Before 'Mindhunter' season 2 airs on Netflix, here's a recap of the Atlanta child murders of 1979-81

Before 'Mindhunter' season 2 airs on Netflix, here's a recap of the Atlanta child murders of 1979-81

Fronted by David Fincher, 'Mindhunter' traces the story of two FBI agents who go on to solve gory and gruesome murders by analyzing the psychology of serial killers. Season two will put the spotlight on the Atlanta child murders that cursed the city in Georgia from 1979 to 1981. Over the period of two years, reports say that at least 28 children, adolescents and adults were killed.

The prime suspect Wayne Williams was tried and convicted for two adult murders, but he has still not been charged for the rest of the murders and he still maintains his innocence.

A still from 'Mindhunter' season two. (Netflix)

As the show brings the haunting memories of the incident to light, here is the timeline in which the spine-chilling incidents unfolded.

The first incident took place in mid-1979 when two 14-year-olds disappeared four days apart. Their bodies were later discovered with gunshot wounds in a wooded area. On September 4, another 14-year-old boy riding a yellow speed bike disappeared. While his bike was found a week later, his body was not recovered until November. In October, a nine-year-old boy went to a store from where he never came back.


A witness said she saw him getting into a blue car. His body was later found in a school with a masking tape attached to his mouth. The cause of death was strangulation and there were two huge wounds on his head. 

Next year, in March, a 12-year-old girl became the first female victim. She too was strangulated to death and was found with a pair of panties stuffed into her mouth. Another 11-year-old boy was killed just one week later and his body was recovered 11 months later. In May, a 14-year-old boy disappeared after he went to get his bicycle repaired. In June, a 12-year-old boy, a 10-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl went missing. In July 1980, two more children were murdered. Between August and November, five more killings of African-American children between the ages of 7 and 14 took place.

Early in 1981, two more children disappeared and six bodies were recovered. Later, in April, three people, aged 20, 21 and 28, were murdered. The next victim was 17-year-old boy. After he was murdered, a witness decribed seeing a black man in a blue-and-white Cadillac. The last reported victim was a 27-year-old man in May 1981. When investigator Chet Dettlinger created a map of the victims' locations, it fell in the same geographic parameters. 


Holden and Bill interview another suspect in a new still from 'Mindhunter' season two. (Netflix)

The investigation was reopened by the Atlanta police in March 2019 under the order of mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Reeling off how the infamous incident could have been explored much more, Fincher told Oprah Magazine, “You could probably do three seasons on the Atlanta child murders. It’s a huge and sweeping and tragic story. We couldn’t do it justice in the background of our nine hours. We had to choose to dramatize. … [The FBI] are the last guys in, they’re trying to help out something that has its own momentum and politics. It’s a divided battlefield. They’re coming in to throw this federal umbrella over everything to make everyone feel OK about sharing information.”


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 Mindhunter season 2 Atlanta child murders 1979 to 1981 timeline suspect Wayne Williams