Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on Wednesday (March 20) that multiple crime agencies will use modern technology to reexamine the 40-year-old case of 29 missing and dead Black children in Atlanta. Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erica Shields hope that forensic breakthroughs might point to a killer.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that decision stems in part from Investigation Discovery’s new three-hour documentary “The Atlanta Child Murders,” which set to preimere tomorrow (March 23). At a press conference following the announcement, Bottoms reportedly shouted out Atlanta-based producer Will Packer (Girl’s Trip) who created the doc with ID. “I would like to acknowledge and thank my friend Will Packer who is doing a documentary on the missing and murdered children,” Bottoms said.
Packer, in return, said, “I commend Mayor Bottoms and law enforcement for taking this important and overdue step. My hope is that the families experience some solace as these cases get the renewed national attention they deserve. Their stories deserve to be told.”
Over 23 months in 1979 and 1980, at least 29 Black children were killed in Atlanta. Their deaths sparked fear and outrage and became national news. Ultimately, police used then-nascent forensic technology to arrest former news reporter and club promoter Wayne Williams, who was imprisoned for life for the murder of two adults with loose connections to the children. One juror told CNN decades later that he and others felt the chances were “astronomical” that anyone else could’ve been connected to all of the various fibers found on the bodies.
“The Atlanta Child Murders” airs on ID tomorrow at 10 p.m. EDT.