“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” – Joseph Conrad
On July 27th, 1981 Reve Walsh and her six-year-old son Adam went to a Sears department store to buy a lamp. While she browsed, she allowed her child to go watch a group of other kids play a kiosk which was showcasing the Atari 2600 video game system. When she went to retrieve him a few minutes later she discovered him gone. Store personnel informed her that the kids had gotten into a scuffle and a security guard sent all the youngsters out of the store. They had mistakenly thought Adam was with one of the other boys. Adam was now nowhere to be found.
The police had little to go on and suspected Adam’s father John of the kidnapping. They spent a week focusing on this wrong minded angle before a tear filled press conference held by the Walsh’s convinced them that John was innocent. A week after clearing the father, two fisherman found a head floating in a drainage ditch. It was determined to be Adam’s.
The case remained cold for two years until a made for TV movie about Adam’s disappearance prompted convicted murderer Ottis Toole to confess to detectives that he kidnapped, beat and beheaded the child. The police scrambled to piece together evidence to verify the confession. They provided Toole with pictures and other evidence hoping to spark more details, but the transcripts of the confession show that Toole knew little more than what the police shared with him. Toole and his sometime partner in crime Henry Lee Lucas had made a habit of confessing to many murders and police departments who were hungry to close cases had at times fed them information in order to guide their stories. The pair ultimately fessed up to over 100 murders – most of which are assumed to be total fabrications.
The police searched Toole’s car for blood samples, as well as a machete he owned. They also scrambled to find witnesses that could place Toole in the area. With DNA not yet being used to solve crimes, the blood could not be confirmed to be Adam’s and the rest of the evidence was circumstantial. Eventually Toole recanted his confession and the police never formally charged him. As the years passed the machete, the blood stain samples and even car itself was lost or destroyed by the police. Toole died in 1996 supposedly after making a deathbed confession to a family member he had indeed killed Adam. Twelve years later, with no solid evidence added, the police officially deemed Toole as the murderer. John Walsh later revealed that the police had kept Adam’s head in the morgue for 27 years and by officially ruling this case closed, he could now bury his son.
In the decade since then, a new theory has sprung up on the internet and in books that serial killer Jeffery Dahmer committed the kidnapping. He was in the area at the time and drove a similar van to one that several witnesses saw parked outside of the mall where a man and child engaged in a scuffle around the same time as Adam vanished.
Then researchers revealed an even bigger swerve to the case – there is a chance that the skull found in the drainage ditch all those years ago wasn’t even Adam’s. The original identification was based off of Adam’s dental records showing a dental filling in the same spot as that on the skull’s. It was in a lower molar which is a common cavity area for children. A forensic dentist was not asked to come in and verify the find. The files are now gone. Pictures taken of Adam shortly before his death and forensic anthropologist pictures of the head found suggest that the two mouths are not from the same boy. A front tooth that is not yet protruding from the gums in one picture had since erupted and fully set in for the post mortem shot. Dental experts were contacted regarding this and deemed it impossible to have grown out in the time elapsed.
An attempt to cross check the tooth with autopsy reports proved impossible as the medical examiner admitted he never wrote one. All things lead some to conclude that one of the most high profile child abduction cases ever may in fact be still unsolved and at this point looks likes it will never have a resolution that fits the facts.
Adam’s kidnapping led to store’s having the “Code Adam” program to locate children who wander off. His father John went on to host Fox’s America’s Most Wanted for many many years.
In 1863 Nova Scotia was bustling with ships bringing and delivering goods, mail and various other things. Fishing was the lifeblood of those who lived by the shoreline. On the morning of September 8th, two local fisherman were heading to test their luck when they stumbled upon a man who appeared to be surveying the waters from a seated position. When they got closer they realized he was showing the effects of having been outside in the cold Canadian nighttime and far more shocking was that he had bloody stumps at both knees where his legs had recently been sliced off.
The fisherman carried him back to the village. The man seemed to be of right mind but he did not respond to any questions asked of him. When the villagers asked him his name he mumbled something that sounded like “Jerome”, so that is what they dubbed him. His clothes appeared to be made for someone of a higher class, his hair was neatly trimmed and his hands were soft and free of evidence of labor.
The doctor who treated him could tell the amputation was fresh and done by someone with medical skills. He most likely was dropped off by a passing ship, but Jerome continued to remain silent on this or any other matter. A local man who spoke five languages tried to talk to him and still received no response.
Jerome was taken in by the villagers, passed from house to house. Eventually the government began to pay those who were willing to care for him. He never bonded with anyone, spending most of his time crouched next to the warm fire in various houses and letting out a growl if approached. He lived for fifty years like this, finally dying on April 15th, 1912. Over all that time he never revealed any clues as to who he was.
His story is now a local legend in Nova Scotia and the tale is twisted with each retelling.
33-year-old Calvin Jones was dating 23-year-old Sara Tolbert in the summer of 1964. One hot summer day the couple got into a serious argument in Jones’ vehicle, which only ended after Jones grabbed a rubber hose and smacked her with it 15 times. Jones then drove around Philadelphia with her in the car for several hours until he realized she had in fact passed away. He drove himself to a police station and confessed to murdering her.
Jones was an ex-con who had attempted to poison his wife in the past, so it was expected that a strong sentence would be handed down. A medical report then turned the whole case on it’s head. In it, it was revealed that Sara was suffering from sickle-cell anemia and was on the verge of death prior to being beaten. Two different medical examiners determined that Tolbert died from natural causes and the rubber hose injuries were unrelated. The prosecution then had no choice but to remove the murder charge and instead Jones pleaded guilty to assault and battery. The judge noted to Jones how lucky he was that the circumstances fell as they did.
Thank you for reading, I’ll be back soon with more strange cases!