Why? Two unforgettable names, Adam Walsh and Jeffrey Dahmer, one tragic case: The author's goal is justice for little Adam Walsh. A wall of evidence points to America's most notorious serial killer and pedophile Jeffrey Dahmer murdering and decapitating Adam. Accordingly, the author wants the Hollywood Police Department (HPD) to reopen the case and close it correctly. This will finally bring proper closure for the Walsh family, which includes Adam's father, John, who channeled his rage by becoming the crime-fighting host of the popular TV show America's Most Wanted.
Who? The author describes how he encountered Dahmer at length near the time and place little Adam was abducted. This book has consumed well over three decades of the author's life, with at least one decade investigating and writing this book. He has appeared on many TV shows and in numerous print publications as a witness. In 2010 he filed a lawsuit against the HPD, State Attorney's Office, and one of the detectives involved in the Adam Walsh case.
What? As much as this book is a case for Dahmer being Adam’s murderer, it is equally a study of how the HPD conducted the homicide investigation, becoming the greatest ally and defender of America’s most notorious serial killer. "I have a problem with facts that don’t fit, with witnesses not called or used, with bungled investigations, and with cover-ups after the fact," the author writes. The author presents many, many witnesses who know they saw Dahmer. Packed with charts, diagrams, photos, and letters, this is the most extensive collection of records to date of the Adam Walsh case.
CHAPTER ONE: ENCOUNTER IN RADIO SHACK
After we see photos of the then-idyllic Hollywood Mall, the author describes how he encountered Jeffrey Dahmer, America's most notorious serial killer and pedophile, near the time and place little Adam Walsh was abducted and murdered. The author rebuffs Dahmer.
CHAPTER TWO: The Green Machine
Dahmer flunks out at Ohio State University, Columba, and his father says he can get a job or join the Armed Forces. Dahmer arrives at Fort McClellan, AL, where he trains to be a military police officer. After reprimands for drunkenness and lack of ambition, he ends up in Germany. There, he drugs, assaults, and terrorizes a fellow soldier. Police never connect the several violent unsolved murders nearby to Dahmer.
CHAPTER THREE: Living with Jeff
Dahmer drugs, rapes, molests, and beats another soldier, his roommate. It's so bad, the roommate schemes to kill Dahmer during a drunken stupor—but can't bring himself to do it. More gruesome murders are never connected to Dahmer, though witnesses give descriptions that look just like him. The military punishes Dahmer for disobeying orders and alcohol abuse, and he leaves Germany. He goes to South Carolina and later isn't honest with investigators regarding his Army time, not even mentioning the roommate.
CHAPTER FOUR: Jeff Goes to Work
In Miami Beach, FL, Dahmer starts work at Sunshine Subs. He works intermittently; the store's owner says Dahmer doesn't show up or is sent home because he's dirty and disheveled during times that leave him free for several attempted abductions of area children—and Adam's abduction. Speaking to the co-owner of Sunshine Subs and another restaurant, the author learns all employees had access to the restaurants' delivery vehicles, which included a blue Dodge van. Of course, witnesses say Adam Walsh was abducted by a man driving a blue van. The author provides a realistic theory of how the murder happened that is consistent with the many eyewitness accounts. Several incidents occur in which children are approached by a man in a blue van and a man resembling Dahmer. The author then briefly reviews the FBI and Hollywood Police Department's extensive evidence.
CHAPTER FIVE: Manic Mondays
An incident very similar to the Adam Walsh abduction but with a ten-year-old boy occurs in a Sears toy department of another mall. Despite witnesses' composites and descriptions matching those from Adam's abduction at Hollywood Mall, the police say there is no connection. The person blamed for Adam's murder, Ottis Toole, is on record as being nowhere near Florida. The ten-year-old boy later is sure Dahmer was trying to grab him. His mother is equally sure Toole isn't the man. The Hollywood Police Department (HPD) is documented as concentrating so many of its actions on convicting the Walsh family's houseguest that even important evidence taken during this time is dismissed. The search is then scaled back.
CHAPTER SIX: Ottis Toole
Murderer Ottis Toole confesses to killing Adam. With receding, dark hair and crooked teeth, Toole looks nothing like the Dahmer the other witnesses describe. He drives a white Cadillac, not the blue van a witness saw Adam thrown into or that followed area children. Toole has a reputation for serial confessions later proven false—all so he can get trips out of jail or for niceties prisoners aren't allowed. When he talks to investigators, he's on antipsychotics to reduce delusions and false perceptions. Accordingly, evidence shows his confessions don't match the evidence of the Walsh murder case—until police help him. When Greyhound bus schedules show Toole couldn't have gotten to Hollywood in time to murder Adam, Toole recants his confession—but the police refuse to accept it. After being left alone for twelve minutes with a detective, Toole then recants his recantation. Police interview Toole’s partner in crime, who says Toole would not kill a child, never mind decapitate him. Besides, Toole never actually did anything by himself. Eventually, Toole is diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, and his death sentence is commuted to life in prison. Due to a lack of direct evidence, police must back off, but after Toole dies, they posthumously charge him again and close the case, convicting a dead man without a legal trial through what is known as “exceptional clearance.”
CHAPTER SEVEN: Jeffrey Dahmer
Seeing Dahmer's photo on the news, the author realizes this is the guy with whom he had lengthy exchanges. The author goes to police and is interviewed after three months. Police tell the author that another witness's composite, which we see, looks nothing like Dahmer. And of course, the resemblance is obvious.
Officers claim the case file consists of just over ten thousand pages. Suddenly, it drops to just over seven thousand. The officers admit the Ottis Toole evidence is entirely lost. A police detective interviews Dahmer and believes the untreatable sociopath when he says he didn't kill Adam, though Dahmer's own father says he never believed anything his son said. The FBI says Toole didn't do it and Dahmer might have, but newspapers print articles clearing Dahmer. We read excerpts of the HPD's interview with Dahmer, which is bungled and riddled with inconsistencies. A well-known crime writer postulates Dahmer was angry at the author's rejection and kidnapped Adam as a substitute. The police dismiss Dahmer as a suspect.
CHAPTER EIGHT: America's Favorite Nonfictional Cannibal
In what readers may find highly disturbing, the author reviews evidence regarding Dahmer's life and the deaths he causes in Milwaukee. One victim escapes and alerts police, who enter Dahmer's apartment and find Polaroids of corpses in various stages of dismemberment and mutilation, a head in the refrigerator, and preserved body parts. Dahmer has been drilling holes in victims' skulls while alive and attempting to create zombies. The author also uncovers Dahmer's thorough pattern of lying to police, though he does admit to some crimes, making him appear open and honest. German investigators decide he didn't commit their unsolved cases, figuring that, if he admits some murders in America, why wouldn't he admit killing their victims?
An FBI agent interviews Dahmer about the Adam Walsh case after his Wisconsin convictions and claims Dahmer tacitly admitted killing Adam. Dahmer then refuses a polygraph test. The author finally provides thorough evidence the Milwaukee police department was guilty of gross negligence in handling the Dahmer case. Dahmer is sent to prison and dies when a fellow inmate beats him beyond recognition with a metal bar before smashing Dahmer’s head against the floor and wall.
CHAPTER NINE: The First Lawsuit and a Call from Art Harris
Fourteen years after Adam's death, newspapers including the Miami Herald sue the HPD, asking the court to issue an order to allow them immediate access to case files. To keep files sealed, police say they're investigating a new suspect, though they won't say who or provide evidence. The judge allows the files to stay confidential so the police can follow up on their leads, despite attorney protestations that it's ludicrous that, after fourteen years, police would suddenly arrest a suspect if only they were given another week or two. A press examination of the case might produce new leads. Finally, the judge orders the case file opened, and a Miami Herald columnist says, "The only mystery left unsolved was how any cop, without supporting evidence, could have believed Ottis Toole.”
Adam's father, John, channels his rage by becoming the crime-fighting host of the popular TV show America's Most Wanted. The release of these files enables the author to expose the HPD for its blatant lies.
True crime writer Art Harris calls the author and provides evidence debunking each reason the police dismissed the case—evidence that directly implicates Dahmer.
CHAPTER TEN: The Meter Room
When Dahmer was working for Sunshine Subs, one day, he told his boss he's been stepping over a dead body, covered in ants, for three days out by the Dumpster, though this is a lie, considering someone would've soon found the body in the well-trafficked alley. One of the victim's shoes is found in the meter room, which the author visits. There, a well-known crime scene investigator finds a blood spatter pattern "indicative of homicidal chopping," and of course, little Adam was beheaded. Her DNA samples are too degraded to analyze. Beside the spattered wall are a sledgehammer and an axe—the murder weapons? Small wads of duct tape are on the floor. The author believes Adam was killed in the meter room, as the previous victim had no blood on him. In the crawl space, the author finds a blanket, two black thirty-two-gallon heavy-duty garbage bags with red drawstrings, and a size thirty-four belt—Dahmer's size. (Dahmer is known for chopping up bodies and placing them in garbage bags.) We see photos of the blood-spattered wall, murder weapons, blanket, and crawl space.
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Art Harris and the Prozac Kid
True-crime writer Harris claims Adam (the "Prozac Kid") has been found alive. But the HPD records department lets the author see case files, which include a full-color eight-by-ten-inch photo of Adam’s severed head on a white towel, after it had been cleaned up. Unquestionably, it's Adam, looking exactly like him with his eyes closed. With little decomposition, the head couldn't have been in the water for two weeks, as per Toole's story. The theory that Adam is alive is debunked.
*A message from HPD Police Chief Chadwick E. Wagner says, "Our purpose is to enhance the quality of life for every individual in the City of Hollywood. Our foundation is built on integrity."
CHAPTER TWELVE: Rotten to the Core: Your One-stop Shop for Corruption
Very thorough evidence is given regarding the widespread patterns and history of corruption of the HPD, which covered up what really happened in the Adam Walsh case they were investigating.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: The Code of Silence: A Culture of Corruption
The main reason the HPD closes the Adam Walsh case and pins his murder on the wrong guy is because they can. Other Florida police departments only back them up. The author fights to meet with the evasive police, and when he finally does, his offers to take a polygraph test are denied. The police try to get him to disappear and not implicate Dahmer. They attempt to discredit him, and they threaten him. The author isn't impressed and pays for his own polygraph, enclosed.
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: The Florida Turnpike and the Witnesses
We see a photo of where Adam's head was found along the Florida Turnpike. The author discusses the postmortem examination of the head, which is positively identified as Adam's. The author interviews witnesses who say they saw a blue van on two separate dates at the same location near where Adam's head was found. One witness sees a man take something from a bucket and throw it in the canal. Another witness sees the white male standing by the van fumbling with a bucket. Police tell the witnesses the events have nothing to do with the Adam Walsh case.
When the author confronts the police with the many witnesses who are certain they've seen Dahmer, the police say they don't believe any of them. The author asks police if they would've dismissed the witnesses on the Florida Turnpike, and is told, "Heck no! That would've been important" and that was the first he'd heard about it.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: The Dahmer Witnesses
We hear the testimony of a man who saw Adam thrown into a blue van. A State Attorney's Office investigator dismisses the witness before the interview even starts. We see a transcript of the interview. Another witness is a grandmother who drops off her granddaughter at the Sears toy department where Adam is playing. She returns because of an "uneasy feeling" a young man there gave her. She sees the young man standing beside Adam and positively identifies Dahmer—as a beautician, the witness especially notices hairstyles.
Another young witness sees Dahmer in the toy department. Dahmer runs to a blue van, which nearly hits the boy, his mother, and grandmother. Another boy is playing videogames with Adam and sees Dahmer take Adam's hand and walk out the door with him. The police don't bother to call him.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: The Toole Witnesses
Ottis Toole's fellow jail inmates recall him discussing murders he committed, but none involved children, though one inmate remembered Toole saying he was in the child repossession business. The police dismiss this isolated comment. A Travis County Texas district attorney investigator tapes Toole discussing how he couldn't kill a small child. Other witnesses and their statements are detailed, including a brother and sister who visited the toy department of Sears and are certain they saw Dahmer. Indeed, Dahmer got inappropriately close to the brother and asked if he knows how to play "a ball-in-the-hole game." On the way out, the blue van was seen parked at the curb. The next day, the brother and sister revisit the toy department and see Dahmer take Adam's hand and walk from the store with him.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: The Ever-elusive Matthews' Report
Joe Matthews’s conclusion that Toole murdered Adam helps police and prosecutors close their investigation. The HPD hires his company, the Southern Institute of Polygraph, to polygraph John Walsh in 1981. Simultaneously, he's a homicide detective for the Miami Beach Police Department while he works the case until its December 16, 2008, closing based on Matthews's four-hundred-page report. Then Matthews gives a copy to a coauthor to have it formatted into a book, his own interpretation of police documents. Matthews doesn't even know how many pages are in those documents, but he claims Toole is the killer. The author prints evidence reports from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showing the many tests they did proving Adam was never in Toole's 1971 white Cadillac.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: The Second Lawsuit
The author sues to see the Matthews Report because it's a public record. After all, police and prosecutors reviewed it before closing the case. The HPD police chief and a Broward state attorney counters the public has no right to see the report because it's “worthless” to their investigation. They say they don't even have a copy, and Matthews’s lawyer says his client refuses to produce a copy. The judge dismisses the lawsuit, and when everyone gathers their belongings to leave the courtroom, the lawyer opposing the author gives the judge a half-wink. The judge nods back.
The State Attorney's Office
With permission, the author reprints an article from the online news site Broward Bulldog, accusing the State Attorney's Office of routinely violating defendants’ rights and applying a double standard of justice in Broward County.
CHAPTER NINETEEN: The Appeal and Justice for Adam
The author's attorney asks the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach to reverse the previous order in the author's lawsuit, arguing that the book in which Matthews claims credit for finding evidence that finalizes Toole as the killer undercuts the Hollywood police chief and the judge's ruling, which "begs the question of who is telling the truth." That denial is succinct and brutal, as the 4th Court of Appeal simply rubber-stamps the decision of the 17th Court.
CHAPTER TWENTY: Final Summation
The author closes by stating he hopes that printing all the facts of the case will give Adam some justice; he hopes the HPD and Matthews will apologize to the public.
"It’s my fervent wish," he writes, "that this book finally puts to rest any doubt that it was indeed Jeffrey Dahmer who abducted and murdered little Adam Walsh. The real question for the Hollywood Police Department to answer is why their police department lost its capacity for honesty and integrity while becoming the best friend, defender, and ally of one of America’s most notorious serial killers. They don’t owe me an explanation. They owe it to Adam’s parents and siblings … I have lived with the pain and guilt for well over three decades, thinking I should’ve been the one that prevented Adam’s abduction. I feel I let Adam down, even though I never met him. Then I remind myself that if it hadn’t been Adam, it would’ve been someone else. Someone was going to have a very bad day that day."
1: Words of Encouragement
Letters from the media and a witness testify to the author's work.
2: Recommended Books
3: Toole's Known Timeline Relevant to Adam Walsh
4: Germany Timeline
5: Adam Walsh Case Chronology