Between 1979 and 1981 at least 29 Black children were killed in the city of Atlanta. The horrific string of killings was dubbed the “Atlanta Child Murders.”
Police arrested Wayne Williams, a suspect in the child murders, on June 21, 1981. He was later convicted for the murder of two adults, but would never be charged in any of the child murders. Police have attributed a number of the child killings to Williams, but those cases were never formally solved.
Atlanta native and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms remembers how horrific it was for the city when the child murders took place. The city was conflicted about if Williams was the true murderer. For years citizens wanted answers but were never able to get definitive closure.
During the height of the murders the city imposed curfews, parents removed their children from school, and over 100 agents worked on the investigation night and day.
Media coverage around the murders was none stop, which caused a lot of fear in the community. Even after Wayne Williams was arrested a lot o people living in the city still had questions. How could one man, with no help commit all these atrocities for such a long time and not get caught?
The Mayor announced Monday via Twitter that investigators from the Atlanta Police Department were on their way to Salt Lake City to provide a private lab with DNA evidence from the missing and murderer children from the “Atlanta Child Murders” case.
Although the mayor did not specify which lab would be examining the evidence, it is the right step in the direction of justice. Bottoms also said in her tweet she hopes to get concrete answers for the families who lost loved ones.
In March 2019, Mayor Bottoms reopened the case hoping that new technology could lead to new leads that could lead to convictions for the murders never solved. In July 2019, Bottoms announced that reopening the case led to officials identifying and sampling DNA evidence from the original case.
Mayor Bottoms, who will not be seeking reelection next year, looks to end her term as mayor by closing a case that has plagued the city for decades. It will speak tremendously to her legacy if she can do so.