Did Jeffrey Dahmer Kill John Walsh's Son Adam?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer may have had another high profile victim -- the 6-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh.

Adam Walsh was kidnapped and murdered in Florida in 1981, sparking a nationwide debate over missing children. His killer was never positively found. It's what got his father involved in searching for fugitives.  

However, a drifter named Ottis Toole has been generally regarded as Adam's killer, although he was never charged. He died in prison in 1996 after being convicted of another murder, then confessing to several more. He denied killing Adam.

But now an investigation by the Miami Herald points to Dahmer as the possible killer. The paper interviewed several witnesses, shining a new light on what it calls overlooked evidence that points to Dahmer, who was briefly questioned by police at the time, but later disregarded as the culprit.

One woman featured in the article claims to have been at a mall in 1981 and says she saw Adam, as well as a suspicious man whom she later suspected to be his kidnapper. When she was shown a picture last year of Dahmer, Janice Santamassino immediately believed it was the same man she saw that day.

"Once I saw that picture of Dahmer, I said, 'That's him,'" Santamassino said. "That's who I saw."

She claims to have seen a blue van, which may have matched a description of one driven by Dahmer at the time outside the mall where Adam was taken. Santamassino also told the paper she saw the man whom she now suspects was Dahmer in the arcade where Walsh was playing.

Shortly after these encounters, the boy was gone.

She was never interviewed by police at the time, despite having called them. She says she did so in 1981, and again in 1996, after she called in to "America's Most Wanted."

The article also looks into statements by other witnesses that investigators dismissed for various reasons. Jennie Warren, who also saw Adam and his possible kidnapper at the mall, says police never followed up with her after failing to identify Toole as the man she saw.

"I wish my mind could take a picture, because it would be him: Dahmer," she told the Herald.

Dahmer was convicted in 1992 of murdering more than a dozen men, whom he raped, beat, dismembered and tortured. He was beaten to death in prison two years later.