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John Walsh

John Walsh

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 27, 1981, when Adam was abducted and later found murdered. The Walshes 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 Walshes 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 (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 merged with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Walsh serves on the board of directors of the National Center. Back in 1984, Esquire magazine voted John Walsh "one of the best of the new generation"; 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 , theLos 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.

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