These two names only have one thing in common, they were serial killers. Henry Lee Lucas and his crime partner Ottis Toole would confess to more than 600 murders though, mostly for the attention it got him. However, I promised to discuss some more conspiracy theories and this ties into the D&R series.
My idea for an organized ring of Serial Killers in D&R came from Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole. Lucas made no such claim, but there has always been speculation about the number of serial killers not caught because Lucas and Toole confessed to the murders. In some cases, their confessions were dismissed outright because it was easily proven that he wasn’t the killer, this was especially true of a claim made by Lucas that turned out to be a victim of another well known serial killer – John Wayne Gacy.
On the face of it, serial killers going free because of Lucas and toole’s propensity to confess to murders he didn’t commit sounds a bit preposterous. However, the theory was put forth originally by the most well known Victims’ Advocate in the US, John Walsh – host of America’s Most Wanted. Toole confessed to the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh in the 1980s. John Walsh never bought the confession and believed it was just another fabrication of Lucas’s. And it very well might have been because the 1990s would bring a rather shocking serial killer to light.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin seems like an unlikely place to find a cannibal. However, that is exactly where Jeffrey Dahmer was living when he was arrested for multiple murders as well as kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, felonous imprisonment, and a whole host of other crimes related to his penchant for imprisoning men he brought home so he could torture and murder them. It’s important to note, Dahmer only admitted to cannibalizing pieces of two victims and said they were rather flavorless. Also while police found tons of evidence in Dahmer’s apartment to convict him of murder, they didn’t find a lot of evidence to support that he was a tried and true cannibal.
Now, we return to John Walsh and the abduction of Adam Walsh. Walsh lived in Hollywood, Florida. The same city as Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer was in his late teens by the time Adam Walsh was abducted, but John Walsh has speculated that Dahmer began his killings in Florida while still a teenager. There is some evidence to support the theory. Dahmer wouldn’t have a victim preference yet and he was known to be a prolific torturer of animals by then. He also didn’t live that far from where Adam Walsh disappeared.
The reason Dahmer got away with his crimes in Milwaukee for so long is because he was pretty adept by the time he started them. He’d obviously had some practice. However, he was also very smart. He was more like Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader than Henry Lee Lucas whose IQ was just barely over 70. Dahmer was actually above the national average in IQ points, I believe it was 140 or so (average is 120). So while on the face of it, it appears that the disappearance of Adam Walsh was solved, immediately following Dahmer’s capture, John Walsh began to tell Adam’s story again, because he thought a fledgling serial killer in the guise of Jeffrey Dahmer was a better suspect than the serial confessor Henry Lee Lucas. Especially considering, Walsh never believed Lucas was guilty of Adam’s disappearance and murder.
Dahmer’s proximity to Adam’s disappearance wasn’t the only reason John Walsh thought he was a better suspect than Toole. Toole didn’t have a history of mutilating his victims. Molesting them, yes. But Adam’s death was confirmed by the fact that his head was found in a canal. If Toole killed him, it is the only time he ever removed the head of his victim. On the other hand, one of the more horrifying things police found in Dahmer’s apartment was that he liked to cut off his victims’ heads. Toole wasn’t convicted for the murder of Adam Walsh for a number of reasons and he later recanted his confession to Adam Walsh’s murder, which is par for the course with Toole and Lucas.
Some investigators have theorized that Lucas actually murdered Adam Walsh and Toole was his accomplice. However, like Toole, Lucas didn’t have a habit of severing heads and it is highly unlikely that either Lucas or Toole were involved in the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh. That statement can be made with more certainty than saying Jeffrey Dahmer wasn’t involved in the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh. Also, Dahmer was just 21 when Walsh went missing and was found murdered. That would be a prime time for Dahmer to start learning the skills he would later put to use in Milwaukee.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will ever know the truth, as the only person that knew it was murdered in prison in 1994. Of course, that won’t stop speculation and it makes sense that Adam Walsh was one of Dahmer’s first victims. Despite not being the right age, as often gets pointed out, Dahmer wouldn’t have perfected his victimology by 21, nor would he have perfected his killing methods. The abduction and murder of someone like Adam Walsh a child he could have easily controlled would make sense as a close to starting point for Dahmer’s later killings. And there’s that pesky head thing. I know I keep coming back to it, but removing a victim’s’ head is a very specific thing. For starters, it’s hard to do, despite how the movies make it look, it is a lot of hard work. That’s why more killers don’t remove the heads of their victims.
In this case, I’m inclined to agree with John Walsh. I have actually written several sociology and abnormal psychology papers on Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole and when I first learned the details of the Adam Walsh murder, it didn’t fit with either serial killer. After researching Dahmer for Cannibal Dreams, I learned more about what he liked and then one day I suddenly remembered it sounded like the murder of Adam Walsh. I tucked it away for future reference and only in the last year have I learned that John Walsh suspects Dahmer was actually the murderer of his son.