'Mindhunter' season 2 missed out this key political angle from the real Atlanta Child Murders case
The crimes soon took a political shape, especially as Atlanta had elected its first black Mayor Maynard Jackson in 1973. The first to hold office in a southern state, he was under much pressure to solve the case
The high-profile case of Atlanta Child Murders of 1979–1981 was in the spotlight in season two of the David Fincher-directed series 'Mindhunter'. After a grueling investigation and several setbacks, FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) manage to get 23-year-old Wayne Bertram Williams "off the streets" after he is arrested and charged for the murders of two adults — Nathaniel Cater, 27 and Jimmy Ray Payne, aged 22. Identified as a music promoter and freelance photographer, he never admitted or confessed to those murders until now. Just like Holden, criminal profiler and FBI agent John E Douglas said that he does not think that Williams committed them all. Adding that he believes law enforcement authorities have some idea of who the other killers are, Douglas cryptically said, "It isn't a single offender and the truth isn't pleasant."
While the FBI got their recognition from the case as shown in 'Mindhunter', it did little to solve the rest of the 27 cases of missing children which remain unsolved till date. For three years, the horrifying incidents filled the air with fear. Local television screens would scream: "Do you know where your children are?" Meanwhile, mothers would frantically worry about their children's whereabouts. The crimes soon took a political shape, especially as Atlanta had elected its first black Mayor Maynard Jackson in 1973. The first to hold office in a southern state, he was under much pressure to solve the case. He got a special protection force for his kids and even promised a huge sum of money for any information on the culprit. During those stressful times, Wayne was taken into custody but sadly, he was neither convicted for other crimes nor was any other perpetrator held. Reports say another victim, Darron Glass, is actually still missing.
As mentioned in the Netflix series, residents of Atlanta – particularly the Black community – feel that the Ku Klux Klan might have been involved. Commonly called the KKK or the Klan, it is an American white supremacist hate group who have often used physical terrorism and murder against groups or individuals whom they opposed. Fast-forward to 2019, and the current Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has re-opened the cold cases and the evidence is getting retested using DNA technology. At a press conference, Atlanta police chief Erika Shields said there were boxes of evidence associated with the case, some of which had never been tested. To fulfill their responsibility towards the families, the cases will be reinvestigated to make sure "their memories are not forgotten" and to let the world know that "Black lives do matter".
In the show, Holden visits Camilla Bay for the last time. "You came here to be congratulated?" she asks him, to which he replies, "To say goodbye, for now. But I want you to know I'll be back. The FBI is still working on these cases." It will be interesting to see whether the Atlanta Child Murders become a part of the investigation on 'Mindhunter' again once if it is greenlit by Netflix for the third season.