What’s worse for the Walshes was the horrific manner in which their son Adam’s life was taken from them.
Adam disappeared from a Hollywood mall on July 27, 1981. Two weeks later, fishermen discovered his severed head in a canal 120 miles away. The rest of his body was never found
No one would have faulted John & Reve if they had withdrawn from public life altogether. But instead of isolation, John took the proverbial bull by the horns. America’s Most Wanted, a television series hosted by John Walsh, debuted seven years after Adam’s death. The focus of the program is to bring America’s attention to the most dangerous criminals out there. Due to the exposure on AMW, more than 1,000 fugitives have been apprehended during the show's 20-year run! In addition, Walsh has been a big-time advocate in proposing major pieces of child protection legislation. As a result he has been honored by each of the past four Presidents.
While he wasn’t able to save his own child, Walsh’s program and tireless advocacy has ensured that other people’s kids would not suffer the same fate. Naturally, there is a keen ambivalence. While I have no doubt that Walsh is pleased with the results of his work, it came at an incredibly steep price.
Then on Tuesday, the Walsh family received the news that they have been awaiting for 27 ½ years.
The investigation into the 1981 murder of Adam Walsh, the 6-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" anchor John Walsh, is finally closed.
Hollywood, Fla., Police Chief Chad Wagner announced Tuesday that the department had concluded that Ottis Toole, a serial killer who died in jail in 1996, was the man who kidnapped and decapitated the young boy.
The announcement brought to a close a case that had angered the Walsh family for more than two decades, inspired the television show about the nation's most notorious criminals and triggered changes in how authorities search for missing children.
"Who could take a 6-year-old and murder and decapitate him? Who?" an emotional John Walsh said at Tuesday's news conference. "We needed to know. We needed to know. And today we know."
One of my favorite biblical passages is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 where it says ”give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. While the Walsh family is not thankful for their situation, they realized that in their circumstance they can make a positive impact in the lives of others.
And there are many, many families who can give thanks for that.