Wayne Williams | Atlanta Murders & Mindhunter S2

At Least 23 Victims

Imprisoned for the double murder of two men, Wayne Williams is serving two life sentences. But it is believed that he could have been responsible for between 23 and 30 further murders. Between 1979 and 1981, a series of murders took place in Atlanta often referred to as the Atlanta Murders. However, Williams has maintained that he was innocent from the beginning and has never been charged with the other murders.

Suspicious Circumstances

In 1981 the body of Curtis Walker was dumped in the South River, which led to the police and FBI staking out the bridges. And which resulted in Williams arrest, as a loud splash was heard -equal to that of a body being thrown over the bridge into the river below- and William’s was the next person to drive off the bridge. It was 2am and his alibi was flimsy. But they had no evidence to hold him and so let him go.

Forensic and behavioral evidence points conclusively to Wayne Williams as the killer of eleven young men in Atlanta.

Former FBI profiler John E. Douglas,  Mindhunter [The Book]

Despite his claims of innocence, the murders stopped after that night. And whilst Williams and his lawyer claimed that the police had been covering up KKK involvement in the murders, Williams remains in prison. The evidence was just too damning on the two victims he was convicted for.

True Crime: Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams | Atlanta Monster

Many in the community didn’t believe that the son of two respected teachers could be responsible for so many murders and there was some relief when four of the cases were reopened. A number of police officials agreeing that Williams was innocent.

  • The first two victims were Edward ‘Teddy’ Smith and Albert Evens, found on August 7th in 1979. One shot, one strangled. They had disappeared within 4 days of each other.
  • Victims 3, 4, & 5 turned up before 1979 ended
  • 1980 saw nine further bodies found
  • When a 7-year-old girl was kidnapped and then murdered the FBI stepped in, and Profiler John Douglas (who you may remember depicted in the Mindhunter series on Netflix) offered up a profile.
  • Douglas put forward that the killer would have to be black and from a black community to have access to that number of black children.
  • By May of 1981 a total of 28 bodies had been recovered, many from within the same geographical area
  • The FBI and the Police staked out 14 bridges
  • Two days after police spoke to Wayne Williams at 2am after he sped off the bridge, the body of Nathanial Carter washed up

Wayne Williams | Evidence

It wasn’t only his lack of plausible alibi or the fact that he was the first person off the bridge after the splash that got him arrested and then convicted. Evidence was gathered, polygraph tests taken, and hair and fibre matches were found on two adult males. And once Williams was taken into custody the murders stopped.

  • Hair from his family dogs was found on the bodies of Nathaniel Carter and Jimmy Ray Payne
  • Fibres from his car were found on the bodies of Nathaniel Carter and Jimmy Ray Payne
  • Hair and fibres from Williams himself was found on the bodies of Nathaniel Carter and Jimmy Ray Payne

The Two That Didn’t Fit

Whilst the evidence pointed mainly to the two adult victims there were many who believed Williams responsible for most if not all of them. But two just didn’t fit the MO.

Two of the victims were girls, and when they were found there were significant differences. Angel Lanier was 12 when she disappeared from her home in March 1980. Plus, when she was found in the woods her hands where bound with electrical tape. None of the boys had been bound.

LaTonya Wilson, 7, was also taken from her home during the night in June of 1980.
The home abductions were unusual given that the other victims had been taken from public places and these two girls could have been added to the list under pressure to ensure that they were investigated.

And there are those who escaped Williams attempts to abduct them. And other who saw victims get into Williams’ car.

Wayne Williams is currently serving life imprisonment

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.

Mayor Bottoms at a New Conference
Announcing, on March 21st 2019, that evidence would be re-tested
Mindhunter Season 2

Mindhunter will be returning to our screens in August according to Charlize Theron and The Atlanta Child Murders are reported to be the focus of season 2. So, if you haven’t already, sign up for Netflix and catch up with season 1 before August (and there’s a free month’s trial too).


By K.T. McQueen

Book 2 in the Noctisbellum Inc. series