John Walsh, the host of America’s Most Wanted, turned his son’s slaying into a manhunting career going after some of the worst criminals terrorizing the country. So should it come as comfort or disgust in knowing that the investigation into Adam’s death has touched on none other than gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer?
In December 2008, Chief Chadwick Wagner called a press conference to say deceased drifter Ottis Toole — long suspected but never prosecuted — killed Adam. Adam’s parents believed it and Broward prosecutors said Toole was the only valid suspect. Case closed. But had authorities fully explored Dahmer’s time in South Florida, they would have found more evidence implicating him than Toole, The Miami Herald found.
The evidence includes two additional witnesses who said they saw him at the mall with Adam that day, another who placed Dahmer at the scene of an eerily similar abduction attempt two weeks earlier, and people who said he had access to a van fitting an early description of the getaway vehicle. The 29-year-old murder remains among the most vexing unsolved crimes in America, and no one can say with certainty that Dahmer — or any of the other myriad suspects to drift through the case — snatched the child.
Yet by focusing so heavily on Toole despite layers of contradictions in his long twisted tale, Hollywood police may well have missed leads pointing to Dahmer, according to fresh interviews and a review of thousands of documents.
Did police drop the ball?
Others say they contacted police in the days after Adam’s abduction without reply. They include Jennie Warren, interviewed by state attorney’s investigator Phil Mundy in 1996 after a media lawsuit prompted the release of the case file. She was dismissed after she said she didn’t see Toole, she said. Warren told The Miami Herald she saw Adam with his mother Reve that day. She also noticed a man at the video games wearing beige khakis “like army fatigues.” He stood next to Adam and stared at the screen. Warren says she could have picked out the man in fatigues had the investigator placed his picture in the lineup with Toole. “I wish my mind could take a picture, because it would be him: Dahmer.”
[…] But all four Dahmer witnesses say they contacted police in 1981, though police — who admitted to shoddy record keeping in the initial weeks of the investigation — have no record of their tips. Also, Warren wasn’t shown Dahmer’s picture in a lineup in 1996 and Santamassino was never contacted by authorities.
And though police and the Walsh family say authorities thoroughly investigated Dahmer even after that interview over muffins, documents suggest otherwise.
More disturbing details at the Miami Herald.