Six-year-old Adam John Walsh was abducted from a Sears department store at the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida, on JULY 27th, 1981. His severed head was found by two fishermen in a canal at Vero Beach, Florida, on August 10th.
The rest of Adam’s body was never recovered and the coroner ruled that the cause of Adam’s death was asphyxiation, with the decapitation occurring post-mortem, possibly to hinder identification or conceal the cause of his death.
Adam’s murder drew national publicity and spawned a 1983 television film Adam, watched by 38 million people. Adam’s father, John Walsh, became a popular spokesperson and advocate for victims of violent crimes and later the host of the television program America’s Most Wanted.
Convicted serial killer Ottis Toole, sometime partner and accomplice of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, confessed to the murder but was never convicted due to loss of evidence, and a recanted confession. Toole died of liver failure on September 15th, 1996. Although no new evidence has come forth, on December 16th 2008, police announced that the Walsh case was now closed as they were satisfied that Toole was the murderer.