Mindhunter season 2: The true story of Wayne Williams and the Atlanta murders that inspired the Netflix show

19 August 2019, 09:34 | Updated: 19 August 2019, 09:36

Mindhunter season 2 explores the true story of Wayne Williams and the Atlanta child murders
Mindhunter season 2 explores the true story of Wayne Williams and the Atlanta child murders. Picture: Netflix / Getty

FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench come face-to-face with alleged serial killer Wayne Williams in season 2 of Mindhunter.

Netflix's true crime drama Mindhunter has returned for a second season - as FBI agents Ford and Tench interview a new group of serial killers in a bid to understand the patterns and behavioural traits of repeat offenders.

In the past, the duo have met with infamous murderers Ed Kemper, Montie Rissell, Richard Speck and more.

But in season 2, they are set to explore the psyche and crimes of a new batch of killers - including cult leader Charles Manson and Wayne Williams.

Here, we explore the true story of Williams and the Atlanta murders of 1979-81, as featured in the Netflix show.

What happened during the Atlanta murders of 1979-81?

During a two-year period, at least 28 children and adults were murdered in what's referred to as the Atlanta murders.

More than 100 agents were investigating the case, and the city of Atlanta imposed a strict curfew, forbidding kids to play outside. Some parents even removed their children from schools in the city.

The FBI then predicted the perpetrator would attempt to conceal the evidence by dumping bodies into a body of water, and so police staked out around bridges throughout the city.

Hearing a splash beneath a bridge, the police apprehended Wayne Williams, who was then convicted of two of the murders on February 27, 1982.

Who were the victims?

Edward "Teddy" Hope Smith and Alfred Evans were both 14 at the time they went missing in 1979.

On July 28, their bodies were found in an area of woodland. Smith's body had a gunshot wound in his upper back.

On September 4 that same year, 14-year-old Milton Harvey disappeared, before his body was recovered in November.

A month after Milton vanished, 9-year-old Yusuf Bell disappeared and his body was later found in November. The coroner ruled he died via strangulation, and that he had been hit round the head twice.

12-year-old Angel Lenair was the first female victim, who disappeared in March 1980. Six days later, her body was found in woodland with a pair of knickers stuffed in her mouth. Her hands were also bound with an electrical cord and it was ruled she was strangled to death.

In March, 11-year-old Jeffrey Mathis vanished and his body was only recovered 11 months after.

Other victims include:

- Eric Middlebrooks, aged 14

- Christopher Richardson, aged 12

- Latonya Wilson, aged 7

- Aaron Wyche, aged 10

- Anthony Carter

- Earl Terell

- Lubie Geter

- Eddie Duncan

- Larry Rogers, aged 20

- John Potter, aged 28

- Jimmy Rae Payne, aged 21

- William Barrett, aged 17

- Nathaniel Cater, aged 27

At least 28 children and adults were murdered in what is referred to as the Atlanta murders
At least 28 children and adults were murdered in what is referred to as the Atlanta murders. Picture: Getty

Who is Wayne Williams?

Wayne Williams was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on 27 May, 1958.

At the time of his arrest, Williams was aged 23, and claimed he was on his way to audition a singer named Cheryl Johnson. The police failed to find any evidence of the appointment.

Forensic evidence found in Williams' Chevrolet ultimately led to his arrest, but Williams has always pleaded his innocence.

Instead, Williams controversially claimed that Atlanta officials were covering up evidence of KKK-related murders to avoid a race war in the city.

While Williams' lawyers have slammed his conviction as a "profound miscarriage of justice", prosecutors maintain that after Williams' arrest, "the murders stopped" and there had been "nothing since".

Is Williams still alive?

Williams is currently serving two consecutive life sentences in prison, after he was indicted for the murders of Nathaniel Cater and Jimmy Ray Payne. He was never charged with the other murders.

Wayne is now 60 years old, and recently released a new statement during a news conference in April 2019, which read: “I stand fully ready and willing to cooperate with any renewed investigation to find the truth on what happened with the purpose of straightening up any lies and misconceptions of my unjust convictions."

To this day, Wayne Williams maintains his innocence.

When is Mindhunter season 2 on Netflix?

Season 2 of Mindhunter dropped on Netflix on 16 August. All episodes are available to stream now.


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