HOLLYWOOD, Florida (CNN) -- Hollywood police said Tuesday that they are closing the investigation into the 1981 abduction and slaying of 6-year-old Adam Walsh.
Adam Walsh 6, disappeared from a mall in August, 1981. His head was found two weeks later, 120 miles away.
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The boy's abduction and slaying 27 years ago put missing children on the national agenda.
Police will name deceased drifter Ottis Toole, a convicted pedophile who died in prison in 1996, as the boy's suspected killer, a law enforcement source told CNN.
Toole twice confessed to killing the boy -- and twice recanted his story, saying he made it up. It could not be learned what, if any, new evidence exists.
Hollywood Police Chief Chad Wagner plans to provide details at an afternoon news conference. He will be joined by the boy's parents, John and Reve Walsh, whose son would now be 33.
Adam disappeared from a Sears store across from the Hollywood police station on July 27, 1981. Two weeks later, his severed head was found in a canal 120 miles away. The boy's body was never recovered, and no one was ever charged in the case.
Walsh turned his grief into action, becoming an early advocate for for missing children and crime victims. Three presidents -- Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton -- have honored John Walsh for his efforts to safeguard children.
- Crime Library" 'My baby is missing!'
His efforts led to the passage of the federal Missing Children's Assistance Act of 1984, which established the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
His fierce loathing of fugitives, convicts and predators launched a new career as host of the television show "America's Most Wanted."
Walsh has long believed Toole killed Adam. Toole died in prison in 1996 while serving a life sentence on unrelated charges.
Toole's confessions in the Walsh case were questioned by police because Toole confessed to other murders that police knew he did not commit.
Although the details of his story changed, Toole did lead police to the Sears store and pointed out the spot where Adam was last seen. He also led police to the canal where the boy's head was found.
But investigators could not find Adam's body where Toole said he left it.
A bloody piece of carpet removed from Toole's car was lost by police many years ago, before DNA testing became available.
Police believe a 17-year-old security guard asked a handful of rowdy kids who were playing video games in the toy department to leave the store. Investigators believe Adam was grouped in with those kids, who left him alone outside the store. That was the last time he was seen.