Feburary 26, 2007.
I write this date because the status of America's Most Wanted changes almost daily.
The story of how John Walsh began the most successful show to capture criminals begins with his son, Adam Walsh. Adam Walsh disappeared from a Sears department store on July 27, 1981.
Have you ever been at a department store when they lock the doors and put out a "Code Adam". This is why. As many already know, Adam Walsh was found murdered.
The Walsh family's story helped the world to know about child predators after two made- for- tv- movies were made about them, "Adam" in 1983, and "Adam: His Song Continues in 1986. The network that aired them ran a list of missing childeren after each movie that helped find 65 kids.
The Walshes created the Adam Walsh child resource center which was later combined with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children- which they co-founderd in 1984.
The first capture:
On Februrary 7, 1988 the first episode of America's Most Wanted aired, within days David James Roberts, an FBI Ten Most Wanted fugitive was caught. Roberts, a convicted killer, escaped from prison in 1968 and after twenty years on the run was captured by a viewer who saw America's Most Wanted.
This helped to establish the show as a sucess and ensured its continuation.
The fastest capture:
It took 29 minutes after their segment aired to capture Jack and Mona Volagres . They were wanted for the murder of Mona's daughter Saleana.
Since then, there have been 918 fugitives captured in 31 countries- an average of about 48 a year.
Cases on the show have included Elizabeth Smart, Andrew Cuanan, and the Texas Seven.
AMW is tied with 48 Hours as the 8th longest running prime time network show ever, behind 60 Minutes, Monday Night Football, The Wonderful World of Disney, 20/20, The Ed Sullivan Show, Gunsmoke, and the Red Skelton Comedy Hour.
Adam Walsh's killer has yet to be found.
copywrite Stephanie A. Smith, 2007