as host of America’s Most Wanted, John Walsh has spent his career fighting for justice for the families of murder victims, and that includes his own family. In 1981, Walsh’s 6-year-old son Adam was abducted from a Sears in Hollywood, Florida. His severed head was later found in a canal, but the rest of his body was never recovered. It took until 2008 for police to officially determine that Adam was murdered by Otis Toole, a serial killer who died in prison in 1996. The tragedy inspired Walsh to become an outspoken advocate for missing children, and he debuted America’s Most Wanted The show ran until 2012, then was revived in 2021 with Elizabeth Vargas as host.
Now, after more than 10 years away, Walsh is returning to host the revival with his son Callahan. Callahan was born in 1985, meaning he never knew Adam, but Walsh told Messenger that he certainly “grew up with that tragedy” and that it shaped his perspective on crime solving. Got help.
Walsh said of his co-host, “He has respect for the police. He has a lot of respect for law enforcement and he knows how to talk to victims.” “He knows that when victims come to me they get scared. I am the court of last resort. He knows how not to pander to them.”
Walsh and his family know firsthand what “justice” can really look like for the families of murder victims. He said, “It took 27 years to solve Adam’s case and I had to fight the police…I know people who are calling me saying we want justice. This is not a case to be closed.” “I’ll never get over Adam’s death. There’s no such thing.”
Adam is still a big part of the Walsh family. They have pictures of him “everywhere” and keep his T-ball cap as souvenirs. Callahan also has a tattoo of the brother he never knew, but Adam’s celebration goes beyond family. “We created the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after Adam was murdered,” Walsh said. “We employ about 500 people at our center in DC, and they have five branches.” Callahan works five days a week at the West Palm Beach branch along with hosting the show with his father.
If Adam had never been killed, Walsh’s entire career would have been very different, and when asked how he wished Adam would have been alive today, Walsh recalled the life he would have lived before his son was murdered. Had been.
“I was in the hotel business. I had some partners and we were building a $26 million hotel on Paradise Island. I was very successful at a young age. I was a self-made man, and I always hoped that Adam would In that business,” Walsh said. “We built three hotels. We were going to have ownership in these hotels and someday I would hope that Adam would be the guy who would step into my shoes like Callahan is now.”
Walsh added, “We think about him all the time.” “He’s inspiring. We love that little boy so much. He was a beautiful, loving little person, and the man who killed him was a horrible, low-life boy who should never have been on the streets Arrested 17 times. What did it take to keep these people in prison forever? So my main objective is to catch the bad guys.”
America’s Most Wanted Airs Mondays at 8/7c on Fox. It is available to stream Hulu,