John Walsh, former host of America's Most Wanted and co-founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, joined Fox News Radio's Guy Benson to talk about how he began the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the importance of talking to your children.
On how he got involved: I had Adam, my six year old son. He was kidnapped in the Hollywood mall three aisles away from his mother. We never knew for 27 years who did it. The Hollywood police made huge mistakes in the investigation and finally after 27 years I was able to get the files from the Hollywood police. A new young chief came in and said, 'You're the hero of law enforcement everywhere because of America's Most Wanted. What do you want me to do?' And I said, 'Well the D.A. has kept these files closed for years, the city attorney. It's up to you. You're the chief. I want to know who killed Adam. I think I know it's serial killer named Ottis Toole, who died five years before we got the files open.' The wonderful young chief gave us the files and I had a retired homicide detective and retired D.A., both friends of mine. Pro bono they solved Adam's murder in one month. We had to wait 27 years to prove who killed Adam. Unfortunately, he never paid the price for Adam but he died on death row before we solved the case. But, that was the springboard to my battle with the FBI. The FBI refused to enter Adam's case. They said, 'Hey the kid business is dirty. We only care about Mafia and white collar crime,' and I said 'The local police are doing a horrible job. They've made huge mistakes.' It took two weeks before they found a part of Adam. He was decapitated and they found that 200 miles away from Hollywood, Florida. The search was a nightmare. The FBI refused to get involved. A serial predator was roaming through the toy department, called surfing my serial killers. So, it started out as a nightmare, the search for Adam. (1:20)
On the NCIC computer that held missing things but not people: When I learned that I was furious. Number one, I was devastated and heartbroken. I had my heart ripped out, but I was angry. I was so angry. So, I took on the FBI and started to come up and testify for the Missing Children's Bill, a one page bill that would force the FBI to put missing children into the NCIC. It was opposed by the FBI. It was opposed by the Justice Department. And Ronald Reagan helped us get it past. (5:00)
On beginning the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: Reagan helped us turn the little Adam Walsh Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Palm Beach area into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He was there to cut the ribbon when we finally got that piece of legislation passed, the Missing Children's Assistance Bill. (6:05)
On what parents can be doing to protect their kids: Talking to their kids. Pedophiles these days don't operate like they did in the old days where they'd meet and trade with each other child pornography. That's how we'd catch them. Nowadays they don't even use the internet. They encrypt their cellphones or smartphones. (12:53)
On talking to your kids: Kids are way savvier than their parents. I don't care if their parents are millennials and they're nine years old. They still know how to get into chat rooms. They know how to do things. So you talk to children and you say, 'Look, there's bad people out there. I know you think I'm making it up and all this stuff, but talk to me.' And if your child hasn't friended you on Facebook then take their computer away. Take their phone away. Yes, they can get on the internet at somebody's house, but it has to be that open line of communication. There are bad people on the internet. (13:40)
On his new show: I tried to retire, but Discovery ID came to me. The FBI and the U.S. Marshals are some of the greatest man hunters of all time. They caught about 55% of all fugitives I did, but in those 25 years we caught 1422 guys in 45 countries. We recovered 61 missing children alive. It was an amazing run. So they all got together and said, 'How about saddling up?' I said, 'As old as I am?' I have my son, one of my sons Callahan, involved in the show with me. Discovery ID is one of the fastest channels on the thousand channel spectrum, but in January 2019 I'm going to saddle back up. Get back on my horse and it'll be called 'In Pursuit with John Walsh' on Discovery ID. (16:04)