Saving Bizzy Bone
A TRAGIC MURDER LED TO THE RESCUE OF A FUTURE RAP STAR
The ’90s saw an explosion in R&B hip-hop bands, and in 1991, it was the turn of Cleveland-based rappers Bone Thugs-n-harmony. Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, and Flesh-n-bone enjoyed a glittering career, but for one, the outward signs of success were masking an abusive past. Bizzy – real name Bryon Anthony Mccane II – was four when he and his sisters were abducted and held for two years by Bizzy’s stepfather, Bryon Mccane Sr. And his eventual rescue would be entwined with another heartbreaking crime.
On 27 July 1981, six -year-old Adam Walsh was separated from his mother Revé on a shopping trip in Hollywood Mall, Florida. Horrifyingly, two weeks later, Adam’s head was discovered in a drainage canal. Adam had been abducted and murdered by serial killer Ottis Toole, the rest of his body has never been found.
In the wake of his son’s death, his grief-stricken father John set up the Adam Walsh Resource Center, dedicated to helping families with missing children. In 1983, Adam – a film about his son’s abduction – was broadcast and watched by 38million viewers in the US. In April 1984 and April 1985, the film was reshown
on national TV. Following its broadcast, photos of 55 missing children were projected on screen, accompanied by an information number. One of the images was of a four-year-old Bizzy Bone.
Three years earlier, Mccane had bundled his daughters Hope and Heather, and stepson Bizzy, into a car. He told the kids their mother, Roseanne Jefferson, and grandmother had died, and they were going to start a new life. That was a lie. Mccane moved the children through different cities, changing hotels and cars frequently to evade capture. The children were starved and often approached strangers on the street, begging for food in order to survive.
Bizzy was also regularly tortured, sexually assaulted and beaten, as well as sexually molested by the son of one of Mccane’s friends. All the while, Bizzy was unaware that he had been kidnapped, and that his mother was searching for him with the help of John Walsh.
Eventually, Mccane settled on a Native American reservation, but a twist of fate was about to reveal the truth about his “family”. A woman on the reservation who babysat for Mccane was watching the film Adam when she recognised Bizzy’s photo as one of the missing children. She immediately contacted the FBI and, aged seven, Bizzy was finally reunited with his mother. But what should have been a happy conclusion was just the beginning of another traumatic journey.
His mother had remarried, and her new husband was physically abusive to both her and Bizzy, which culminated in her deserting the family. Bizzy went on to be placed in foster care, which went some way to giving him a period of stability.
But at 13, he moved to inner-city Ohio, where he began selling drugs and involving himself in other criminal activities. It was only when he met his future bandmates at 15 that he began to turn his life around. Fame and the friendship of his bandmates helped heal his emotional scars, and in 1997, Bone Thugs-n-harmony won a grammy for their single Crossroads.
Speaking on America’s Most Wanted – a TV show created and hosted by John Walsh –
Bizzy said of his childhood experience, “You’ve got to let it go or it’s going to torment you for the rest of your life. Tell that demon to leave.” He credits his rescue entirely to the work of John Walsh, saying, “Who knows where I would have been. It’s time somebody thanked him from the bottom of their heart.”
Walsh has since dedicated his life to working on behalf of missing children. His political lobbying led to the Missing Children Act of 1982, and the Missing Children’s Assistance Act of 1984. He works as a victims’ rights advocate and criminal investigator, hosting the show In Pursuit With John Walsh on the Investigation Discovery channel.
‘YOU’VE GOT TO LET IT GO OR IT WILL TORMENT YOU FOREVER’