Parent Trap

There was a time when parents allowed their children to explore the world relatively unsupervised. Kids could ride bikes to school alone or hang out at video arcades for hours on end. Then came the Adam Walsh story AKA every parent’s worst nightmare. In 1981, the six-year-old boy, whose image of missing front teeth and a red baseball cap is forever etched in our minds, was snatched from a South Florida Sears and never seen alive again. His abduction and murder changed the way the nation watched its children and the way police investigated missing kids. It also changed the life of Joe Matthews, a former Miami Beach cop brought in to help solve the case just weeks after Adam was taken. His involvement lasted 27 years until Hollywood police finally closed the case in 2008, satisfied that Ottis Toole — who had died 12 years earlier — was responsible. Just as John Walsh turned his son’s murder into the longest and most successful campaign for missing-child reform in history, Matthews kept at the case while most others tried to forget it. Les Standiford, South Florida’s version of a utility writer (he can write about almost anything successfully), teamed with Matthews to pen the definitive story of the Walsh case in Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America. Standiford and Matthews will be at Books & Books on Sunday.
Sun., March 6, 6 p.m., 2011

 
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