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Authors: Les Standiford

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Clown drawing signed by Ottis Toole and given to niece Sarah Patterson during a prison visit in December 1995.

Courtesy Joe Matthews

Detail of extortion letter sent to John Walsh by Ottis Toole, October 4, 1988 (see text on page 152).

Hollywood Police Department evidence file

Canal beside the Florida Turnpike near Vero Beach where Adam’s severed head was found.

Hollywood Police Department evidence file

Ottis Toole’s Cadillac (with dented rear bumper) used in the abduction of Adam Walsh.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement evidence file

Aerial view of the turnpike service road west of Vero Beach where Ottis Toole admitted dismembering Adam Walsh.

Hollywood Police Department evidence file

Machete believed to have been used in the dismemberment of Adam Walsh’s body.

Hollywood Police Department evidence file

Luminol enhanced photograph of machete handle indicating presence of blood.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement evidence file

Driver’s-side floorboards of Ottis Toole’s Cadillac.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement evidence file

Luminol enhanced photograph of driver’s floorboards indicating bloody footprints.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement evidence file

Luminol enhanced photograph of Cadillac’s rear floorboard carpeting with imprint of bloodied face. Inset showing outline of face in luminol.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement evidence file

Chapter Four

Through the Boneyard

Q:
I know it’s been four years . . .
A:
Yeah, sometimes I can’t keep it all straight in my mind.
Q:
If I show you some pictures, maybe it’ll help you remember.
A:
Maybe.
Q:
How about this one looking down into the culvert where we found the body. Do you remember stopping and throwing her down into the culvert?
A:
Not really.
Q:
How about this one? It’s a little closer. You can see she’s wearing only orange socks.
A:
Yeah, I remember, now.
Q:
But you don’t remember what you did with the rest of her clothes?
A:
Lots of times I’d just take the clothes and drive a piece and throw them down on the road a little ways from the body. Other times I’d leave them right there. I just don’t remember about this one.
—Ottis Toole to detectives, Jacksonville County Jail, December 28, 1983

Hollywood, Florida—August 13, 1981

T
he day after the news of Adam’s death broke, Hollywood detectives received a report from Dr. Mark Reisner, a psychologist sometimes employed by the Los Angeles Police Department, who offered an unsolicited profile of the type of individual “capable of abducting, murdering and decapitating Adam Walsh.” According to Reisner, who based his report on a match of the known details of the case against data compiled on known psychopathic behavior, Adam’s killer was almost certainly male, somewhere between nineteen and thirty-five, though most probably in his early twenties.

Because such behavior is not generally interracial in nature, Reisner theorized that the perpetrator was either Caucasian or Latin. The nature of the crime also indicated the possession of a “borderline” psychopathic/psychotic personality with a powerful homosexual conflict ultimately expressed in rage and violence. Although the person was very likely a loner, liked by few, he would nonetheless be motivated to brag about the actions he had taken in order to validate his sense of self-worth. However, Reisner said, it was unlikely that he would exhibit any sense of remorse or guilt, or offer a formal confession to the abduction or murder.

The individual would likely have gained little formal education, Reisner noted, and probably came from a lower socioeconomic background, with a work history involving manual labor and jobs requiring minimal skills. Because such an individual would not have progressed in any meaningful social or psychological way himself, he would be likely to identify with and be attracted to children. He might even have sought work that placed him in the company of children, with whom he could more easily develop bonds than with adults, either male or female.

BOOK: Bringing Adam Home
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