In the August/September issue of AARP The Magazine, victim-turned-crimefighter John Walsh reflects on capturing the bad guys and keeping America safe.
The America’s Most Wanted host is no stranger to the heart-breaking consequences of crime – his 6-year-old son, Adam, was abducted and murdered in 1981, and it took 20 years for the killer to be identified as drifter Ottis Toole.
“It’s in our DNA not to bury our children — no matter their age,” says Walsh. "The scar cracks open at birthdays or Christmas or when you look at pictures. You try to fight back, to work, but you feel like you’ve been hit by a train — and then you function.
“When Adam’s case was finally solved, it closed that chapter completely for my wife, Revé, and me — and that’s huge. We know that Ottis Toole, a horrible serial killer and pedophile, killed our son. He died on death row awaiting execution for another crime.
“After Adam’s murder, when I was suicidal, Revé answered all these letters from people. “My child’s a runaway.” “I was molested by my stepfather.” She was the one who started the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She raised our children while I’ve been out trying to catch the Ottis Tooles. When I come home, she’s that rock."
Walsh goes on to give advice on how to keep kids safe in today’s digital society.
“I’ve always believed that one of the best ways to reduce crime is to be street-smart and proactive. Be aware.
“Talk to your kids about the Internet. We’ve got an unsolved murder of an 11-year-old boy who got on Facebook and let a creep in his house who raped and murdered him. When Rupert Murdoch owned Myspace, he bought software and got 90,000 convicted sex offenders off the site, but they’re still on other sites.”
To read the full interview, click here.