A shameful piece of Atlanta’s history is now the subject of two major television series. Sometimes known crudely as the Atlanta child murders, the story follows the murders of at least 30 African American teenagers that decimated Atlanta during the ’70s and ’80s. The semi-unsolved case was the subject of David Fincher’s “Mindunter” Season 2, which offered little in the way of answers but brought renewed attention to the horrific events. In spring 2019, the city of Atlanta announced it was re-opening the case.
HBO will explore the tragedy and the new investigation in a five-part documentary series, “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children,” which just released its first official trailer.
The official synopsis reads: “‘Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children’ offers a never-before-seen look at the abduction and murder of at least 30 African American children and young adults that occurred over a two-year period in Atlanta in the late-‘70s and early-‘80s, from the initial disappearance and discovery of two murdered teenage boys and the fear that gripped the city, to the prosecution and indictment of 23-year-old Atlanta native Wayne Williams and the rush to officially shut down the case. With unprecedented access and a treasure trove of archival material, this timely documentary series brings new evidence to light as the cases are reopened, providing a powerful window into one of America’s darkest chapters.”
The series was directed and produced by the Emmy winning documentary studo Show of Force (“Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”), and counts Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and John Legend as producers.
As shown in “Mindhunter,” authorities arrested and convicted former club promoter Wayne Williams in 1981 for the murders of the adults after fibers from his home and car were found on the bodies. Police suspected Williams was also responsible for the child murders, but there was no evidence.
In 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta police chief Erika Shields announced that they would be retesting evidence from the child murder case, noting that DNA testing has advanced monumentally since 1981.
“[We hope] to let them know that we have done all that we can do … to make sure their memories are not forgotten … and in the truest sense of the word to let the world know that black lives do matter,” Bottoms said.
The series will drop on HBO on April 5. Check out the trailer for “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children” below.