EXCLUSIVE: Callahan Walsh is determined to help families in need after his parents endured their own personal tragedy.
In 1981, his brother Adam Walsh was abducted from a Hollywood, Fla. shopping mall. The 6-year-old’s head was discovered two weeks later. His other remains were never found.
The horrific murder compelled patriarch John Walsh to become a victim’s rights advocate. He instituted the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center. He also co-founded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Then in 1988, the now-75-year-old launched a TV show titled “America’s Most Wanted,” where viewers were told about crimes in the hopes of leading to an arrest. The series, which aired for 25 seasons before its cancellation in 2011, helped capture more than 1,100 criminals – including 17 on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. It also aided in reuniting 43 missing children with their families.
“I grew up in a family that celebrated Adam’s life,” Walsh, 36, told Fox News. “I knew his favorite sports and movies. We celebrated his birthday. But at the same time, I watched my parents channel their anger over what happened to Adam, to make sure that Adam didn’t die in vain. They co-founded the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a place where I work today. It’s sort of my day job. It’s an organization that’s helped recover over 350,000 missing children.”
“I grew up with my parents saying that if Adam’s song is to continue, then we must do the singing,” Walsh shared. “And I’m trying to do that every day as a child advocate. I want to help get families the justice they deserve.”
After “America’s Most Wanted” was canceled, it was briefly picked up by Lifetime. The series is now being revived with Elizabeth Vargas as its new host. John released a statement in January stating that capturing criminals and finding missing children was his life’s work and he was excited about and in support of the show’s revival.
From 2019 until 2020, he served as executive producer for “In Pursuit with John Walsh.” In August 2020, James Meese, who was convicted of raping two Michigan children, was arrested by federal agents in California where he had been hiding out. The 71-year-old’s arrest came months after the show profiled his case in March.
As for Walsh, he’s hosting his own streaming special on discovery+ titled “In Pursuit: The Missing,” where he actively investigates two mysterious disappearances while showcasing additional unsolved missing person cases from across the country.