The Atlanta Monster (28 victims?): Wayne Williams

(Wayne Williams back then. Picture credit: Oxygen)

Fans (and I'm one of them) may recognise the name 'Wayne Williams's from the Netflix series Mindhunter but for those who are not familiar with his story, I've decided to cover him and the Atlanta murders in this week's post. Before I go any further, did you know that I have just launched a Patreon page, it would mean the world to me if you would help support my weekly content, I'm almost at 60 cases now. I also have a Kofi page where you can also make a donation or subscribe to my weekly personal posts and erotic stories.
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I've had Wayne Williams on my list of cases to cover for quite a while and I've been looking back over the case this past week and how people to this day are divided in their opinions about him. Wayne is often listed as a Serial Killer and is said to have been responsible for at least 28+ victims, most of whom were children. His killing spree is on record to have taken place from 1979 to 1981. You may know this case as ''The Atlanta Child Murders'' but some of Wayne's alleged victims were adults. Some people believe that the reason Wayne murdered the older victims was because he must have mistaken them for children as they looked young for their age. 

Wayne is alive and well today and still behind bars but who is he? What was he alleged to have done, how was he brought to justice and is this case really closed? These are questions that I am going to answer in this post and leave it for you to decide.

Wayne Bertram Williams was born on the 27th of May 1958 in an area known as Dixie Hills in Atlanta. He lived most of his life there and was known around the neighbourhood as a bit of a fantasist who would often make up lies in order to gain attention. His childhood was said to have been a normal one, he got on well with his parents, Faye and Homer. Both of his parents were teachers and he had dreams of being famous in the music industry and had designs on being a DJ. His parents allowed him to set up his own makeshift radio station in their house which he was still living in at the time of his arrest.

There had been rumours around the neighbourhood for years that Wayne was homosexual but he never came out publicly to confirm this. Wayne was known for 'scouting' local talent and would hand out fliers offering to help aspiring musicians and singers to record demos and get into the music industry. 

Wayne just seemed like any other loner who had big dreams and a far fetched imagination, people thought he was harmless but in July 1979 fear struck the local neighbourhood. All of a sudden young black children were being snatched off the street, murdered and their remains found weeks and months later in rivers and wooded areas often resulting in cases where cause of death could not be determined because the bodies had been left undiscovered for so long. 

Mothers were terrified, they kept their children indoors, took them out of school and begged the police to do something because they believed there was a serial killer on the loose. It annoys me to say that the police didn't listen to the concerns of the black community in the beginning and this brought into question was it a race issue? There was a belief back then and in many cases today that the police didn't act as they should have done because the children happened to be black. It got to the point where there was murders happening every other week and the police had no choice but to fully investigate. 

Nobody had any idea who was killing these children and why all of the victims were black. In the beginning some people believed it must have been some crazy racist white guy but then they came to the conclusion that a white guy would have stuck out around the local neighbourhoods, people would have noticed something. Some witnesses came forward to say that they saw one of the victims get into a car with two black men. Criminal Profiler John Douglas believed the murders of the children to have been committed by a young black male. 

Investigators tried to gather as much evidence from the victims remains as they could and a lot of carpet fibers and Dog hairs were found. More than 100 investigators were working on the case and decided to do a stake out of all of the local bridges believing that the killer would strike again and dispose of a body in the water as many victims had previously been found in the Chattahoochee River.

On the 22nd of May 1981, an investigator who was down by the James Jackson Parkway Bridge suddenly heard a big splash in the water around 2:50 am followed by some car lights on the bridge. The car which belonged to 23 year old Wayne Williams was eventually stopped and he was grilled by police for two hours. Wayne told them that he was going to meet a woman who he was helping with a demo tape. The police later found no record of this lady's existence. Believe it or not, they let him go. In the river at that time there was no sign of a body and it was too dark to do a proper search at that time.

Two days later, the nude body of a 27 year old man by the name of Nathaniel Cater was found not far from where the splash was heard in the river by two young boys fishing. Nathaniel had died as the result of asphyxia, there was also a bullet wound to his shoulder and he was identified from his finger prints. To the shock of the local people in the neighbourhood, Wayne was the prime suspect. A witness had came forward to say that they saw Nathaniel and Wayne holding hands, kissing and walking outside of a movie theatre a few hours before the police officer had heard the splash in the river. The police put two and two together and gathered that the splash was Wayne disposing of Nathaniel's body.

People were shocked that the son of two well respected school teachers could have done this. Wayne failed three polygraph tests and fibers that were found on the victims matched the fibers that were in his car, the family home and the William's dog.

The police believed that they had their guy and he was put to trial on the 6th of January 1982. The trial relied heavily on the witness statements and the fibers that were found on the victims that matched fibers in the Williams family home, dog and car. He was suspected to have been responsible for the majority if not all of the murders but as some victims had been badly decomposed there was no way of telling if there was any connection to him, all they had to go on was that there was a pattern in the murders. How the victims were killed, the fibers on some of the bodies and where the bodies were placed. 

On the 27th of February 1982 the verdict was in after 11 hours of deliberation of a jury of 9 women and 3 men (said to have been made up of 8 African Americans and 4 Caucasians) and they believed that Wayne was 100% guilty of the deaths of Nathaniel Cater (27) and Jimmy Ray Payne (21). The Jury and the police believed that he was responsible for more deaths but as mentioned before, a lot of the bodies were too far decomposed to determine the exact cause of death. Wayne was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

Some people were happy with the verdict, others felt that Wayne was an innocent man who was stitched up by the police as there was pressure on them from the black community to find the murderer. As soon as Wayne was captured, the murders suddenly stopped.

(Wayne Williams today. Picture credit: CNN)

Wayne is 62 years old and still behind bars, he claims he is innocent and is willing to partake in any new investigation. He was recently denied parole in 2019 and is said to be eligible to try again for it in 2027. 

John Douglas who claimed that he believed that the child murders had all been carried out by a young black male also believed that Wayne had not been responsible for all of the murders. There was a lot of rumours going around at that time that the KKK may have been responsible for some of the murders. Witnesses claimed that they had heard that the KKK were planning to start a race war and had plans to target children and women.

A number of books have been written about the case as well as a TV series. Wayne himself has been interviewed. I have included links below with articles and documentaries, news reports etc that you may find interesting to dig into yourself, see what you think.

Thank you so much for checking out my 58th case!!! (nearly at 60, just in time for my birthday). Hopefully I will see you on Patreon and obviously here for my next case. 

RIP to all of the people who were murdered in Atlanta. I hope there will be justice for every single one of them one day. 

(Are all of these tragic young people the victims of Wayne Williams? I hope they rest in peace and justice is found for them and their families. Picture credit: CNN)

Further reading & sources:

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! What an intense story! This was seriously intense! I can't believe this monster is still alive but thankfully he is behind bars! This was incredibly well written and seriously intense! 😯🤯💖