Between 1979-1981 a monster roamed around Atlanta, Georgia, picking innocent victims off the street and murdering them in cold blood.
At least 28 African American children, teenagers and adults were killed in what would become known as the Atlanta Child Murders.
In mid 1979, the first victims, Edward Hope Smith and Alfred Evans, both 14, disappeared four days apart. Over the next three years more and more young African American children began to disappear, their decomposing bodies turning up weeks, months, years later.
The black community in Atlanta became increasingly fearful and the streets no longer felt safe.
Local TV stations started playing an ominous message at 10pm every night, reminding parents about the impending danger.
“It’s 10pm – do you know where your children are?” the public service announcement would ask.
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Finally, in May 1981, the police arrested and charged 23-year-old Wayne Williams for two of the murders. He has never been charged or convicted for any of the other murders.
And there is still some doubt surrounding his guilt.
Now a new 10-part true crime podcast, Atlanta Monster, is delving into the killing spree and the legend of the boogeyman who has haunted the Atlanta community for over 35 years.
It’s the latest project from Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright, the people that brought you the crowdsourcing investigative podcast, Up and Vanished.
That podcast, with the help of its active listener base, has been credited with bringing about a break in the case of missing woman Tara Grinstead.
Atlanta Monster picks up where the investigation left off after Williams, who was only ever charged with killing two adults, was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. The prosecutors assumed he was guilty of all the other killings and closed the cases.
But Williams has continued to maintain his innocence from behind bars, and there’s a possibility the Atlanta Child Killer is living as a free man in the very community he tormented for years.
The podcast will deep dive into the case, the atmosphere of fear in the community at the time, and the sluggish police response.
And it will ultimately attempt to answer the question – is the boogeyman real and still roaming the streets of Atlanta?
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