Menu

ARCHIVE

'America's Most Wanted' Host Believes Dahmer is Not Son's Killer

The host of "America's Most Wanted" said he's seen no evidence linking his son's unsolved kidnapping and slaying to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, despite a recent report laying out a possible connection.

Theories of a Dahmer tie to the 1981 killing of John Walsh's 6-year-old son Adam date back years but resurfaced with a report in the Daily Business Review, a Miami publication.

"America's Most Wanted" issued a news release Tuesday saying its producers and investigators have long been aware of the rumors but that no credible information has emerged. Walsh believes another serial killer, Ottis Toole, killed his son.

Arthur Jay Harris, who wrote the Daily Business Review story in December, has written three true crime books — including an unpublished one on Adam's killing that he is trying to sell.

Harris says a review of the 7,000-page case file shows two men claimed to have seen a man who looked like Dahmer at the mall where Adam was abducted during a shopping trip with his mother. One of the men said he saw the Dahmer look-alike carrying a struggling boy into a blue van.

Adam's head was found 100 miles away in a Vero Beach canal.

The witnesses told police they recognized Dahmer's photo after he was arrested in Wisconsin in 1992. Dahmer lived in South Florida at the time of Adam's slaying and reportedly had access to a blue van.

"I'm not way off on this," Harris said Wednesday. "This is something that needs to be investigated."

The Hollywood Police Department, the lead agency on the case, did not immediately return a call late Wednesday afternoon. Capt. Tony Rode told The Miami Herald, "We investigated the Dahmer link and spoke with Dahmer. We don't believe he murdered Adam."

Prosecutors said they would re-examine past statements related to a possible Dahmer connection.

Toole, a drifter who was convicted of or pleaded guilty to several murders and claimed hundreds of others, told police he killed the boy with the help of a partner. But the alleged accomplice was in jail at the time and Toole was unable to correctly describe the child's hair or clothing.

Authorities made a series of crucial errors, losing the bloodstained carpeting from Toole's car — preventing DNA testing — and the car itself. Still, Toole's niece told Walsh that her uncle gave her a prison deathbed confession to the murder in September 1996.

Walsh has said he believes the confession in part because investigators found clothing similar to Adam's at Toole's Jacksonville home.

Dahmer was serving a series of life sentences after admitting to the murders of 17 young men and boys, some of whom he mutilated and cannibalized, when he was killed by another inmate at a Wisconsin prison in 1994.