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Serial killers and child abductions : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, September 14, 1995 online

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Y 4. J 89/1:104/55

Serial Killers and Child Abductions.







SEPTEMBER 14, 1995

Serial No. 55

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary****'^iii2^/lS

24-440 CC WASHINGTON : 1996

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052650-7



Y 4. J 89/1: 104/55

Serial Killers and Child Abductions.








SEPTEMBER 14, 1995

Serial No. 55

Printed for the use of the Committee


24-440 CC


For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052650-7


HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman

CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan


Wisconsin BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts


GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania HOWARD L. BERMAN, California

HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina RICK BOUCHER, Virginia


STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico JACK REED, Rhode Island



BOB INGLIS, South Carolina MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina




FRED HEINEMAN, North Carolina
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
BOB BARR, Georgia

Alan F. Coffey, Jr., General Counsel /Staff Director
Julian Epstein, Minority Staff Director

Subcommittee on Crime

BILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman



HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ZOE LOFGREN, California


ED BRYANT, Tennessee MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
BOB BARR, Georgia

Paul J. McNulty, Chief Counsel

Glenn R. Schmitt, Counsel

Daniel J. Bryant, Assistant Counsel

Tom Diaz, Minority Counsel





September 14, 1995 1


McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida,
and chairman, Subconamittee on Crime 1


Allen, Ernie E., president, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children . 65
Hagmaier, William, III, Supervisory Special Agent and Unit Chief, Child

/Eduction and Serial Killer Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation 44

Lanning, Kenneth V., Supervisory Special Agent, Behavioral Science Unit,

Federal Bureau of Investigation 28

Montgomery, Robin L., Special Agent in Charge, Critical Incident Response

Group, Federal Bureau of Investigation 25

Parks, Capt. Patrick, Petaluma, CA, Police Department 79

Walsh, Jonn, host, "America's Most Wanted" 5

Wetterling, Patty, co-founder, Jacob Wetterling Foundation 76


Allen, Ernie E., president. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:
Prepared statement 69

Hagmaier, William, III, Supervisory Special Agent and Unit Chief, Child
Aoduction and Serial Killer Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation: Pre-
pared statement 47

Lanning, Kenneth V., Supervisory Special Agent, Behavioral Science Unit,
Federal Bureau of Investigation: Prepared statement 34

Montgomery, Robin L., Special Agent in Charge, Critical Incident Response
Group, Federal Bureau of Investigation:

Information concerning cost to get data base up and running 57

Prepared statement 26

Wetterling, Patty, co-founder, Jacob Wetterling Foundation: Prepared state-
ment 78


Statement of Hon. Zoe Lofgren, a Representative in Congress from the State
of California 89




House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:45 p.m., in room
2226, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chair-
man of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Howard Coble, Fred
Heineman, Ed Bryant of Tennessee, Steve Chabot, Bob Barr,
Charles E. Schumer, and Robert C. Scott.

Also present: Paul J. McNulty, chief counsel; Glenn R. Schmitt,
counsel; Daniel J. Bryant, assistant counsel; Aerin D. Dunkle, re-
search assistant; Audray L. Clement, secretary; and Tom Diaz, mi-
nority counsel.


Mr. McCollum. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Crime will
come to order.

I am pleased to call this hearing to order today because we are
going to examine a matter that is as heart-wrenching and emotion-
ally trying as any topic that was ever discussed. Today's hearing
concerns the problems of child abduction and serial killing and
Federal efforts in response to these horrific crimes. The hearing is
also an oversight hearing of the Morgan P. Hardiman Task Force
on Missing and Exploited Children and of the newly created Child
Abduction and Serial Killer Unit, which is part of the FBI's Critical
Incident Response Group. I have to spell out almost all of those
words, there are so many, they are a mouthful, but I can assure
you every word in those titles are important.

There is no greater fear, I don't think, facing a parent than that
of learning their child is missing. Events over the last 15 years in-
dicate that there is a growing reason for having this fear. Esti-
mates of child abduction crimes indicate that the crime is steadily
rising. In 1994, there were 954,896 missing persons reported in
this country; up to 90 percent of these reports involved children.
This phenomenon is of particular concern since a recent govern-
ment estimate indicates that my home State of Florida ranks sec-
ond in the Nation in the number of nonfamily abductions. Unfortu-
nately, children are a topic of great concern and those who go about
taking these type of actions target them first and foremost.

Government statistics in this area, though, are sketchy and law
enforcement is oflen ill-equipped to respond quickly to reported


child abductions, losing precious time, time which often is critical
to successfully recovering the child. An additional hindrance is the
fact that Federal authorities do not have clear jurisdiction to inves-
tigate all nonfamily abductions, leaving local and State authorities
to attempt to locate an abductor who may have fled the State.

Similarly, the Federal Government has not created a coordinated
system of Federal-State-local cooperation to solve suspected serial
killings. This is due in part to the lack of Federal mandates to the
problem in what at first appears to be simple murders. Due to this
lack of coordination, patterns of related killings over broad geo-
graphical-related areas often go unlinked and thus unsolved.

Today, we will hear from Tooth the victims and the experts in
these areas of crime. We will learn the profile of those who per-
petrate these crimes and those who will likely be their victims. We
will also learn about the Federal Government's eff'ort to combat
this crime and ways that this Congress may assist in those efforts.

Our witnesses today include both Federal and local law enforce-
ment officers who have seen firsthand the nature and the response
to this dreadful criminal activity. We will also hear the perspec-
tives of nationally known advocates for missing children, and we
will hear from parents who know the inexpressible pain of losing
a child to these crimes. I welcome all of the witnesses today who
are going to testify on this important subject.

If the gentleman from New York has an opening statement or
comment, I would welcome it.

Mr. ScHUMER. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would begin by
saying that the subject of this hearing is not pleasant. The testi-
mony we will hear reminds us of the sadly imperfect nature not
just of our society but of humanity in general.

Serial murders and kidnapping children are by definition sick
and they simply defy understanding. Yet we know that they occur
and we know that they occur every day. They, in fact, unfortu-
nately, have increased rather dramatically. The number of classic
serial killers, for instance, was 43 in 1970, and it has almost dou-
bled — it doubled to 81 in 1984. We don't have very good statistics
and that is why the numbers are out of date. There have been
over— in 1988, there were 3,200 to 2,600 short-term child abduc-
tions and 200 to 300 long-term ones. Every one of those — in eveiy
one of those, a family, individuals crying out in anguish. And so it
seems to me that however much these crimes disgust us, however
much they baffle us, we have a duty to understand them and we
have an obligation to do everything in our power to prevent them
and to save lives when we can and ensure that swift and stem
punishment is given when we cannot.

This hearing strongly illustrates another important point that
has been questioned by some politicians, including some in this
House, and that is the need for a Federal role in law enforcement.
The fact is that there is an important role for the Federal Govern-
ment in both of these crimes. Both serial murders and child abduc-
tion by their nature are difficult crimes to solve using strictly local
resources and difficult crimes to prosecute when more than one ju-
risdiction is involved.

In the case of serial murders, local law enforcement agencies
often do not even know about murders in other jurisdictions even

if they — even if the deadly work of a single serial killer is what has
occurred. And so even if different localities learn that the murders
are linked, they face enormous problems investigating or prosecut-
ing such crimes.

Child abduction cases present similar problems, especially when
the criminal travels from place to place across State lines and
coimty boundaries. But there is even a more serious problem in-
volving child abduction cases, and that is saving the life of the
child who has been abducted but not yet harmed. The early entry
of the FBI can ensure that the best investigative resource and the
highest level of coordination can be brought to bear immediately in
a given case.

Finally, I would say that we must be certain that our criminal
justice system, whether it is State or local or Federal, responds to
all of these crimes vigorously, regardless of the race or ethnic back-
ground of the victim.

Just last month, the white chief of police of Kankakee, IL, wrote
a public editorial criticizing his own community for failing to react
as strongly to the disappearance of a black girl as it did to the dis-
appearance of a white boy. The chiefs courageous public question
is one we all need to grapple with. Are we truly colorblind when
it comes to these victims of madness?

This hearing should be interesting and informative and, Mr.
Chairman, I commend you for holding it.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Schumer.

Does anyone wish to make an opening comment? Mr. Coble.

Mr. Coble. Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief You and the gen-
tlemen from New York have pretty well touched the salient fea-
tures, I think.

I believe you used the words "emotionally draining" in your open-
ing statement, Mr. Chairman, and this matter does, indeed, involve
an emotional drainage of the victims. I am concerned, Mr. Chair-
man, I have not even discussed this with you, about the lack of
substantial official government statistics concerning child abduc-
tion, A, and, B, the accuracy of these statistics and perhaps we will
delve into that as this hearing progresses.

I recognize that the problem of resolving the matter of child ab-
duction oftentimes is compounded by the presence of family mem-
bers in the scenario and perhaps that will be addressed, as well.

And I noticed from our witness list we have the host of "Ameri-
ca's Most Wanted." This is a program when I have the opportunity
to do so, I watch it. I don't get to do it on a regular basis, but I
think that program has served a very favorable forum and I look
forward to hearing from the host as well, Mr. Chairman, and not
unlike the gentleman from New York, I commend you for having
the foresight to schedule these hearings today, this hearing today.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Coble.

Does anyone else? Mr. Heineman, do you wish to make an open-
ing comment?

Mr. Heineman. Just briefly, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you for
putting together this hearing, these sets of hearings on probably
the most important thing in law enforcement as it relates to prior-
ities is concerned, the children, and of course the elderly as well.
There is nothing, I think, that receives higher priority in local law

enforcement than when a child is either lost or abducted. And
when I say child, of course I don't mean on spring break some —
some teenager that just doesn't come home and is found on the
beach or down in one of the meccas, such as Florida, your own
State. I mean those that can't — those that can't protect themselves,
those that can't, in a cold night or in foul weather, those infants
and those at the very earliest ages protect themselves.

I think that we — I think that we should have brought this out,
and I think we brought it out very timely in this Congress, but as
an ongoing theme as far as crime and crime control is concerned,
we need to continually keep it at the high profile that it so justly

And I am delighted to see the FBI here today and dealing with
missing children and serial killers. I don't know, and I have been
in law enforcement for close to 40 years, whether we have had se-
rial child abductors. I have not been made aware of that and cer-
tainly if there is that type of predator out there, we would be anx-
ious to hear that. But I think the FBI's involvement in this is ex-
tremely important, not only interstate jurisdictions of the matter
but the profiles, not only of — not only of child abductors, their MO
and where you — where you historically have found them once they
abduct the child so you can at least give law enforcement training
at the first instance when a child is reported abducted, either from
a hospital or from — or from a shopping center. Extremely impor-
tant. Just as the serial killer, the profiles on the serial killer are
extremely important.

During my time in law enforcement, we have had two murders
by a serial killer. Mr. Lucas, I think probably if you had a poster
child or a poster person on serial killers, Mr. Lucas would be on
that poster.

But we in law enforcement deal with local law enforcement and
not those issues and crimes that are serially perpetrated across the
country and ultimately lead to local jurisdictions.

I think it is extremely important that the FBI take a hand in
this. However, there comes a period of time when the abduction
takes place at the local level and notification is given to the FBI
that first day that needs to be dealt with in such an abduction. I
am anxious to hear what the FBI is doing and is contemplating on

And it is certainly, Mr. Walsh, it is never too late to express our
sympathies for what happened to you, your family and your son.
That perhaps may have been a catalyst for the attention being
given on media, perhaps not.

But we need to protect not only the elderly, the Alzheimer's per-
son that can't help themselves, but the infants. And being a father
of five children, I can certainly identify with the helplessness of
youngsters, and I anxiously wait to hear the testimony of Mr.
Walsh and of our second panel. Thank you.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Mr. Heineman, thank you.

Does anybody else wish to make an opening statement? Mr. Bry-
ant, Mr. Chabot, or Mr. Barr. No one does? Very well.

Mr. Barr. We will submit one for the record.

Mr. McCoLLUM. You certainly may submit one for the record.

I want to introduce our first panel today. It consists of just one
witness, John Walsh, who has been referred to a number of times
here today. I have known Mr. Walsh ever since the tragic event in
his family involving child abduction which initiated his intense in-
volvement in this issue quite a number of years ago. He is well-
known to most Americans because of the television show "Ameri-
ca's Most Wanted."

In 1981, Mr. Walsh's 6-year-old son, Adam, was abducted and
later found murdered in a case that drew national attention. Since
that time, Mr. Walsh has become an advocate for missing children
and crime victims.

Through his efforts, and that of his wife Reve, Congress has
passed the Missing Children Act of 1982 and the Missing Chil-
dren's Assistance Act of 1984. The latter bill provided for the
founding of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
The Walshes also founded the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center,
a nonprofit organization dedicated to legislative reform. The cen-
ter's four national offices were recently merged into the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The eff'orts of Mr. Walsh and his wife were dramatized in the
1983 television movie "Adam" and the sequel, "Adam, His Song
Continues," which aired in 1986. Mr. Walsh has become the fore-
most spokesman for the cause of preventing child murders through
quick action on missing children reports. He has appeared on tele-
vision news programs such as "Good Morning America,"
'TSTightline," "20/20," and on such talk shows as "The Oprah
Winfrey Show" and "Donahue."

He nas already received numerous awards, including being
named as a Father of the Year by the National Father's Day Com-
mittee, the 1992 Man of the Year Award by the National District
Attorneys' Association, and ..he 1992 ElHs Island Medal of Honor.
In 1992, he received the Attorney General's Special Recognition
Award, the only private citizen ever to receive that award.

John Walsh, welcome. Please come forward. We look forward to
hearing your testimony. If you wish to summarize or give it in toto,
whatever way you wish to do it, you are welcome to proceed.


Mr. Walsh. Thank you very much, Congressman McCoUum. I
am very thankful that you are having these hearings, and I also
want to thank Congressman Schumer because I know the reputa-
tion both of you have as majority and minority leaders of this sub-
committee and the other members of this committee. I know your
reputation is that of one of being tough on crime and being sympa-
thetic to the American public, and I think this subcommittee in the
House has demonstrated continually that you feel the same way I
do and most Americans do: You are sick of the level of violence in
this country and it is time to do something about it. And I almost
feel as though this is the one hearing — and I have been coming
here for 14 years. I have testified on Doth sides of the aisle over
30 times. I feel that this probably is the one hearing that I have
been waiting to come to for 14 years and I hope that you will listen
closely to the experts.

You have picked a terrific group. Paul McNulty knows several of
these people. I have worked closely with the FBI over the years
and you are going to hear some disturbing things, as you men-
tioned. You are going to hear of some accomplishments over the
years but you are going to hear about a lot of things that need to
be done and a lot of things that can be done on the Federal level.

And I know most of you know my story and I don't want to go
back, way back to the 14 years, but I wanted to share to you my
frustrations when I found that when my son was missing that the
little Hollywood Police Department, although they looked long and
hard for Adam Walsh, had never been involved in a stranger ab-
duction and didn't know what to do, literally what to do. And way
back then, the FBI's philosophy was an old J. Edgar Hoover hold-
over policy that they monitored cases of— of kidnapping, and al-
though I pleaded with them to get involved, they declined saying
that unless there was a ransom note or proof of crossing a State
line they couldn't get involved. And I knew even back then that
people didn't tap children for ransom and that if Adam was on his
way across the State line, how would they ever know and that —
that who is going to tell them?

I learned a lot during those 2 weeks. I got the list of every police
agency in the State of Florida. I had eight personal office staff and
a lot of resources that most people don't have. I had WATS lines.
And when I saw the teletypes coming into the Hollywood police and
no detectives looking at those teletypes that were saying, "Wanted,
Murder from Arizona Coming into Florida," I said you are not look-
ing at these teletypes, and they said, "We are concentrating on
your case." And I said, "well, give me the list of the police agencies,
I want to make sure they know little Adam Walsh is missing."

I got that list and was amazed that there were 320 police agen-
cies in the State of Florida. So it took my office staff almost 5 days
to call every agency. No. 1, most of the time they got a dispatcher.
In those days, there were no juvenile units in those agencies. They
came back after 5 days and said, Mr. Walsh, 80 percent of the po-
lice agencies in the State of Florida do not know that your son is
missing, do not know that this little 6-year-old boy with the miss-
ing teeth is missing.

That was an awful, awful bitter pill to swallow because in those
days I could access the Hong Kong stock market on my computer
but yet I found out from the Hollywood police that most of the po-
lice in the State of Florida didn't know Adam was missing and that
none of the coroners exchanged information back in 1981 about un-
identified dead, that I would have been lucky if my little boy's body
was in a morgue in North Dakota and by some fluke of the imagi-
nation that coroner didn't bury that little boy and that maybe I
found out Adam was there in North Dakota.

Anyway, a lot has changed and we can talk about it. But I hope
today that you are going to learn a lot about the truth, about serial
killers and about missing children, and I hope that we can dispel
some of those myths today.

First off, I thought one of the best ways to do that would be to
show you a small tape of a serial killer of children that I hunted
for years and to use him as an example of what doesn't work. A
lot has been done. We have 46 States now that have clearing-

houses. The FBI does get involved. I work closely with them. They
have been exemplary and you are going to hear many of the things
that they have done.

Law enforcement has changed their attitudes. We have abolished
the 24, the barbaric 24- and 48-hour waiting periods where police
used to arbitrarily decide, well, maybe your kid's a runaway and
find out later that Ted Bundy killed your daughter when the police
were convinced that your daughter was a runaway and thereby
didn't look for that little girl. All that has changed. A lot has
changed but there is so much more to be done and these people
know what they are doing and they know how to do it, and I want
to show you one guy that I hunted for years.

Mr. McCoLLUM. All right. Let's show the tape and whatever we
need to do to support that, we will do.

[Tape was played.]

Mr. Walsh. The toughest part about this story is that nobody
was looking for James Charles Stark but the San Bernardino po-
lice. I carried this poster around, as I said, for 2 years.

Let me tell you about this guy right here. First, he kidnapped a
voung woman and raped her, charges were dropped. Everyone
knew he did it but there was some type of technicality in the gath-
ering of the evidence. Two years later he kidnapped another young
girl, raped her. He was sentenced to 3 years to life. Guess how
much time he served? Two and a half years.

Within 18 months of that parole from California, he was arrested
for attempted rape. He was sentenced to 1 to 20 years in prison.

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JSerial killers and child abductions : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, September 14, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 12)