Startling new evidence is mounting in a nearly 30-year-old case that may now link one of America’s most infamous murderers to a high-profile, innocent, young victim.
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer – who tortured and murdered 17 men and boys, most of them in Milwaukee, between 1987 and 1991 – could have had some alarming ties to the 1981 kidnapping and killing of 6-year-old Adam Walsh, son of America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh, according to a investigation by the Miami Herald.
Recent findings have uncovered witnesses who claim to have seen Dahmer with Adam on July 27, 1981, at the Hollywood, Fla., mall where the boy was abducted. At the time, Dahmer, recently discharged from the Army, was living in Miami Beach, some 20 miles away. One witness says that on that fateful day he saw Dahmer force a crying boy into the back of a blue van. Still others say Dahmer had access to a blue van fitting an early description of the getaway vehicle.
FROM 1996: In His Murdered Son’s Memory, John Walsh Fights on for Children
On Aug. 10, 1981, Adam’s severed head was found approximately 120 miles north of the mall in a canal in Vero Beach. The rest of his remains were never recovered.
When detectives questioned Dahmer about the boy’s murder, his response was a terse, “Nothing to do with it,” and officials took him at his word, the Herald reports.
Not long after his son’s death, a grieving John Walsh helped to create legislation that led to the Missing Children Act of 1982 and the Missing Children’s Assistance Act of 1984.
In December 2008, police named Ottis Toole, who had died of liver failure in prison in 1996, as Adam’s killer. On his deathbed Toole had reportedly confessed to his niece that he had killed and decapitated Adam Walsh.
However, Toole had claimed credit for the boy’s murder more than once before, only to recant each time. As was also discovered, over the years Toole had implicated himself in more than 200 other homicides, yet evidence would later reveal that he did not commit most of them.
In 1991, Dahmer was arrested on charges involving decapitation, necrophilia and cannibalism. He confessed to the murders of the 11 victims whose severed heads were found in his Milwaukee apartment and later to six others that could have dated back as far as 1978. Dahmer, 34, was killed in prison in 1994.
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