The more than 20 victims were all Black. They were mostly boys, and they all died in a spree of killings that happened in the city of Atlanta but gripped the entire nation from 1979-1981.
Wayne Williams—a Black Atlanta native who was 21 at the time the killings began—has long been suspected of committing the crimes, but his 1982 conviction was only for the murders of 28-year-old Nathaniel Cater and 21-year-old Jimmy Ray Payne.
He is suspected in the deaths of at least 20 others. Those cases still have not been solved.
On Monday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced in a tweet that investigators from the Atlanta Police Department were traveling to a lab in Salt Lake City that works with old DNA evidence. Her hope? That the lab would be able to uncover evidence that would provide some answers for the families of the victims.
ABC notes that Bottoms said in 2019 she wanted to have the evidence reviewed to see if it could be tested further, because it was her hope that advancements in the testing and examination of DNA evidence could bring new details to the case.
The case made national headlines beginning in 1979 when, over the course of two years, more than 20 children and teenagers went missing in the Atlanta area. When the number of bodies being discovered continued to rise, the FBI was called in to help with the investigation.
Wayne Williams—who is currently serving his sentence at Telfair State Prison, according to WSB-TV—was never convicted in the deaths of any of the children. Those families have not received justice.
Perhaps justice is on the way.
ABC reports that Bottoms said in July that the investigation timeline would be expanded to include the years 1970-1985 to ensure there are no overlooked victims.