjz
A LIFE WITH A LEGACY
At that time there was no national registry of missing children, there were for cars, even jewelry but not children. Thus, Walsh dedicated himself to lobbying and getting the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) created, starting the known campaign where the faces of missing children were published next to the milk cartons.
In 1984, the Missing Children's Assistance Act, the Adam Walsh Child Protection, and Safety Act on July 25, 2006, and The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016 were signed, providing funds to continue with the 2006 programs.
It all came about because of Adam, because of our love and respect for the kind of person he was and how many other people loved him.— NCMEC (@MissingKids) July 27, 2019
He was the motivation to make something positive out of this tragedy. To make sure he wouldn’t just be another murdered child, another statistic pic.twitter.com/4GQBRKJ5Lw
The Adam Code was also created, a guide to deal with the cases of missing children in department stores which bears his name to honor him. A legacy that has allowed the tragedy of Adam's death to impact positively the lives of thousands of people.
In addition, John and his wife have dedicated their lives to giving support to get these terrible people who have done untold damage to the people they have kidnapped and their families. They see it as his life mission.
Out of our pain, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) was created in 1984, after President Ronald Reagan signed the “Missing Children’s Assistance Act. We want to make sure Adam didn’t die in vain. https://t.co/lZnNnVvag3 pic.twitter.com/FS2NZ1as6H— NCMEC (@MissingKids) July 27, 2019
Although in fact, it has taken time to share with his other three children, born after Adam's death, however, they understand that he will never cease to be the father of a murdered child, and every time he meets another case he returns to relive his own pain.
Some people handle the pain in a way, John decided to make sense of his personal hell by becoming a seeker of these criminals who upset lives and terrorize society.
Case of Blackwell murder suspect on U.S. Marshals '15 Most Wanted' list to be shown on 'In Pursuit with John Walsh' on ID tonight: https://t.co/O9yDgvh32P via @kfor @johnwalsh @callahanwalsh #TeamInPursuit— Investigation Discovery (@DiscoveryID) January 16, 2019
There was a terrible time in the ‘80 with the kidnapping of children, something that changed everyone's way of life. And John does what he can to make a difference and make this world a better place.
In 2008, they were finally able to close Adam's case by concluding that Ottis Toole was responsible for the kidnapping and death of the child, as he had confessed to his nephew on his deathbed in prison. Knowing what happened that day is a way to close the case and move on for the Walsh.
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