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Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

This is a profound look at one of the key (and the first) "Abduction that Changed how America deals with crimes against children

In July, 1981 in a Sears store in a Hollywood, Florida mall, six years old Adam Walsh vanishes. His frantic parents Reve and John worried about their son's safety until two weeks later when Adam's partial remains were found. In 1983, Jacksonville police arrested Otis ...
In July, 1981 in a Sears store in a Hollywood, Florida mall, six years old Adam Walsh vanishes. His frantic parents Reve and John worried about their son's safety until two weeks later when Adam's partial remains were found. In 1983, Jacksonville police arrested Otis Toole for arson and murder. He confessed and recanted his confession of killing a child. Over the years Toole continued to confess killing Adam, but also withdrew his confession though he knew details that only the killer would have known. Evidence was mishandled and vanished so he was never was charged with the little boys homicide. In 1996 Toole died in prison.

Although John and Reve became voices of advocating the rights of children and strong laws to protect the young, they never found closure with Adam's death. Finally in 2006, they hired retired Florida police officer Joe Matthews, who was on the original inquiry, to look into the cold case murder of their son over two decades earlier. Matthews analyzed Toole's confessions and other deviance. In 2008, Matthews and his team using modern technology determined who killed Adam.

This is not an easy read as John Walsh explains no one gets closure even with the case solved. Much of the true crime account faults the police for shoddy work, which can after awhile detract from the overall emotional impact of what the Walsh family emotionally went through (and still are going through) and the macabre riveting comments by Toole. This is a profound look at one of the key (and the first) "Abduction that Changed how America deals with crimes against children.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on February 9, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Still Sad after Thirty years

As the author reminded me there was a time before Adam Walsh that I had not experienced as a parent. I definitely remember being a child and being allowed to roam free as long as I was home for dinner. My oldest child was born in July, 1981, just before Adam was abducte...
As the author reminded me there was a time before Adam Walsh that I had not experienced as a parent. I definitely remember being a child and being allowed to roam free as long as I was home for dinner. My oldest child was born in July, 1981, just before Adam was abducted, and I remember vividly the national attention this case generated. I became a parent with a watchful eye, and while paranoia was not part of my mindset, we all knew the rules about 'stranger danger'. This case still draws attention today as the thirtieth anniversary of Adams abduction approaches. I learned things from this review of the case that I had not read earlier, but it was a struggle for me to finish this book. Not because of the violent content, or the horror of the crime, but for the way it was written. This book is mostly focused on the mismanagement and mishandling of evidence by the detectives in charge of the case, and it was appalling to realize that the person responsible for Adam's abduction and murder was never brought to justice. That is certainly well documented in the book, but unfortunately the writing is poor and a drudgery to get through. I needed to finish it to the end, and was glad that I did but the editors should have taken more time to help the Detective Sgt. Matthews bring this story to us. I think readers who are in law enforcement will find it interesting but as one who reads true crime, memoirs, and biographies on a regular basis it was a disappointment. Read it if you need to know what John and Reve Walsh went through to get justice for their son. Read it if you live in Florida and think police can do no wrong. Or if you know someone in law enforcement and want to see how things can really go wrong when prejudice and self righteousness rule. Otherwise remember Adam Walsh through the great work his family has done in his name, and give this book a pass.

posted by norway_girl on January 29, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2012

    Wow!

    This is an amazingly horrible story... but it was told honestly and gave insight into John Walsh's life. So sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    Have my fellings changed sence i have been reading

    Yes becuase this book descridbes or monafies that u should not be scard of anything. It makes u fell like u are strong or tough becase you ar not scard if someone is threating you.like of they are saying ha they are going to kil u or somthing like that.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Bring this book home. Everyone should get a copy.

    I am a law enforcement professional and reading this book helped me understand the emotional drama and struggle the parents of a lost child go through. It is very graphic and at times it will make you sad. This case is one that did change America. RIP Adam Walsh you will always be rememered. Because of your dad many people have been reunited with lost loved ones and many cold cases solved. You should be proud.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    Great read!

    Anyone with children will appreciate this book. A tragic story that could have happened to anyone. The work of the Walshs has helped the world to be a better place....saving the lives of many children in the work and dedication in the name of their son.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    good but repetitive

    this was a telling look into the horrific experience of the walsh family following the abduction of their six year old son adam. it will certainly make you question the credibility and motivation of law enforcement. i was appalled at what i learned and although i assume done for impact i found some of details redundant. all in all a good book.

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