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  • Writer's pictureSarah Turney

Adam Walsh

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

On July 27, 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh was abducted from the Sears at a Hollywood, Florida mall. For weeks, police searched for Adam, but he was nowhere to be found. On August 10, Adam’s head was found in a canal, more than 100 miles from where he’d last been seen. His body has never been recovered. Adam and his parents, John Walsh and Reve’ Walsh, would go on to forever change the way we treat cases of missing children, and because of Adam, countless children have been brought home.

Adam Walsh Podcast
Adam Walsh Voices for Justice Podcast


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  2. “About John Walsh.” America’s Most Wanted, accessed 14 June 2023,

  3. Almanzar, Yolanne. “27 years later, case is closed in slaying of abducted child.” The New York Times, 16 Dec. 2008,

  4. Brannigan, Martha. “No link to inmate in Walsh case.” Fort Lauderdale News, 26 Mar. 1982, %22&match=1

  5. “Case file.” City of Hollywood, Florida, Accessed 14 June 2023,

  6. Christensen, Dan and Mellowitz, Jim. “2 sketches released in search for killer.” Fort Lauderdale News, 16 Aug. 1981, terms=%22Adam%20Walsh%22&match=1

  7. Christensen, Dan and Rogers, Jim. “Police describe boy’s murderer as a psychopath.” Fort Lauderdale News, 12 Aug. 1981,

  8. Copeland, Virginia. “After grim find, search goes on for rest of body.” The Orlando Sentinel, 12 Aug. 1981, =%22Adam%20Walsh%22

  9. d’Oliveira, Stephen. “Parents ask for help in finding their son.” Fort Lauderdale News, 29 July 1981, Walsh%22&match=1

  10. d’Oliveira, Stephen. “One more Walsh lead is rejected.” Fort Lauderdale News, 25 Sept. 1981, Adam%20Walsh%22&match=1

  11. Davidson, H. “Missing children: a close look at the issue.” Children Today, 1986,,by%20police%20as%20probable%20runaways

  12. “Deathbed confession closes 1981 murder case of Adam Walsh.” The Associated Press, 16 Dec. 2008,

  13. Divoky, Diane. “Missing tot estimates exaggerated.” Lodi News-Sentinel, 18 Feb. 1986,

  14. “Filming starts on TV movie about abduction-murder of Adam Walsh.” Associated Press, 8 June 1983,

  15. Fix, Janet. “Boy seen before he vanished.” The Miami Herald, 31 July 1981,

  16. Fix, Janet. “Was missing boy, 6, seen at park?” The Miami Herald, 7 Aug. 1981,

  17. Goldstein, Avram. “$5,000 reward set for return of child.” The Miami Herald, 30 July 1981, %22&match=1

  18. Harris, Dan and Pedersen, Claire. “Adam Walsh murder: John and Reve Walsh re-live the investigation.” ABC News, 2 Mar 2011,

  19. Holland, John. “Adam Walsh case is closed after 27 years.” Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2008,

  20. “Incident No Link to Walsh Case.” The Associated Press, 15 Aug. 1981,

  21. Martz, Geoff. “Decades later, new clues in a cold case.” ABC News, 10 Aug. 2007,

  22. “Partner claims Toole admitted to killing boy.” The Associated Press, 26 Sept. 1996,,469805

  23. “Police baffled by lack of leads: Search cut for Adam’s killer.” The Orlando Sentinel, 29 Aug. 1981, %20Walsh%22&match=1

  24. “Police doubt Trip is killer.” St. Lucie News Tribune, 24 Aug. 1981,

  25. “Questions linger in Adam Walsh probe.” The Associated Press, 19 Dec. 2008,

  26. Ray, Dan. “Volunteers join search for missing boy.” The Miami Herald, 29 July 1981,

  27. Ray, Dan and Arocha, Zita. “Six-year-old was kidnaped, police believe.” The Miami Herald, 29 July 1981, Adam%20Walsh%22&match=1

  28. Ray, Dan. “Witnesses saw man in van go after Adam.” The Miami Herald, 1 Aug. 1981, 22&match=1

  29. Rogers, Susan. “‘Blue van hysteria’ shakes up crime watchers.” The Miami Herald, 18 Sept. 1981, Adam%20Walsh%22&match=1

  30. Schoettler, Jim. “Notorious case involving Jacksonville man and ‘Most Wanted’ host’s murdered son comes to official end.” The Florida Times-Union, 16 Dec. 2008,

  31. Solomon, Michelle F. “Episode one: a trip to Sears changes everything.” Local 10 News, 16 July 2018,

  32. Solomon, Michelle F. “Episode two: 2 weeks of hell.” Local 10 News, 29 July 2018,

  33. Solomon, Michelle F. “Episode three: confessions of a killer.” Local 10 News, 29 July 2018,

  34. Solomon, Michelle F. “Episode four: a mother wants justice.” Local 10 News, 30 July 2018,

  35. Sonsky, Steve. “Days pass, hope flickers for lost son.” The Miami Herald, 1 Aug. 1981, 22&match=1

  36. Strasser, Fred. “Man gone when boy vanished: Leads checked in Walsh case.” The Miami Herald, 12 Feb. 1982, terms=%22Adam%20Walsh%22

  37. Swanson, Doug J. “Pompano man implicated in Adam Walsh’s murder.” The Miami Herald, 23 Jan. 1982, 22Adam%20Walsh%22&match=1

  38. Swanson, Doug J and Fix, Janet. “Who’d do this? After months of grief, Adam’s parents have no answers.” The Indianapolis Star, 14 Mar. 1982,

  39. “The Story of Adam Walsh.” America’s Most Wanted, accessed 14 June 2023,

  40. “Theme parks on lookout for missing boy.” The Orlando Sentinel, August 4, 1981,

  41. Waxman, Olivia B. “The U.S. is still dealing with the murder of Adam Walsh.” Time Magazine, 10 Aug. 2016,


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