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Interview With John Walsh

Aired March 4, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, we'll get an update on the tragic case of Danielle van Dam. What do we know about the neighbor accused of her murder? And how are her parents coping with this terrible loss?

Joining us is John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted." The killing of his own son made him a crusader against crime and the enemy of anyone who preys on children. He's next. Taking calls too on LARRY KING LIVE.

It always a great pleasure to welcome him to this program. We go back a long way before "America's Most Wanted" started, I'll never forget the night John Walsh appeared on our radio show back in those days in Washington to tell us about this program he had based on -- stemming from the loss of his own son. And it's been how many years now?

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Fifteen years. We were Fox's original hit and the first reality show, believe it or not, and we've been on for 15 years.

KING: Your tireless, right? I mean, you never lose your energy to find bad people?

WALSH: You know, it's a passion for me. You know that, and we've talked about it a lot. I believe you have to fight back. And these are tough times since 9/11, but the American public has supported this show, Canadian public. We've caught 696 guys in 30 countries. We've gotten back 23 missing children. So for me, it's -- there's great satisfaction, but the public has been wonderful.

KING: A lot of doubts about it when it started.

WALSH: You know, a lot of law enforcement agencies said, hey...

KING: Didn't like the idea.

WALSH: ... we could never work with a TV show. But surprisingly, the FBI was supportive right out of the gate. They said, you know, this may be the electronic poster, you know, the old posters in the post office.

And the reason I did the show, I had turned down Fox for six months, and the first guy was an escaped child killer. He had raped 17 women, murdered four people, two of them small children, escaped from an Indiana prison. He had been on the loose for almost 14 months. And I said, you know, wouldn't it be something, the father of a murdered child, if I did the show. I didn't know what a pilot was. You know, I wasn't in the TV business. I said, wouldn't it be something if we caught him? The FBI can't catch him.

The first show aired back in February 1988. They caught David James Roberts four days later, from tips from the show. And guess what he was doing? A psychopath serial killer, he was running shelter for the homeless on Staten Island in New York. It was unbelievable. Our first capture and since then we've taken...

KING: I remember one guy you caught was on a quiz show, right?

WALSH: Absolutely. And then he went on Jerry Springer while he was wanted. Absolutely. How weird is that?

KING: Let's discuss, first things first, the Danielle van Dam case. Why did you jump right in on that case, jumped out to befriend them, even at a time when there was some people thinking maybe they were involved? And parents are always the first ones thought of involved, aren't they?

WALSH: Absolutely. And you have to have a dual investigation. I knew the details of the case. I knew the DA's in San Diego. I had worked with Woody Clark (ph), who is a DNA specialist. They went right in, passed the lie detector test. That's something that parents have to do. They were not suspects. People started to look at their lifestyle. But I kept saying, let's focus on Danielle. This is the important thing here. We need to find this little girl. These parents have cooperated with the police, no matter what innuendo, speculation goes around them. And it does about everybody. It's almost every case of a parents of missing children that I've dealt with over the 20 years since Adam was murdered, there's always something, somebody would like to find something to blame it on.

KING: When you were on this program that night with them, you were very encouraging about the chances for Danielle. Were you really feeling that?

WALSH: Well, in my heart of hearts, I know what the justice department said last year. They came out with a survey and they said that the vast majority, almost 99 percent, of stranger-abducted children are dead within the first four hours. And at that point, we knew as each hour went by, and now when we came on the show and you were so gracious to keep this story live. I called you and asked you. I said, we need to keep this story alive, Larry. And you did that. My gut feeling that something horrible had happened to Danielle. But, we've gotten kids back that have been missing for as long as five and six years.

KING: Now, we'll talk about pedophiles in a moment. But one thing true in surveys and studies, pedophiles aren't murderers. I mean, they have the same murder as the other -- the rest of the population. Most pedophiles are weird. They have this perverted interest in children, but they don't kill children. Who is the -- this kind of person who kills?

WALSH: Well, a lot of them escalate to the murder. A lot of pedophiles will start out molesting kids. They'll get caught. They go to jail. They get out and they'll keep molesting. And I've seen lots of letters between pedophiles in prison who say, give each other the tip. If you don't want to get caught the next time and you don't want a witness, kill the child. Kids' bodies are easy to get rid of.

KING: They have no conscience?

WALSH: I've never seen in 15 years of doing "America's Most Wanted", hunting down guys all over the world in 30 countries, drug dealers, serial rapists, all kinds of things, the child killer is the toughest to catch, the most cold and calculating, no conscience, no remorse, the worst.

KING: Before we talk about this specific case again, do we know why a pedophile is a pedophile?

WALSH: It's, you know -- I say this. You can study them, you can cut parts of their brains out, you can look at their genetic background, you can look at their childhood or whatever. But we know one thing, and psychiatrists are starting to say this: This is their sexual preference. You know, some people like blondes and redheads. You know, some people are gay from birth, et cetera, et cetera. Pedophiles' sexual preference is children. They don't know why they do it. It drives them and they are not curable and the psychiatric community says they're dangerous.

KING: In nearly all cases, are they men?

WALSH: Absolutely.

KING: And now, Daniel Westerfield is presumed innocent. And even though there's some DNA and there's obviously, he's been arrested, evidence, we can't assume that he is the person. We have to discuss him in the abstract in that sense...

WALSH: Alleged.

KING: So he is the alleged person, although you have your own beliefs?

WALSH: Well...

KING: You couldn't be on that jury.

WALSH: No, I couldn't be on that jury because right from the beginning, I worked with the San Diego police. She had sold, you know, Girl Scout cookies. He had run into her. He just moved into the neighborhood. He had a couple chance meetings with the mom and the family.

And once they found child pornography on his computer, once the FBI got in there, and there was terrific police work. This didn't happen 20 years ago with Adam. This was the San Diego police working closely with the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Once they found the child pornography on there and we got the tip that he -- his Winnebago had been pulled out in the desert the day she was missing, the Saturday morning, he had taken off.

We got a tip from a truck driver that his Winnebago had been pulled out of the desert and the San Diego police did something very, very smart. They went and got a search warrant and a subpoena and he had taken the bed sheets and linen and his jacket to a dry cleaner. They got it from the dry cleaner. They got the DNA off of his jacket and he became the prime suspect.

KING: He certainly looks up against it.

WALSH: He's really up against it. And, you know what the best thing, Larry, is -- the worst thing for this family and this family was very courageous and really held up throughout this and did the best job they could for their daughter, they always stayed the focus that she was the victim, was that he and his defense attorney, when I saw them at the arraignment before the body was found, I couldn't believe at how cold-blooded he was in the cage. They had him in a bulletproof cage. And his defense attorney was arrogant like defense attorneys can be.

But there was no body. But you know what -- and it was killing the parents, the not knowing. But the DA's office were so brave that they were -- charged him with kidnapping and murder even though they didn't have a body. They felt that strong about the case. And you know what, thank God, the next day they found the body. I think he's toast.

KING: The cop in New York told me last week, a homicide cop, you can get a lot of things going, but if you don't have a body, there's always a sea of doubt.

WALSH: Absolutely, so difficult. But this DA's office has successfully prosecuted four cases without a body and got capital murder convictions. Never in the case of a child, but four other cases. And it's a good DA's office. And now they've got the DNA -- the evidence. They've got a body. It's the end of the story for the van Dams. Now the toughest thing is going to be this trial. The parents of murdered children aren't ready for these trials. Believe me, it's very difficult. And I've been talking to them about that.

KING: Nothing to say, again, Mr. Westerfield is presumed innocent. Aren't pedophiles obviously sick people? I mean, aren't these obviously...

WALSH: Oh, sick in their sexual preference, mentally ill, most of them are not. Most of them are very smart. This guy is very smart. He owns patents on things that he's invented. I've been studying these guys for 20 years since my son was murdered. They caught a group of pedophiles that belonged to NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, who slogan is sex before eight or it's too late. When they caught them, one was a Stanford University professor, one guy had graduated from Harvard, one guy ran a boy's camp, one was a city councilman for Marietta, Ohio. Their sexual preference was little boys.

KING: Our guest is John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted." He's with us for the full hour and we'll be taking your calls. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you plead to the charges in the complaint, guilty or not guilty?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you deny the allegations?




KING: We are back with John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted." With all we know about pedophiles, though, a recent study said there's never been a study.

WALSH: Well, there actually has been a study at Emory University. A doctor, Gene Abele (ph), did a study of pedophiles that he tracked over a 10-year period and they had confessed to or been convicted of about 60,000 molestations, these five other pedophiles.

He learned that they -- when they told them this is our sexual preference, this is our predilection. We know that we can't help ourselves. You should separate us from children. But I haven't come up with the answer other than, in my idea and my opinion is keep them in jail as long as you can. Then there will be less victims.

And we need as a society, to start taking it very, very serious how bad they are. You know, Megan's Law has been great. Now, you know Megan's Law. You and I have talked about this, that when you are a convicted sex offender and you are paroled, now -- you've got two little boys. In the van Dam neighborhood, there was 13 convicted sex offenders in that neighborhood.

But we just caught a guy in El Paso, Texas, out on parole for molesting an 8-year-old girl, only did one year. Kidnapped a 5-year- old girl from a Wal-Mart. He is the alleged murderer. They've got DNA and everything. And how they caught him was he was a registered sex offender. They got a fingerprint off her forehead. He tried to burn her face off to kill any of the DNA. And he was a registered sex offender that lived two miles from her.

KING: So the way you described it earlier, it's impossible to spot one.

WALSH: No, they look like anybody. Come on.

KING: So, there's no telltale mark? WALSH: No. But with Megan's Law, you at least know. I mean, wherever you...

KING: If they had been convicted once, right?

WALSH: They have to be convicted felons, absolutely. You know, and -- but I think once they've crossed that line and hurt a child, you need to know. You've got two little boys. You'd like to know if one guy lived next door to you, wouldn't you?

KING: We are discussing the parents going to the trial. I don't think I could.

WALSH: I don't advise them to. They'll probably subpoena the mom as a witness. She and Danielle had met Westerfield when they sold Girl Scout cookies. She had seen him in a bar previous to that.

But I say that when they get into the prosecution has to talk about the details of the murder, what went on, these are things that haunt parents forever. I suggest if you want to be there for the sentencing, if you want to be at the last day for the wrap-up arguments, go there and look at the jury. Let the jury see how devastated you are. But my advice is you don't want to know those details.

KING: Do we know why a pedophile who may lead a life of not killing then kills?

WALSH: I think they escalate. You know, they get to the point where they know how reprehensible their crimes is, Larry. They are the kinds of guys who never confess. You know, they never get in the cell. They're always in a separated part of the prison. They're in the disordered sex offender wings. They're never down in the general population because the -- they'll get killed. The general population guys, they have kids and they hate pedophiles in prison. They have their own code of honor.

But a lot of times, they escalate to the point where they say, I'm not going back to jail. It's going to be easy to kill this kid. I can get away with it. And literally, there are thousands of missing kids listed with the National Center who have never been found.

KING: Have you ever shown an interest the in the JonBenet Ramsey case?

WALSH: You know, we were asked to do that case a year afterward to try to help the Boulder police, you know, get a couple tips on it. But I think everybody knows that the case was compromised by bad police work in the beginning. I'm not the first one to say that and I'm a great supporter of law enforcement.

I mean, you are a detective and you go to a kidnapping of a high -- prominent family in a very wealthy area, and then, you know, police work 101, you clear the house and you clear the crime scene. She allowed the father and his friend to search the house. So he cuts down JonBenet, who is hanging down there. He compromised the crime scene, whether he had anything to do with it or he had nothing to do with it, he cut down his daughter in the crime scene with the DNA.

KING: So there's nothing you can do to help in a situation...

WALSH: You know, we've talked about it a couple of times because there were 200 people in that house at Christmas parties the day before. And I've found over the years it's never your trusted maid. It's a crack-addicted boyfriend that gets the key and comes in and robs your house. You know, it always someone affiliated in that area. I always hope that we would, you know, get a tip on that case, that someone would come forward. But I truly think because of the police work, that this case will never be solved.

KING: Never be solved. How are the van Dams doing? When did you last talk to them?

WALSH: Well, a couple of days ago. I think right now, I'm glad the media has left them alone. I think they've made the decision not to do anything until the trial. This is a time that they have to hug those two little boys. You know, they have two little boys. This is a time this family needs to be together and say we will survive this and convince those two little boys the horrible thing that happened to their sister won't happen to them.

KING: Are they better off knowing the child is gone, dead?

WALSH: Oh, absolutely.

KING: Missing is worse.

WALSH: Oh, God, the not knowing is the worst. The not knowing -- people -- we are beseeched every week by parents of long-term missing children to revisit the cases. Most of those parents know their children are never coming back. You need somewhere to go and respect that child and to pray for that child. You need some type of closure and resolution to the case. The not knowing is horrible.

KING: Do you -- you get very, I guess, because of what happened to you, personally involved it this, right?

WALSH: Well, I think, and I said to the van Dams, as tough as this is for you, let's focus in on one thing here. We need to go to the national media. We need to go to the Larry Kings, the "Today" shows, the "Good Morning Americas" and we need to get Danielle's name out there. And you've got to remember one thing that I said to both of them, as much of this is a nightmare for you, the real victim is Danielle. And as tough as it for me, I believe you have to fight back.

I went down there. I knew it would bring back terrible memories. I knew I would be thinking about Adam. But it was -- Adam was the victim. And you know what? A lot of things worked together. The DA's office, the FBI, the cops, the volunteers were incredible. It was the volunteers and searchers who found the body. A lot of people helped this family to stay focused. And, you know, when I went down there and I thought about it, every minute I was there, it's Danielle that's out there. It's time to find her. KING: How big an industry is child pornography?

WALSH: Huge. Huge. A lot of it comes through the Netherlands. Bangkok is the child porn, child prostitution, you know, capital of the world. We caught Eric Rosser, the first FBI top-10 pedophile. I asked Louis Freeh, when he resigned, the last director of the FBI, I said, put Eric Rosser on there. He used to play keyboards with John Mellencamp, accused of arrested 10 little girls, making a horrible video of raping an 11-year-old girl and he was selling it on the Internet. And we caught him by a fan who watches "America's Most Wanted" by satellite. He applied to a little girls' school in Bangkok, Thailand. But kids are for sale over there. Child pornography is a huge business. It's on the Internet.

KING: If it's huge, that means there's a huge amount of people interested in it. That's surprising.

WALSH: I was just down in Broward County, Florida with a fugitive squad and I rode with them one night when they took two child molesters and a rapist. And I asked the sergeant there. He says, John, in little Broward County, Florida, we have 900 registered sex offenders and 13 of them are on the predator list. They are the most dangerous. And I said, right here? And he said, right here. It's big business. Child porn is big business.

KING: More with John Walsh and your phone calls as well on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night a very frank and open discussion with Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.


KING: We are back with John Walsh. At least we can thank heavens for some things. The study at the Children's Research Center at the University of New Hampshire find that most pedophiles never really act out on it.

WALSH: Yes, I think they have...

KING: They may rent the pornography, but they don't do anything?

WALSH: Now they exchange it over the Internet. They fantasize about it. But the problem is now -- look at the pedophile priests. I mean, you know, I'm a Catholic. And all of a sudden, the Catholic church is on the griddle now because years ago, pedophile priests were sent to a farm to be rehabilitated and reassigned. They didn't go to jail. If you molested a kid, you would go to jail. If I did, I mean, why shouldn't priests go to jail?

We didn't talk about it. And how do we know they didn't act out on it? I mean, literally, the Catholic church has settled a billion dollars worth of lawsuits over the last 25 years of pedophile priests who did molest children and it didn't make the news.

KING: The Internet has made things easier for the wicked? WALSH: Oh, you know, the Internet is a great tool. I mean, it's incredible, but it has made it much easier because now pedophiles can exchange things anonymously. We have all kinds of pedophiles luring children out. Last year, the FBI has a program called Innocent Images, that they work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The National Center is the cyber-tipline. And they try to teach parents how to talk to their kids.

They successfully prosecuted 80 cases last year of men posing as children, talking in chat rooms saying to -- we caught a man in West Palm Beach, Florida that was a retired Army colonel. He was said to a 13-year-old -- he was posing as a 13-year-old girl. The girl was going through a tough family situation and divorce. He said, my mom and dad are rich. I'll send you a ticket. He was at the West Palm Beach Airport with a loaded .45. He was probably going to take her somewhere and rape her and murder her. The Internet can be a real good tool for these criminals. They know how to use it.

KING: Crime is down though, isn't it?

WALSH: Well, in some aspects...

KING: Violent crime is down.

WALSH: Violent crime, seven or eight percent. I mean, but, you still...

KING: Well, that's a nice chunk.

WALSH: It's a great chunk, but look at the country we live in. I still say, Canada last year had less than 700 homicides. We had about, you know, we almost had 21,000, and...

KING: Well, we like the gun.

WALSH: The gun is part of American way of life. I mean, you know, you have a city that, like New York City, Giuliani did a great job. When he took over as mayor of New York City, in one year, they had 2,400 homicides. And we're a very, very violent country. So a small drop in certain crimes, but several cities have seen tremendous increases in homicide and rape. But overall, crime is down a certain percentage.

KING: Are you still working a lot of missing children?

WALSH: We are working missing children all the time. I mean, that's what we do, you know. You know, that's where our hearts are at on "America's Most Wanted", doing missing children, and we've done...

KING: How many are there in the United States right now?

WALSH: Well, you know, the Justice Department says there's about 300 to 350 really dangerous cases, stranger-abducted missing children every year. Any given year, there's between 250,000 and 300,000 non- custodial parental abductions. We are doing a little girl -- we did a case on Saturday night's show, Samantha Kibalo, who the father got... KING: A 3-year-old, right?

WALSH: Yes, absolutely. The father got custody of her because the mother is mentally deranged and the police think that this girl is in grave harm. And we put her on the show. And she's just one of almost 250,000, 300,000 non-custodial parental abductions. I mean, if you get divorced and you don't get custody of your kids, you don't steal them and run around the country with them to get even with the other parent. That's a missing child.

KING: Do you usually get away with -- I mean, in court, do you usually get away with it because they are inclined to say, well, your still a parent?

WALSH: No. I'll tell you, the FBI has done a great job. Most states and now we have a federal law that makes it a -- it's a felony if you don't have custody of your children and you steal your children. You used to be able to get away with it. Law enforcement used to kind of turn a blind eye and said they're OK when they're with the other parent.

But when the other parent, like we've done on "America's Most Wanted" cases where the other parent is a drug dealer, we did a father who did burglaries while he kept his 3-year-old son in the car, you know, these are not good parents. These are people that need to be hunted down. And they are be hunted down.

KING: There is a plus in the van Dam thing, speaking of hunting down. Hundreds of people did help in the search every day, right?

WALSH: It was an incredible search. And I know that the search team, the volunteers, because cops don't have the resources, Larry. When a child goes missing or somebody goes missing, they don't have the resources to go out and search an area. The van Dam search center and those volunteers in San Diego Beach should be so proud because they systematically started at the home, which you are supposed to, and did a grid search every day, went farther and farther in concentric circles until they got 40 miles out and they found the body. They found the body and ended this case. And the people in San Diego should be commended for supporting this family so well.

KING: Is the Andrea Yates case apples and oranges?

WALSH: Apples and oranges. You know, I mean, you and I talked about Christian Longo, the guy we caught in Mexico from Oregon that killed his two, three and 5-year-old children and his wife just before Christmas and flew to Cancun and was drinking pina coladas and snorkeling. Now that guy should go to hell. He should face the death penalty.

Andrea Yates, a very disturbed woman, had a tremendously long history of mental illness and, you know, killed her own children. This is a very sick woman. Now, I say this: This is someone who probably shouldn't face the death penalty like Christian Longo should, a cold-blooded killer who just didn't want to be married anymore. But I'll tell you what, this woman didn't take her medication, drowned her five children. She should be locked up for the rest of her life because you wouldn't want to know that she got out and somebody said she was cured 20 years from now.

KING: Should she also be studied?

WALSH: She should be studied, absolutely, because she's very seriously mentally ill.

KING: And we could learn.

WALSH: And how did society let this go on? I mean, I feel terrible for her husband, but he knew that his wife was violently ill. Her family knew that she was ill. And someone should have intervened and maybe those kids would have been alive. That's the problem.

KING: The killer of Adam, whatever happened to him?

WALSH: Otis Toole (ph) was a serial killer who was on death row in Florida for many other crimes. I wrote a book about how the Hollywood police blew the case. I mean, they had him as the main suspect. DNA didn't exist back in 1984 when he became the main suspect. They lost his car. I didn't know that for 15 years until the "Miami Herald" and other newspapers opened the files. They had always suspected the Hollywood police had blown the case.

There was a piece of bloody carpet in the back that we could have had tested for DNA. But the Broward County district attorney believes that Otis Toole absolutely killed Adam Walsh. Otis Toole died a horrible death on death row in Florida of cirrhosis and AIDS. And he made a deathbed confession. He said of all the people I hurt and all the people I killed, I'm sort of sorry for killing Adam Walsh. So, you know, I believe he's going to get it in the next life.

KING: And why did he kill him?

WALSH: Pedophile. Always had been a pedophile. Always was a hunter of children. He was a predator, serial killer. And he was Henry Lee Lucas' partner. They went around the country. Lucas was into women. Lucas killed his own mother. He killed Toole's 14-year- old niece, Larry, and they cut her up and drove around the country with her body parts in a Cadillac.

KING: We are going to go to break. And when we come back, we'll be taking your phone calls. One of the missing children case that they are still work on is the 12-year-old, Ashley Marie Pond, disappeared after leaving her Oregon City, Oregon apartment on 8:00 a.m. on January 9 of this year. Police believe foul play is involved. Watch.


WALSH: The search continues tonight for a 12-year-old girl who disappeared in Oregon on January 9. Ashley Pond has not been seen since she left her home in Oregon City that day on her way to school.

Search dogs have repeatedly combed through the woods behind Ashley's apartment building and search teams have covered every inch of a nearby canyon. In Ashley's neighborhood, police are stopping cars asking everyone if they have seen Ashley. But none of these efforts have produced a clue.



KING: We are back with John Walsh. He's the host of "America's Most Wanted." And we are going to now include your phone calls. Boston, hello? Boston?


KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Good evening, Mr. King, Mr. Walsh. Thank you. I am a single mother of a 7-year-old daughter. My apartment and my apartment, my daughter's bedroom is all the way across from the other side of the apartment. And my question is, I know it's a difficult one, what more other than locking my doors and putting sticks in my sliding windows and -- what else can we do to possibly protect our children from this kind of thing happening to us?

KING: Good question.

WALSH: Well, I think there's a lot of things. First of all, you have to open those lines of communication with your kids. You and I have talked about that. Tell them, you know, not to terrify them. I don't believe in paranoia, I believe knowledge is power. That you talk to your kids about the rules of protection. That if they are supposed to get off that bus and come right home, get off. Use the buddy system. You know, walk with a couple of kids from the bus to the house.

Look on the Internet, every -- because of Megan's Law now, every sheriff's department or police department is required to let you know who lives in your neighborhood, what sexual predators live in your neighborhood.

KING: This is true in Boston or...

WALSH: Anywhere -- anywhere in the -- it's a federal law, Megan's Law, named after Megan Kanke (ph), a little girl who was tortured by a pedophile, who lured her into the garage. He lived across the street. He was a violent sex offender, the parents should have known.

Find out who is in your neighborhood. Talk to your children and tell them the rules of protection. And just be street smart. You don't have to be paranoid, just be street smart. And I think, you know, a 7-year-old girl, I think this is a very vulnerable age. If mom can make sure she gets on that bus in the morning or if there are other mothers and they take -- or mothers or dads or whatever, and they take turns making sure the kids get on the bus. That little girl Ashley Pond, we were just talking about, that missing girl -- nobody knew she was missing. Nobody knew that she didn't go to school that day. Whoever grabbed her had a 10-hour head start. Her parents didn't know it until 6:00 at night.

KING: Would you talk to a 7-year-old about being careful?

WALSH: Oh, Absolutely. Kids today, they watch the news. You know how sophisticated -- kids talk to me all the time. They know there's bad guys out there, they know that this happened. They watch the news, they want to know good, solid information. They really do.

KING: Lake Steven, Washington. Hello?

CALLER: Yes, Larry?

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: I'm enjoying your programs. Does Mr. Walsh feel that ever that the pedophiles ever are cured? I know they talk about how they are treated in the prisons, and if not, are they ever really cured?

WALSH: My personal opinion, and I think a growing number of the psychiatric community say this is a sexual predilection. I mean, you liked women your whole life. You've been married multiple times. You're not a pedophile. That's your sexual preference. Pedophiles say it all the time.

Remember the guy in Texas who said, I'm a pedophile, castrate me -- don't let me out. I can't -- it's a compulsion that I can not control. And I don't believe they're cured. I don't have the answer, I say study them. Study everything about them.

KING: We know they are all men. Do we know why?

WALSH: I don't know why. It's like men are serial killers. The only women in all the 20 years I've been doing it was Elaine Warnos from Florida who was brutally raped and battered when she was a child. Raped repeatedly and killed men just out of anger.

KING: And by the way, we know that all serial killers -- save one -- are white.

WALSH: Absolutely.

KING: Are pedophiles mostly white?

WALSH: Mostly white, mostly white, absolutely.

KING: Any reason for that?

WALSH: I don't know. There are black and Asian pedophiles. There are people of all races.

KING: Less percentage wise?

WALSH: Less percentage wise. Most the guys I track on "America's Most Wanted" are white.

KING: When -- it has to be asked. How did you go on after the loss of our boy?

WALSH: I almost didn't. You know, I mean, I was building a $26 million hotel in the Bahamas, which meant nothing to me after Adam was murdered. I lost my company, I lost 30 pounds. My house went into foreclosure. And...

KING: Did your marriage stay together?

WALSH: For that time, yes. And -- very difficult, 80 percent of parents of missing children wind up in divorce. And -- but I think at some point I came to the realization that Adam was the victim. And that the coroner that had Adam's remains, said to me -- I said don't give me any kind of religious lecture here. He says because you look like you are suicidal. You look like you're going to be doubly victimized. And I said don't give me any lecture here.

No clergy men, no rabbi, no priest -- no anyone has been able to console me. I'm lost. I've lost everything. He said, let me tell you something, I believe whatever that higher power is, whether it's Muslim, Jewish, whether it's Catholic, Protestant or whatever, that evil walks on this planet. I say, how do you do these autopsies on these kids and stuff? He says, because I put these guys away. I believe that evil walks on this planet, and that people have a free will. Whoever killed your son, used to use their free will, exercise their free will out of evil and selfishness. And then he said you mounted the largest search ever in the history of a child in the state of Florida.

The FBI back then was opposing the Missing Children's Bill. He said, they have a computer that stores stolen boats, planes and cars. He says, you know something, why don't you go out and do something about it? He says, why don't you make sure that Adam didn't die in vain. He says that would be something, that would be a way to take your life. That was the best advice I ever got.

KING: How long was he missing before he was found?

WALSH: Two weeks. The worst two weeks of my life. Because nobody helped...

KING: Any other siblings?

WALSH: Three more; we have a daughter and two sons. And lucky to have them. Lucky to have them.

KING: How did you find out he was dead?

WALSH: Under the worst circumstances my best friend called me up and said, do you have dental charts of Adam. And I said, what, this is the 14th day of the search. And David Hartman was going to let us on "Good Morning America," remember he was a big star back then? The only guy in television that would let the parents of a missing child on. He made the decision, and I got the phone call in the hotel room that morning. And said -- from my best friend, and he said, do you have dental charts? I said, yes, why? And he says do you have the dentist's name?

He said a decapitated, parts of a little boy that has been decapitated have been found in a canal north of your home and they need dental charts. I said it couldn't be Adam. He says I'm praying it's not Adam. Two hours later they called back and said it was Adam and...

KING: On the phone you got it?


KING: We'll be right back with more of John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted."

Here's another one of the missing children, still missing, 10- year-old Bianca LeBron of Bridgeport, Connecticut.


WALSH (voice-over): 10-year-old Bianca told friends her uncle was taking her to the mall. Friends say they saw Bianca climb into a beat-up van driven by a man who appeared to be in his 20s. But Bianca's family says she doesn't have any uncles. They have no idea who the man is or where he may have taken Bianca.

Take a good look at this sketch. Detectives say they are looking for a young Hispanic male with an unusually large nose. Notice the scratches on the left side of his face. He was driving an older model brown and tan van with chrome trim, similar to this one. If you've seen him or know where Bianca LeBron is, please call our hotline right now.



KING: Back with John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted." Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman, tomorrow night. Berwyn, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Larry, love your show. John, you're my hero. My question is since Mr. Westerfield has not admitted to the crime as yet, what is your theory as to how he entered Danielle's home, went to her second floor bedroom and removed her while her father and two brothers were in the house?

KING: Assuming it was him or whoever. Someone had to do it that way.

WALSH: Assume -- I mean, obviously the DA believes it was him and charged him with murder and... KING: How did the perpetrator do this?

WALSH: Well, the parents noticed when they got up that a -- and their alarm system that a slider in the back of the house, you know, sliding door on the patio because this is a very nice, middle class community. A lot of people don't lock their doors. I mean, I don't want to sound paranoid, but I believe everybody should lock their doors every night before they go to bed, even if they have an alarm system. I think he -- they are predators. They have a lot of patience. They know what they are doing, and police believe that...

KING: That they know they know who's in the house?

WALSH: Absolutely. She came -- you know, he met her when he she was selling Girl Scout cookies and probably became fixated on her. He got up there -- police believe he got up there, got in the house while they were sleeping and they went to her bedroom door at 9:00 in the morning to wake her up because a little friend was there and she was gone.

KING: If the door were locked, he don't get in.

WALSH: He probably wouldn't have tried. You know, I don't want to say that this should haunt them forever. Lots of people leave their doors unlocked in America, et cetera. I think he's not the type of pedophile that would have tried to burglarize the house. I think he was an opportunist, a predator, he got lucky and he got what he wanted. And, you know what, the criminal justice system is going to punish him for it.

KING: You say they meet people in chat rooms. They meet young kids?

WALSH: Oh, this is the big problem these days of these guys posing as other kids. I mean, that little girl we were talking about there in that case, Bianca LeBron, you know, she left school. She's, you know, a fifth grader. She left school and got in a car with a guy. And she told everybody it was her uncle.

I believe that they had probably been talking on the computer, that they had been talking in a chat room and he probably said, hey, you know what, I'll take you to a theme park or I'll take you somewhere and we'll buy video games or whatever it is. But as I mentioned, the FBI caught 80 guys in their Innocent Images sting program last year that were pedophiles working chat rooms on the Internet.

KING: Tampa, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for Mr. Walsh is with the placing of microchips in dogs and cats to help track them when lost, how do you feel about placing microchips in children so with the aid of satellite technology, we could actually help in the finding of missing children?

WALSH: I think it's a brilliant idea. Several years ago, a dentist came to me and said I've seen so many cases in south Florida. He says, I've invented a microchip, but there wasn't the technology, the GPS, the global satellite positioning. And he wanted to put it in his own kids' teeth, but he only had a transmitter that would work for probably a mile or so. I've often said it.

KING: Brilliant idea.

WALSH: It's a brilliant idea. I wish someone would develop it because No. 1, time is crucial when a child is missing and you could locate them by the chip. And even if you weren't lucky enough to locate them, finding the body is crucial for two things, the ending the search of the parents and helping with the prosecution of the case. So I hope that somebody develops that in my lifetime.

KING: What is the Street Smart program?

WALSH: Street Smart program is something we've developed that you can get through "America's Most Wanted." It's an identity kit and we are talking about the Internet. You know, you know Tony Gwynn that was a National League batting champion that used to play for the San Diego Padres.

KING: Just retired.

WALSH: Yes, he just retired. And somebody got ahold of his information, got a hold of his mother's maiden name and they destroyed his credit, got tons of his money through the Internet, bought cars and sold them and virtually bankrupt him by stealing his identity.

It happened to Montel. Montel Williams and I talked about how somebody got ahold of his credit card number. We went to a restaurant somewhere. They emptied his bank accounts. They took a mortgage loan and defaulted on the loan. And, you know, this is an identity kit that lets you know who is looking into your credit report, who maybe is trying to hack into your information on the Internet.

KING: Boy. How do you get it?

WALSH: You can call 1-800-CRIME-TV. You can call "America's Most Wanted" and we'll give you more information about it.

KING: And "America's Most Wanted" also has a Web site. It's called AMW.COM, right?

WALSH: AMW.COM. We get thousands -- I think we average about 15 million hits every 10 days. You can download pictures of fugitives, updates on fugitives, missing children, legislation, safety tips.

KING: Switching now to overseas, how are we doing on our terrorist hunts?

WALSH: Well, I'll tell you, we are on the hunt. I still believe a lot of these guys are in the United States. When we did the martyr video, when they found that old video in Kandahar in the rubble there and they wanted to find out the identity of these five guys, one of them unknown. We got the identity of the fifth guy. And the parents of one of the guys called up and said our son is absolutely mentally ill. We're not amazed that he hasn't been, you know, brainwashed by bin Laden.

I think the United States is realizing that we live in a global community. We're still on the hunt for these. I mean, look at this guy that's responsible for Daniel Pearl's murder over there. I mean, this guy has been operating for years. He kidnapped American tourists and a British tourist, served five years in India and was traded. He was let go when some of his buddies kidnapped an Indian airliner and landed it in Kandahar and he walked right out of an Indian jail. And now he's charged with Daniel Pearl's murder. And we're trying to fight for his extradition. These guys are all over.

KING: And what do you make of that?

WALSH: You know, his wife plead with the Pakistani government not to extradite him. I'm not a vigilante, but if he is responsible for Daniel Pearl's murder, I hope the Pakistani government sends a large message. We extradite fugitives that come to America from other countries. Canada extradites. We have treaties with other countries.

KING: His wife pledged not to extradite?

WALSH: She plead before the courts and said -- but, you know, that he has bragged to the FBI. Now here's a guy that kidnapped people years ago. He's a known terrorist for years. He's an arrogant creep, and he has bragged, and said, even if I am convicted here in Pakistan of Daniel Pearl's murder, I'll be out in four or five years. You know what I'd like to see? His butt on a marshal's plane or an FBI plane right back here in the United States.

KING: As we go to break, another case, which we discussed earlier with John Walsh, the missing Samantha Kibalo. Watch.


WALSH: Police in Suffern, New York are searching for missing 3- year-old Samantha Kibalo. Police say Samantha's mother and Kibalo, who does not have custody, abducted the little girl during a visitation last February.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abduction is not love. You can't love your child if you abduct them.

WALSH: Court appointed officials say Ann Kibalo is unstable and they authorities believe Samantha's life may be in danger. Along with Samantha, Ann may have this rare red-haired Tibetan spaniel. If you've seen them, please call our hotline, 1-800-CRIME-TV.



KING: Before we ask about the serial killer in Vancouver, let's take a call from Citrus Springs, Florida for John Walsh. CALLER: Hello, Mr. Walsh, my daughter Audrey Nearenberg (ph) has been missing for 24 years. And nobody knows what happened to her. Please give me one thing that I can do that hasn't been done already to help...

KING: How old was she when she was taken?

CALLER: Eighteen and 10 months.

KING: Eighteen years old.

CALLER: She'd be 43 now.

KING: You sure it wasn't a runaway?

CALLER: No. It definitely was not a runaway. She just went for a walk around the corner on Flatbush Avenue to get a pack of cigarettes. And never came back.

WALSH: I hate to say this to you. In those days, and still in these days, anyone over 18 years old has the right to run away and cops don't get involved in the case. And you know that as a dad.

So a lot of times they don't even look. Look at Ted Bundy. He was convicted in your old home state, my old home state, of killing 29 women; 27 of those women were either married, had boyfriends, or whatever, but were listed at runaways. Not one of them ran away. Ted Bundy got them.

I would say that after all this time, probably your beautiful daughter was a victim of some type of abduction and she's probably not alive. I don't have an answer for you. I mean, you can put her in the FBI crime information computer. They might be able to match her up. Over these years we've had thousands of Jane Does buried in this country. I know as a dad you'd want to know. And I would say that the best think you could do is go to your local FBI office and say, put her in the NCIC computer.

KING: What's the pig farmer's story?

WALSH: You know, I went to Vancouver, British Columbia three years ago at a request of the local police there and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They had 31 women disappear off the streets of Vancouver.

KING: Most prostitutes?

WALSH: Most of them part-time prostitutes. Not one body found. Not one body part. I went up there and they did something unusual -- they offered a $100,000 reward even though they didn't have a suspect or anybody. I did the show. Four of the women were located. Two had moved to other parts of Canada, two had died of natural causes.

That left 27 women missing. Since that time, the number has gone up to 50 missing women from the Vancouver area. Never one of them found. Now they have charged a pig farmer in Vancouver with the murder of some of these women, believing that he possibly disposed of them by feeding them to the pigs. They feel that they have enough evidence there. Maybe Canada's biggest serial killer in the history of Canada. It's a horrible, bizarre case. I hope they have the right guy. I'm praying they have the right guy.

KING: He fed them to pigs?

WALSH: That's what they suspect, that it's possible that the way he disposed of the bodies, because how do you get rid of 50 women? How do you get rid of those bodies? There's something everywhere. They believe he possibly fed them to the pigs and was a pig farmer. He may be Canada's biggest serial killer ever.

KING: How do you view the weird you see?

WALSH: I see the worst of the worst, but you know what? I see the best of the best of humanity. I still believe that the vast majority people are good, good people. They are sick of the level of violence. "America's Most Wanted" has been on for 15 years and so successful because average people that watch your show and my show care.

They are not vigilantes. They pick up that phone. As tough as it is during the week on a Saturday night we'll hit a home run, get a missing child back, or catch a guy in another country, like Eric Rosser, a pedaphile in Bangkok, Thailand. I think people are just fed up with the level of violence. But I do still believe that the vast majority of people care. And since 9/11 I've never seen the response from the American public.

They have figured out cops and firemen are heroes and paramedics are heroes and they figured out one thing: that we are not isolated, that it can happen to anybody in this country and that it is a worldwide problem.

KING: Where were you on 9/11, by the way?

WALSH: I was in Indiana doing a case of a missing girl. And the FBI said get on a bus. And I was there at ground zero 17 hours later. I was the only media person allowed at ground zero. I had been at the Oklahoma bombing. We were profiling John Doe number 2, who turned out to be Terry Nichols, who got all the fertilizer for McVeigh.

I never saw anything like it. I walked up there, four blocks away and saw all the concrete dust, all the emergency vehicles with the dashboards melted and the steering wheels. When I got there all the firemen got up and said, John, great your here. It was so hot they couldn't start the excavation yet. It was so hot 1,500 degrees.

I said to them, what's going on here? And they said we think there's about 3,000 people in there. We think 340 of our brother firemen are in there, 345, and about 40 cops. And you know, when firemen go down, they have beepers on. When they go horizontal and the beeper tells other firemen where they are. It was completely silent. You could hear the beepers going off in the rubble. It was just absolutely heartbreaking. KING: Always great seeing you, John.

WALSH: Good to see you, Larry.

KING: Nobel man. John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," is their Web site.

Tell you about tomorrow night and an exciting Friday night right after this. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, Lynda Carter is our special guest and Friday night, the cast of "Everybody Loves Raymond." Right now it's time for NEWSNIGHT. Normally it's Aaron Brown hosting in New York, but Aaron is off tonight, and there is his substitute, Fredricka Whitfield. Fredricka, it is all yours.




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