Bringing Adam Home The Abduction That Changed America

BringingAdam Home: The Abduction That Changed America

BringingAdam Home: The Abduction That Changed America


Thebook, “Bringing Adam Home: The abduction that changed America”narrates the story about the abduction of Adam Walsh. The authors ofthe book are Les Standiford and Joe Matthews who combined theirefforts to produce the book. Les Standiford was a novelist while JoeMatthews was a former police detective at Miami Beach (Standifordand Matthews, 2011).Prior the abduction of Adam Walsh, there was no amber alerts, nofaces on milk cartons, no paedophile registry, and no national centrefor missing children, and there was no federal database of crimesagainst children. His abduction and murder forever changed America,though the case remained unsolved for more than twenty-five years.His parents, John and Reve, were shocked by their son’s murder andthe incapability of the FBI and the police to find the criminals.They even went ahead and started a TV show named, “America’s MostWanted,” as well as become supporters and advocators for lawtransformation enforcement’s that was to handle such criminalcases. The authors of the book, “Bringing Adam Home,” Standifordand Mathews gave a definitive account of a horrible crime and itsrepercussion. They base the book on a true story tragedy, faith,love, and dedication. The two authors reveal the pain of Adam’sparents and the persistence of the whole family as they struggled tofind justice. They could not understand how the police and the FBIwould allow a killer to be free and uncharged. Further, theyappreciated the relentless efforts of the detective who went furtherthan the legal system. All in all, the “Bringing Adam Home: TheAbduction that Changed America” book gives an riveting andultimately uplifting story full of triumph of justice, as well aspermanent power of love. It is a remarkable story that brings itsreaders into rage and tears of grief.

TheBook Critique

TheAdam Walsh tragedy occurred on one sunny morning in 1981. By thistime, Adam was six years old. On July 27, 1981, Adam and his mothervisited local sears to buy some lamps (Standifordet. al., 2011).At the entrance of the mall, Adam was attracted to video games in oneof the stores and he begged his mother to remain behind while shewent shopping. His mother went ahead with her businesses and left himbehind playing video games. Few minutes later, Reve came to pick Adamand he was nowhere to be seen. He had gone missing. His parentsimmediately started to search him with the help of FBI and police.Unfortunately, their work bore no fruits. Sixteen days later, thepolice found Adam’s head in the drainage a few miles away fromtheir home. Sadly, they did not find the other parts of the body.Later, the police released a report stating that the day Adam wentmissing, a seventeen years old security guard left the store withfour young boys. They believed that Adam was one of them. The policementioned several names in connection to the murder including aserial killer, Ottis Toole. It is after this tragedy that Walshfamily found an optimistic opportunity to release their anguish. Theywere inspired to create a National Centre for Missing and ExploitedChildren (NCMEC). Its main purpose was to provide invaluableresources to parents, optimum child protection, and acts lawenforcement in United States.

BringingAdam Home is an ultimate story of 1981 based on abduction,kidnapping, and the murder of a six years boy, Adam Walsh (Silberman,2008).The book gives an account of the police investigation that took overquarter a century to unmask the serial killer. Perhaps, this is themost significant in the American history because it revolutionisedthe ways that the federal, local, and the state authoritiesinvestigated cases to deal with abducted, kidnapped, missing, andmurdered children. These changes owe much to the effort of Mr and MrsJohn Walsh. Indeed, their case was the most famous case focused onchildren, and the authors give the full view if its account. LesStandiford narrates the story with the assistance from detective JoeMathews who finally resolves the case after twenty-seven years. JoeMatthews worked with John Walsh to produce the American TV show, “TheAmerica’s Most Wanted.” The authors tell the whole account of thestory without bending any fact for the sake of art orself-consciously literature. They give out the narrative in aprecise, basing it on facts, and in a wise way for a story full ofgore, heartbreak, and perversion (Boudreaux,Lord, and Etter, 2000).In fact, Bringing Adam Home is the optimum true-crime book after“Blood and Money” by Thomas Thompson in 1976. The two authorsthoroughly recount the Adam-kidnapping incidence in the Sears store,the unsuccessful search for the boy, and the discovery of his severedhead in the drainage canal a few miles from their home. In addition,the authors also narrate the tireless work done by Adam’s parentsto search for their son, and the other program they started afterwardto deal with missing and murdered children.

Afterthe disappearance of Adam, the authors of this book takes the readerinto the police investigation, explains the history behind everysuspect, and expound on every step taken. The process continues well,though at some time it is tragic because the author highlight theinadequacy of the investigation. Standifordet. al. (2011), urges that thepolice department in Hollywood had no experience in such cases.Nevertheless, the police were also not serious to bring Adam case inthe public eye to fight for justice. The investigation process is anincredibly frustrating for any reader, especially after imaginingthat Adam’s family suffered for twenty-five years before obtainingthe actual information about the his death. At the end, Bringing AdamHome book give and identifies the murderer. Although it is sad thatit took long before the truth came into limelight, it is comfortingto know that Washes’ family learnt who took the life of Adam. In2006, Walsh approached Matthews, a former detective who worked as aconsultant in his show and requested him to solve his son’sunlawful death case. It is then that Matthews started to unfold thefiles and to re-interview witnesses. The Hollywood police departmentshocked Matthews since they had already suspected Ottis Toole as themurderer, though they did not take any action. Surprisingly, Ottishad also confessed as the killer of Adam. Formerly, the policedepartment had announced Ottis as the prime suspect. However, thecase was later unravelled after the police failed to prove himguilty. As a result, years folded each other, evidences were notfollowed, some documents were not filed, and eventually, the evidencevanished. In 1996, Toole, an arsonist and a convicted serial killerdied while serving in prison even before paying the punishment formurdering an innocent child. In 2008, the Hollywood authoritiesfinally announced Toole as the murderer of Adam and closed the casefile officially. This brought a lot of comfort to the Walsh family.From the book, the police conduct investigation basing them on thelaw of United States. There is nowhere in the book that the authorsgives any biblical or Christian views. In addition, the authors donot state the religion background of Adam’s family.

Theheart of this book is based on investigation of the investigators(Weiner,2000).Standiford and Matthews are against police investigation saying thatthey did not conduct the case accordingly. They base their argumentson several arguments: the police did not follow up the case, theyignored some witnesses, did not ask some obvious questions, they gavesome incomplete and falsified reports, they lost some of the physicalevidence, and they did not examine other evidences. This bookelaborates much evidence such as Toole multiple confession and thecrime scene photos that the police failed to print. Sadly, theHollywood police did not put much seriousness on a serial killer whohad details of the crime. At one time, Reve, Adam’s motherregretted that it is sad for two heart-broken parents to fight forjustice for their murdered child. Two decades after the death ofAdam, Matthew got access to the case files and surviving evidence. Bythen, Matthews had just been appointed as the chief of Hollywood, andhe was more concerned with the truth rather than the reputation ofhis department. He discovered that his suspicion was correct. It wassurprising how Matthews coupled old evidences, and uncovered shockingphysical evidence that was in existence for twenty-five years.Indeed, Ottis Toole was Adam’s murderer, and there was enoughevidence to prosecute him. Unfortunately, Ottis had already died inprison after been jailed for other series of crimes.

Thisbook elaborate how the American started paying attention to missingchildren cases and the changes made in the administrative system toprotect children. Actually, the murdering of Adam acted as a catalystto reform authorities to track missing children. American startedpaying attention to Amber alerts, introduced national sex offenderregistry, police department to specifically deal with exploited andmissing children, and database of missing children. In addition,Adam’s abduction leads to introduction of movements and laws toprotect children. In the book, the authors narrates how there weremore legal work force to find missing cars than missing childrenduring the abduction of Adam. Thanks to Mr. John Walsh and his wife,there are now better ways to protect children rights. Additionally,there are strategies to united missing children with their familiesand bring them home (Weiner,2000).Every missing child who reunites back with his or her family is an“Adam.” Parents now know that it is not safe to leave theirchildren alone in public, or wandering in the streets and roadsalone. Prior the incidence, parents permitted their children to visitplayground or wander in the shopping mall without their supervision.Children enjoyed much freedom and they would always be back in theevening after playing all day. However, that innocence ended whenauthorities discovered the head of Adam in a drainage canal. Parentnever left their children alone or unattended. Although the bookfocuses on investigation, it is also associated with lot scandalsthat give the reader some strategies to protect their children.Because of this incidence, many papers and magazines are publishingarticles that are one way or another related to the case. Theyeducate parents that there are many wandering monsters likely to harmtheir children (Boudreauxet al., 2000).In addition, John Walsh also became a leading crime fighter aftersigning from his career. He also started a TV show “the AmericanMost Wanted” that assisted authorities capture hundreds offugitives and solve many unsolved crimes. The book gives a testamentof Walsh effort to ensure enforcement of law and legislation toprotect children. Similarly, it gives the procedures that Matthewsused to give an answer to Walsh after twenty-five years about whatreally happened to their son.

Thebook “Bring Adam Home” has some thriller element, and focuses ontwo unsympathetic characters: the lead detective and Ottis Toole. Thenarrative of the story is not emotional at first but until half wayinto the book. This is until the author starts narrating Tooleconfessions to the killing that make it emotional for the reader,especially a parent, and give a desire to continue reading the book(Standifordet. al., 2011).The reader also starts to realise the horrifying nature of the crime,giving a solid understanding why investigation took so long and wentastray. Nevertheless, the reader automatically appreciates thedetermination of Walsh and Matthews to continue with the case aftermany years. Indeed, the book is a terrifying, maddening, and triumphsat the end. It explores the injustice and justice that surrounds thekilling of Adam. Standiford and Matthews writes a well-researchedbook with a crime report. It is a reader’s dream with a nightmarefeeling, it portrays remorseless killing, a true crime, and anxietyto wait for justice. The book gives an impressive documentation onhow things can change suddenly, and how a child can easily gomissing. Further, the book gives unwritten rule that a parent shouldnever leave his or her child alone and unattended.


Thebook has incredible writing styles hence making it enjoyed for everyreader. Actually, it is hard to differentiate between Staniford andMatthews writing, but their sceptical voices make the narrativeengaging. A reader feels like he or she is making a seriousconversation with a long-time friend. It is shocking how the authorscame with a conclusion to the investigation, the ultimate evidencerevealed by Matthews after all those years. This might disgust thereader after learning about all the suffering and the violent crimethat Adam underwent. Definitely, Matthews is a great hero and adedicated detector considering all the criminal cases that dealtwith. It is devastating that such a case could take so long to solve.The book is significant in demonstrating how an investigation cantake so long. In addition, the book offers a good lesson to parentsthat they should always take good care of their children. Thechronology of events depicted by two authors rivets the reader.Bringing Adam Home book serves good for any person interested in AdamWalsh case or interested in true crime or child protection. The bookalso has a metaphorical title that evokes a heartbreaking responsefor anyone with idea on the story of Adam. Although the book narratesabout Adam’s abduction and its aftermath, it is different fromother accounts since it does not give Walsh perceptive. In theintroduction part, Standiford says that the story belongs to JoeMatthews.


Boudreaux,M. C., Lord, W. D., &amp Etter, S. E. (2000). Child Abduction: AnOverview of Current and Historical Perspectives.&nbspChildMaltreatment,&nbsp5(1),63-71.

Silberman,C. E. (2008).&nbspCriminalViolence, Criminal Justice&nbsp(p.305). New York: Random house.

Standiford,L., &amp Matthews, J. (2011).&nbspBringingAdam home: The abduction that changed America.Pymble, NSW: HarperCollins e-books.

Weiner,M. H. (2000). International child abduction and the escape fromdomestic violence.&nbspFordhamL. Rev.,&nbsp69,593.