The Unsolved "Murder" of Adam Walsh
Book One: Finding the Killler
Did Jeffrey Dahmer kidnap Adam Walsh?
The cover-up behind the crime that launched "America's Most Wanted"
BOOK ONE ASKS: DID THE POLICE GET THE RIGHT KILLER OF ADAM WALSH?
WHO REALLY KILLED ADAM WALSH?
Maybe it was Ottis Toole, as police say.
But more signs seem to point to Jeffrey Dahmer.
"Had authorities fully explored Dahmer's time in South Florida,
they would have found more evidence implicating
him than Toole, The Miami Herald found."
Witnesses Say They Saw Dahmer in Mall Where Adam Walsh Disappeared
"Did Jeffrey Dahmer confess to all his crimes?
A Miami author is making the case that Dahmer
may be responsible for the Walsh slaying.
WISN 12 News dissected his argument
and has detailed the never-reported evidence
that has at least one career FBI man
calling to reopen the case against Dahmer."
February 1, 2007
"Now a fascinating new theory has surfaced:
Could one of the most famous murders of our time have been the work
of one of the most famous murderers of all time?
For the past 11 years, a true-crime author named Arthur Jay Harris
has been investigating the case on his own,
and he has uncovered a shattering revelation.
Who was working only minutes from that mall that morning?
Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer."
--ABC News Primetime
August 13, 2007
In July 1981, the mother of 6-year-old Adam took him shopping at a Sears store near their home in Hollywood, Florida, a suburb between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Mrs. Walsh said she left Adam to play the video games at the display and returned for him about ten minutes later. He was gone and she couldn't find him.
For the next two weeks, nearly the entire Hollywood Police Department, much of the community, and the Walshes searched for Adam everywhere they could think of. The family printed his most recent photograph, of him wearing a T-ball team baseball cap and shirt and holding a bat. What made him even more endearing was his big smile, revealing the absence of both his top front teeth.
Exactly two weeks later and about a hundred miles north of Hollywood, a man fishing in a drainage canal saw, floating, a child's severed head. Police suspected it was Adam Walsh, and by the next morning, a medical examiner announced the official identification.
In 1983, Ottis Toole, a drifter from upstate Jacksonville, Florida, confessed to the murder, and Hollywood Police announced it at a dramatic press conference. But then came the real work: for much of the next year police tried to link anything Toole said to actual case facts not already publicly known. They weren't able to. In 1984 police dropped Toole as an active suspect.
But in 2008, a new Hollywood Police chief held another dramatic press conference to announce, again, that Toole killed Adam. And again, the chief admitted there was no substantiation beyond his confession--no new evidence. But this time Toole was dead--he'd died in 1996, in a Florida prison for another crime, so he could no longer be prosecuted. Because of that, the chief announced that the case investigation was finally over.
But when Hollywood closed the case, its file became public record. In it, author and investigative journalist Arthur Jay Harris discovered, was much more evidence that Adam's kidnapper had been Jeffrey Dahmer, the infamous serial killer.
Dahmer had been captured in Milwaukee in 1991. Police there found in his apartment eleven severed heads--mostly of young men, though none close in age to Adam. He also admitted going to shopping malls to find victims, that he'd killed his first victim in 1978, and that he'd been in Miami when Adam was taken. However, Dahmer denied anything to do with that. A spokesman for Hollywood Police said they certainly wouldn't trust such a killer's mere denial, but after they were unable to independently prove that Dahmer had been in South Florida, they dropped it. Later, when an FBI agent confronted Dahmer in prison about Adam, he thought he'd tacitly admitted killing him. He got word to Adam's father, John Walsh, who by then was hosting a reality television crime show series called America's Most Wanted. Walsh got Hollywood to interview Dahmer, but when he directly denied it, Hollywood dropped it again.
Upon his arrest, Dahmer insisted he came clean about all his crimes, but evidence shows he did not.
It was not police but Harris who located the only document that proved Dahmer had indeed been in Miami that summer when Adam went missing. A Miami police report dated 20 days before Adam's kidnapping read that "Mr. Jeffrey Dahmer" had found the body of a homeless man in the alley behind where he worked. That was suspicious, but Dahmer never mentioned it, or his repeated physical torture and rape of his roommate in the U.S. Army, Billy Capshaw, when they were stationed in Germany. Also, German police had suspected Dahmer of a series of mutilation murders there. Dahmer denied them, but Capshaw had seen him return from weekend leaves with his clothes and skin soaked in dried blood. He also found (and threw out) a series of Dahmer's hunting knives, their blades covered with blood, and had seen M.P.s return Dahmer to their room after he'd been caught masturbating in a park in front of children.
But the main evidence that Dahmer took Adam came from the Hollywood Police's own files. There, Harris found seven witnesses who had offered tips to police as well as to John Walsh's TV show that they had seen a man in or outside the Hollywood Sears with or close to Adam. Two told police that the man was Dahmer; the rest, when Harris showed them pictures of Toole, then Dahmer, said the man they'd seen wasn't Toole--it was Dahmer. But police weren't interested in re-interviewing their own witnesses.