‘The Hunt With John Walsh’: Host shares thoughts, advice in Facebook chat

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John Walsh is the host of CNN's 'The Hunt with John Walsh.' He is the former host of America's Most Wanted, a groundbreaking show that put fugitives' profiles in the national spotlight.

If you’re at all familiar with TV personality John Walsh, you’re likely well aware of the man’s passion for taking bad guys (and girls) off the street, and helping to place them behind bars. As host and creator of “America’s Most Wanted,” Walsh led a project that resulted in the capture of more than 1,200 people over 20-plus years.

Now with CNN, Walsh is continuing his anti-crime activism and pursuit of fugitives on his show, “The Hunt With John Walsh.” Ahead of Sunday’s season premiere, Walsh took some time to participate in a Facebook chat, answering question from fans and followers who’ve appreciated and respected his work for decades.

Here are some of the highlights from the chat, and you can see more of his answers on the CNN Facebook page. These highlights have been edited for clarity and grammar:

Zach Strei: Who do you think was your favorite “happy ending” rescued/recovered child when you were doing “AMW” (or right now as of The Hunt With John Walsh)….?

John Walsh: When Elizabeth Smart was found alive the family asked me to come and meet her in person the day after her recovery. They wanted to thank me for never giving up. When she walked down the stairs I was shaking and had tears in my eyes. Her father had said, “You couldn’t save Adam [Walsh’s son who was abducted and murdered in 1981] but we never forget how you helped us bring Elizabeth home alive.” A brave loud voice and a huge help to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Amy Rowlings: Sir, do you foresee any role for drones in the immediate aftermath of a child disappearing? Is there any benefit that can be gained for using this technology. Also, could you use your program, perhaps several times a year, to focus on forced underage prostitution at large truck stops off of America’s interstate systems. Thank you, sir, for all of your work over the past decades. There are not enough “thank you’s” and gratitude possible in this world for your amazing work.

John Walsh: Great suggestion Amy. Particularly drones could be so effective in the crucial first hours when a child goes missing. Sometimes that child’s body is very close and it would take foot searchers a year to cover the ground a drone could in an hour. Interesting idea to use them at truck stops. So many teenage runaways and young girls are sex-trafficked in the parking lots of truck stops. Police are stretched so thin they could never monitor that activity enough. Great idea.

Melanie Golden: Which fugitive’s capture gave you the most satisfaction, if any? Thank you for all you do.

John Walsh: Anyone who hurts a woman or a child is a coward to me. And these are the creeps I love to catch the most.

Krista Karo: How do you choose which case(s) to focus on, considering such an extensive list of options, with one being as tragic as the next? Thanks for all you do!

John Walsh: The toughest job over the years is to turn down at least 100 cases per show. As a victim myself, it is so difficult to say no to someone, but we can only do so much.

Kelly Parco: Mr. Walsh, how would you give advice to a friend who lost her son to a brutal murder almost 8 years ago. His name was Joshua Caleb Pipho and his mother was my best friend. She is now completely lost, on drugs and can’t forgive the boy who killed her son. She carries so much guilt. And how did you, or have you forgiven the monster who took your precious Adam.

John Walsh: First, I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive the narcissistic lowlife that killed Adam, maybe in my next life. But, I have learned that obsessing on vengeance and dreaming of vigilantism doesn’t work. I always say, remember who the victim is, and we are the heartbroken parents left behind. That boy made her a mom and brought her joy I am sure. So I say celebrate his life every day, do something good in his name, and remember you’re lucky to have him.

Max Jacobson: I would imagine your career involves lots of good times and lots of bad times. How do you keep yourself from worrying about the times when a case goes dead?

John Walsh: Some of those cases still haunt me. On this new season of “The Hunt” I have chosen to feature some of my most frustrating cases. It took 27 years to solve Adam’s murder, so I know firsthand what that painful wait for justice is like.

Le’ Shaun Williams: My brother was murdered in front of his son and son’s mother. The police know who may be behind the murder and have done nothing. Where would you start, John Walsh?

John Walsh: Never give up, you have every right to continually ask the police what they are doing. Ask the DA’s office also. I can’t promise, but please send me the case at cnn.com/thehunt and I’ll have one of our investigators look at it.

By Jason Kurtz