Book Review: Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America

Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America by Les Standiford with Det. Sgt. Joe Matthews is the harrowing true story about the abduction and murder of 6-year-old Adam Walsh in 1981 and its aftermath during a time when there were no children’s faces on milk cartons, no Amber Alerts, no federal databases for crimes against children, and no registration of pedophiles. People allowed their kids to play outdoors unmonitored until dark and didn't have to hold their hands in the mall. Bringing Adam Home is a story that details the story of Adam Walsh's abduction and murder in detail from beginning to end.  It would take 27 years of relentless investigation and determined effort of decorated Miami Beach homicide detective Joe Matthews before Adam's murderer was finally identified and Adam's parents, John and Revé Walsh, could finally rest. This is not only a story of tragedy, but is also an uplifting story of love, faith, hard work, dedication, and triumph and reminds us all that goodness can overshadow evil. I'll guarantee that you won't be able to hold back the tears when reading this book.

The shock of Adam’s murder and the inability of police to find his killer altered parental behavior and due in large part to the efforts of Adam’s parents, John and Revé Walsh, law enforcement transformed its practices to better protect children. Because of this tragedy, the Walsh family founded the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to legislative reform, which later merged with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), where John Walsh serves on the Board of Directors. The Walsh family organized a political campaign to help missing and exploited children and despite bureaucratic and legislative problems, John and Revé's efforts eventually led to the creation of the Missing Children Act of 1982 and the Missing Children's Assistance Act of 1984. Today, Walsh continues to testify before Congress and state legislatures on crime, missing children and victims' rights issues. His latest efforts include lobbying for a Constitutional amendment for victims' rights. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (Pub.L. 109-248) was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on July 27, 2006 following a 2 year journey through the United States Congress and was intensely lobbied for by Walsh and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Primarily, it focuses on a national sex offender registry, tough penalties for not registering as a sex offender following release into society, and access by citizens to state websites that track sex offenders. By the late 1980s, many malls, department stores, supermarkets, and other such retailers adopted what is known as a "Code Adam," a movement first made by Wal Mart stores in the southeastern United States. A "Code Adam" is announced when a child is missing in a store or if a child is found by a store employee or patron. If the child is lost or missing, all doors are to be locked and a store employee is posted at every exit, while a description of the child is generally broadcast over the intercom system. "Code Adam" as a term has become synonymous with a missing child, and is a predecessor to an "Amber Alert," which serves as a system of broadcast-driven community notification.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the cases that inspired me to get my first degree in criminal justice. It is sad, and my heart still hurts when I read about it. What is great, though, is what the Walsh family did with their pain. They have truly made a difference in the country with their foundation and John's work.

    Although I am not happy that Adam was abducted and killed, I am glad that parents are a little more aware and there are now methods of helping to find children in the worst circumstances.

    Let me tell you: When taken seriously a Code Adam being called in a store is a heart-breaking experience. In 1995 I worked at a Wal-Mart where a code Adam was called. At that time all doors were blocked by employees; no one came in or out of the store until the child was found. Every employee stopped what they were doing and started looking for the child. In this case it took 10 minutes to find her. It was a terrifying few minutes that seemed like hours. The child was found safe and happy, I don't remember where. I couldn't imagine if the outcome had been different, though.

    I am definitely putting this book on my wish list. I am fascinated with John Walsh and the good he has brought, even though he had to live through a personal hell to bring us that good.