Atlanta Police Department Reopens 22 Child Murder Cases Ahead Of The Release Of Documentary On The Killings
Atlanta's officials say new advances in DNA testing led to the decision to reexamine the 1970s files.
Two days ahead of a documentary focusing on the unsolved murders of 22 children in Atlanta, officials in the city say the cases have been reopened.
“As law enforcement, we have an obligation to exhaust every conceivable avenue of investigation and make every effort to make sure these families receive closure," Police Chief Erica Shields said in a press release sent to Blavity Thursday.
Shields and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said new advances in DNA testing led to the decision.
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“It would certainly be in order for us to look once again at evidence that the city of Atlanta has in its possession to once again take a fresh look at these cases and to determine once and for all if there's additional evidence that may be tested that may give some peace," the mayor said.
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The mayor also acknowledged and thanked her friend, Will Packer, for his forthcoming documentary on the subject, slated for release on Saturday.
Packer, an Atlanta native known for his record-breaking film Girls Trip, executive produced the series for the Discovery network, as Shadow and Act reported.
According to Shadow and Act, 29 Black children were taken from their families and killed from 1979 to 1981. Their deaths were described as gruesome and cold-blooded and were never solved.
In 1981, Wayne Williams was sentenced to two life sentences after being convicted of murdering two Atlanta-area adults, the Gazette Extra reported. The judge presiding over Williams' case attributed nearly 10 of the child killings to the man without a formal trial or charges.
Packer's documentary, The Atlanta Child Murders, is slated to explore several theories surrounding the child murders, including one that Williams was behind them. Producers interviewed eyewitnesses and investigators and will present viewers with a detailed look at everything that is known about the brutal killings.
The show premieres on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.
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