Over four decades ago several Atlanta children were murdered between 1979- 1981. One child vanished after another only to turn up dead. Some were killed by strangulation and some by suffocation. The killings wreaked havoc in the city known as the mecca for Black excellence. In 1982, Wayne Williams was arrested for killing two adults . Some evidence linked him to the child murders but he was never convicted of the crimes.
On Thursday March 21, Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, held a press conference to announce that she and the Atlanta police department have decided to re-examine the cases. The Atlanta police department, the Fulton County district attorney’s office, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will work together to re test evidence using modern day DNA technology.
Mayor Bottoms is no stranger to this topic. She was in elementary school when the murders took place around the city, and remembers the warnings to not go outside alone.
“I hope that [reopening the cases] says to the public that our children matter. African American children still matter. They mattered to Maynard Jackson and they matter to me. That could have been any of us. It could have been any of us”, Bottoms in an exclusive 11 Alive interview.
Days after Bottoms’ announcement, producer Will Packer aired a documentary on Investigation Discovery, The documentary explored the six theories of the murders. The theories include: organ harvesting, the KKK involvement, the C.I.A framing Wayne Williams, pedophiles, money talks, and/or an unknown serial killer.
Wayne Williams is now 60 years old and is currently serving two life sentences at Hancock State Prison in Sparta, Georgia. He continues to maintain his innocence. He recently released a statement read at a news conference stating, “I stand fully ready and willing to cooperate with any renewed investigation to find the truth on what happened with the purpose of straightening up any lies and misconceptions of my unjust convictions”.