Atlanta murders of 1979–1981
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The Atlanta murders of 1979–1981, sometimes called the Atlanta child murders, were a series of murders committed in Atlanta, Georgia, between July 1979 and May 1981. Over the two-year period, at least 28 children, adolescents, and adults were killed.
|Atlanta murders of 1979–1981|
|Location||City of Atlanta, Fulton County, DeKalb County, Cobb County, Douglas County|
|Date||July 21, 1979 – May 21, 1981|
|Target||Children and young adults in the Atlanta metropolitan area|
|serial killing, kidnapping|
Wayne Williams, an Atlanta native who was 23 years old at the time of the last murder, was arrested, tried, and convicted of two of the adult murders and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. Police subsequently have attributed a number of the child murders to Williams, although he has not been charged in any of those cases, and Williams himself maintains his innocence, although the killings ceased after his arrest. In March 2019, the Atlanta police, under the order of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, reopened the cases in hopes that new technology will lead to a conviction for the murders that were never resolved.
Timeline of murdersEdit
- In the middle of 1979, Edward Hope Smith (also known as "Teddy") and Alfred Evans (also known as "Q"), both 14, disappeared four days apart. Their bodies were found on July 28 in a wooded area, Smith with a .22 caliber gunshot wound in his upper back. They were believed to be the first victims of the putative "Atlanta Child Killer."
- On September 4, the next victim, 14-year-old Milton Harvey, disappeared while on an errand to the bank for his mother. He was riding a yellow 10-speed bike, which was found a week later in a remote area of Atlanta. His body was not recovered until November of that year.
- On October 21, 9-year-old Yusuf Bell went to a store to buy Bruton snuff for a neighbor, Eula Birdsong, at Reese Grocery on McDaniel Street. A witness said she saw Yusuf near the intersection of McDaniel and Fulton getting into a blue car before he disappeared. His body was found on November 8 in the abandoned E. P. Johnson Elementary School by a school janitor who was looking for a place to urinate. Bell's body was found clothed in the brown cut-off shorts he was last seen wearing, though they had a piece of masking tape stuck to them. He had been hit over the head twice, and the cause of death was strangulation. Police did not immediately link his disappearance to the previous killings.
- On March 4, 1980, the first female victim, 12-year-old Angel Lanier, disappeared. She left her house around 4 pm, wearing a denim outfit, and was last seen at a friend's house watching the television program Sanford and Son. Lanier's body was found six days later, in a wooded vacant lot along Campbellton Road, wearing the same clothes in which she had left home. A pair of white panties that did not belong to Lanier were stuffed in her mouth, and her hands were bound with an electrical cord. The cause of death was strangulation.
- On March 11, one week after Lanier's disappearance, 11-year-old Jeffery Mathis disappeared while on an errand for his mother. He was wearing gray jogging pants, brown shoes, and a white and green shirt. Months later a girl said she saw him get into a blue car with a light-skinned man and a dark-skinned man. The body of Jeffrey Mathis was found in a "briar-covered patch of woodlands," 11 months after he disappeared, by which time it was not possible to identify a cause of death.
- On May 18, 14-year-old Eric Middlebrooks disappeared. He was last seen answering the telephone at home and then leaving in a hurry on his bicycle, taking with him a hammer to repair the bicycle. His body was found the following day next to his bicycle in the rear garage of an Atlanta bar. The bar was located next door to what was then the Georgia Department of Offender Rehabilitation. His pockets were turned inside out, his chest and arms had slight stab wounds, and the cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. A few weeks before he disappeared, Middlebrooks had testified against three juveniles in a robbery case.
- On June 9, 12-year-old Christopher Richardson went missing on his way to a local pool. He was last seen walking towards the DeKalb County's Midway Recreation Center in Midway Park. He was wearing blue shorts, a light blue shirt and blue tennis shoes. His body was not found until the following January, clothed in unfamiliar swim trunks, along with the body of a later victim, Earl Terrell. The cause of Richardson's death was not determined.
- On June 22, 7-year-old LaTonya Wilson disappeared from her parents' apartment. According to a witness, she appeared to have been abducted by two men, one of whom was seen climbing into the apartment window and then holding Wilson in his arms as he spoke to the other man in the parking lot. On October 18, Wilson's body was found in a fenced-in area at the end of Verbena Street in Atlanta. By then, the body had skeletonized, and no cause of death could be established.
- The next day, June 23, 10-year-old Aaron Wyche disappeared after having been seen near a local grocery store, getting into a blue Chevrolet with either one or two black men. A female witness says she saw Wyche being led from Tanner's Corner Grocery by a 6-foot-tall 180-pound black male, approximately 30 years old, with a mustache and goatee. The witness's description of the car matched a description of a similar car implicated in the earlier Jeffrey Mathis disappearance. At 6 pm, Wyche was seen at a shopping center. The following day, Wyche's body was found under a bridge; the official cause of death was asphyxiation from a broken neck suffered in a fall.
- In July 1980, two more children, 9-year-old Anthony Carter and 10-year-old Earl Terrell, were murdered.
- Clifford Jones, aged 13, disappeared on August 20. He was found dead from strangulation. His body was found on August 21 behind a dumpster in the rear of the former Hollywood Plaza shopping center.
- Darron Glass, aged 10, was reported missing on September 14. His body has not been recovered.
- Charles Stephens, aged 12, was reported missing on October 9. His body was found the next day. Police determined that he had been suffocated.
- Aaron Jackson, aged 9, went missing on November 1. His body was discovered the next day strangled, lying face-up on a river bank.
- Patrick Rogers, aged 16, knew several of the previous victims. He went missing on November 30. His body was found on December 7 in the Chattahoochee river. Police speculated that he was dropped from the bridge above.
- The murders continued into 1981. The first known victim in the new year was Lubie Geter, who disappeared on January 3. Geter's body was found on February 5.
- Geter's friend, 15-year-old Terry Pue went missing in January. An anonymous caller told the police where to find Pue's body. Terry lived in the same apartment as Edward "Teddy" Smith, who was killed in 1979.
- In February and March 1981, six more bodies were discovered, believed to be linked to the previous homicides. Among the dead was the body of Eddie Duncan, the first adult victim.
- In April, 20-year-old Larry Rogers, 28-year-old John Porter, and 21-year-old Jimmy Ray Payne were murdered. Porter and Payne were ex-convicts and had just recently been released from Arrendale State Prison after serving time for burglary.
- On May 12, 1981, FBI agents found the body of 17-year-old William "Billy Star" Barrett on a curb in a wooded area near his home. A witness, 32-year-old Harold Wood, a custodian from Southwest High School, had run out of gas about a mile from the scene. Wood described a black man standing over and observing the location where the body was found before driving away in a white-over-blue Cadillac.
- During the end of May 1981, the last reported victim was added to the list: 27-year-old Nathaniel Cater. He was last seen by gardener Robert I. Henry at the entrance of the Rialto Theatre in Atlanta, reportedly holding hands with Wayne Williams. His body was discovered just hours later.
- Investigator Chet Dettlinger created a map of the victims' locations. Despite the difference in ages, the victims fell within the same geographic parameters. They were connected to Memorial Drive and 11 major streets in the area.
Capturing the suspectEdit
During the murders, more than 100 agents were working on the investigation. The city of Atlanta imposed curfews, and parents in the city removed their children from school and forbade them from playing outside.
As the media coverage of the killings intensified, the FBI predicted that the killer might dump the next victim into a body of water to conceal any evidence. Police staked out nearly a dozen area bridges, including crossings of the Chattahoochee River. During a stakeout on May 22, 1981, detectives got their first major break when an officer heard a splash beneath a bridge. Another officer saw a white 1970 Chevrolet station wagon turn around and drive back across the bridge.
Two police cars later stopped the suspect station wagon about a half-mile from the bridge. The driver was 23-year-old Wayne Bertram Williams, a supposed music promoter and freelance photographer. The Chevrolet wagon belonged to his parents. Dog hair and fibers recovered from the rear of the vehicle were later used as evidence in the case against Williams, as similar fibers were found on some of the victims. They were found to match his dog and the carpet in his parents' house. During questioning, Williams said he was on his way to audition a woman, Cheryl Johnson, as a singer. Williams claimed she lived in the nearby town of Smyrna. Police did not find any record of her or the appointment.
Two days later, on May 24, the nude body of Nathaniel Cater, 27, was found floating downriver a few miles from the bridge where police had seen the suspicious station wagon. Based on this evidence, including the police officer's hearing of the splash, police believed that Williams had killed Cater and disposed of his body while the police were nearby.
Investigators who stopped Williams on the bridge noticed gloves and a 24-inch nylon cord sitting in the passenger seat. According to investigators, the cord looked similar to ligature marks found on Cater and other victims, but the cord was never taken into evidence for analysis. Adding to a growing list of suspicious circumstances, Williams had handed out flyers in predominantly black neighborhoods calling for young people ages 11–21 to audition for his new singing group that he called Gemini. Williams failed an FBI-administered polygraph examination, though polygraph results are not admissible as evidence in criminal courts.
Fibers from a carpet in the Williams residence were found to match those observed on two of the victims. Additional fibers from the Williams's home, vehicles, and pet dog were later matched to fibers discovered on other victims. Furthermore, witness Robert Henry claimed to have seen Williams holding hands and walking with Nathaniel Cater on the night Cater is believed to have died.
When the news of Williams's arrest was officially released (his status as a suspect had previously been leaked to the media), FBI Agent John E. Douglas stated that, if it was Williams, then he was "looking pretty good for a good percentage of the killings." Douglas had previously conducted an interview with People magazine about profiling the killer as a young black man. This was widely reported as the FBI effectively declaring Williams guilty, and Douglas was officially censured by the Director of the FBI.
Jury selection began on December 28, 1981, and it lasted six days. Nine women and three men composed the jury, among them were eight African Americans and four Caucasians.
The trial officially began on January 6, 1982, with Judge Clarence Cooper presiding. The most important evidence against Williams was the fiber analysis between the victims who he was indicted for murdering, Jimmy Ray Payne and Nathaniel Cater, and the 12 pattern-murder cases in which circumstantial evidence culminated in numerous links between the crimes. This evidence included witnesses who testified that they had seen Williams with the victims, and some witnesses suggested that he had solicited sexual favors.
The prosecution's presentation of the case has been criticized, to the extent that in some jurisdictions it might have resulted in a mistrial.[according to whom?] In particular, two separate FBI special agents testified that the chances of the victims not having come into contact with Williams was "virtually impossible," based solely on the comparative rarity of the fibers which were found on the victims which seemed to match the fibers which were found in the suspect's car and home. After reviewing the case, Georgia Supreme Court Justice George T. Smith deemed the evidence, or the lack thereof, inadmissible.
On February 27, 1982, after eleven hours of deliberation, the jury found Wayne Bertram Williams guilty of the two murders. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in Georgia's Hancock State Prison in Sparta.
In a September 1986 issue of American music magazine Spin, journalists Robert Keating and Barry Michael Cooper (the latter of whom would later find fame as a screenwriter) reported that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation – who had been conducting a secret investigation into potential involvement of the Ku Klux Klan in the crimes, in tandem to that of the Special Task Force on Missing and Murdered Children – discovered members of the group may have been involved in the murder of victim Lubie Geter, and may have been linked to the murders of fourteen others. Allegedly, a family of Klansmembers living outside of Atlanta had hoped to ignite a race war in Atlanta, and attempted to recruit others for this purpose. Charles T. Sanders, a narcotics dealer and recruiter for the group, was said to have told a criminal informant he intended on killing Geter several weeks before his body was found. After Geter had backed a go-cart into his car, Sanders allegedly told the informant “I’m gonna kill that black bastard. I’m gonna strangle him with my dick.” Shortly thereafter, Sander's brother Don was recorded telling another Klan-member he was going out to look for "another little boy." Additionally, Charles Sanders was said to have a scar matching a description given by an eyewitness who reported seeing Geter enter the car of a White man with a "jagged scar on his neck," and a dog with similar hair to that found on Geter's and other victims' bodies. The article reported that, in 1981, members of the GBI and officials in other law enforcement agencies opted to close their investigation and seal their findings, before a handwritten transcript of a conversation between Klansmembers regarding Geter's murder was sent anonymously to Lynn Whatley in 1985, an attorney who was then representing Wayne Williams. At a 1991 hearing on Williams' request for a new trial, wherein he was represented by attorneys Alan Dershowitz, William Kunstler, and Bobby Lee Cook, investigators from both Atlanta and Georgia law-enforcement agencies testified they had little or no knowledge of the GBI's investigation. At the same hearing, an informant for the GBI reported that in 1981, Charles Sanders had admitted to killing Geter while Whitaker was wearing a concealed microphone.
In May 2004, about six months after becoming the DeKalb County Police Chief in November 2003, Louis Graham reopened the investigations into the deaths of the five DeKalb County victims: 10-year-old Aaron Wyche, 13-year-old Curtis Walker, 9-year-old Yusuf Bell, 17-year-old William Barrett, and 11-year-old Patrick Baltazar. Graham, one of the original investigators in these cases, said he doubted that Wayne Williams, the man convicted of two of the killings and blamed for 22 others, was guilty of all of them. On June 21, 2006, the DeKalb County Police dropped its reinvestigation of the Atlanta child murders. After resigning, Graham was replaced by the acting chief, Nick Marinelli, who said, "We dredged up what we had, and nothing has panned out, so until something does or additional evidence comes our way, or there's forensic feedback from existing evidence, we will continue to pursue the [other] cold cases that are [with]in our reach."[self-published source?]
Criminal profiler John E. Douglas said that, while he believes that Williams committed many of the murders, he does not think that he committed them all. Douglas added that he believes that law enforcement authorities have some idea of who the other killers are, cryptically adding, "It isn't a single offender, and the truth isn't pleasant."
On January 29, 2007, attorneys for the State of Georgia agreed to allow DNA testing of the dog hair that was used to help convict Williams. This decision was a response to a legal filing as a part of Williams' efforts to appeal his conviction and life sentences. Williams' lawyer, Jack Martin, asked a Fulton County Superior Court judge to allow DNA tests on canine and human hair and blood, stating the results might help Williams win a new trial.
On June 26, 2007, the DNA test results showed that the hairs on the bodies contained the same mitochondrial DNA sequence as Williams' dog—a sequence that occurs in only about 1 out of 100 dogs. Dr. Elizabeth Wictum, director of the UC Davis laboratory that carried out the testing, told The Associated Press that while the results were "fairly significant," they "don't conclusively point to Williams' dog as the source of the hair" because the lab was able to test only for mitochondrial DNA, which, unlike nuclear DNA, cannot be shown to be unique to one dog.
Later in 2007, the FBI performed DNA tests on two human hairs found on one of the victims. The mitochondrial DNA sequence in the hairs would eliminate 99.5% of persons by not matching their DNA. The mitochondrial DNA sequence in the hairs would eliminate 98% of African American persons by not matching their DNA. However, they matched Williams' DNA and so did not eliminate the possibility that the hairs were his.
On March 21, 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields announced that officials would re-test evidence from the murders, which will be gathered by the Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County District Attorney's Office, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In a news conference, Mayor Bottoms said, "It may be there is nothing left to be tested. But I do think history will judge us by our actions and we will be able to say we tried."
As of 2019, Wayne Williams continues to maintain his innocence.
|Name||Age||Date of disappearance||Cause of death||Case status|
|Edward Smith||14||July 21, 1979||Gunshot wound to upper back
from a .22-caliber weapon
|Alfred Evans||13||July 25, 1979||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Milton Harvey||14||September 4, 1979||Undetermined||Unresolved|
|Yusuf Bell||9||October 21, 1979||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Angel Lanier||12||March 4, 1980||Ligature strangulation||Unresolved|
|Jeffery Mathis||11||March 11, 1980||Undetermined||Unresolved|
|Eric Middlebrooks||14||May 18, 1980||Blunt-force trauma to the head||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Christopher Richardson||12||June 9, 1980||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|LaTonya Wilson||7||June 22, 1980||Undetermined||Unresolved|
|Aaron Wyche||10||June 23, 1980||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Anthony Carter||9||July 6, 1980||Multiple stab wounds||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Earl Terrell||10||July 30, 1980||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Clifford Jones||12||August 20, 1980||Ligature strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Darron Glass||10||September 14, 1980||Undetermined (body never found)||Unresolved|
|Charles Stephens||12||October 9, 1980||Suffocation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Aaron Jackson||9||November 1, 1980||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Patrick Rogers||16||November 10, 1980||Blunt-force trauma to the head||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Lubie Geter||14||January 3, 1981||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Terry Pue||15||January 22, 1981||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Patrick Baltazar||12||February 6, 1981||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Curtis Walker||13||February 19, 1981||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Joseph Bell||15||March 2, 1981||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Timothy Hill||13||March 13, 1981||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Eddie Duncan||21||March 20, 1981||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Larry Rogers||20||March 22, 1981||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Michael McIntosh||23||March 25, 1981||Asphyxiation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Jimmy Ray Payne||21||April 23, 1981||Asphyxiation||Williams tried and found guilty of crime|
|John Porter||28||April 23, 1981||Multiple stab wounds||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|William Barrett||17||May 11, 1981||Strangulation||Attributed to Williams; closed|
|Nathaniel Cater||27||May 22, 1981||Asphyxiation||Williams tried and found guilty of crime|
Media coverage and adaptationsEdit
The first national media coverage of the case was in 1980, when a team from ABC News 20/20, Stanhope Gould and Bill Lichtenstein, producer Steve Tello, and correspondent Bob Sirkin from the ABC Atlanta bureau looked into the case. They were assigned to the story after ABC News president Roone Arledge read a tiny story in the newspaper that said police had ruled out any connection between a daycare explosion, which turned out to be a faulty furnace, and the cases of lost and missing children, which had been previously unreported in the national media. In a week, the team reported on the dead and missing children, and they broke the story that the Atlanta Police Task Force was not writing down or following up on every lead they received through the police hotline that had been set up.
In 1982, writer Martin Pasko dedicated an issue of the comic book Saga of the Swamp Thing to "the good people of Atlanta, that they may put the horror behind them...but not forget." The story revolved around a serial killer who targeted minority children in the fictional town of Pineboro, Arkansas, who is revealed to be a demon who had possessed TV host "Uncle Barney" (a thinly-veiled parody of Fred Rogers). While the demon is ultimately vanquished, the story ends on an ominous note criticizing the social inequalities that made the non-white children such attractive targets, as well as children's television shows that encourage blind trust of strangers.
In 1985, the television miniseries The Atlanta Child Murders was released. The film was centered around the murders and the arrest of the suspect. The film revolved mainly around the aftermath of the killings and the trials. The film starred Calvin Levels, Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, Rip Torn, Jason Robards, Martin Sheen, and Bill Paxton. Atlanta officials criticized the film, claiming that it distorted the facts of the case. After a series of negotiations, CBS executives agreed to insert a disclaimer alerting viewers that the film is based on fact but contains fictional elements.
Also in 1985, James Baldwin published The Evidence of Things Not Seen, a non-fiction examination not only of the case and Williams' trial, but also of race relations in Atlanta and, by extension, America. The book grew out of an assignment to write about the murders for Playboy, commissioned by then-editor Walter Lowe.
In 2002, Tayari Jones published the novel Leaving Atlanta. The book focuses on the lives and experiences of three fictional fifth graders at Oglethorpe Elementary School, Tasha Baxter, Rodney Green, and Octavia Fuller, during the murder spree. During the time of the murders, Jones attended Oglethorpe Elementary School and was classmates with two of the real-life victims, Yusuf Bell and Terry Pue.
On June 10, 2010, CNN broadcast a documentary, The Atlanta Child Murders, with interviews by Soledad O'Brien with some of the people involved, including Wayne Williams. The two-hour documentary invited viewers to weigh the evidence presented and then go to CNN.com to cast votes on whether Williams was guilty, whether he was innocent, or if the case was "not proven." 68.6% of respondents said Williams was guilty, 4.3% said he was innocent, and 27.1% chose "not proven."
In the 2016 song "the ends" by American rapper Travis Scott featuring American rapper André 3000, on the former's second studio album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, Atlanta-native André 3000 raps about the killings.
In January 2018, documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey began releasing a podcast called Atlanta Monster, covering the murders with interviews from family members of victims, law enforcement officials, individuals alive in the Atlanta area at the time of the murders, and Wayne Williams.
The second season of Mindhunter (released in August 2019) covers the murders. The series, which is focused on the history of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) builds that dramatic arc of the series over the FBI's two BSU agents who join the Atlanta investigation. In the series fictional treatment, Agent Ford has the role of insisting that the 13 murders (at the time of the series arc) they are investigating are the work of one single serial killer, and that to gain the victims' trust, he may be African-American himself. This line of deduction clashes with that of his colleague Agent Tench, the Atlanta Police Department, and the African-American community of Atlanta–many of whom believe, in light of Georgia's history of hate crimes and racial violence, that the killings are the work of the Ku Klux Klan.
In April 2020, HBO released a 5-part documentary titled Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children, directed by Sam Pollard and Maro Chermayeff. HBO's documentary revealed information that focused heavily on the appellate process of the case against Wayne Williams. Williams' attorney's filed a habeas corpus document and it is was denied. Similarly, his request for a retrial was denied in 2004.
- Burch, Audra D. S. (April 30, 2019). "Who Killed Atlanta's Children?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- "The Atlanta Youth Murders and the Politics of Race" Bernard D. Headley, Published by Southern Illinois University Press, December 1, 1999
- "Famous Atlanta Child Murders & Wayne Williams" Archived May 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, The Crime Library
- WALTER ISAACSON;Anne Constable, "A Web of Fiber and Fact", Time Magazine, March 8, 1982. Retrieved November 27, 2009
- "Homer Williams and Mrs. Faye Williams, Plaintiffs-appellants, v. City of Atlanta, et al., Defendants-appellees, 794 F.2d 624 (11th Cir. 1986)". Justia Law. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
- Polk, Jim; Zdanowicz, Christina (September 6, 2010). "CNN viewers: Williams 'guilty' in Atlanta child murders". Atlanta, Georgia: CNN. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Trace Evidence: Dead People Do Tell Tales By Stephen Eldridge Enslow Publishers, Inc., July 1, 2011, pp. 39–49
- "CNN Transcripts: Atlanta Child Murders
- MindHunter Pg 215
- Johnson, J. James (1984) "The Odds of Criminal Justice in Georgia: Mathematically Expressed Probabilities in Georgia Criminal Trials" Georgia State University Law Review: Volume 1: Issue 1, Article 9.
- "Why TV Movie About Atlanta Child Murders Had to Be Made". The New York Times. March 1, 1985. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
- Keating, Robert; Cooper, Barry Michael (September 1986). "Atlanta Child Murders: Our 1986 Feature, "A Question of Justice"". Spin Magazine (Excerpt from original September 1986 article and full article investigating and exploring the Sanders brothers involvement.).
- "Klan Link is Cited in Child Kilings". The New York Time. October 10, 1991. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
- "Police chief behind probe in new killings resigns", Kentucky New Era, May 4, 2006
- "The Esoteric Codex: Unidentified Serial Killers" Royce Leighton, Published by lulu.com, March 27, 2015
- "Mind Hunter", John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Published by Scribner, November 26, 1998
- "DA, defense spar over meaning of new DNA test on dog hairs in Atlanta child murder case", Sign on San Diego, The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 26, 2007
- "Mind Hunter", John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, August 1, 1996, ISBN 0671528904
- Sharpe, Joshua. "Police plan to re-test Atlanta Child Murders evidence". ajc. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
- Hollie Silverman and Madison Park. "Decades after Atlanta child murders, families hope for a breakthrough in new review". CNN. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
- Sharpe, Joshua (August 19, 2019). "Wayne Williams: 'ready and willing to cooperate' in new Atlanta Child Murders probe". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
- Swamp Thing vol. 2, No. 4 (DC Comics, August 1982).
- Flemming, John (November 24, 1985). "The Evidence of Things Not Seen". The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
- Time magazine, July 17, 2000
- CNN: CNN viewers: Williams 'guilty' in Atlanta child murders Archived January 31, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Sherer, Devon (September 6, 2019). "The Real FBI Agent Behind Mindhunter on What Actually Happened in Atlanta". Vulture. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
- Tallerico, Brian (August 30, 2019). "The True Story Behind Mindhunter's Atlanta Child Murders". Vulture. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
- White, Peter (February 12, 2019). "Will Packer To Produce 'The Atlanta Child Murders' For ID". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- Lidsky, David. "The new HBO docuseries 'Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children' transcends true crime' For ID". Fast Company. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- "Atlanta Child Murders suspect Wayne Williams denied appeal for parole". fox61.com. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
- Keppel, Robert. The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer. New York, Pocket Books, 2004 (revised and updated). Contains a chapter on the Atlanta Child Murders and Keppel's participation as a consultant with the investigation.
- Jones, Tayari. Leaving Atlanta. New York, Warner Books, 2002. A novel that focuses on children during the time of the murders.
- Bambara, Toni Cade. Those Bones Are Not My Child. New York, Pantheon Books, 1999. A novel about a mother who lost a child as part of the murders.
- Reid, Kim. No Place Safe, New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2007. A memoir by the daughter of one of the police investigators.
- James Baldwin, The Evidence of Things Not Seen 1985. Holt, Rinehart and Winston
- Chet Dettlinger, Jeff Prugh, The List 1983. Philmay Enterprises, Inc. The most comprehensive account in print written by the private detective once considered a suspect because of his thorough knowledge of the case.
- John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, Scribner, 1995, See: Chapter 11, Atlanta, paqes 199–224.
- Mallard, Jack. "The Atlanta Child Murders: the Night Stalker" (Jack Mallard, 392pgs) released 2010-12-02. Jack Mallard was one of the Fulton County Assistant District Attorneys who prosecuted Wayne Williams for two murders. Includes footnotes and charts of testimony, physical evidence, trial strategy that led to the guilty verdicts.