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The Atlanta Child Murders. Atlanta: 1979 - 1981. 27 black boys are murdered Similar fibers are found on the bodies When this is revealed, bodies start being dumped in water. Wayne Williams. Wayne Williams. Stopped by police on a bridge Said he was at a club, but no one saw him there

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The Atlanta Child Murders

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The Atlanta Child Murders


Atlanta: 1979 - 1981

  • 27 black boys are murdered

  • Similar fibers are found on the bodies

  • When this is revealed, bodies start being dumped in water


Wayne Williams


Wayne Williams

  • Stopped by police on a bridge

  • Said he was at a club, but no one saw him there

  • Two days later a body appears downstream


Serial killers usually are…

  • White

  • Male

  • Middle-aged

  • Heterosexual


Wayne Williams was…

A young black man—not a typical serial killer


BUT …This case pioneered the use of fiber evidence.


Key Fiber Evidence

  • Avocado carpet fibers matching those in Williams’ home

  • Purple carpet fibers matching those in Williams’ car


These two fibers were found on almost all the bodies.Many also had dog hairs, blanket fibers, etc. that also matched items in Williams home.


Because the carpet fibers were unusual colors, the probability they would be on a body was quite low.The probability they would appear together was even lower.


Probabilities


Overall probability …5000 X 1800 = 9,000,000… about 1 in 9 million


There are about 2 million people in metro Atlanta, so it is VERY unlikely the murderer was someone else.


Williams was convicted and sentenced to two life terms in prison.


Since his conviction there have been numerous appeals and re-investigations, most recently in May, 2005.Each time, the evidence was found convincing.


After Williams was taken into custody, the murders stopped.


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