Walsh family deserves credit

Published 10:40 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

There can be no more difficult circumstance for a family to go through than to have their child kidnapped and brutally murdered.

No parents know that better than John and Reve Walsh, whose son Adam was killed in Florida in 1981. Authorities have confirmed their son was murdered by a serial killer who died in prison more than 10 years ago.

But John Walsh became an icon in the area of missing children and other heinous crimes with the television program, “America’s Most Wanted,” which he hosted.

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Walsh founded the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and was one of the activists who brought about change in police work, legislation and security at schools and stores.

‘‘In 1981, when a child disappeared, you couldn’t enter information about a child into the FBI database. You could enter information about stolen cars, stolen guns but not stolen children,’’ Ernie Allen, president of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told the Associated Press. ‘‘Those things have all changed.’’

There is no question that a good many missing children have been returned safely to their families because of the efforts of the Walsh family. Every parent has a debt of gratitude to them for creating an environment in America that is more protective of the most vulnerable among us.

And while the murderer, Ottis Toole, was believed to have been Adam Walsh’s killer for years, there’s the hope that the recent confirmation can bring some bit of closure for this family who has given so much and had so much taken away.