Atlanta Is Building A Memorial To 29 Child Murder Victims Killed Between 1979 and 1981
The Atlanta Child Murders rocked the nation as Black children from Atlanta disappeared and then turned up dead.
Atlanta's missing and murdered children are shown in the photo's below: (A) Charles Stevens murdered (B) Earl Lee Terrell murdered (C)Christopher Philepe Richardson murdered (D) Clifford Jones murdered (E) LaTonya Wilson murdered (F) Patrick Balazar murdered (G) Angel Lanier murdered (H) Yusef Bell murdered (I) Jeffrey Lamar Mathis murdered (J) Alfred James Evans murdered (K) Lubie Geter murdered (L) Darron Glass missing (M) Eric Middlebrooks murdered (N) Anthony Bernard Carter murdered (O) Edward Hope Smith murdered (P) Milton Harvey murdered. Not shown are Aaron Jackson, Jr. and Terry Lorenzo Pue, both found murdered.
The Atlanta Child Murders rocked the nation as Black children from Atlanta disappeared and then turned up dead between 1979 and 1981. After reopening the case in 2019, former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced plans to create a memorial for the victims.
The city held a groundbreaking on the project in late 2021. The finished memorial outside Atlanta’s City Hall will be a rounded stone wall with the names of the victims on it. Each name will have a small shelf underneath it for flowers or other mementos. An eternal flame will burn in their memory.
The first children to disappear in July 1979 were Edward Smith and Alfred Evans, both of whom were 14. They were found 150 yards from one another in a wooded lot in southwest Atlanta.
For the next 22 months, children, teens, and young adults disappeared around metro Atlanta, only to be found dead later. The causes of death differed—some victims were strangled, others shot. Some causes of death were never determined.
It’s been four decades since police arrested their one and only suspect—23-year-old Wayne Williams—in May 1981. Williams was arrested after police spotted him acting suspiciously near a bridge over the Chattahoochee River a few days before a dead body bobbed to the surface. That body belonged to 27-year-old Nathaniel Cater, and police believed they had enough evidence to link Williams to Cater’s death, as well as the death of another man, 21-year-old Jimmy Payne.
Over a two-year period, at least 29 black children and young adults are murdered from low-income neighborhoods in 1980s Atlanta. In this emotional three-part series, we explore the mystery from those closest to the devastation.
Williams was convicted in 1982 for two of the adults murders, though authorities believed he was responsible for all the child murders and closed the unresolved cases.
Williams’s role (or lack thereof) in the killing spree has been the subject of multiple podcasts and documentaries, and Williams has maintained his innocence in the case. The questions raised by independent investigators were enough to prompt the mayor to reopen the case in 2019.
As part of reopening the case, some of the DNA evidence collected from the bodies is currently undergoing testing at a Utah lab in hopes of definitively linking Williams to the crime or potentially identifying another suspect. Investigators are also re-examining murders between 1970 and 1985 to ensure that there are no other killings that fit into the haphazard pattern of the Atlanta Child Murders.
Williams, who is housed at the Telfair State Prison in southeast Georgia, was denied parole in 2019. The parole board cited the “insufficient amount of time served” as the reason for their denial, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Williams, now 63, will not be eligible for parole again until November 2027.