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On a riveting, heartbreaking episode of After Hours AM/The Criminal Code — True Crime Wednesdays with hosts Joel Sturgis, Eric Olsen, and secret weapon, forensic psychologist Dr. Clarissa Cole — we talk with legendary criminal investigator and retired Miami Beach Detective Sergeant Joe Matthews, who solved the Adam Walsh murder cold case and dozens of others. He is the co-author of Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America. We speak with Joe at 10pE; at 9pE, Clarissa leads us through the week’s most interesting and bizarre True Crime news.

Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America

Bringing Adam Home:The Abduction That Changed America, co-written with Les Standiford, begins with Adam’s abduction and ends with the Hollywood, Florida PD closing the case 27 years later. Essentially, the Hollywood PD had all the information they needed to implicate serial killer Ottis Toole in the murder. However, the lead investigator on the case, who only had three years experience on the police force, strongly believed that a Walsh family friend was the culprit. It seemed as if this lead detective did everything in his power to disprove the fact that Toole was the killer including not processing evidence, such as photographs of the inside of Toole’s car where he reportedly murdered Adam and kept his body parts. Joe Matthews was involved in the case from the very beginning, as he was hired by the Hollywood PD to be a polygrapher. However, he was dismissed early on when he started questioning the methods of the police. Later, after John Walsh had risen to fame, he and Matthews crossed paths again and Matthews was finally allowed to do the investigation the way it should have been done in the first place.

The evidence against Toole was strong. First, Ottis Toole often admitted to the crime both to family members, friends, and the police. He did recant once, however this is very common especially after a confession to the authorities where the perpetrator knows exactly what punishment they’re facing. Ottis Toole went on to say that he didn’t mean to recant and he recounted details about the murder that only the murderer would know. Additionally, there were actually witnesses that saw Toole and his very specific car at the scene of the crime on the day that it happened. There was a lot of blood evidence inside of Otis Toole’s car that the police inexplicably lost. But the nail in the coffin was a photograph that was taken of the back seat floorboard of the car. The photo was of a bloody face print that was left on the carpet by Adam’s severed head. Incidentally, before the photographs were found by Matthews, unprocessed in police evidence, Ottis Toole had admitted to putting Adams severed head on the back floorboard of his vehicle and transporting it to where it was discarded and eventually found. Were it not for Matthews dogged resolve, the case would likely still be open and cold.

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Joe Matthews

Joe Matthews is a retired Miami Beach Detective Sergeant, public speaker, and criminal investigator and analyst specializing in cold case homicides. He analyzes court and police case files, reports, evidence, depositions, recorded interviews and statements for case irregularities. He directs stalled investigations by generating crime scene hypothesis and motives to identify suspects for case resolution. Joe is also accepted as an expert witness in state and U.S. Federal Court as it relates to investigative procedures, investigative interviewing and interrogation, criminal investigative standard procedures and policies of homicide investigations.

Career Criminal Investigator

  • Supervised and conducted over 1,000 death investigations during 29 year police career as Detective Sergeant, Supervisor-in-Charge of Homicide, Sex Crimes and Chief Polygraph Examiner for the City of Miami Beach (Florida) Police Department. Supervisor in Charge of Miami Beach Police SWAT Team.
  • Twelve years on-screen Senior Criminal Investigator for Fox Broadcasting America’s Most Wanted.
  • Twelve years on-screen sews contributor, analyst, and criminal investigator for Fox News Channel.
  • Obtained confessions and convictions of numerous high-profile cases that include:
        • Abused, neglected and torture murder of “Baby Lollipop”
        • Rape and murder of socialite Emilia Marko (10 year-old cold case investigation)
        • German National, murderer Dieter Riechmann
        • Serial murderer of South Beach, Bobby Chayne
        • Serial rapist Jeffrey A. Weekley – admitted committing over 1,000 rapes throughout the U.S.
        • Serial rapist Richard Trinchela – admitted extorting sex and raping elderly women
        • Serial rapist William Morales, admitted “Golf Course Rapist”
        • Drug-sting murder of Miami Beach undercover police detective Scott Rakow

Adam Walsh Kidnapping and Murder Investigation:

At the request of John and Reve Walsh and with the approval of the Hollywood, Florida Police Chief Chad Wagner, a case file analysis and cold case investigation of the kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh was conducted. As a result of a 2-year, 9-month investigation, compelling key evidence was discovered after having been overlooked for over 25 years. Previously unknown witnesses were identified and interviewed, successful corroboration of witness statements that were originally unfounded, proved beyond any doubt that Ottis Toole was solely responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh.  After being credited for solving the case it was officially closed by the Hollywood Police Department and the Broward County State Attorney’s Office during a National News Conference on December 16, 2008.

As the criminal investigation languished, the Walshes vowed to change the system. They lobbied Congress to pass the Missing Children Act in 1982, which created a national database at the FBI on missing children. They founded the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children; and in 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which created a national sex offender registry.

Television and Media Appearances

Fox Broadcasting Company:  America’s Most Wanted

On-screen investigator. Assisted Law Enforcement investigating missing persons, unsolved homicides, and cold case homicides throughout the United States.

      • Credited for conducting an independent investigation and solving AMW’s first cold case homicide, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of four University of Lock Haven, PA football players for the drug related kidnapping and premeditated murder of Jason McMann.
      • Credited for conducting an independent investigation and obtaining vital information presented to authorities for criminal indictments in the Erie, PA Pizza Delivery Collar Bomb Bank Robbery Homicide.

Fox News Channel:

On-screen news contributor, analyst and investigator of criminal cases which include:

      • Washington, DC area sniper homicides.
      • Laci Peterson homicide investigation. (Modesto, CA)
      • Lori Hacking homicide investigation. (Salt Lake City, UT)
      • Elizabeth Smart kidnapping & police investigation. (Salt Lake City, UT)
      • College student Imette St. Guillen’s ritualistic torture, rape, and murder investigation. (New York, NY)
      • Natalie Holloway, missing tourist and suspected homicide victim investigation. (Aruba)
      • Anna Nicole Smith and her son Daniel’s death investigation. (Hollywood, FL / Bahamas)
      • Police Sergeant Drew Peterson’s wife, Stacy and ex-wife Kathleen Savio’s murder investigation. (Bolingbrook, IL)

Fox News Channel:  Happening Now with Jon Scott and Jenna Lee

      • Analysis of Paris France Twin Terrorist Attacks and Hostage Standoff during Police Surge and Rescue in real time.

Fox News Radio

      • Analysis of Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation.
      • Analysis of Boston Marathon Suspect Apprehension in real time.

Fox News Channel:  Sean Hannity Show

      • On Screen analysis regarding the kidnapping of a 5 year old Alabama boy being held in an underground bunker in real time.
      • On Screen analysis of Washington Navy Yard shooting.

Fox News Channel: Justice with Judge Jeanine

      • On Screen analysis of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and the Trayvon Martin Homicide Investigation.

Fox New Channel: Your World With Neil Cavuto

      • Analysis of William Phillips who shot and killed one person and took a hostage for over three hours before committing suicide at the Johnson Space Center in real time.

Fox News Channel:  Geraldo Rivera at Large

      • On Screen investigation of “Jo Cool” charter boat crewmember’s murder and arrest. (Caribbean waters)
      • On Screen investigation of the reported kidnapping and murder of three-year-old “Caylee Marie Anthony”. (Orlando, FL)

Fox News Channel: America’s News Room with Bill Hemmer and Megan Kelly

      • On Screen Analysis regarding Canton, Ohio, Police Officer Bobby Cutts Jr.’s murder of the mother of his 2 yr. old son and unborn daughter.

NBC Broadcasting Company: 48 Hours

      • Onscreen interview regarding the murders of Miami Beach Fontainebleau Hotel heirs Bernice Novack and her son Ben Novack Jr.

CNN Broadcasting Company: Nancy Grace Show

      • On Screen interview regarding America’s Most Wanted investigation of missing and suspected homicide victim, eighteen year old, Colleen Parris and the underground pornography industry.

American Broadcasting Company:  National News Bureau

      • Analysis regarding the Boulder, CO police investigative procedure of the “Jon Benet Ramsey” homicide.
      • Analysis regarding the Miami Beach Police investigative procedure of the “Gianni Versace” homicide and the search and suicide of his murderer, “Andrew Cunanan”.

American Broadcasting Company:  Channel 10 Affiliate News Bureau                                  

      • Interpretation of Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas and the Senate Hearing Committee member’s non-verbal communication during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing.






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