It's been 40 years since the Atlanta Child Murders, the three-year period in which at least 28 Black children and adults were murdered in Atlanta, Georgia, but despite accused killer Wayne Williams currently serving two life sentences, many believe the case is far from solved. As detailed in season 2 of the Netflix series Mindhunter, the community that suffered isn't satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, and believe that the person or people responsible for the full scope of the murders are still at large, and now a new HBO documentary, Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children, is telling that story.
The murders started when Edward Hope Smith and Alfred Evans, both 14, went missing within days of each other in June 1979. Their bodies were eventually found, and then another 14-year-old boy named Milton Harvey went missing, followed by a 9-year-old boy named Yusuf Bell. Then in March 1980, 12-year-old Angel Lenair and 14-year-old Eric Middlebrooks disappeared. And that was just the beginning.
Williams was later convicted on fiber evidence, but in April 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she had asked the Atlanta Police Department to reopen 30 cases and to use newer, more sophisticated DNA technology to reexamine the evidence.
The trailer for the HBO documentary suggests the feature is picking up right there, and following the community as it sifts through what happened with fresh eyes. This presumably includes unearthing what Atlanta news station 11 Alive reported in June: that police now believe four of the cases were probably not connected to the other murders.
"If they pursue this, it's going to destroy the Atlanta name for a while," a talking head says in the documentary trailer. "It would turn Atlanta into the real Atlanta."