In 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh was abducted from a Sears department in Hollywood, Fla. A little over two weeks later, the boy’s remains were found over a hundred miles from his home. This tragedy launched the boy’s father, John Walsh, onto a course that would result in a national campaign to bring missing children home and to protect society’s most vulnerable members, while turning into into one of the most recognizable men in America.
Famous for hosting the iconic America’s Most Wanted series on Fox for 23 years, Walsh has become an advocate for victims of violence across the country and currently hosts CNN’s The Hunt.
At a dinner in Washington, D.C. co-hosted by Michael Kosmides, proprietor of CITIES, and Janet Donovan, editor in chief of Hollywood on the Potomac, Walsh discussed his newest venture: being the spokesperson for The Justice Network.
Headed by CEO Steve Schiffman (formerly of the Washington Post) and director of programming John Ford (former president of National Geographic channels), the network airs crime and justice related programming targeted towards women 25-54. Initially, Walsh wasn’t sold on the idea of picking up another gig, but then Schiffman made a suggestion: let’s show the picture of victims.
“Seventy percent of missing kids are found by pictures, in newspapers. USA Today shows pictures of missing kids every week. I looked at it yesterday. People magazine shows a page of missing kids every month, but not my media,” Walsh told attendees. “Not the television media. I said, ‘Okay Steve, here’s the deal. There’s tons of parents of missing children who have… the not knowing is the worst… have probably given up hope. Let’s show pictures of missing children, not once a day, but every hour on the hour.’”
And since then, the network has seen incredible results.
“I want to tell you that after being on the air for only eight months, and this completely exceeds my own personal expectations, we have located twenty-five missing children and have returned them to their families... Twenty-seven,” said Schiffman. “On ‘Fugitives’ we have featured hundreds of fugitives and we have apprehended… thirty-five fugitives that have been featured over the last eight months.”
For his part, Walsh has no intention of slowing down his crusade to bring justice to the injured and the wronged and he has faith that the American people will join him.
“I’m currently working on a piece of legislation that’s stuck in all the bullshit of congress. Do something about it,” said Walsh. “Whether it’s on CNN or FOX, here’s what you do. Don’t be a vigilante. Go to my website. Make that phone call and help me take a dangerous fugitive off the streets and let the criminal justice system be okay.”