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I'm the man who kidnapped, raped, murdered, and cut up Adam Walsh. I really love to rape and kill, and I'm awfully good at it, maybe the best in the business.
~ Toole in a letter.
Ottis Toole (March 5, 1947 - September 15, 1996) was an American serial killer who was arrested for multiple charges in arson, cannibalism, necrophilia, and murder. One of his most infamous crimes was kidnapping, raping and murdering six-year old Adam Walsh, which led his father, John Walsh, to help establish the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as create the television show America's Most Wanted, which as of March of 2013, helped capture 1,202 criminals.

Henry Lee Lucas, a fellow serial killer, was his lover and partner-in-crime. Like Lucas, Toole made confessions to various murders and crimes that he later recanted, but which resulted in murder convictions. For his crimes, Toole received two death sentences, but on appeal they were commuted to life imprisonment.

Ottis Toole is also known for being a pyrophile, having a fetish for fire. He later died in prison while serving six charges of murder.

The murder of Adam Walsh

Toole perpetrated his most infamous crime on the afternoon of July 27, 1981. 6-year old Adam Walsh had been out shopping with his mother, Revé Walsh, at the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida. The two were in Sears and Adam was left with a group of boys at an Atari video game display while Revé went to look at lamps. After the boys got into a scuffle over whose turn it was to play on the console, a store manager forced them all - including Adam - to leave the store. Too shy to explain that he wasn't part of the scuffle, Adam left the store and wandered into the parking lot. It was there that Toole encountered the boy by sheer happenstance and lured him into his car with toys and candy.


Adam Walsh.

Though Adam went willingly with Toole, he soon began crying and asked to go home. Toole said he then punched him in the face. Adam started crying more, and according to Toole, he began to "wallop" Walsh, knocking him out. Toole eventually pulled over in a rural area and raped Adam for two hours, then decapitated him with a machete. He drove around for several days with Adam's head, forgot about it, and, upon rediscovering it, tossed it into a nearby canal. He then took the rest of Adam's body and incinerated it in an old refrigerator. Adam's severed head was discovered in the same canal a month later 130 miles from Hollywood, Florida.

Toole was never charged in Adam's case, although he provided seemingly accurate descriptions as to how he committed the crime. Several witnesses also placed him in the Hollywood area in the days leading up to Adam's disappearance. He was officially confirmed as Adam's killer in 2008.

Other confirmed victims

  • George Sonnenberg, 64
  • Ada Johnson, 19
  • Patricia Webb, 24
  • Ellen Holman, 31
  • David Schallart, 18
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