By Kevin Canessa Jr.
John Walsh lived every parent’s nightmare back in 1981, when his then 6-year-old son, Adam, was kidnapped from a mall in Hollywood, Fla., and found dead, decapitated, just weeks later about an hour or so north of his home.
And for years, Walsh went on a crusade, hosting “America’s Most Wanted” on the Fox Television Network. With that show now a thing of the past, he’s taken his mission to find criminals to CNN with a new show called “The Hunt With John Walsh.”
The show airs on CNN every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, and after being on the air for just three weeks, it has already led to the capture (and ultimately, death) of one of the profiled criminals.
If there’s a show on TV that every American should take time to watch each week, it’s this show — because not only is it riveting, it’s also perhaps the most beneficial law-enforcement tool on the air, or anywhere, for that matter.
Each episode profiles one or two criminals who are involved in a most heinous crime. The details of each crime are re-enacted. And while some of the scenes are extremely graphic, they’re by no means a turnoff, because in reality, they’re demonstrative of some very evil acts committed by some very evil people.
So why isn’t that a turnoff?
It’s simple actually.
It’s because every viewer of the show should watch “The Hunt” with the thought that perhaps, at one point or another, they’ll see someone featured whom they know, or might have seen somewhere.
It was somewhat perplexing when a show as beneficial as “America’s Most Wanted” was cancelled. It led to the arrest and capture of hundreds of wanted criminals over its long run. And clearly, “The Hunt” is poised to do the very same.
“All it takes is one person, one tip,” Walsh said on the show’s preview. “We might not get tons of calls. We might not get tons of accurate tips. But all it takes is one person who knows something to pick up that phone, or to go online, and we’ll make a difference and bring these animals to justice.”
And that’s exactly what happened in New York last week.
One person picked up the phone and made one telephone call, and Charles Modzir was found by U.S. Marshals and the New York City Police Department working in a Manhattan smoke shop.
Modzir was on the run for more than two years after he was accused of sexual abuse against a young boy. When he was confronted by marshals and the NYPD, he immediately began to fire on them, according to police reports, and when they fired back, he was killed.
Of course, Walsh says he’d prefer the criminals be caught and not killed, but he’s always delighted when one more criminal is taken off the streets.
All sorts of cases, crimes
The episodes and kinds of crimes committed by those wanted vary from week to week. Without giving too much away, this past week’s installment profiled two criminals: one wanted on vehicular homicide charges (Christopher Ponce, 24, of Florida) and another wanted on attempted murder charges (David Burgert, 50, of Montana).
Ponce was awaiting trial for a 2012 incident where he was alleged to have killed several people while driving the wrong way up an on-ramp on a Florida highway. He was on bail with an ankle monitor, but he cut it off and has since jumped his bail.
Burgert is wanted after he allegedly opened fire on police officers while he was a member of a militia that reportedly had a list of people — mostly government officials and police officers — whom they wanted to kill.
He escaped after a violent shootout with police, though some interviewed on the show believe he may actually be dead since he’s gone two years without resurfacing.
There have been other cases involving murder, sexual abuse, kidnapping and other crimes. But the bottom line is these cases are getting exposure — and it will become very difficult for these criminals to remain on the run after the episodes air.
So if you’re not busy one Sunday night at 9, turn on CNN.
Perhaps one week you might see someone being profiled whom you’ve seen.