The second season of Netflix’s Mindhunter just dropped recently, with the new batch of episodes partially dealing with a real-life case known as the Atlanta Child Murders. Between 1979 and 1981, an apparent serial killer murdered more than 31 people in and around Atlanta, with most of the victims being young Black children. The police believed that a man named Wayne Williams was behind all of the deaths, and though he was convicted of murdering two adults, he wasn’t charged with any of the other murders due to lack of evidence. He has maintained his innocence in all of the murders since then, and both FBI profiler John Douglas (who inspired Mindhunter) and some of the victims’ families have questioned whether or not Williams was actually involved.
According to Rolling Stone, the Atlanta Child Murders case has now been reopened, with Atlanta police chief Erika Shields saying that there are “boxes of evidence” associated with the case and that recent advancements in DNA technology may offer some new insights. The idea is to at least try and uncover some new information for the families of the victims one way or another, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms explaining to Rolling Stone that it’s not about tryin to “exonerate Williams,” as “much of the existing evidence already pointed strongly in his direction,” but that they just want to “discover the full truth.”
The timing of this may seem interesting, with Mindhunter focusing on the Atlanta Child Murders, but Rolling Stone also points out that the decision to reopen the case came in March. That means it’s just a coincidence, but it does speak to the general public’s ongoing fascination with unsolved (or questionably solved) cases like this. The real investigation is ongoing, and you can read about the semi-fictionalized investigation on Mindhunter over here.