'America's Most Wanted' Canceled

National Show Helped Local Leaders Solve Crimes

Published On: Oct 14 2011 02:54:20 PM EDT   Updated On: May 18 2011 06:59:51 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Clay County and St. Johns County sheriffs both say "America's Most Wanted" will be sorely missed in the law enforcement community. At the same time they believe the long-running television show will somehow end up resurfacing again.

Over the past 23 years, "America's Most Wanted" has captured 1,151 criminals, including cases close to home like the kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Somer Thompson.

"When the Somer Thompson case happened, John called me personally on my cell phone to offer resources to 'America's Most Wanted'," said Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler.

Beseler said the program was critical in developing leads that poured in from across the country. Authorities were able to capture and charge Jared Harrel with Thompson's death. Harrel is expected to go on trial sometime next year.

"It's very unfortunate that they've fallen under the economic budget packs, that they've become so expensive to produce the network decided to pull the plug," said Beseler.

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"I don't know anything about ratings and television, but I expect there will be an outpouring, an outcry somewhere," said St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar.

Shoar said the kidnapping and murder of Brittany Tavar got the national attention it needed to capture Joseph Roberts thanks to the show. The sheriff said regardless of what happens to John Walsh's television show, people haven't heard the last of the "America's Most Wanted" host.

"John has really become a member of the law enforcement community, not an honorary member but a partner, so regardless of what happens to the show, John's not going away," said Shoar.

A small online campaign has already been started to save "America's Most Wanted" from cancellation. The show has been rescued before, after an outpouring of support from police, fans and politicians in 1996.