Bringing Adam home : the abduction that changed America

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Standiford, Les
Bringing Adam home : the abduction that changed America
 This is the heartbreaking story of the 1981 abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, the son of John Walsh, the host of America’s Most Wanted (AMW) T.V. program.  According to the authors (and later the Hollywood (FL) PD), the case is now solved and closed.  Les Standiford is a well-known author and Joe Matthews is a retired detective and polygraph expert from Miami-Dade PD and is now an investigator on the AMW program.  Joe assisted the detectives early in the investigation of the murder, and was called upon by John and Reve Walsh in 2006 to conduct a complete, methodical private investigation to solve the crime once and for all. Joe was given access to all the original police files. The Walshes suspected all along that Ottis Toole, a drifter and admitted serial killer, was Adam’s murderer.  Toole had confessed to the killing several times over the years, and then recanted. But he knew things that only the killer could know.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), Toole died in prison serving other charges in 1996. He was never charged with the murder.  The book serves as an indictment of the Hollywood PD, the Broward County authorities, and of the incompetent investigation of the murder.

The most dramatic evidence is a photo taken of Toole’s Cadillac floorboard carpeting. You absolutely must see this photo, enhanced by Luminol to detect blood, to believe it. Incredibly, this (and other damning) evidence was there for the detectives to see all along.  Some passages were difficult to understand due to the coincidence that many surnames began with “H”, such as, “Hoisington made an effort to do what Hessler ordered, but by the time Hoffman and his partner Hickman had finished with Toole … “.  (There are also characters named Hart, Hughes, Haggerty, and Hardaman, I kid you not). Another confounding aspect of the book was the typographical errors. There is reference made to a Gerald Schaffer, Toole’s one-time cellmate. Schaffer’s name is misspelled twice later in the book. There is a Cast of Characters section in the back, but it is of limited usefulness. Fans of true crime will most probably like this book.

It comes with a warning, however: the subject matter is very disturbing and sometimes graphic.

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