The Unsolved "Murder" of Adam Walsh: Book Two: Finding the Victim. The body identified as Adam Walsh is not him. Is Adam still alive? The cover-up behind the crime that launched “America’s Most Wanted”

Arthur Jay Harris
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A TWO-BOOK SERIES

NEW! The latest on the Adam Walsh story, longform journalism on UPROXX:
"WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO ADAM WALSH?"
uproxx.com/news/is-adam-walsh-still-alive/
 
The top of the story:
On July 27, 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh vanished from a Hollywood, Florida shopping mall. His mother, Reve Walsh, left him unattended for several minutes, and when she returned, he was gone. Two weeks later,Adam's severed head was found in a canal, and to this day, the rest of his body has never been recovered. John Walsh, Adam's father, went on to champion unsolved crimes in his America's Most Wanted television program, using his son's loss as the impetus for his campaign. In 2008, Ottis Toole, a serial killer who died in 1996, was recognized as the man behind the grisly murder.
 
This is the story we know well, but, everything may not be what it seems. True-crime author Arthur Jay Harris has been following the Adam Walsh case almost since its inception, and he first challenged police's official statements when he posited that Jeffrey Dahmer, and not Toole, was the likely culprit for the crime. Harris' evidence included seven witnesses that saw Dahmer at the mall around the time of the disappearance, along with a police report that stated that the infamous killer was living and working a mere 20 minutes away from the Hollywood mall where Adam was abducted from.
 
Indeed, if you follow Harris' work with ABC and The Miami Herald, you too may come to the conclusion that police fingered the wrong man. But, that's not where Harris' story and investigation ends. As Harris posits in The Unsolved Murder of Adam Walsh, which has turned into a two-book series, Adam Walsh may not have been murdered after all.
 
What was your conclusion after years of research into the Adam Walsh murder?
After shaking out what police and the medical examiners, and yes, the Walsh family, and the news media have put out about this case, there is only one takeaway that remains true: Adam Walsh disappeared. Everything else you think you know about this case is either absolutely untrue or is so unlikely that it's essentially untrue.
 
In short, the evidence against Ottis Toole, who police blamed for Adam's murder, is between poor and none. Another police suspect, who they dismissed with little inquiry -- no less than Jeffrey Dahmer, who at the time was documented living no more than 20 minutes by vehicle from the mall, is a far more likely suspect. Dahmer: 11 severed heads. Adam: severed head. That and seven police witnesses who said they saw Dahmer at the mall at the time with or near Adam, plus Dahmer's access to the same type and color of van reported by mall witnesses as the getaway vehicle, and a comparison including Dahmer's mugshot to a police composite drawing from a stunningly similar attempted kidnapping of a child at a nearby location of the same chain store exactly two weeks earlier.
 
But I made most of that case years ago, and my evidence was widely reported. What's new in the case, and no less outrageous, is this: The dead child they said was Adam is overwhelmingly likely not him. And the only reason we could possibly know this is because when police closed the case investigation in 2008, 27 years after the murder, all the official agency case files finally became available, for the asking. Conclusive certainties in homicide cases are startlingly few and I don't leap to them. But this is certain: In the now nearly 35 years since the homicide, there never could have been a trial, and never will be a trial, against any defendant for the murder of Adam Walsh. That's not for lack of suspects; it's because the identification of the found child as Adam can never be proven in court... 

ALSO READ BOOK ONE: FINDING THE KILLER

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About the author

In addition to The Unsolved Murder of Adam Walsh...
ARTHUR JAY HARRIS IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF OTHER TRUE CRIME BOOKS:


FLOWERS FOR MRS. LUSKIN begins with a flower delivery to the best house in the best part of Hollywood, Florida. Inside, Marie Luskin was cautious; her husband Paul used to send her flowers but those days had ended more than a year before when she filed for divorce. She thought it was safe to open the door just enough to accept the pot of azaleas.

She was wrong. The delivery was a ruse; the man pointed a gun at her and demanded her money and jewelry. When he left, she fell to the floor, bloodied, thinking he'd hit her with the gun.

Over 40 years, Paul's family had built a business called Luskin's from one store in Baltimore into a chain of consumer electronics stores in Florida. Coming of age, Paul was taking it over, to run. He'd already made his first million, and he and Marie were living a life their friends admired. But between them all was not well. Then Paul's high school girlfriend moved to town with her husband, and sparks rekindled. When Marie discovered it she threw Paul out of the house. For a moment it looked like they would reunite. She asked Paul to move back in at the end of the day after Thanksgiving, the biggest sale day of the year. But that was a ruse, too. That day at the store, her attorneys served him the divorce.

Marie's attorneys were aggressive. Accusing Paul's parents of shielding his assets, they asked the judge for everything he--and his parents--had. A year later, it looked like Marie would get it all.

The divorce was overwhelming and compound stress. Three times Marie had him arrested for not paying his very high support payments exactly on time; the judge had frozen his assets, and his dad had asked him to leave his high-paying job because he couldn't concentrate both on it and the divorce. Marie's attorneys wanted Paul's mom to testify for days about the business's finances, but because she had a blood clot that stress could loosen and become lethal, Paul's family asked them to lay off her. They refused. Not long after came the flower delivery.

The Feds indicted Paul for attempted murder-for-hire. They told the jury:

A Luskin's employee called his brother in Baltimore who was a mob guy, who got someone to come to Hollywood to kill Marie. Although she thought the gunman hit her with the gun, he really shot her--his bullet grazed her head. Paul was convicted and sentenced to prison for 35 years.

In prison, Paul married his high school girlfriend. To me, they protested so insistently that there was no murder-for-hire that it seemed something was truly wrong. I eventually found there had been a murder plot--but the real question was, who had asked the Luskin's employee to call his brother in Baltimore?

Testimony said "Mr. Luskin" ordered the murder; the prosecutor naturally assumed that meant Paul. But there was a better case that "Mr. Luskin" was Paul's dad. As a result of his son's divorce he lost his whole business, owed Marie $11 million he didn't have and was facing jail for contempt of court for not paying her, and so had to leave the country.

At the story's turning point, "Mr. Luskin" had to choose between two untenable outcomes: the death of the elder Mrs. Luskin or the younger. But prosecutors also were forced to make a tragic choice. Without certainty of which "Mr. Luskin" it was, did they choose the wrong one?

UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT begins with a night 911 call from a woman gasping her last breaths. When police arrived at the house they found her dead, stabbed, and her husband, infant, and father-in-law all shot point-blank. They would survive.

Minutes later, a man also called 911, a gunman had released him from a robbery at the same house. He said he knew of no violence before he left. Yet he was the only one who the gunman hadn't tried to kill. Police instantly suspected him.

That night and long after, police tried to shake the man, Chuck Panoyan, who insisted he didn't know who the gunman was.

Police guessed right. A tip led them to the gunman, and that led to a trip Panoyan took to see him. Both were arrested, and prosecutor Brian Cavanagh won a death penalty indictment against them both.

But in pretrial, Panoyan's attorneys unraveled Cavanagh's case against their client. No longer certain Panoyan was guilty, Cavanagh reached No Man's Land: his choice was to let the jury sort it out, or admit he was wrong about Panoyan for now three years.

Cavanagh's dad Tom was a retired NYPD lieutenant who'd had a double murder he couldn't solve, then at another precinct a suspect confessed. Tom recognized it had been coerced and quietly asked his detectives if they could prove it wrong. When they did, the case became famous for police integrity. A TV movie renamed Tom's character: Kojak.

Years later, son Brian was at a similar turning point. Like his dad, he would not leave it to a jury to unscramble. He moved to release Chuck Panoyan from jail. But Panoyan had to tell his story: he'd lied to police because the gunman had threatened to kill his family if he spoke up. Once before, the gunman had killed a small child and went to prison
.
Who was the only one could make Panoyan comfortable enough to talk? The old man, the real-life Kojak, Tom Cavanagh.

SPEED KILLS opens with the stunning daylight murder in 1980s Miami of boat builder, boat racer, and wealthy bon vivant Don Aronow. He invented, raced, built and sold Cigarette boats, the fastest thing on the water. Everyone who worshipped speed and could afford one, wanted one; his clients were royalty, U.S. presidents, CEOs, intelligence services, and--most of all, eventually--dope smugglers. Don took everyone's money and traveled between all those worlds.

You could also see it as Don playing all sides. When the Feds needed faster boats to keep up with the Cigarettes that Don sold to dopers, they came to him. It was sort of the same with his wife and girlfriend (and girlfriend and girlfriend).

How long could anybody get away with that? Confidence men are known as con men; Don wasn't that, but he was a supreme self-confidence man, that is, he was his own victim.

Finally he was cornered. Don's protégé in racing and boatbuilding was also the largest pot smuggler in America. The Feds needed Aronow to testify against him. For leverage, they apparently threatened Don with a tax evasion case. The quintessential free-spirit boat racer could go to prison--or he could risk the wrath of a major criminal organization.

Aronow made his decision. Days later, he was killed.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Arthur Jay Harris
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Published on
Mar 1, 2016
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Pages
439
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ISBN
9781484167625
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Hard-Boiled
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Private Investigators
Fiction / Thrillers / Crime
Juvenile Fiction / Mysteries & Detective Stories
Law / Criminal Law / General
Law / Forensic Science
Social Science / Criminology
True Crime / General
True Crime / Murder / General
True Crime / Murder / Serial Killers
Young Adult Fiction / Law & Crime
Young Adult Nonfiction / Law & Crime
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Arthur Jay Harris
Shown on the premiere episode of the series True Conviction, on Investigative Discovery

By now deep into his case, the prosecutor was no longer as sure as he'd been: Were maybe not both of his murder defendants truly guilty? That's when he called his retired dad—would you help me? Dad had been one of the most famous detectives in New York. Years before, he'd solved the real-life murder case the Kojak TV series had been modeled after. A true story.

The Miami Herald:
"[Brian] Cavanagh called on his father for help. Three decades ago, as a New York City detective, Thomas Cavanagh became famous clearing a man accused of a Manhattan murder. His work led to the original Kojak TV movie and subsequent series.

Thomas Cavanagh built a reputation for cracking tough cases. He continued to track down elusive killers even after he retired and moved to South Florida. More than 15 years after he retired, Cavanagh used his legendary skills to help find a man who murdered a Davie woman during a home-invasion robbery.

Working together to crack a Davie murder case, the real-life Kojak and his prosecutor son..."

Globe Magazine:
REAL-LIFE KOJAK CATCHES A KILLER
He quits retirement to free innocent man

"A former New York City cop whose exploits inspired TV's Kojak has come out of retirement to solve a baffling murder mystery.

Super-sleuth Thomas Cavanagh, 79, cleared the prime suspect in the case -- and fingered the real suspect.

Cavanagh was sunning himself by the pool at his Florida home when his son Brian, a prosecutor in Fort Lauderdale, called.

"Dad, I have a problem with this case," Brian said. "What should I do?"

PHOTOGRAPHS INCLUDED IN FRONT. CLICK "LOOK INSIDE"

UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
A TRUE STORY

Breathless, a woman's call to 911 interrupted a quiet night in the horse country suburbs:
"I'm stabbed to death. Please!"
Did somebody stab you? asked the operator.
"Yes! And my husband, my baby!"

Within minutes, officers arrived at her remote ranch house but didn't know whether an assailant was still present. Announcing themselves, they got no response, then entered anyway, guns drawn, and began a dangerous, tense search, room by room. Then they heard a baby's scream. Although the house wasn't yet fully cleared, they followed the wailing to the master bedroom where they found, tied and gagged, her husband and elderly father-in-law. They and their 18-month-old all had been shot point-blank in the head--but were still alive.

Shocked, the officers called out to bring in paramedics, who had to crawl through the living room because the house still had not been completely cleared. Hurrying, and contrary to usual procedures, the officers spread out. One found a locked closet door; four officers gathered, and with guns ready, one of them kicked it in. Behind it they found their 911 caller--still holding the phone. "Oh, shit," said the kicker.

In the history of Davie, Florida, there had never been such a savage and sociopathic crime, and police and homicide prosecutor Brian Cavanagh were determined to resolve it. For three years, they had two suspects under surveillance, then arrest. Both faced the death penalty. But as the legal case progressed, Cavanagh began to doubt that the defendants were partners. Possibly one had been a victim of the other, as well.

In 1963, Cavanagh's dad, Tom, a Manhattan lieutenant of detectives, had a famous case called the "Career Girls Murder," two women in their twenties found horribly mutilated in their Upper East Side apartment. The newspapers played the story big, a random killer on the loose, meanwhile Tom and his precinct detectives had been unable to solve it.

Months after the murder, Brooklyn detectives declared the case solved; they'd taken a signed confession from a man with a low IQ. Their additional proof was a photo in his wallet; it was of one of the girls he killed, he said. The man quickly recanted, although that didn't much matter to the Brooklyn detectives.

As soon as he heard some of the details of the confession, Tom disbelieved it; the man didn't fit the profile. Needing to work quietly under the most difficult of circumstances, Tom sent out his own detectives to do the impossible: identify the girl in the picture. It had been taken in some sort of park setting. They first showed it to botanists, who recognized the type of trees in the background and where they grew. From that they could guess at where the park was. Targeting nearby high schools, the detectives then showed the photo to teachers to see if any could recognize the girl.

One did. When they found the girl, she asked, "Where did you get that?"

After all that impossibly good work, Tom and his detectives caught a break and found the real killer of the Career Girls. Until then, Tom said, he hadn't believed that police could make such mistakes. Afterward, as a result, New York State outlawed the death penalty. As well, this remarkable story inspired a TV movie and series starring a character playing Cavanagh's role. His name was Lt. Theo Kojak.

As a child, Brian Cavanagh had watched his dad's anguish throughout that situation. Now, he had a case that was remarkably similar--except that he was potentially on the wrong side. Once his confidence level in the guilt of one of his defendants dropped to a level of precarious uncertainty, Brian was in no-man's land. He couldn't continue with a prosecution he no longer believed in, nor could he easily admit he'd been wrong for so long. While his dad was still around to watch, Brian approached his own moment of courage. Could he prove that he was the equal of his father?

Arthur Jay Harris
"Ocean racing superstar Don Aronow loved it when writers called him a living legend. His life of adventure is well known. It is his death that baffles police.

"He was afraid of nothing, no one. In his final hour, when a stranger spoke to him in riddles and talked about killing, Aronow laughed. He felt no fear, until he lowered the window of his white Mercedes and looked death in the face. And then it was too late."
-- Edna Buchanan in The Miami Herald

Bordering a canal leading to Biscayne Bay, a short dead-end stretch of Northeast 188th Street in Miami was the crossroad of the Americas in the mid-1980s for the biggest drug smugglers into the U.S.; the guys who ripped off the drug smugglers; the biggest South American drug suppliers; competing federal agencies investigating major drug trafficking and money laundering; the CIA, covertly advancing the Contra war against Central American land reform (which they called Cuban-sponsored communism); some of the highest national politicians in the country--and what attracted them all there, the most famous fast-boat companies in the world.

On that splashy boulevard of (wet) dreams factories built marine magazine-ad ultra-sleek gleaming speedboats ostensibly for racers, royalty to show off on the Côte d'Azur, and wealthy divorced or divorcing middle-age overweight men to pick up South Florida's sun-soaked hot chicks in string bikinis (while the rest of us unwashed wondered how they did it), but the boat builders' real business was fueling an arms race between smugglers, who purchased them for cash, and Drug War feds to catch smugglers.

The storied creator of the quantum-leap faster Cigarette boat, against which all other "penis" boats were measured, as well as a two-time powerboat racing world champion and the personification of a sport in which people crazily risked their lives and bodies to win--not to mention a wicked ladies' man to boot, Don Aronow was shot and killed in broad daylight in front of his factory in 1987. Police found they didn't just have a murder mystery--they had Murder on the Orient Express.

FEBRUARY 3, 1987
USA Racing Team, Miami, Florida

Someone entered the front door and walked in front of salesman Jerry Engelman's desk. He asked to speak with Don Aronow, then looked right at him without recognizing him.

"What do you want?" Aronow said.

"I've been trying to get ahold of you," the man said. He said he worked for a very rich man, with an Italian surname, who wanted to make an appointment to buy a boat.

"I never heard of him," Aronow answered.

Engelman could tell something else was happening, and he thought Aronow was trying to find out what.

Then the conversation got weird. He was proud of his boss, he said. "He picked me up off the street when I was sixteen and took care of me. I'd even kill for my boss."

For the moment, none of the observers thought anything more of it. Minutes later, Aronow drove his new 1987 white Mercedes 560 sports coupe across the street, found Mike Britton, a marine supplier, and asked if he could help him at his new house.

Driving out of his parking space forward, with Aronow behind him, Britton saw a dark Lincoln Town Car with tinted windows, about ten yards away, facing east as Britton was about to head west. The driver's window was down, and Britton could see the driver looking at him.

At their closest, when they passed, they were just a few feet apart, keeping eye contact the entire time. Then Britton drove on, about fifty yards.

Then he heard gunshots.

Britton finished parking his truck, then raced back toward Aronow. In a hurry, the Lincoln passed him, going west. It had turned around.

By the time Britton got to the car, he found Aronow's driver's side window down, the automatic transmission in neutral, and Aronow's foot pressed against the accelerator like a rock, forcing the engine to rev at its most shrill. Apparently, Aronow had stopped to kibitz with his killer.
Jason Reynolds
In an unforgettable new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.
Arthur Jay Harris
A Millionaire Has An Affair. His Wife Throws Him Out. She Gets The Mansion, The Business, The Cash. His Parents' Business. His Parents' Cash. She Gets Shot And Doesn't Know It. The Bullet Disappears. He Goes To Prison. His Parents Flee The Country. He Weds The Other Woman Behind Bars. Has There Ever Been A Case Like This?
--The Miami Herald

"Flower delivery for Marie Luskin!"

That was a curious surprise. Her husband Paul used to send her flowers all the time, but those days had passed forever. A year and a half before, following Paul's affair with another woman, Marie kicked him out of the house his parents had helped them buy--the biggest house in Emerald Hills, which was the best section of Hollywood, Florida--then filed for divorce.

And what a spectacular divorce. If nastiness could be judged quantitatively, the civil war of the Luskins was the meanest divorce Broward County had ever seen.

"Who is it from?"
"There's no name on the card."
"What florist are you from?"
"Emerald Hills Florist."

Still apprehensive, she cracked open the wooden door just enough to see him. With a sudden incongruous movement, the man stuck his foot in the doorway and thrust the flowers at her with his left hand. As she reached to take them, he stuck a silver pistol in her face.

Marie started shrieking uncontrollably. She tried to run inside, but the man grabbed her, one arm around her neck, grasping for her mouth with his hand. The flower pot fell to the black-and-white marble parquet floor and shattered, pink petals scattering.

"Shut up! Shut up!" he yelled, closing the door behind him. "I'm not going to hurt you. Shut the hell up, stop screaming!"

She finally stopped when his hand formed a gag hard around her mouth, and she realized the gun was at her temple. She couldn't stop looking at the gun, which framed his cruel eyes.

Then the man made an odd demand:

"Give me all your cash! Give me all your cash! Show me where you keep your cash! I'm not going to hurt you, but if you don't cooperate, I'm gonna blow your brains out!"

With the man clenching her long blond hair, the gun to the side of her head, she led him upstairs to a small room where she showed him a hundred-dollar bill.

"Where's all your cash! Give me all your cash!"

"It's in the bank!" she whined. "It's in the bank! This is it. This is all I have at home, I keep all my money in the bank!"

As the crescendo of voices in the Luskin house rose to a climax, exactly what happened next remains in dispute. Marie fell to the floor, a terrible pain in the back of her head. She didn't lose consciousness, but pretended to. Meekly, she opened her eyes and noticed there was blood all over her. She thought she was going to die...

The man had left without taking anything. The issue would become, had she been hit like she thought, or shot? That would seem to be the difference between a robbery and an attempt to kill her that might have descended from her husband.

Doctors found three minuscule pieces of lead in her bloody scalp. If they were fragments from a bullet, could she have been shot without realizing it? Or were they from the gun or whatever it was that hit her, or the decorative metal hair barrette she was wearing that had broken, separating its clip that had been held together by lead-based solder?

Also, if a gun was fired in that small room, where was the rest of the bullet? The police didn't find it. And why hadn't it shattered one of the room's three full-length mirrors?

That would become the story's essential mystery, and the answer would determine whether Paul and his alleged accomplices would go to prison. It must have been a shot, a federal court jury determined, because they convicted all four of attempted murder-for-hire.

Doubting it, true crime author Arthur Jay Harris went on an Odyssey through the heights and depths of Miami and Baltimore.

To the very last page, what he found kept surprising him.
Arthur Jay Harris

THIS SPECIAL SINGLE EDITION IS A CONDENSED VERSION OF BOOKS ONE AND TWO, FOR BRIEFER READING:
Also available on Google Play are the full-length Books One and Two
 
NEW! The latest on the Adam Walsh story, longform journalism on UPROXX:
"WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO ADAM WALSH?"
uproxx.com/news/is-adam-walsh-still-alive/
 
The top of the story:
On July 27, 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh vanished from a Hollywood, Florida shopping mall. His mother, Reve Walsh, left him unattended for several minutes, and when she returned, he was gone. Two weeks later,Adam's severed head was found in a canal, and to this day, the rest of his body has never been recovered. John Walsh, Adam's father, went on to champion unsolved crimes in his America's Most Wanted television program, using his son's loss as the impetus for his campaign. In 2008, Ottis Toole, a serial killer who died in 1996, was recognized as the man behind the grisly murder.
 
This is the story we know well, but, everything may not be what it seems. True-crime author Arthur Jay Harris has been following the Adam Walsh case almost since its inception, and he first challenged police's official statements when he posited that Jeffrey Dahmer, and not Toole, was the likely culprit for the crime. Harris' evidence included seven witnesses that saw Dahmer at the mall around the time of the disappearance, along with a police report that stated that the infamous killer was living and working a mere 20 minutes away from the Hollywood mall where Adam was abducted from.
 
Indeed, if you follow Harris' work with ABC and The Miami Herald, you too may come to the conclusion that police fingered the wrong man. But, that's not where Harris' story and investigation ends. As Harris posits in The Unsolved Murder of Adam Walsh, which has turned into a two-book series, Adam Walsh may not have been murdered after all.
 
What was your conclusion after years of research into the Adam Walsh murder?
After shaking out what police and the medical examiners, and yes, the Walsh family, and the news media have put out about this case, there is only one takeaway that remains true: Adam Walsh disappeared. Everything else you think you know about this case is either absolutely untrue or is so unlikely that it's essentially untrue.
 
In short, the evidence against Ottis Toole, who police blamed for Adam's murder, is between poor and none. Another police suspect, who they dismissed with little inquiry -- no less than Jeffrey Dahmer, who at the time was documented living no more than 20 minutes by vehicle from the mall, is a far more likely suspect. Dahmer: 11 severed heads. Adam: severed head. That and seven police witnesses who said they saw Dahmer at the mall at the time with or near Adam, plus Dahmer's access to the same type and color of van reported by mall witnesses as the getaway vehicle, and a comparison including Dahmer's mugshot to a police composite drawing from a stunningly similar attempted kidnapping of a child at a nearby location of the same chain store exactly two weeks earlier.
 
But I made most of that case years ago, and my evidence was widely reported. What's new in the case, and no less outrageous, is this: The dead child they said was Adam is overwhelmingly likely not him. And the only reason we could possibly know this is because when police closed the case investigation in 2008, 27 years after the murder, all the official agency case files finally became available, for the asking. Conclusive certainties in homicide cases are startlingly few and I don't leap to them. But this is certain: In the now nearly 35 years since the homicide, there never could have been a trial, and never will be a trial, against any defendant for the murder of Adam Walsh. That's not for lack of suspects; it's because the identification of the found child as Adam can never be proven in court..

Arthur Jay Harris

GET STARTED READING FOUR INVESTIGATIVE TRUE CRIME BOOKS!
Four true stories of hard-fought justice
READ THE CLIFFHANGER FIRST CHAPTERS FOR FREE!
Then link to the full books at my Author Page
Can’t choose?
Read all the full versions in Box Sets for the very best price

This Investigative True Crime Starter by Arthur Jay Harris
includes the first chapters of:
THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF ADAM WALSH (both Books 1 & 2)
FLOWERS FOR MRS. LUSKIN
SPEED KILLS and
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
For more about each title, go to my Author Page

FLOWERS FOR MRS. LUSKIN: The divorce was vicious, but at least it hadn't turned deadly. Then came the flowers.

At the best house in the best neighborhood in Hollywood, Florida, Marie Luskin answered her front door and saw a deliveryman holding a floral arrangement. From behind the leaves and petals he pulled out a pistol and pointed it at her. At the time, she was embroiled in the biggest divorce in the county's history.

But why didn't the gunman shoot and kill her? According to Marie, he demanded all her money and then hit her with the gun. According to the prosecutor, he shot her. But the jury agreed on one thing: that Marie's wealthy, estranged husband, Paul, was clearly behind a murder-for-hire. Then the truth came out.

SPEED KILLS: He built the fastest boats -- for royalty, the rich, spies, smugglers, Feds and a former U.S. President. Then came six shots.

It was the era of cool shades and Miami Vice, and Don Aronow's Cigarette boats were the symbol of the city's sun-drenched decadence. But faster than his speed boats was Aronow himself -- in races behind the throttle, in business deals and on the town with his collection of stunning women. And then, in broad daylight, someone in a dark Lincoln gunned him down.

Who had Don double-dealt? A dope smuggler? The Mafia? The husband or boyfriend of one of his many paramours? And after ten years of dogged work, did Miami police get it right -- or were they dead wrong?

UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT: The prosecutor was no longer sure both murder defendants were guilty. So he asked his dad -- the real-life Kojak.

A mother's dying, gasping call to 911: "My husband! My baby!" In her secluded ranch house, she'd been stabbed with a kitchen knife. Her husband, infant and elderly father-in-law had all been shot in the head, point-blank.

For three years, police had two suspects under surveillance, then arrest. Both faced the death penalty. But prosecutor Brian Cavanagh began to doubt that the defendants were partners. So he consulted with his father, a retired NYPD cop whose reputation for savvy sleuthing had inspired the creation of one of the most beloved characters in television history. Now the question was: Could Dad help solve the case?

THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF ADAM WALSH: The medical examiner misidentified the body. The cops blamed the wrong suspect. What really happened to Adam Walsh?

 In 1981, America was captivated -- and horrified -- by the kidnapping and reported murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh. Florida police ultimately identified the decapitated head of a found child as Adam, and implicated an out-of-town drifter as the murderer.

But something about the investigation was incomplete. And wrong. In his controversial two-book chronicle, journalist Arthur Jay Harris reveals that Walsh's kidnapper was actually the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, that the body found by police was misidentified, and that Adam Walsh is quite possibly -- even probably -- still alive.

Arthur Jay Harris

A TWO-BOOK SERIES

NEW! The latest on the Adam Walsh story, longform journalism on UPROXX:
"WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO ADAM WALSH?"
uproxx.com/news/is-adam-walsh-still-alive/
 
The top of the story:
On July 27, 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh vanished from a Hollywood, Florida shopping mall. His mother, Reve Walsh, left him unattended for several minutes, and when she returned, he was gone. Two weeks later,Adam's severed head was found in a canal, and to this day, the rest of his body has never been recovered. John Walsh, Adam's father, went on to champion unsolved crimes in his America's Most Wanted television program, using his son's loss as the impetus for his campaign. In 2008, Ottis Toole, a serial killer who died in 1996, was recognized as the man behind the grisly murder.
 
This is the story we know well, but, everything may not be what it seems. True-crime author Arthur Jay Harris has been following the Adam Walsh case almost since its inception, and he first challenged police's official statements when he posited that Jeffrey Dahmer, and not Toole, was the likely culprit for the crime. Harris' evidence included seven witnesses that saw Dahmer at the mall around the time of the disappearance, along with a police report that stated that the infamous killer was living and working a mere 20 minutes away from the Hollywood mall where Adam was abducted from.
 
Indeed, if you follow Harris' work with ABC and The Miami Herald, you too may come to the conclusion that police fingered the wrong man. But, that's not where Harris' story and investigation ends. As Harris posits in The Unsolved Murder of Adam Walsh, which has turned into a two-book series, Adam Walsh may not have been murdered after all.
 
What was your conclusion after years of research into the Adam Walsh murder?
After shaking out what police and the medical examiners, and yes, the Walsh family, and the news media have put out about this case, there is only one takeaway that remains true: Adam Walsh disappeared. Everything else you think you know about this case is either absolutely untrue or is so unlikely that it's essentially untrue.
 
In short, the evidence against Ottis Toole, who police blamed for Adam's murder, is between poor and none. Another police suspect, who they dismissed with little inquiry -- no less than Jeffrey Dahmer, who at the time was documented living no more than 20 minutes by vehicle from the mall, is a far more likely suspect. Dahmer: 11 severed heads. Adam: severed head. That and seven police witnesses who said they saw Dahmer at the mall at the time with or near Adam, plus Dahmer's access to the same type and color of van reported by mall witnesses as the getaway vehicle, and a comparison including Dahmer's mugshot to a police composite drawing from a stunningly similar attempted kidnapping of a child at a nearby location of the same chain store exactly two weeks earlier.
 
But I made most of that case years ago, and my evidence was widely reported. What's new in the case, and no less outrageous, is this: The dead child they said was Adam is overwhelmingly likely not him. And the only reason we could possibly know this is because when police closed the case investigation in 2008, 27 years after the murder, all the official agency case files finally became available, for the asking. Conclusive certainties in homicide cases are startlingly few and I don't leap to them. But this is certain: In the now nearly 35 years since the homicide, there never could have been a trial, and never will be a trial, against any defendant for the murder of Adam Walsh. That's not for lack of suspects; it's because the identification of the found child as Adam can never be proven in court..

ALSO READ BOOK TWO: FINDING THE VICTIM

Arthur Jay Harris
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
The prosecutor was no longer sure both murder defendants were guilty. So he asked his dad -- the real-life Kojak.

A mother's dying, gasping call to 911: "My husband! My baby!" In her secluded ranch house, she'd been stabbed with a kitchen knife. Her husband, infant and elderly father-in-law had all been shot in the head, point-blank.

For three years, police had two suspects under surveillance, then arrest. Both faced the death penalty. But prosecutor Brian Cavanagh began to doubt that the defendants were partners. So he consulted with his father, a retired NYPD cop whose reputation for savvy sleuthing had inspired the creation of one of the most beloved characters in television history. Now the question was: Could Dad help solve the case?

THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF ADAM WALSH

            The famous missing child case of Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old last seen at a Sears in a shopping mall in Hollywood, Florida, in July 1981 was the worst nightmare imaginable. Two weeks later, a child's severed head was found and identified as Adam. No one has ever been arrested for the crime.
            For the most part, the case's narration has been told by the victims, Adam's parents Reve and John Walsh. However, there has been another voice, independent investigative journalist and author of five True Crime books about Florida, Arthur Jay Harris, who has continued to write about it for two decades, and has worked on it with ABC News, The Miami Herald, and others. The deeply-researched story he tells disputes almost everything that everyone in the public has been led to believe.
            IN BOOK ONE, Harris shows that the taker of Adam was most likely not the drifter Ottis Toole, as police now say, but rather the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who was arrested ten years later with eleven severed heads in his apartment. Harris documented him by a police report living near Hollywood as a transient about when Adam disappeared. That report had him supposedly finding a dead body in an alley behind where he worked. The report referred to a meter and storage room steps away where Harris and ABC News found blood droplets rising up a wall next to a lumberman's axe and a sledgehammer. Was this Dahmer's doing?
            Further, Dahmer was identified by seven police witnesses who said they saw him at the mall with or near Adam when he was taken. One of those witnesses said he saw him throw Adam into a blue van and get away. Where Dahmer worked there was a blue van, easily and often taken for personal use, without permission. Early on, a blue getaway van was Hollywood's first, best clue.
            IN BOOK TWO, Harris shows that all the official files are incredibly missing the most customary documents that would prove the ID of the found child who was said to be Adam. Among the documents missing are the autopsy report, a forensic dental report (considering that the ID was strictly based on a tooth comparison), and Adam's dental chart and dental X-rays. An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed his finding.
            In fact, the ID was not only shoddy and inadequate but is overwhelmingly likely wrong. In Adam's last photo he was clearly missing both his top front teeth. A police crime scene photo, never before published, shows the found child had a mostly-in buck tooth -- a top left front tooth. Harris consulted a number of pediatric and forensic dental and medical examiner experts who confirmed the obvious: there wasn't enough time for Adam to have grown it in that far.
            All that would have been exposed at a court trial -- but more than 30 years after Adam's disappearance, there has never been one.
           Did police end the search for Adam too soon? Could Adam still be alive? In fact not so impossible, Harris found...
Arthur Jay Harris
FLOWERS FOR MRS. LUSKIN: The divorce was vicious, but at least it hadn't turned deadly. Then came the flowers.

At the best house in the best neighborhood in Hollywood, Florida, Marie Luskin answered her front door and saw a deliveryman holding a floral arrangement. From behind the leaves and petals he pulled out a pistol and pointed it at her. At the time, she was embroiled in the biggest divorce in the county's history.
But why didn't the gunman shoot and kill her? According to Marie, he demanded all her money and then hit her with the gun. According to the prosecutor, he shot her. But the jury agreed on one thing: that Marie's wealthy, estranged husband, Paul, was clearly behind a murder-for-hire. Then the truth came out.

THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF ADAM WALSH

            The famous missing child case of Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old last seen at a Sears in a shopping mall in Hollywood, Florida, in July 1981 was the worst nightmare imaginable. Two weeks later, a child's severed head was found and identified as Adam. No one has ever been arrested for the crime.
            For the most part, the case's narration has been told by the victims, Adam's parents Reve and John Walsh. However, there has been another voice, independent investigative journalist and author of five True Crime books about Florida, Arthur Jay Harris, who has continued to write about it for two decades, and has worked on it with ABC News, The Miami Herald, and others. The deeply-researched story he tells disputes almost everything that everyone in the public has been led to believe.
            IN BOOK ONE, Harris shows that the taker of Adam was most likely not the drifter Ottis Toole, as police now say, but rather the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who was arrested ten years later with eleven severed heads in his apartment. Harris documented him by a police report living near Hollywood as a transient about when Adam disappeared. That report had him supposedly finding a dead body in an alley behind where he worked. The report referred to a meter and storage room steps away where Harris and ABC News found blood droplets rising up a wall next to a lumberman's axe and a sledgehammer. Was this Dahmer's doing?
            Further, Dahmer was identified by seven police witnesses who said they saw him at the mall with or near Adam when he was taken. One of those witnesses said he saw him throw Adam into a blue van and get away. Where Dahmer worked there was a blue van, easily and often taken for personal use, without permission. Early on, a blue getaway van was Hollywood's first, best clue.
            Also, a police composite drawing of a suspect in an attempted kidnapping of a similar-age child at a Sears in the next county, two weeks before Adam's disappearance, closely matches a mug shot of Dahmer taken a year later. The similarity was confirmed by the near-victim, a witness who helped make the drawing, and a police artist Harris consulted. The photo comparison is in the book.
            IN BOOK TWO, more shocking, Harris shows that all the official files are incredibly missing the most customary documents that would prove the identification of the found child who was said to be Adam. Among the documents missing are the autopsy report, a forensic dental report (considering that the ID was strictly based on a tooth comparison), and Adam's dental chart and dental X-rays. An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed his finding.
            In fact, the ID was not only shoddy and inadequate but is overwhelmingly likely wrong. In Adam's last photo he was clearly missing both his top front teeth. A police crime scene photo, never before published, shows the found child had a mostly-in buck tooth -- a top left front tooth. Harris consulted a number of pediatric and forensic dental and medical examiner experts who confirmed the obvious: there wasn't enough time for Adam to have grown it in that far.
            All that would have been exposed at a court trial -- but more than 30 years after Adam's disappearance, there has never been one.
            Yet another remarkable finding Harris made is that more than 20 years after the incident, the Walshes consented to police forensic testing that presumed a doubt about the found child's real identity.
           Did police end the search for Adam too soon? Could Adam still be alive? In fact not so impossible, Harris found...

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