I mentioned Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole yesterday in connection with Jeffrey Dahmer and John Walsh’s belief that Dahmer was probably connected to the abduction and murder of his son Adam Walsh in 1981. Dahmer was living in Hollywood, Florida at the time and was 21.
The reason for this is that Henry Lee Lucas confessed to over 600 murders across the United States. On the face of it, it seems improbable, but Lucas and his partner Toole lead vagabond lifestyles and both men were described as mentally challenged and unable to remain in a single place for very long. Ottis Toole confessed to the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh and then recanted. This would become something of a pattern for him and Henry Lee Lucas, with Lucas excelling at it.
Even after authorities were sure that Lucas was mostly a serial confessor as opposed to a prolific serial killer like he claimed, every time Lucas confessed to a murder, it was investigated wasting valuable time and resources. We’ll never know for sure how many cases went cold while investigators were busy trying to figure out if Lucas or Toole could have possibly committed a murder, but it does make one stop to wonder… Exactly how many people got away with murder because Lucas or Toole confessed to the crime. However, we can be sure at least one person did as Toole’s confession and some investigative problems with the Hollywood, Florida police department ensured that Adam Walsh’s killer was never found or brought to justice for his murder.
Worse, Lucas and Toole were both in Florida in the early 1980s when Dahmer would have been a fledgling serial killer. We know he was torturing animals in his teens, but by 21 he could have graduated to larger prey. Adam Walsh’s abduction and murder aren’t the only murders in 1980s Florida that Lucas or Toole confessed to. Meaning even if Dahmer did not murder Adam Walsh, it’s still possible that Lucas or Toole did make a false confession to a murder committed by Jeffrey Dahmer long before he would shock the public with his confessions of rape, torture, and cannibalism when a victim escaped his custody and managed to get help from the police in the early 1990s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Is it possible that Dahmer could have been stopped long before he became such a brutal serial killer if Lucas or Toole hadn’t been prolific serial confessors to murders they didn’t commit? It is an interesting what if and one that boggles the mind a little bit. The case that originally garnered my interest was the confession of Henry Lee Lucas to the murder of Orange Socks, a young woman found murdered, raped, and left along a highway in Texas wearing nothing but a pair of orange socks. Her case was never solved, they were never even able to identify her. Lucas not only confessed to her rape and murder, he told police he would tell them her name and that she was just a hitchhiker he had picked up, in exchange for a stay of execution. Before it got that far, the state of Texas determined that when Orange Socks was murdered, Lucas wasn’t even in Texas.