Making safety a priority. Former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh warned women who date online to use Bravo’s Dirty John as a cautionary tale and take extra precautions when meeting potential suitors.
While the criminal investigator, 73, told Us Weekly on Wednesday, January 16, that he hasn’t watched the show, which is based on the real-life abusive relationship between interior designer Debra Newell and con-man John Meehan, he’s plenty familiar with its subject matter. “Many of the cases I’ve picked for In Pursuit are about manipulators and con men, like that guy, who prey upon women and eventually kill them,” he explained to Us.
“I tell women — I have a daughter — I say, ‘Do background checks on these guys,’” Walsh urged. “Find out what their previous life was. They’re con men. … America has so much domestic abuse and violence, that you really have to figure out, and find out, and take that time to do a background check. If he seems too good to be true, he is too good to be true.”
The Tears of Rage author, whose son Adam was abducted and murdered in 1981, also gave advice for parents with younger children, such as recently kidnapped Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs. The 13-year-old went missing in October after allegedly being abducted by 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson. After Closs managed to safely escape earlier this month, suspect Patterson confessed to killing her parents, James and Denise Closs.
“You have to talk to your children. You have to sit them down and say, ‘Look, the internet is a very dangerous place,’” Walsh told Us. “Parents are the ones who really need to man up. … Parents really need to sit that kid down and say, ‘I know you know how to work [social media] better than I do, or I ever will. Let’s talk about the potential dangers.’”
The TV host pointed out that even those who are typically cautious can become victims of people with intent to harm. ”Jayme wasn’t online. She wasn’t talking to anybody. She was too smart to get lured out or groomed,” he noted. “But he knew about her and he saw her.”
For more of Walsh’s tips on protecting yourself and your kids online, watch the video above.
In Pursuit With John Walsh airs on Investigation Discovery Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.