By: Heath Russell
- Wayne Williams is best known for the Atlanta Child Murders.
- On July 28, 1979, a woman came across two dead corpses along the side of the road hidden behind bushes. These murders were later traced to Wayne Williams.
- These murders were the start of a murder streak committed by Williams that would lead to a death toll of a suspected 29.
Criminal Life (continued)
- The first murder victims were named Edward Smith, Alfred Evans, Milton Harvey, Yusef Bell and Angel Lenair. All victims were children under the age of 18.
- All 29 murders were carried out over the course of just 22 months.
- In late May 1980, a group of law enforcement officers heard a loud splash by a bridge above the Chattahoochee River. They tracked down a car that had immediately fled the scene, and the driver was Wayne Williams. Though with a lack of evidence to arrest him, they let him go.
- Two days later, the body of Nathaniel Cater was found downstream. Williams was brought in for questioning, and seemed suspicious. He failed multiple polygraph tests.
- Before Wayne Williams was a suspect, the Georgia Crime Laboratory examined multiple traces of nylon fiber found on numerous murder victims.
- They found this fiber to be a type of unusual carpet bought by an Atlanta resident, and the chance of anyone having this carpet to be 1 in 7,792. After discovering Williams' house had this carpet, the evidence became clear.
- The prosecution showed the jury about fiber evidence, using over 40 charts and 350 photographs.
- Wayne Williams was arrested on June 21, 1981 and found guilty on February 27, 1982 of murder.
- Through the use of fiber evidence multiple murder victims could eventually be traced to Williams.
- There were also eyewitness accounts leading to his eventual sentence of two life sentences in prison.
- After the hearing of the splash caused by the dumping of Nathaniel Cater, the media quickly called this the "splash heard round the world".
- After his convcition, he became known as the Atlanta Youth Murderer.
- These murders sent a shock throughout Atlanta and the international community.
- These murders became an interesting story for Atlanta because it was a city noted for its concern for its racial and economic progress, and furthermore serial murder cases spark curiousity throughout all forms of media.