8″ x 10″ Signed Oct. 15, 1998 at Borders, World Trade Center, New York, NY
A tireless advocate for victim’s rights and missing children, John Walsh has turned his passion for justice into the nation’s number-one crime-fighting show, America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back. Walsh is no stranger to violent crime; in fact, his incredibly successful career as a host of a nationally televised program, and as an advocate for victim’s rights, was a career Walsh never anticipated. In the summer of 1981, Walsh was a partner in a hotel management company in Hollywood, Florida. He was living the American dream. He and his wife, Reve, had a beautiful six-year-old son, Adam, the joy of their lives. They never thought crime could touch them. But that joy was shattered on July 27th ,1981, when Adam was abducted and later found murdered. The Walsh’s have never received the closure that America’s Most Wanted has brought the lives of so many crime victims. The prime suspect in Adam’s murder, Ottis Toole, was never charged in the Adam Walsh case; he died in prison while serving life for other crimes, taking the truth to the grave with him. The story of the Walsh family’s tragedy has been dramatized in the 1983 NBC television movie, Adam, and a 1986 sequel, Adam: His Song Continues. Following the airing of the broadcasts, a roll of missing children was featured, leading to the recovery of 65 youngsters. It wasn’t long after Adam’s death that the Walsh’s turned their grief into positive energy to help missing and exploited children. Battling bureaucratic resistance and legislative nightmares, John and Reve’s work led to the passage of the Missing Children Act of 1982 and the Missing Children’s Assistance Act of 1984. The latter Bill founded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which maintains a toll-free hotline number (1-800-THE-LOST) to report a missing child or the sighting of one. In their son’s memory, they also founded the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to legislative reform. Recently, the centers, originally located in West Palm Beach, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Orange County, California; and Rochester, New York, merged with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Walsh serves on the board of directors for the National Center. Back in 1984, Esquire Magazine voted John Walsh “one of the best of the new generations”; since then, Walsh’s endless quest for justice has been trumpeted across the pages of newspapers and magazines around the nation including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and recently, People Magazine, where Walsh was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People for 1996. And CBS portraits named him one of the 100 Americans Who Changed History. Law
Enforcement officials around the nation have also honored Walsh for his efforts. In 1988 he was named the U.S. Marshals Man of the Year, and two years later received the same honor from the FBI- the Bureau’s highest civilian award. Walsh has received hundreds of other honors, including the 1984 Father of the Year Award from the National Father’s Day Committee. Walsh is the only private citizen to receive a Special Recognition Award by a U.S. Attorney General, and he’s been honored in the Rose Garden four times by three presidents: Clinton, Bush, and Reagan (twice). Today, Walsh continues his lobbying efforts, testifying before Congress and state legislatures on crime, missing children and victims’ issues. His latest efforts include lobbying for a Constitutional Amendment for victims’ rights. He has also started a production company, Straight Shooters Productions, in partnership with America’s Most Wanted Executive Producer, Lance Heflin. In it’s first year, the company syndicated the wildly popular Manhunter in 45 countries and created the company syndicated America’s Most Wanted: Final Justice here in the United States. In 1995, Walsh executive produced the highly rated made-for TV movie If Looks Could Kill (in which he made his acting debut, portraying himself); and received his first prime-time Emmy nomination for Street Smart Kids, a labor of love he created and produced for the Fox network.