Atlanta Child Murders: Unsolved Cases To Be Reopened, Evidence Newly Tested

The mayor says new technology will be used in hope of providing closure to victims’ families and to show that “black lives do matter.”

March 21, 2019
Mug shots of Wayne Williams [Fulton County Police Department]

Photo by: Wayne Williams [Fulton County Police]

Wayne Williams [Fulton County Police]

By: Mike McPadden

ATLANTA, GA — Atlanta police will reopen and reexamine unsolved killings in the infamous “Atlanta child murders” that plagued the city from 1979 to 1981.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields announced the plan today at a press conference. Investigators will reportedly use new technology to test existing evidence. The operation will be a joint effort between the Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Chief Shields said the goal is to provide closure and “some peace” to families of the victims, adding, “to the extent that peace can be had in a situation like this.”

Mayor Bottoms, who said she was moved to renew the investigation after talking to the mother of a victim, stated, “It may be there is nothing left to be tested, but I do think history will judge us by our actions and we will be able to say we tried…. We have done all that we can do to make sure their memories are not forgotten and, in the truest sense of the word, to let the world know that black lives do matter.”

Between July 1979 to May 1981, the Atlanta child murders claimed at least 28 African-American victims, almost all of them male and most of them under the age of 17.

In 1982, Wayne Williams was convicted for killing two adults, and he is suspected in 22 of the other murders. Investigators closed the unsolved cases following Williams’ conviction, as they believe he was responsible for all the killings. Authorities also point out that once Williams was locked up, the murders stopped.

Williams, however, has always maintained his innocence, and he has never been charged in the death of any children, nor has he been convicted of any other crimes.

Public interest has been renewed in the tragedy in the wake of the popular Atlanta Monster podcast and the upcoming Investigation Discovery documentary series, The Atlanta Child Murders.

Watch The Atlanta Child Murders on Saturday, March 23 at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery!

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