The murder of 6-year-old Adam Walsh in 1981 has captivated the country for decades.
The child's severed head was found more than 100 miles from his home, but his body never was found. The details of the murder and who the murderer is have been shrouded in mystery.
Now, a true crime author has a new theory: Adam Walsh might not have been killed.
The common belief about what happened to Adam is that he was killed by serial killer Ottis Toole, who confessed to the murder on his prison deathbed. But author Arthur Jay Harris has been investigating the case for years and has come up with a few theories about what happened, including the theory that infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was the culprit.
Due to irregularities with the official records regarding Adam's autopsy, dental records and other documents, Harris is wondering if the severed head was actually that of another child.
Harris dished on the theory in an interview with Uproxx:
The medical examiner who made the ID announced it quickly after the child was found, as if it wasn’t much of a disputed issue. It was based on a comparison of Adam’s dental chart, showing a molar with a filling on the cheek side, to the mouth of the found child. That and a visual ID at the morgue by a family friend of the Walshes. Remember, there was no torso so there were no fingerprints, and in 1981 forensic DNA matching wasn’t available.
Harris added that a great deal of documents simply weren't there:
Here’s what should be in the medical examiner’s files: A copy of Adam’s dental chart; Adam’s dental X-rays and X-rays of the mouth of the found child; a forensic dental consultation report, affirming the ID; and a completed, signed autopsy report narrative, since an autopsy was performed. Here’s what’s in the Adam Walsh case medical examiner’s office files: None of that.
This led Harris to believe there's a possibility that Adam was never found. And although it's unlikely, it's even possible that he's alive.
Adam's father John Walsh, who created “America's Most Wanted” after his son's death, has said he doesn't believe the evidence put forth by Harris that Dahmer killed his son, according to The Washington Post. As for Harris' latest theory, Walsh hasn't commented.