Nine months ago, Harris published his theory in a small newspaper in Florida, but John Walsh released a statement saying the police had told him the Dahmer connection was totally unsubstantiated. When "Primetime" contacted the Hollywood Police Department and the state attorney's office three months ago, they told us Harris' theory was without merit.
If that was the case, why were they quietly interviewing Harris' witnesses? "Primetime's" cameras caught an investigator from the state attorney's office interviewing Darlene Hill, one of the co-owners of the sub shop, shortly before we did. Hill said the investigator asked her for details about the blue van.
Three months ago, Harris made a key discovery: a police report lost in plain sight for 26 years. In this document, filed only 20 days before the abduction of Adam Walsh, Dahmer reported finding a dead body behind the sub shop, just outside a deserted meter room. A cursory autopsy revealed that the man -- a derelict who had been sleeping in that meter room -- died of natural causes. Smith of the Hollywood Police Department had never seen this report until we showed it to him.
Harris believes that report offers a potential answer to an important question: where Dahmer could have taken Walsh.
"I'm tracking the path to Jeffrey Dahmer. And, figurative doors are opening. And then a literal door opens: the door to that meter room," Harris said. "Primetime" hired Jan Johnson, a Florida licensed crime scene investigator, and with the owner's permission, we went into that meter room. It seemed mostly untouched by time.
Using an alternate light source, Johnson found what she said looked like a pattern of blood spatter in a corner of the room -- more than 100 dried droplets rising up in a pattern from near the floor. She also found an axe and a sledgehammer.
Several samples collected from the spatter on the wall tested positive for blood. However, sophisticated lab tests done later determined the samples were simply too corroded by time to be able to distinguish if the blood was human—or to get traceable DNA.
Johnson, who is also an expert on blood spatter, felt the room merits additional testing. "In my opinion the scene needs to be further examined to put closure to it."
John Walsh, who declined our request for an interview, remains convinced that the killer of his son was Ottis Toole. Walsh's longtime friend and colleague, Joe Matthews, said that he (Matthews) now has proof that it was Toole, but declined to show it to us. He said he is waiting to reveal his evidence on an episode of "America's Most Wanted" this fall.
The one thing that's certain is that everyone involved, no matter what theory they believe, wants to see this case solved. "It was a crime not only against a child and a family, but it was against a community as well," said Harris.
"I think anytime doubt's raised, you have to, you just owe it to the investigation to resolve it," said Purtell. "Because that's…that's what you do. That's what the word 'investigator' means."