Luminol Negative – Before & After

on March 7, 2011 in Law Enforcement by

A few weeks ago, we discussed a new book by Joe Matthews that claims a luminol negative proves Ottis Toole killed Adam Walsh. At the time, I was skeptical that the photo showed what Matthews claimed it did.

Since then, I have been contacted by Willis Morgan, who sent me the following before and after photo.

Mr. Morgan says the following:

The luminol photo on the left is the Photo from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This is the same photo Matthews would have received. The photo on the right is the same photo as the one on the left after Joe Matthews enhanced it and claims this to be Adam Walsh in his new book -BRINGING ADAM HOME- That went on sale March 1st, 2011. I am trying to expose Matthews for what he is. How could he take a luminol photo and try to make it look like Adam and then convince the Walsh family that he solved the case of their son’s murder?

Note: I haven’t seen the originals myself, so these claims are the opinion of Mr. Morgan, not myself or the Serial Killers Podcast. Still, if accurate, it’s very interesting.


  • Maureen says:

    The first picture is tilted to throw off the comparison. I just read the book and it makes me sick to think there are people and reporters that still say toole did not do it. There is so much evidence that proves that he did and I can clearly see a boys face in that first picture. Don’t forget that a 6 year old boy suffered and was murdered and you now are protecting the person who did it and protecting the horrible investigation of the Hollywood police department!

    [Note: Edited by Brian to remove personal attack]

    • Brian Combs says:


      I do not apologize for trying to show multiple sides of the argument.

      I don’t see the face you do, but concede that it’s certainly possible that Toole killed Adam Walsh. I’m not sure how questioning things amounts to defending Toole, however.

    • Furman English says:

      pics more than tilted, pics are mirrored or a negative (flip) , I still still see a face in both. I believe Mathews too!

    • Queen Frostine says:

      These photos are no better than an ink blot test. You see what your brain wants you to see. Yes, it looks like A child’s face, but there’s no way to tell definitively WHICH child.

      Toole was a notorious liar. The cops messed up so bad in this case, disposing of the bloody carpet from Toole’s car and even “misplacing” the car itself! There’s even questions as to whether the head they found belongs to Adam, as it was never positively identified by his parents (and DNA didn’t exist at the time). The split screen photo of Adam’s mouth & the mouth of the found child look literally nothing alike.

      So yeah, it’s pretty much impossible to say who killed Adam or whether that was even Adam’s head. Nobody is trying to “protect” a dead serial killing drifter like Toole. It’s just that facts matter.

  • Danny says:

    You obviously are failing or wanting to glance to the right to see the enhanced photo. I dont blame you. Who would want to. However if you look at all of the photos of Adam it is quite possible to match the face to all of the photos. Forensic negatives allow for enhancements its simple forensics 101. The negative is the photo that is taken before it is exposed to the luminol or during the luminol process. All that has to be done next is expose it to the special light to get your actuall photo.. our family knowd det. Matthews very well he is pure gentleman who sought out the truth. Its always easy to not want to stand in frontof reality. The truth is regardless Adam is still dead. Thats reality the Walshs have to live with. I am extremely happy detective matthews ended this ordeal. Wether you like it or not Toole confessed to the crime over 8 times. You claim you read the book seems you over looked that detail. You also overlooked that he escorted the detectives in 1984 the exact location of the store he took him from then took the 1 hr or 2 hr drive to not only mile marker 126 also mile marker 130 where the fisherman spotted Adams head two weeks after his abduction. So if Toole didnt do it then how could he have given the detectives these details? Answer that one. The truth hurts huh?

    • Brian Combs says:


      I’m not sure if you meant this comment to be to me, or to Willis Morgan, but I’ll attempt to reply as best I can.

      Is it possible to match the photos? Sure, but it’s possible to match lots of things that are unrelated. The human brain is amazing at doing so, but, as they say, correlation does not equal causation.

      At this point, I would say that it’s possible that the image is a negative of Adam Walsh, but it’s an extraordinary claim, and I don’t think it rises to the quality of proof, especially in a legal sense. New forensic methods must be held to a very high standard. If not, innocent people almost invariably suffer.

      As for Detective Matthews, I have no opinion on him one way or the other. I’ve never met the man, but I’m sure he is a fine gentlemen.

      And, as for Toole eight confessions, well, he confessed to a lot of things that weren’t true. He may have been telling the truth those times, but I’m not one to take Toole’s word for anything. Collaborating evidence is a must. Otherwise, it’s just a case of a police department trying to clear a case.

      Assuming the witnesses that put Dahmer in the area are correct, I think he’s at least as viable a suspect as Toole.

      The best argument against Dahmer is that Adam was quite a few years younger than his ideal victim type. That’s certainly a concern, but there are numerous cases of serial killers going far afield of their IVTs. It’s really more of a preference than a requirement.

      But in the long run, we’re arguing about how many angels dance on the head of a pin. The only two viable suspects anyone ever names are Dahmer and Toole, and both are dead. Given the evidence that was lost by the police in this case (notably a bloodstained carpet recovered from Toole’s car), it’s pretty clear that the case will never be solved to the satisfaction of many.

      And Adam is still gone, no matter what anyone does. If the luminol photos help give John Walsh and his family some piece, that’s a good thing.

  • Papio Tom says:

    You’re using reason versus emotion. You’ll never win.

    Looking at the first photo, I see two kitty cats sitting on a tree branch with their tails hanging down. They’re hugging– it’s so cute.

    As far as the second, enhanced photo goes… I have 20 years of Photoshop experience. I can turn that photo into anything. Including a little boy.

    But I think a face being dropped onto a floor would distort more. Look at a super slo-mo shot of a boxer being punched. A face is malleable; it’s not a rubber stamp that would leave such a recognizeable imprint unless one carefully ro-o-o-o-olled it on a surface. Like taking a fingerprint. Drop a bloody head onto carpet *splat* and you’ll get a blob.

    For the emotional: sure, Troll did it. Just, this photo isn’t proof. The Weekly World News is filled with photos.

  • Carrie says:

    It sort of looks like a face, if you try to see a face. If you are not looking for a face in this print (which they were as it came from blood stains in Toole’s car) then I don’t know anyone who would pick this random photo up and say, “Oh wow, look at that face in there.” Looks like an ink blot psychs use – if you see a face, then Google what that means about your brain. 🙂

    However, with all that said, whether that’s Adam’s face or not, Toole killed him I believe. He recanted out of fear. Face in blood or no face in blood, Adam was in his car. Maybe he and Dahmer did it together. Who knows? ONLY GOD.

  • becky says:

    I don’t know if this is real or not. Truth is none of us were there, for all we know Toole did take the time to root Adams little head onto his car carpet. Maybe it was his way with playing with it…? Maybe it left an imprint when Toole forgot all about Adams head being left in the car and it rolled on out one day making an.imprint into the carpet. Maybe this photo is of some other severed head of some other crime. Would people like to know the truth behind this photo? Would people like to know the true name behind Adams murderer? Some yes and some no and some don’t care. All I know for a fact is that little sweet looking 6 year old boy was brutally murdered and cut apart, the rest of his body never to be seen again, didn’t get to have a proper burial or cremation which he deserved because of the murderer,the family went through Hell, they accepted Toole as the sick bastard murderer, Mr. Walsh did his part in helping unsolved crimes, and they have moved on with their lives and hopefully Adam is in a better place.

  • Richard says:

    In September 2015 Willis Morgan’s book, Frustrated Witness will be out on Amazon and local bookstores as I understand it. At that time let’s compare the litmus test the character of these two men and see whose standing at the end of the day. Morgan is really Adam’s witness who is Matthew’s witnessing for?

  • My name is Willis Morgan; I am not only the author of FRUSTRATED WITNESS! I am also one of the witness that was at the Hollywood Mall the day Adam was abducted.

    Junk Evidence: Joe Matthews and his “Smoking Gun”

    On the rear floorboard of the car—where Toole admitted to tossing Adam’s severed head—pictures show the bloody outline of a face. Matthews said, “I have a blood transfer from Adam’s face onto the carpet—you can actually see his image. It’s as clear as the Shroud of Turin, Veronica’s veil. It’s clear” (Bringing Adam Home).

    The November 2, 1983, luminol negative photo that can be viewed at is the photo from the FDLE. Matthews also received these photos and the image he claims to be Adam is the same as the one he received from the FDLE, but after Joe Matthews, flipped, inverted and zoomed in on a fraction of the image. Only then, with an apparent total absence of reasoning, does Matthews have his Eureka moment and make the claim this is Adam Walsh in his book Bringing Adam Home.

    This photo can also be seen on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement DVD. It’s the second photo on the DVD. All the photos on the DVD are exactly the same photos that Joe Matthews received from the FDLE. The FDLE DVD can be viewed at

    -Willis Morgan- | Facebook page:

  • Detective Joe Matthews had a chance to set the record straight. Instead, for egotistical reasons or in his eagerness to placate the Walshes, he authored his own narrative of events and took it upon himself to become the chief propagandist for the Ottis Toole theory as he contrived evidence and twisted facts in what may have been a diabolically clever scheme he hatched up that would please the Walshes. Then he used useful idiots at the HPD to get the case closed. Reve herself said she didn’t want to go to her grave not knowing, yet Matthews seems to be okay with her not knowing the truth. He also perpetrated a hoax, most likely in order to make himself into a superhero and make some money in the process. Read more at: FRUSTRATED WITNESS on facebook.

  • Richard says:

    It’s all a lie. You want the truth read Frustrated Witness by Willis Morgan. Jeffrey Dahmer killed Adam.

  • John says:

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a match for Adam’s face or not. Toole’s confession said that he was driving the white car, kidnapped and killed the boy, had so much blood on his shoes that he got blood on the front floorboards, decapitated the boy with a machete, put the head on the floorboards behind the front seat, and then ultimately threw the head away over 100 miles from where the boy was kidnapped. At the time, he didn’t know where police had found the head, or what the forensics said about the type of blade that killed Adam. If he was making it up, he coincidentally made up the exact random location of the head discovery a huge distance from the kidnap site, and the type of (bizarre) weapon that was used to decapitate the child, and the position of the boy when the decapitation happened. The luminol of Toole’s white car drivers side floorboards shows evidence of blood, and the picture above shows further evidence of pooled blood. Does it matter if you can see Adam’s face in the blood? Something bloody was deposited on the rear floorboards that matches the confession that matches the evidence that a low-intelligence Toole had no way of knowing. In any other case the presence of blood in the place where a bloody body part was confessed to being would be enough. The fact that the blood evidence looked vaguely face like was a matter of curiosity, it wasn’t the crux of the evidence. Regardless of what the blood image looks like, it is in fact blood. In a place where blood would have been if Toole’s story was accurate. And of the size that a body part or off-bleeding of some significant amount (though not an entire body, it’s not big enough, probably not just transfer from shoes given the amount of blood pictured) would make. So the face is just a distraction. It’s blood, where blood would be if Toole’s many very detailed confessions that contained details that were unpublished was even in the ballpark of being accurate. Even without this piece of evidence added, Toole’s multiple confessions with otherwise unknown details would have been more than enough to convict him. This is just one of hundreds of supporting pieces of evidence.

    • Mara says:

      I have just watched a documentary about Ottis Toole. At some point, he claimed that the police had showed him the crime scene photos before taking him to Sears and to the bridge. That is how he had been able to identify the crime places. However, many years later, another child’s clothes had been found buried in his backyard, where he lived with his grandmother. I believe that he could have murdered Adam along with another child. But police loosing the car and the carpet – the crucial evidence, that does not make a lot of sense.

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