As an activist bearing witness to child protection laws mushrooming from Tallahassee as a result of several high profile Florida child murders, I've become quite familiar with research-based facts.
- The numbers of children under the age of 12 killed by strangers and unidentified offenders are relatively small. Moreover, some of these unidentified offenders are probably family members or acquaintances of young child victims.
That being said, If I were a journalist with my question antennae up on the "solved" Adam Walsh case, I'd review any and all information regarding house guest James Campbell, who resided at the Walsh home when the six-year-old disappeared.
Although Campbell was eventually cleared of any wrong doing...
"...Hollywood Chief Richard Witt says it's a "physical impossibility" that Campbell did it. The reason: Though no one could vouch for Campbell earlier, he was definitely in town that afternoon and for long after and couldn't have driven that far north and back in time."
"Retracing Toole's steps in the days before Adam was abducted, police found that two days before Adam went missing, Toole was penniless and without a car, and had just arrived in Jacksonville by Greyhound bus — a trip he paid for with a $72 check from the Salvation Army.
Detectives felt that with so little time and money to make it to Hollywood, it would have been almost impossible for Toole to have killed Adam. They told him so."
Call it obsession, call it whatever you will, but never forget this. Many lives have been unconstitutionally impacted by laws passed to protect children based on dated Friendly Stranger research. And the Adam Walsh case--and Mr. Walsh--played a huge part in the development of state and federal lawmaking.
And I'm not the only blogger asking questions.
From Women in Crime Ink, December 12, 2008:
"...justice has not been served and the killer of Adam Walsh has not been conclusively identified or linked to the crime. The investigation has no more evidence today than it did twenty-seven years ago and the only reason the case has been closed is because Chief Wagner wants it closed. Ending an investigation without a shred of proof is a travesty, not justice."
Am I pointing fingers? Yes. At journalists. Do your job and ask what triggered the closing of this case.
More on that tomorrow.
Be safe this New Year's Eve.
I offer the following to support my premise that something is just not right with the sudden conclusion of the Walsh case.
It's Aug. 10, 1981, and Adam is missing two weeks. Police fear the worst but hope. So do Adam's parents.
That day, Jimmy Campbell, then 25, walks into the office of Joseph Matthews, polygraph examiner. "Joe, why are they treating me so rough? I know they think I'm responsible for Adam being missing," he complains.
"I was close to Adam, closer than his father. I was his father, brother, uncle and playmate," Campbell tells Matthews. "I could play with him, and John would read to him. Adam would say, `I have two fathers, one stays at home, one works.' We're inseparable - totally. If he got scared, he would sleep with me."
That day, Campbell takes his second polygraph test. The first, three days earlier, Matthews classified inconclusive.
Campbell is asked:
Do you know who took Adam? (No.) Do you know where Adam is now? (No.) Did you conspire with anyone to cause Adam's disappearance? (No.) Are you withholding information from the police concerning Adam's disappearance? (No.) Do you suspect anyone of taking Adam? (No.) Did you take Adam? (No.)
"It is the opinion of this examiner based on Mr. Campbell's polygraph examination that he responded truthfully," Matthews concludes.
That evening, one question is resolved forever: Adam is dead. In a canal in Indian River County 125 miles north of Hollywood, two fishermen find his severed head.
Though Campbell passed the polygraph, detectives Jack Hoffman and Ron Hickman go back to him.
On Nov. 25, 1981, they tell him no one can vouch for his whereabouts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the day Adam vanished. Campbell explains it was too windy to rent boats at the Golden Strand, so he stayed in his cabana.The detectives say they think they know his motive: Reve Walsh.
Campbell, who lived with the Walshes for two years, admits he's in love with Reve and carried on a four-year affair with her. He moved out at John's request. "The day I left, we argued," Campbell says.
But Campbell says he dearly loved the boy. "My life centered around Adam. Period." A detective suggests otherwise. "I think Adam was the one that kept John and Reve's marriage strong. And Adam was the person standing between you."
Today, Campbell still lives in Hollywood and declines interviews.
Mark Smith, a detective on the case, discounts the "love-triangle" motive and says Campbell is not a suspect.
Hollywood Chief Richard Witt says it's a "physical impossibility" that Campbell did it. The reason: Though no one could vouch for Campbell earlier, he was definitely in town that afternoon and for long after and couldn't have driven that far north and back in time.
Initially, police collect the names of eight individuals who "may have seen" Adam at Sears. No one identifies him positively. One is a 10-year-old boy, whose mother reported a "suspicious incident."
On Aug. 14, 1981, Martin Segall hypnotizes the boy. The story: A white man about 6 feet tall with dark brown hair and mustache was hanging around the toy department, reading a comic book. When a little boy - presumably Adam - left Sears, the man followed and got into a blue van.
Two men "wearing stocking masks" pulled the boy inside the van and drove off.
The alleged getaway vehicle: navy-blue Ford van, tinted windows, mag wheels, chrome ladder, no spare tire on the rear.
(...)In 1995, police look briefly at a second family friend, Michael V. Monahan. He and his brother, John Jr., roomed with Campbell at the time of Adam's abduction.
The investigation comes after a reporter for the Mobile (Ala.) Press Register, Jay Grelen, creates a "furor" with a series of articles, Detective Smith notes. Three days after the abduction, Grelen reported, reports, an enraged Michael Monahan, then 20, slashed a door with a machete in a dispute about a skateboard in Oakland Park.
In a police memo, Smith says he had talked with the reporter - and Grelen raised a startling possibility: "That Monahan committed the murder of Adam Walsh as a favor for James Campbell."
On June 29, 1995, Police Chief Richard Witt writes The Miami Herald to say Monahan has been eliminated as a suspect.
From Volume II, File 17, Page 1090, report of Detectives Hickman and Hoffman:
"We're gonna step on a lot of people's toes in this investigation. And whatever it takes to solve Adam's death, we're gonna solve it."
One way or another.