2018 Opening Plenary

Keynote Speaker
John Walsh
John Walsh is known internationally as a crime fighter, victims’ advocate and host of the nation's longest-running primetime program and number-one crime-fighting show, America's Most Wanted. Today, Walsh hosts the CNN/HLN series, The Hunt with John Walsh, continuing the fight to bring fugitives to justice. Walsh’s extensive television career has helped law enforcement capture more than 1,500 fugitives and recover more than 50 missing children.
A career in fighting crime is one Walsh never expected, but justice has been his life’s mission since July 27, 1981 – the day his son, Adam, was abducted from a mall near his home in Hollywood, Florida. Adam was found murdered two weeks later.
Walsh and his wife Revé turned their grief into action and without a badge or a gun, Walsh quickly became a nationally recognized leader in the fight for victims' rights.
In 1984, the Walshes and other child advocates incorporated the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation to help find missing children and prevent child victimization.
A hero to law enforcement, Walsh has been honored numerous times by many local, state and federal agencies. In addition to being named “Man of the Year” by both the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI, Walsh was also made an honorary U.S. Marshal.
The entertainment industry has also recognized Walsh’s contributions to television. In 2011, he received the prestigious Governor’s Award at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, a distinction voted upon by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Board of Governors which “salutes an individual, company or organization that has made a substantial impact and demonstrated the extraordinary use of television.” That same year, he was recognized by AFTRA with the Foundation’s AMEE Award in Entertainment.
Walsh was also named by CBS Portraits as one of the "100 Americans Who Changed History." He’s been honored by Esquire Magazine, People Magazine, the National District Attorneys Association and the National Sheriff’s Association. Despite his many honors, Walsh is most proud of his 1985 distinction as “Father of the Year,” for embodying the ideals of family, citizenship, charity, civility and responsibility.
Walsh has authored three best-selling books: Tears of Rage, No Mercy and Public Enemies, which chronicle his family’s fight for justice and recount some of toughest cases he’s faced over the years.