Statement From John & Revé Walsh:
It has been more than 27 years since our son Adam was abducted from a Hollywood, Fla. mall, then murdered. The situation that we have endured since then is beyond a parent's worst nightmare.
Despite an ongoing, 27-year investigation, our son's murder case has remained open -- until now.
Although Adam's killer never served one day in prison for destroying our son's life and almost ruining ours, nor will he ever because he died in prison serving time for an unrelated murder, we are satisfied that the main suspect in Adam's murder –- Ottis Toole -- has now been positively identified and that this chapter in our lives is now closed.
There are two agencies we would like to thank for never giving up: the Broward County State Attorney's office; in particular, assistant State Attorney Chuck Morton, and the Hollywood Police Department; and specifically, the courage of Chief Chad Wagner for moving this case to its conclusion.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to two men who worked with us all these years pro bono to get justice for Adam and give us some answers: Kelly Hancock, former Broward County State Attorney Prosecutor and now prominent private attorney with the law firm of Krupnick, Campbell, Malone, Buser, Slama, Hancock, Liberman and McKelly.
From the beginning, Kelly Hancock worked within the Criminal Justice System to make sure that Adam’s case did not fall through the cracks and to ensure that there was a resolution for Adam and our family.
Secondly, former Miami Beach Police Homicide Detective Joe Matthews, who worked this case tirelessly for 27 years and developed so much of the crucial evidence to close this case.
From all of the evidence presented to us, we agree with the conclusion shared by the key investigators that it is clear and irrefutable that Ottis Toole was the abductor and killer of our son, Adam.
We can now move forward knowing positively who killed our beautiful little boy. We, along with our children, Meghan, Callahan and Hayden, pray for the thousands of parents of murdered and still-missing children. We continue to fight for their safety, and to make sure that no child -- especially Adam -- died in vain.
John & Revé Walsh
»AMW Case File: Ottis Toole
"Our continuing investigation during the past 12 years has only recommitted our focus upon Ottis Toole."
Statement From Hollywood, Fla. Police Chief Chadwick E. Wagner
Good afternoon everyone, I am here today to discuss and bring some closure to the Adam Walsh abduction and homicide investigation that began over 27 years ago.
Approximately 12 years have lapsed since the Adam Walsh files were disclosed for inspection. Although I did not necessarily agree with the Court decision to disclose the investigative files, our Agency has continued to investigate leads and interview potential witnesses during the years since.
This Police Department has spared no expense during this period, including sending Detectives to destinations throughout the country, in the furtherance of any new information regarding the abduction and death of Adam Walsh.
Since my appointment to Police Chief nearly one year ago, I have approved dispatching our Detectives to location(s) outside of Florida to conduct interviews.
Our continuing investigation during the past 12 years has only recommitted our focus upon Ottis Toole.
Through a lengthy process of exclusion over the entire investigative period of 27 years, the direction of this investigation has always continued to focus upon Ottis Toole as the perpetrator of this horrific crime.
During my tenure with the Hollywood Police Department, I have served as a homicide investigator among other investigative assignments.
Prior to this year, I never actually had the opportunity to review the entire Adam Walsh investigation. I did observe the investigation handled by others in the Department and admittedly realized, even years ago, that this investigation had flaws. This fact was confirmed when I recently had the opportunity to digest the entire investigative file. Nevertheless, in the first few months into my appointment as Police Chief, I committed as a priority to resolve and conclude this investigation. I believe the Walshes are entitled to this level of commitment.
As I referenced earlier, I made it my priority upon my selection as Chief of Police to review the investigative direction of the Adam Walsh case and contact John and Revé Walsh personally.
My reason for contacting them directly was twofold; to indicate my intention of reviewing the direction of this investigation and to apologize for investigative mistakes that transpired during the early years of this investigation. Although I was not a member of the Hollywood Police Department when this tragedy occurred in 1981, I am nevertheless a parent who can only imagine the pain the Walshes have endured through the years without the satisfaction of closure in this investigation. It is inherently my responsibility on behalf of this Police Agency to express remorse to the Walshes and indicate to them the emphasis we have placed on this continuing investigation regardless of the initial investigative difficulties.
Having analyzed and reviewed the Adam Walsh investigative file several times during the last year, I had the opportunity to meet retired Miami Beach Homicide Detective Joe Matthews, who has been involved in this case since the inception, and who had conducted an independent review and investigation of this case.
Consistent with the opinions of investigators past and present, I agreed with the ultimate conclusion of this independent investigation, that Ottis Toole was the perpetrator of this crime. With the acknowledgment that our investigation placed Ottis Toole in Hollywood, Florida at or near the time of Adam’s abduction along with the multiple confessions countered by several subsequent recantations, our Agency has devoted an inordinate amount of time seeking leads to other potential perpetrators rather than emphasizing Ottis Toole as our primary suspect.
One common denominator remains following an additional 12 years of investigating leads and interviewing potential witnesses after the court ordered disclosure of the investigative files; that the pedophile and convicted murderer, Ottis Toole has continued to be our only real suspect.
As we know, Ottis Toole is deceased and formal, legal action is not possible, nor is it something that the Walsh family is seeking. However, in the interest of justice, the Hollywood Police Department is announcing today that it is our determination and conclusion that Ottis Toole was the abductor and murderer of Adam Walsh. This conclusion is one that is based on a vast amount of circumstantial evidence.
Therefore, it is my decision, as Chief of the City of Hollywood Police Department, in consult with investigators, past and present, to exceptionally clear this investigation with the conclusion that if Ottis Toole was alive today, he would be arrested for the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh on July 27, 1981.
This decision is predicated upon thorough discussions with the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, as well as the Walsh family. I sincerely hope that John and Revé Walsh realize some closure with this decision.