Adam Walsh Biography

Adam Walsh

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Six-year old Adam Walsh disappeared from a Sears department store on July 27, 1981, and entered into the realm of television and media history. His disappearance prompted his father, John Walsh, to become one of the most famous victim advocates in the country as host of the television show "America's Most Wanted." The show was responsible for the capture of over 500 fugitives to date.

Adam Walsh was born on November 14, 1974. In July of 1981, his mother left him briefly in the toy department at Sears, where he was playing video games. When she came back moments later, he was gone. Adam's head was found two weeks later, floating in a canal in Vero Beach, Florida. A drifter, Ottis Toole, later became the main suspect in the murder but was never charged. He was incarcerated for other crimes and died in prison in 1996.

The crime caused John Walsh to lose his job and almost his home and marriage. But he found a new calling as an advocate for missing children and other victims of crime. He fought hard for the passage of the federal Missing Children's Assistance Act in 1984 and helped to found the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Two television movies, Adam and Adam: His Song Continues, were aired about the case. Then, in 1988, "America's Most Wanted" premiered with John Walsh as the host. It became America's longest running true crime show.