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Interview With John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted"

Aired November 10, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted." He turned a devastating personal loss into one of the most powerful tools in law enforcement. Now nobody hunts down bad guys like him. We'll get his take on the latest developments in the Scott Peterson case and all the news of the day. John Walsh for the hour, with your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
One quick note. Jessica Lynch, much in the news today, front cover of "Time," will be our guest one week from tonight. Jessica Lynch with her family one week from tonight.

We welcome John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted." America fights back, now in its 17th year, host of a syndicated daytime talk show -- I was a guest on that show, had a great time, "The John Walsh Show." That's in its second season. Of course, all this started with the death, the kidnapping and murder of his young son, Adam, in the summer of 1981.

And he just -- that program has just captured its 768th person. Who was it?

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": In our old stomping grounds, Miami Beach, something you and I have in common, Buddy Beavers (ph) was an ex-cop who was an arsonist and killed his own mother in a fire in the house. He's been on the run, and we got a tip that he was in Miami Beach. And the cops chased him. He got away. They kept after him and they found him, and he's capture number 768. He was on Saturday night, and he was captured today. It was a great capture.

KING: It's 768.

WALSH: Unbelievable.

KING: How many convictions?

WALSH: Oh, probably three quarters of them so far. We've got about 29 guys on death row. We've caught people in 31 countries, and we've taken down 15 of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted over the years.

KING: Let's discuss something first really current. Last night, they did the story of Elizabeth Smart.

WALSH: Right.

KING: And as a telemovie on CBS. It had a scene involving you and me... WALSH: Right.

KING: ... in which Ed Smart asks you -- tells you who the suspect is, asks you not to release it. And then they show you on my show releasing it.

WALSH: Right.

KING: Then we later asked Ed Smart about that, and he said that's not true. He was not angry at you.

WALSH: We're good friends. I saw him last week. And I saw Elizabeth in person.

KING: What is the truth?

WALSH: You know what I say about TV movies? Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story, right? And you know, the truth was that Ed and I talked an awful lot, and the police, I think, had Lois convinced that Richard Ricci, who had died in prison, had killed Elizabeth and buried her body in the desert somewhere.

KING: They say that. The police were convinced it was him.

WALSH: And they do. And they were convinced. Ricci was the logical suspect. He had tried to kill a cop. He spent 10 years in jail. He was the handyman. Ed never gave up. Ed and I had a lot of private conversations. And I said to Ed, Give me a reason to keep this case alive. I'd already profiled it on "America's Most Wanted" about five times. And Ed told me about the composite. And he said, Mary Katherine (ph) is absolutely convinced that it's not Richard Ricci, that it was this guy, Emmanuel. So we took a long shot. I was honored to show the composite on your show, and you know, they...

KING: He never said, Don't show it?

WALSH: No. He said, you know -- you know, We've got to keep this case alive. So I showed it...

KING: They had him mad at you.

WALSH: Yes, so -- you know, what is that called, Larry, artistic license? But you know, I think -- I love the Smarts and they're wonderful people. And I think they did this movie and they did their book to show the American public two things: Don't ever give up, don't ever give up miss for your missing child, and the fact that Elizabeth is OK. And all the BS tabloid crap they talk about her running away and stuff -- she was kidnapped at knifepoint. And this girl is doing fine because of her loving family. And you know, we're -- I'm buddies with the Smarts. They're good, good people, you know? And so...

KING: They deserve...

WALSH: Oh, God!

(CROSSTALK) WALSH: The tough thing now, of course, for them is, I think, the big challenge, the second toughest thing in this young girl's life is going to be the trial. It's going to be when they come to trial.

KING: She's going to have to testify.

WALSH: It will be brutal. And I hope that defense attorney is held, you know, in check, and doesn't run roughshod on her. I know the Smarts are prepared mentally. I hope these low-lifes make a deal to spare her from testifying. But if they go to trial -- that second part of her life, the nine months that we're missing, is the worst part of her young life. The trial will be incredible.

KING: They may be prone to make a deal. She wasn't killed. They're not going to go to their deaths.

WALSH: No, but they should make a deal -- if they make a deal, they should accept life without possibility of parole because you know what I say? This guy could get out. He took Elizabeth Smart for nine months. A lot of pedophiles get out and say, You know what? I spent time in jail. The next time, I'm going to kill the kid and I'm going to throw the body away.

KING: But this was religious zealotry, wasn't it?

WALSH: No, it was a psycho. He's a nut case, you know? He just took a little girl. Here's a guy that robbed churches. He robbed people. He was a pedophile. He molested his ex-wife's -- you know, his stepdaughter for years. This guy is just a -- don't put him out as a religious fanatic. He's just a low-life pedophile.

KING: We never like to prejudge cases. Do you have some thoughts on the Laci Peterson matter?

WALSH: You know, Larry, this is John Walsh speaking, not "The John Walsh Show," not "America's Most Wanted," not Larry King, OK? When I talked to Scott Peterson for 45 minutes on the phone -- you know about this -- and I went up to do him, I said, I will help you. I will help you find -- I find the unfindable. I get back people that people have given up on.

I said, Let me ask you two questions. When Adam was kidnapped, my beautiful wife, Reve, and I were brought into the police station, separated and grilled for 17 hours. We did it because we wanted to get Adam back. We took the lie-detector test, and I would have stood in Times Square naked, whatever, took a bullet to trade for my Adam. Your beautiful wife is going to have your son, eight-and-a-half months pregnant. You didn't cooperate with police. You didn't go in and take the lie-detector test. You haven't been at the Laci Peterson search center except one day in all these weeks. I never left the police station for two weeks.

KING: What'd he say?

WALSH: He said to me, I can't handle the stress. I said, You're out playing golf? That's the way you're finding -- going to find your -- you know, your beautiful wife? So I went up there. You know that. He wouldn't talk to me. The cops said, You know what? It's really strange, John. You're the one guy that could help him. And he wouldn't sit down with me. He sat down with one of my producers. I waited in front of his house for six hours.

Now, this is just my personal opinion. A guy that's eight miles from the Mexican border and knows that we don't have an extradition treaty with Mexico, buys a car on an alias, his mother's name, has $3,000 cash in his pocket, dyes his hair blond, and he's got a fake ID. I -- and you know, this is not a forthcoming guy, in my opinion.

KING: Why didn't he drive into Mexico?

WALSH: He didn't make it.


WALSH: Thank God for the U.S. marshals. The Modesto police called the marshals up and said, He's on the lam. He got nailed. That's why he didn't make it to Mexico.

KING: He may be stupid, he may be a cad, but none of this means that he killed her, right?

WALSH: No. Absolutely not. He's "alleged," and all this type of stuff. But you know, when you're saying, I'm going fishing, but your sister-in-law is there that night and you tell her you're going to play golf and she's a witness to that, and then when the cops ask you, What kind of fish you going after -- I mean, if you're a fisherman, you know what you -- there's so many things that don't add up to this case. And my opinion is, he's dirty. He's more than dirty. You'd do anything to get your wife back, wouldn't you?

KING: The Green River serial killer, Gary Leon Ridgway, avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to 48 counts. And I heard a policeman explain why they took that deal.

WALSH: I know why they did.

KING: First, cleared up a lot of cases.

WALSH: I know why they...

KING: And he gave them some they didn't even know that were dead.

WALSH: Absolutely.

KING: And it was probably a smart deal all the way around.

WALSH: Everybody in all the...

KING: And a lot of the victims' families said they got closure.

WALSH: Only -- only -- when they were explained the deal.

KING: Yes.

WALSH: Everybody was up in arms and said, If there's one guy, the all-time record serial killer in the United States deserves to die because he painted every victim as a prostitute. Not true.

KING: Right.

WALSH: He killed 16-year-old girls. He really hurt lots of families. But when it came down to the nitty-gritty, he showed what a coward he was. He said, You know what? I'll tell you where five other women are. I'll show you the bodies. Don't put me to death. You know, these big, tough killers and all this bullshit, excuse my French. He was -- you know, he was bargaining for his life. But he did take those police to those five other bodies.

And I don't know, you're not the parent of a murdered child, but you want to know. You want to know what happened to your child and you want to bury them and you want to have a memorial. And so he traded the death penalty to end the search because the not knowing is what kills you, Larry. So in retrospect, I'd love to see this guy suffer the death penalty. But you know what he did? He ended the search for a lot of parents and families. But you know what? This same question is -- the cops worked long and hard. You know, they finally matched the DNA. But how the hell did this guy get away with 50-plus murders?

KING: What do we know about serial killers?

WALSH: We know they're smart. We know they're cold and calculating. This guy had counter-surveillance. You know, you got -- you can't take these guys lightly. I mean, he actually reveled in it. He put the bodies in groups. He was a necrophiliac. He had sex with some of the women after they were dead. He put them in groups in certain areas so that he could drive by there and that was his landmark and all that type of stuff.

But I think law enforcement still does it. They discount women that are prostitutes and say, Well, maybe they ran off, or whatever. I mean, look at what happened in Vancouver. They found these two brothers at the pig farm that kidnapped -- they took 50 women and killed 50 women. I mean, they've killed more women than this guy did, but they're in Canada. You know, he's smart. He had all the police scanners. He could listen to what they were coming to him. He would listen to where they were going to...


KING: And the hard thing is, no motive.

WALSH: No motive. You know, they should have put it together. I'm not a critic of cops. I mean, it doesn't matter, the motive. He just didn't like -- you know, he couldn't get along with women and...

KING: And he was so nondescript.

WALSH: Oh, but you know what? Serial killers look like anybody, just like pedophiles. Look in the news. You know, we got the school teacher in New York that was just arrested at the private school. We had 800 pedophile priests in the last 10 years. We got rabbis that were arrested, stuff like this. People got to get over this thing that the serial killer looks like the hunchback of Notre Dame. He looks just like your next-door neighbor.

KING: We'll get a break. We'll be back with more with John Walsh, get some interesting cases he's currently looking into it, and take your phone calls, as well. Don't go away.


WALSH: This's a hero named Mary Katherine Smart, a 9-year-old girl who witnessed the kidnapping of her big sister, someone she looked up to. In the middle of the night, a coward came into this loving home and took her sister at knifepoint. And she thought and she thought and she worried and she worried, and she said one day, You know what, Dad? I think it was that other handyman named Emmanuel. I think that's who I saw that night, Dad. That's who we need to talk to. That's who we need to find. That's what started the ball rolling, that little 9-year-old hero.





WALSH: Police are going door-to-door searching for a young girl abducted from her bedroom in the middle of the night. When 9-year-old Cecilia's Zhang's (ph) parents went to wake her on Monday, October 20, they found her bed empty.

Cecilia Zhang has black hair with blond highlights. She's an accomplished piano player and loves to read. If you have any information that could help bring Cecilia home safely, please give our hotline a call right now.


KING: The obvious question. Why aren't all the cable shows doing shows on Cecilia Zhang?

WALSH: Well, first of all...

KING: I mean, the similarity to Elizabeth Smart?

WALSH: Oh, it is so...

KING: Why not? So why isn't this a story?

WALSH: It is so eerie. Toronto. She's in Canada, No. 1. I don't care whether she's in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Pittsburgh or Chicago, they should -- it should be the top of the news. Taken out of a very upscale middle-class family, just like Elizabeth Smart was. Very similar similarities. And she's been missing for 20 days. It should be a national story.

KING: Any suspect?

WALSH: Here is the thing that they suspected initially, that there are a lot of Asian gangs in Toronto and on the west coast of Canada who take people for ransom. Now, I've never within involved in a ransom case of a missing child. That's not something most pedophiles or child abductors or molesters do. And the theory was that this Asian family was not involved in anything wrong, but just this Asian gang took her for ransom.

And then an Amber Alert went out in Toronto and kind of changed the whole game. So I'm praying that that rumor is wrong, that somebody has her alive, like Elizabeth Smart was, and that we get that tip on this show, tip on "America's Most Wanted."

We don't tape the calls or trace the calls. No cops answer my phone. That's how I've caught all these over 700 guys. I don't let the cops answer the phone. The FBI wants me -- years ago, wanted me to tap and trace the calls. I said, Absolutely not. You know why people call "America's Most Wanted"? They can remain anonymous. They want to. They don't want to call the police.

This little girl is in grave, grave danger, and I am praying that somebody'll make that call. They could call you.

KING: Is it a big show in Toronto? Is it a big story?

WALSH: Oh, it's a big, huge case in Canada. It's a huge case in Canada. But you can drive across that border into Buffalo, New York. You've done it. You know what it is. That little girl could be anywhere.

KING: Are there any women you're looking for?

WALSH: Oh, you know...

KING: Or guys.

WALSH: You know something? There's this couple. I want to look at this. I'll show you there. Have you got this couple up there? It's John Stoneman (ph), and he's with this Patricia Kelly (ph), OK?

KING: Now, let's show that. That was going to be in our next break. Let's show it now.

WALSH: I don't -- you want to talk about women, OK?

KING: All right, John -- let's show John Stoneman.

WALSH: I want this guy.

KING: Do we have it?

WALSH: There they are.


WALSH: ... local teenagers to work on their farm, then videotaped them in the bathroom behind a secret two-way mirror. And when cops raided his house, they found evidence of an even more revolting crime. On the tapes, cops say, the couple was seen with a 4-year-old girl who suffers from spina bifida. Police say they'd been hired to take care of her. Instead, they raped her.

If you know where they are, please call 1-800-CRIME-TV right now.


KING: Now, there's a lady you're looking for.

WALSH: This may be the most disgusting couple I've ever done on "America's Most Wanted." They're paid to take care of handicapped kids. Here's a 4-year-old girl with spina bifida, and that low-life on the video, that woman, videotaped him raping and sodomizing that 4- year-old girl. And they watched that video, and the cops caught it in their house. And they're out there, and I don't know why we haven't caught them, but that's a woman that needs to be hunted down. And that dog that she's married to needs to be hunted down, too.

KING: Now, they would seem catchable.

WALSH: I would have thought we would have nailed them the first night, but you know...

KING: How long have they been looking for them?

WALSH: We've been looking for them for about three weeks. And I thought we'd nail them the first -- you know, they're not mobsters. They're not involved with the Russian mafia or they're not involved -- I don't think they have the resources. I don't know why -- maybe they went to Mexico. But I'll tell you what. They're on the top of my scumbag list.

KING: What's the longest case that still out?

WALSH: God! Oh...

KING: How many years go -- is there someone you've looked for for years?

WALSH: Oh, yes. Whitey Bulger. You know, his brother was president of the Massachusetts Senate and just resigned as the...

KING: Oh, yes, yes.

WALSH: You know, Whitey Bulger.

KING: Is he still missing?

WALSH: Absolutely. He's been -- the FBI has been looking for him, I think, 20 years now. This guy was paid to be an FBI informant. He was paid to be a hit man for the Mafia. He had the Irish gang there in Boston. Went out and killed Italian mobsters for other mob factions, killed many of his own Irish gang and got paid by the FBI to squeal on all of them. And now he's taken off. I can't catch this guy, Larry! He's a fascinating guy, but he's been out there for almost 20 years.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more. We'll be including your calls at the bottom of the hour for the extraordinary John Walsh. Don't go away.


WALSH: You went to prison. Tell me why.

JAKE GOLDENFLAME, SAYS HE IS A RECOVERING CHILD MOLESTER: I was convicted of molesting my daughter. When she disclosed it to her mother, her mother confronted me. I admitted it, went to prison for it. That's it.

WALSH: How old was this girl when you molested her?

GOLDENFLAME: I'm sorry to say that my daughter was 3 years old when I first molester her.

WALSH: How in the hell can someone have sex with a 3-year-old girl? On top of it, your own daughter. How? How is it physically possible? Without throwing up.




WALSH: It was a typical summer block party on Cleveland's east side. Everyone was having a great time, including 11-year-old Shakira Johnson. But that evening, Shakira took a walk and never came back. Now police, her community and her family are racing to find out what happened to her.

ALISSA RANDLE, SHAKIRA'S MOTHER: Whoever got her, I wish they would please just, you know, release your heart and let my baby go. You know, please do.

WALSH: Shakira was last seen wearing a white shirt, blue pants and blue tennis shoes. She has hazel eyes and goes by the nickname Kira.


KING: And she was murdered, right?

WALSH: Found her little body and haven't arrested anybody, have a sexual offender in the neighborhood that they suspect. But we never -- you know, we got about eight tips that didn't pan out. I mean, it's a horrible, horrible case. I mean, this little girl was just walking from a block party and...


KING: ... when you report on something like this, you don't know who you're looking for.

WALSH: Don't have a clue.

KING: Don't have an idea.

WALSH: Don't have a clue. But you know, we've broken so many cases where we never even had a suspect. Somebody calls up and does the right thing. I think it's my weird cousin, Harold. I think it's whoever, you know? And that's the way you break these cases.

KING: Let's look at another case of interest that Walsh is involved with, and this is the San Bernardino arsonists. Watch.


WALSH: The first wildfire broke out here, in San Bernardino County. Arson investigators say they know exactly where the firestorm started.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A witness had saw a suspect throwing a flaming device from the side of the road into the brush here, which caught fire.

WALSH: The witness actually saw two men and got a good enough look at one of them to help cops create this sketch. The other man, the one who threw the burning object, is described as a thin white male in his early to mid-20s, with short blond hair. The charges are up from arson to murder because four people have died of heart attacks as a result of the fire.


KING: It's going to be a tough catch?

WALSH: Tough catch. You know, the people who spotted these two guys thought it was weird enough to stop -- good citizens -- to stop and to look at them and saw the guy throw the flammable, whatever object it was, purposely onto that hillside. Now, we don't know -- you know, we've had firefighters start fires in Virginia. Twenty of them started a fire so they could get jobs. We had that woman who was a smoke jumper. But we also have lots of arsonists that do it and people who do it out of revenge. Whatever reason they did this for, those two guys need to be brought in. Now, the number of deaths are up to 20. You know that.

KING: Yes.

WALSH: And hundreds of thousands of homes -- I mean, I think 6,000 homes and millions of dollars. But the bottom line is, if those two guys started that -- that was the greatest natural disaster in California history. And if those two guys started it, they need to be caught. Somebody's going to recognize that composite.

KING: Who starts fires?

WALSH: Arsonists.

KING: But are they -- do we know the psychological...

WALSH: Absolutely. Guys that started fires when they were 9 years old, later got...


KING: ... for profit.

WALSH: No, they started out -- they go and watch the fires. They love it.

KING: They go and watch the fire they started.

WALSH: Lots of firemen have been caught starting fires because...

KING: Some call in and report it, right?

WALSH: Absolutely, and...

KING: Firemen are -- some firemen are arsonists.

WALSH: They caught eight firefighters in Virginia, started a huge fire there because they wanted a job. But lots of firemen start fires because they absolutely love the thrill. Lots of arsonists do it because it's a sickness, it's an illness. It's a -- you know, and they do it so they can watch the devastation. But those guys are wanted for murder.

KING: How did you get that predator on the show?

WALSH: Get that composite?

KING: No, the one we had before, the predator that you had. You had on a guy who raped his own daughter.

WALSH: Oh, on "The John Walsh Show."


WALSH: On the daytime. I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention.

KING: I'm going back because we just saw that.

WALSH: Yes, yes, yes.

KING: How the hell did you get him?

WALSH: Well, because, you know, I believe the American public should see that this is the guy next door. Now, here's a guy that was convicted of raping his own 3-year-old daughter. On my show, he admitted it. And he's admitted to the parole board that he got away with raping at least 3,000 children, that he was the cunning, smart, manipulator that he is. And he came on my show to try to BS me and say, Well, I'm on probation, but you know, I believe in Megan's law because people should know when sex offenders are in the neighborhood.

I want to believe he's cured, Larry, but in my heart, I don't believe any sex offender is cured. Once you've molested a thousand kids, that's your sexual preference.

KING: Are you surprised you got him?

WALSH: I was surprised that he had the nerve to came on my show because I had to stand in the audience, otherwise I would have gone down and choked him in front of millions of people, and I had to maintain my composure, which was the toughest thing. But I did it for all the parents out there, who are thinking, you know, pedophiles, you can tell. Oh, they're the hunchback of Notre Dame with a trenchcoat under the bridge. Look at that guy, molested his own daughter, OK?

But you know what was pretty -- it -- the point was to let the public know that these guys are good at it. They manipulate kids. They target them, and they get away with it. He only got caught for one kid, but admitted to 1,000 others.

KING: What is operation ICE?

WALSH: Oh, I love this! Now, you know, Tom Ridge consolidated customs and immigration. And he started Immigration Customs Enforcement. And for years, I've been trying to get the FBI and the marshals to go out and hunt down sexual predators that have been convicted in state, county, local and federal jails and are released, that are illegal aliens. Nobody cares about these guys. These are guys that are in the United States illegally, from any country in the world, that molest or rape our women and get out and don't go back. The condition of their release is they go back.

So Tom Ridge -- we had a press conference July 9, and he said, I'm going to start Project ICE. We're going to go out and target sexual predators. Larry...

KING: What does it stand for?

WALSH: Immigration Customs Enforcement, the ICE team. They go out -- they've caught 1,087 predators, guys that were convicted of rape or sexual assault of children that were released from prisons in the United States and didn't leave the country. Incredible.

KING: Well, why weren't they escorted out of the country?

WALSH: Because they let them out of the jail door and say, You're supposed to go back to Nicaragua or Russia or Puerto Rico or wherever you're supposed to...

KING: You mean, they trusted them...


WALSH: ... to another country. Who's going to enforce it? Who's been enforcing it? The marshals are up to their head looking for dangerous fugitives. The FBI is...

KING: Didn't even know there was a problem of illegal aliens that are predators.

WALSH: I had no concept. When I had the press conference with Tom Ridge, I went there to support him and say this is a great idea. Hunt these guys down because they're not leaving the country. You can imagine -- and these are guys who deal in international sexual tourism. They have tours that go to Thailand and Costa Rica to have sex with children. They import child prostitutes here and provide child prostitutes for pedophiles in the United States. Nobody ever put that white-hot spotlight on them, except the ICE team.

KING: We're going to take a break, come back and go to your phone calls for John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted," and his own syndicated daily show, "The John Walsh Show." We'll be right back.


WALSH: You know, it used to be you'd hardly ever see anyone down here along the U.S. and Mexican border. But not anymore. Since 9/11, this is the hottest front line in our country's defense. Tonight we're riding with Homeland Security as they patrol this part of our country. It's still the Wild West out here, and you can get into a shootout any time.




WALSH: Searching for missing children is the most important work we do on our program. And I'm so proud that the Florida Marlins believe it's important, too.

The Marlins belong to the Picture Them Home program, which is sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. So far, the program has brought home 39 kids.

Right now, we'd like to bring home a few more. So, please, look closely at the pictures of missing children we're about to show you. And I hope someone out there recognizes each and every one of them and that we can reunite these kids with their parents tonight.


KING: That was Heaven Ross (ph) up there. The Marlins do that, huh?

WALSH: You know something? They're the only Major League Baseball team -- God bless them...

KING: World champions.

WALSH: World champions, and you -- I rooted for them. I was allowed to throw the ball out that day with my son, Hayden, my 9-year- old beautiful son, my wife was there. I said to the Marlins, God bless you. Because they assisted in the recovery of 39 kids by...


WALSH: On the Jumbotron all during the game. Is that incredible? What a way. If they're on national TV up there, they'll air those pictures.

KING: Why don't you get more ball clubs to do that?

WALSH: I'm trying to. Look at the Marlins. God was with the Marlins for showing pictures of missing children. That's why they won the World Series.

KING: Someone called in -- before we go to calls -- and wanted to know, Is there anything to look for? Like, in your family somewhere, for a pedophile? Any signs that would tell you this is a pedophile?

WALSH: I would say, number one, talk to your kids. Number one, communicate with your children. And if you see any type of anger, withdrawal, different types of -- there's a lot of markers for that. And then you can talk to your kids.

But get them to believe you, that you will do something. If it is Uncle Bill, or the priest, or the rabbi, pedophiles are great at manipulating kids and terrifying kids. So the first thing is talk to the kids, so that they will tell you and you'll do something about it.

But it's so hard to spot them. I mean, look at the Catholic Church. I'm Catholic, you know? And they come on -- 800 pedophile priests in 10 years? Finally they decide to go after them and start arresting and stuff? Why didn't they identify them 10 years ago, five years ago, 15 years ago? It's hard to spot them.

KING: Not easy.

WALSH: Not easy. But your kids are a great indicator.

KING: Let's go to...

WALSH: Tell your kids you believe them.

KING: Let's go to calls for John Walsh. The "America's Most Wanted" now in its 17th season. Just caught its 768th person. And he hosts the syndicated "John Walsh Show," now in its second year.

Little Rock, Arkansas, hello.

CALLER: I would like to ask Mr. Walsh... KING: Hello?

CALLER: I would like to ask Mr. Walsh at what point during the investigation of Adam's murder did he realize that the police were concealing information regarding that investigation and their own incompetence?

WALSH: Wow, that's a great question.

I supported the Hollywood Police for 15 years.

KING: Hollywood, Florida.

WALSH: Hollywood, Florida. I said, Let them do their job. I had FBI agents tell me that the Hollywood police were incompetent. I had other police agencies say, Look, we don't like to talk about brother cops messing up.

And I fought the opening of Adam's file. Three newspapers spent a lot of money to try to get Adam's files open. And in that -- after 15 years, when they opened those files, I found out that the lead suspect, who was never charged, Otis Toole, who died in prison, a pedophile, a killer who was on death row in Florida -- he was the main suspect.

The Hollywood police had lost a bloody piece of carpet cut out of the back of his car where he said he decapitated Adam. They could not find the carpet. There was no DNA back then. But if we had the carpet now, I would have known for sure whether that was Adam. It was the biggest heartbreak after all that time to find out the police had botched the case.

KING: Did you ever get to see him, the killer?

WALSH: I never saw Toole. Toole wrote me the most disgusting letter, trying to extort $5,000 from me and said, "I decapitated Adam. I will tell you where the rest of his body is buried. I hate the cops. I'll tell you. You send me $5,000."

But in that letter, he described what he did to Adam before he killed him. And when the police asked me to read the letter, I read it, and I went back in the bathroom and puked and I never wanted to see him. But I want to get justice for Adam.

KING: Did he die in jail?

WALSH: He died in jail. His throat (ph) -- I never -- we never have gotten justice for Adam. We never found out whether he did it or he didn't do it.

KING: Tyler, Texas, hello.

CALLER: For John Walsh, you are an inspiration to everyone who ever faced adversity.

And my question is, Are you aware of investigation details on the woman missing from the college that Scott Peterson attended?

WALSH: Yes....

KING: The old case..


WALSH: They did -- unfortunately, they -- you know, they tried to link him to that missing case -- that missing woman back in college.

I'll tell you what the strange thing about that is. They never found out what happened to that woman. They never have arrested anybody.

KING: Never found her?

WALSH: Never found her.

But the strangest thing is, way back then, when Scott Peterson was a college student, he refused to cooperate with police.

Now, they've cleared him. But what kind of an attitude is that? You're a college kid. The cops are looking for a beautiful college co-ed. I have a beautiful daughter in college, Megan (ph). If she was missing, I would want every guy that knew her, every friend to cooperate with police. What kind of attitude is that?

KING: Tampa, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for John Walsh is, education is a powerful tool. Do you feel the school systems, businesses and local churches and communities have done enough to educate not only adults and children as far as protecting those predators that only do it on the real streets, but also on the Internet?

WALSH: What a wonderful, wonderful question. Because I do believe knowledge is power, and education is the way to cut down the crimes on children.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, with their big Web site,, has all the safety things, about Internet pedophiles, about what you should talk to your children about.

But I believe it should be on every school curriculum. I know you would feel better, when your little boys go to a regular school, that they got child protection, safety information.

For example, we got it in every school in Palm Beach County. And Palm Beach said, We don't really have sexual exploitation of children. They had 87 kids report in the first six months. Those kids got help. Those kids got taken out of that horrible situation at home, or whatever they were going through and they got help through the schools. I think it should be mandatory on every school curriculum.

And I think -- you know what? -- we would save a lot of kids before they were victimized. That was a great question.

KING: St. Paul, Minnesota, for John Walsh, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I love your show

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: John, I've got a quick comment and a question.

First of all, thank you for all of your very hard work. I know Adam is looking down at you and is so proud of you.

WALSH: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is, regarding the Elizabeth Smart story, do you feel the Utah police dropped the ball too soon and what, if anything, that all of the police departments have learned from this case?

WALSH: I think that the Salt Lake City Police learned a big lesson. And that lesson is never to give up. Don't assume what seems to be the most apparent situation.

They didn't have Elizabeth, they didn't have a body. They had a good suspect. I don't deny that he was a logical character. But, you know what I think police agencies all over the country realize one thing from this case? Don't close the file until it's really closed. Don't ever give up. Don't assume that you think you've figured this case out.

And, you know, they -- I don't want to say that they dropped the ball, but you know what I think they sort of made a conclusion, gave up a little bit too son.

KING: Oshawa, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Hi, John. I live just east of Toronto, where Cecilia Jane (ph) went missing. And as the single mother of an 8-year-old daughter, I just want to say that your show has been so valuable in teaching me safety tips, to the point where I'm not afraid to go out at night because I talk to my daughter after watching your show.

And my question is, Would you consider doing a special "America's Most Wanted" for small children? Because your nighttime version, the material is too scary for small children. I know my daughter loves learning about the tips from your show.

KING: What a great idea.

WALSH: A terrific idea. I did it years ago on Fox, Maybe 10 years, someone had the guts -- it was Lucy Salheini (ph) was the president of Fox, first woman to ever run a network. She let me do a primetime special. And I had Queen Latifah and Jason Priestley and a lot of Fox stars

KING: That kids can watch? WALSH: Yes, that kids could watch. It was nominated for an Emmy. And it's way overdue time to do that again. What a great idea. What a wonderful idea.

KING: Halifax, Nova Scotia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, John Walsh. You do wonderful work. My question to...

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, John Walsh.

KING: Yes, he heard you. Go ahead.

WALSH: How are you?

CALLER: Good, thank you.

In just wanted to know, in relation to the Elizabeth Smart case, on the movie it was portrayed that at one point she went into a washroom, and wrote on a bathroom wall that "Elizabeth Smart was here." I wondered if it was ever reported anywhere that anybody had seen that. At that point her parents would have known that she was still alive.

WALSH: I really think -- Larry and I were talking about this off camera -- I think they took dramatic license. I think...

KING: That never happened?

WALSH: No, I don't think it ever happened.

KING: Or someone may have thought it was...

WALSH: Or somebody did or somebody put it on there.

But I will say one thing -- and I want to say this about the Smarts, and all the speculation and innuendo. And people say, Why didn't Elizabeth tell people who she was or run away? When you're 15 years old and you're kidnapped at knifepoint and the scumbag that's got you says, I got in your house. You tell anybody who you are, I'll kill your sister and I'll kill your whole family.

And when she was -- they were stopped by the police in San Diego and he talked his way out of it, when he was caught in that church and spent four days in jail and Wanda Barzee, his wife, kept Elizabeth chained to her side, two times the cops confronted them with Elizabeth, and she's sitting there praying, scared to death. And the guy gets away with it. That completely destroyed her belief that anybody was going to save her.

So you know what? I say that little girl kept herself alive, and did the heroic thing by not telling anybody and waiting until she was saved. Unless you walked in the shoes of that girl, nobody has a right to say she could have run away at any time. KING: Ottawa, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Hi, John.

I just want to say what an honor it is to speak to you. And I know I'm supposed to ask you a question. But the impact of your son Adam's movie has made such a difference in my life, even to this day. And my question is, Has the rest of your children wanted to follow in your footsteps?

WALSH: Well, I am really blessed. Larry and I talk about it. I mean, we have a beautiful daughter who's a senior in college. We have an 18-year-old son, Callahan, who's a freshman. And we have this beautiful 9-year-old son.

And I believe that they saved my life. I mean, you know, having other children...

KING: OK, after Adam.

WALSH: After Adam. Meagan was born a year after Adam was murdered. I think I probably would have slipped through the cracks like lots of victims do, lots of parents of murdered children slip through the cracks. But we are very blessed to have those children.

And yes, you know what, all of the kids have said, you know what, dad, we like to continue, yours and mom's work. Mom was the one who started the national center out of our garage, my wife did. Now it's a building in Washington, six story with five branches out of her trying to help people from our garage after Adam's murder.

So, I think, I don't know if my kids ever want to get in this business. It's a tough, nasty, very depressing business. But you know what, every now and then you hit a home run. And when I talked to Ed Smart and called him, and he says, I'm about to go in, and meet Elizabeth, he was in the Sandy, Utah police department, and my staff had gotten through to him. And Ed Smart said, you know what John, you never gave up. And he said, I'm going to go and put my arms around my daughter. I haven't seen her yet. She's here. She's alive. And he say, this is a good one. This is for Adam. I could have walked on the ceiling of that room.

KING: Sacramento, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Yes, I totally agree with you, Mr. Walsh, about her not speaking out at the different times. But my question for you is, it was reported over and over again that when she was apprehended, when her abductors were apprehended by the police, and she was questioned, she said to them, I'm not that Elizabeth Smart girl. And I'm wondering why you think she said that? Maybe perhaps to tip them off?

WALSH: No, I absolutely know why. Because they separated Wanda Barzee and Brian David Mitchell, and they were in the front of that little Kinko's in Sandy, Utah. And they had Elizabeth. And I interviewed the cop and he said, I could see her heart beating through her chest, she was so afraid.

She only told them who she was when they got to the police department and they separated Brian David Mitchell. She was so terrified.

No, that's not what happened. They separated her. Got her down in the police station. When she finally felt that she was safe, finally that she wasn't going to be released back to this guy, and that he wasn't going to walk out of that police station with her and he was going to get free like he did the other two times, did she finally admit it. I know why, she was scared to death.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more calls for John Walsh. Don't go away.


WALSH: Serial peeping tom, low-life named William Joseph Green, secretly videotaped Debra's four young daughters beginning in 1998. Debra has never seen that chilling video. But she said she's ready to see it for the first time today.

And Debra, I think you and your daughters are very courageous, because this video voyeurism legislation is only in a few states. We need it in every single state. It should be a crime. It should be a felony.




WALSH: This Black Hawk helicopter belongs to Ice (ph). We're about 300 feet above the desert. And I got to say, this is a great way to spot a bad guy on the run.

Now police in Oklahoma are up in choppers too and they're trying to spot an accused killer. Right now, you can join the chase and make sure he doesn't get away with it.

Ice (ph) agents risk their lives every day. And they know that a shoot-out could start up at any time. The guys you are about to see also know what it's like to shoot it out with a bad guy.


KING: John Walsh, who walks where others fear to tread.

North Bay, Ontario, hello.

CALLER: Hi, John. I'm calling, on all of your shows on "America's Most Wanted," which case was the one that -- I know all of them, you want to get all the fugitives, but on one case specific, which one would you really wanted to capture this person? WALSH: Well, good question. You know, if it was up to me, "America's Most Wanted" would be unwatchable. I would only do the child molesters, I'd only do the child killers, I'd only do the rapists. So they're the ones that are always high on my list.

But, you know, in order to make it watchable, I have to do the bank robbers and I have to do all the different types of fugitives, because it would just be too difficult.

But they're always highest on my list. And that couple that I mentioned earlier, I mean, how could they do this to a 4-year-old. Come on. They're right on the top of my list.

KING: Nashville, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hello, John Walsh. I want to tell you you're a very big hero of mine. In that, you're such a nice man and I really hope that you enjoy doing your work, because we enjoy watching you.

WALSH: Thank you.

CALLER: My question for you is that, can you tell me where Adam was kidnapped at?

WALSH: He was kidnapped from a Sears store in the Hollywood Mall. His mom took him into the store, and video games were brand-new in 1981, and we called him the little gentleman. He said, mom, can I watch these older boys play this video game here. Two black boys, two teenagers, and two white boys playing against each other.

She went two aisles away. We did not know for 15 years, that Sears did not pay full-time benefits for security people. Part-time girl, 17 years old, untrained, security guard that just had an abortion on medication, came upon an argument and said, you white boys out this door, assuming that Adam was with those boys, black boys out this door and she disappeared.

Revay (ph) came back two minutes later, Adam was out in the parking lot. A lot of people believe tool was looking for little boys. He loved little blond boys that had missing teeth. He was outside crying, my wife never knew it. Adam never had a chance. No one told her he that he was ordered out of the store.

KING: It was a white guy, right?

WALSH: They believe it was a white guy. 99 percent of the child kidnappers and pedophiles and serial killers are white men.

KING: New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: I'd like to say hello to you, Mr. King, and to you, Mr. Walsh. WALSH: Thank you.


CALLER: My question is, well, first of all, I'd like to say that, I don't believe our politicians priorities are in the top -- in the right place.

WALSH: Boy, you got that right.

CALLER: Because like I don't understand why on every station that it isn't a law that children and pedophiles and bank robbers and people aren't shown constantly on every station. So that people are aware of them.

KING: We discussed once a crime network.

WALSH: I thought it was a good idea. You know, in relation to what she said, why did it take six years to get the Amber Alert passed as a national law. I went up to Capitol Hill. I testified before Congress 57 times.

Since President Bush signed it, he gave his word to me, face to face, to my wife and I, if the Amber Alert makes it through Congress, I will sign it. The Smarts were there. We brought, I think, seven kids that were recovered by the Amber Alert.

Why didn't politicians think for six years that it was important enough to use the emergency broadcasting system, radio and TV stations that warn us of hurricanes, tornadoes, to put up the Amber alerts.

100 kids have been recovered since President Bush signed this. This lady hits it right on the nose. There should be -- I mean, we've got every cable channel -- you know, some day there will be the hubcap channel. A 24-hour crime channel.

KING: We'll be back with many more moments and more calls for John Walsh. Don't go away.


WALSH: A little girl in New Jersey named Megan Kanke (ph), I think she was 4-years-old, was dragged into the garage by her neighbor across the street using the old, would you like to see my new puppy trick. He tortured her, he cut her up, he raped her and murdered her. And Megan's law now says that in every state, a convicted sex offender must register within 24 hours, and that everybody in society, everybody here has the right to go to their sheriff, their chief of police, state police and say, who lives in my neighborhood. Good law?

GOLDENFLAME: Absolutely.

WALSH: Boy, you're the first pedophile I ever heard say that.

GOLDENFLAME: Well, I think this, first it protects the public from us. Secondly, it also protects us from ourselves by reminding us, every time we go in to register who we were so we don't have to become it again.


KING: Get some more calls in. New London, Connecticut, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. My question, John, you just seem so compassionate about the work you do. And my question is, some of the criminals that you profile seem to have such a disregard for life and so heartless and ruthless. Do you ever fear for your safety when you broadcast them?

KING: Good question.

WALSH: You know, I've had the bodyguards for years. I've had the death threats. The FBI killed a guy in Denver that swore he was going to kill me; they shot him 17 times. I think it comes with the turf. I think you have to keep focused on the fact that judges get threats, cops get threats, DAs get threats. Sometimes they get to you. But you know what, you know, I just -- it's my way of dealing with it, it's my way of fighting back. It's my way of using the media, which is phenomenal.

KING: You're doing it for Adam, right?

WALSH: Absolutely I'm doing it for Adam. He didn't have a chance, you know.

KING: San Francisco, hello. San Francisco.

CALLER: Oh, yes, hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

WALSH: Hi there.

CALLER: Mr. Walsh?

WALSH: Yes, ma'am.

CALLER: Oh, first of all, I do want to say that I admire you so much for what you're doing. And I feel very blessed to speak with you. My son is missing, and has been since June. And I thought maybe you could give me a couple of suggestions what I might do I haven't already done.

KING: How old is he? How old is he?

CALLER: Well, he's 40. But I know that's not up your alley.

WALSH: That's OK.

CALLER: And I think there's something very wrong going on. I've called -- I got a fax from him, from this hospital. A car had hit him and damaged him very badly. He had been in five hospitals.

KING: We're running short on time. CALLER: In and out. But now, this particular place where he is, they will not give any information out.

KING: What should she do?

WALSH: I'll tell you several things. She should go down to her local police department and ask the cops to do her a favor, because adults can run away and we're a society that -- Chandra Levy, nobody would have known who she was, because there is 5,000 missing women in the FBI computer. They would only knew who Chandra Levy is because she had an affair with Gary Condit.

I would also make sure that the local police department puts him in the national crime information computer, because he might be deceased and he could be in a morgue somewhere. So don't give up. Don't give up. And go on the Internet. And go down and talk to your local cops and say, do me a favor, I'm a caring mother. Check the NCIC.

KING: One more call. Berwyn, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Hello, John, I have a question I would love to get your opinion on. I've seen bits and pieces of news about a either team of serial killers, or one serial killer who's killed nearly 100 women across the border from Texas, in Mexico. And it seems like nothing is being done.

KING: We only have a minute left.

WALSH: Horrible case. Not 100, 300 women missing in the last seven years, in Juarez, Mexico. All kind of poor women who work at one factory, walk through to these different homes, et cetera. The Juarez police believe that it is a team of serial killers, at least two guys. It doesn't make big news on our side of the border, because they're poor Mexican women; 300 women missing in the last eight or nine years. It should be an international cases. And the Mexican police and the Mexican families should be asking everybody in the media on the other side of the border to get involved in this case. But these guys are going to set the all-time record. Nobody has found any of these 300 women.

KING: Do you ever lose your relentless?

WALSH: You know what? You know what? I see the worst of society. Yes, I do. But I see the best. I see those people who call on Saturday night. Every now and then we hit a home run. We get Elizabeth Smart back. It's great.

KING: You're a great man, John Walsh.

WALSH: Thank you.

KING: John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" and the syndicated daytime show, "The John Walsh Show."

And I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night's program. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, a tribute to Johnny Cash. Roseanne Cash, his daughter, will be here. So will Dwight Yoakam and Glenn Campbell and Travis Tritt. All tomorrow night. And next Monday, Jessica Lynch and her family.


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