Unsolved USA: Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)

24 MURDERS, 40 YEARS, NO JUSTICE

Background

In Atlanta, Georgia, between 1979 – 1981 at least 28 children and adolescents were murdered. Police believe serial killer Wayne Bertram Williams is responsible, but he has never been charged for any of these crimes.

 

The Victims

1. Edward Hope Smith, 19th August 1964 – 21st July 1979 (aged 14)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children
Image Credit: Find A Grave

Name: Edward Hope “Teddy” Smith

DOB: 19th August 1964

Age: 14

Height: 5’4

Weight: 125lbs

Last Seen: Campbellton & Fairburn intersection

Date Found: 28th July 1979 in the wooded area of Niskey Lake Road SW

Cause of Death: Gunshot wound to the upper back

 

Edward Hope “Teddy” Smith lived in the Kimberley Court housing project on 4191 Cape Street based in Southwest Atlanta, Georgia. He lived next door to another victim, Lee Gooch. One of the other victims, Terry Pue had lived in Edward’s apartment prior to Edward and his family moving in.

Edward was known to have been very athletic, he enjoyed American football, and was training to join his Therrell High School’s football team in the Fall of 1979. Edward was a 9th Grade Freshman at Therrell High School.

Around midnight on 21st July 1979, Edward left the local Greenbriar Skating Rink at 3850 Stone Road SW. He parted ways with his girlfriend who had been with him at the skating rink, at the intersection on Campbellton & Fairburn, and began walking towards his home on Cape Street. 

Edward never arrived home and on the 28th of July 1979, his body was found alongside that of his friend and fellow victim, Alfred Evans in a wooded area by Niskey Lake Road in the southwest part of Atlanta, Georgia. Reports state that Edward would frequent an address nearby on 1881 block of Lake Road SW to hang out with friends. 

Edward had been shot in the back with a .22-caliber gun. Reports on what Edward was wearing when he was found have varied. In some reports, the distinctive black football jersey with red lettering he was last seen is was missing, but in others, he was wearing this when he was found. He was missing his socks and a leather sun visor he had been carrying with him was also missing.

The Medical Examiner (ME) was able to identify Edward by his dental records. There were no signs of sexual assault.

Status

UNSOLVED

There have been claims that Edward and Alfred attended a “pot party” on County Line Road together, and that it was Alfred that shot Edward. Alfred was then subsequently murdered by a third party in retaliation. This theory has never been substantiated and the police don’t believe there is any truth behind it.

Edward has not been reported as being a victim of the serial killer, Wayne Williams. His murder has remained unsolved for 41 years and there have been no confirmed suspects.


2. Alfred Evans, 3rd July 1966 – 21st July 1979 (aged 13)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Find a Grave

Name: Alfred J. “Q” Evans

DOB: 3rd July 1966

Age:  13

Height: 5’4

Weight: 87lbs

Last Seen: Randy Joe Heath, told police he gave him a ride to a bus stop on Glenwood. This bus would have taken him to Evan’s Way and the Coronet Theatre on Peachtree Street.

Date Found: 28th July 1979 in the wooded area of Niskey Lake Road SW

Cause of Death: Asphyxiation by strangulation

Alfred J. “Q” Evans had just turned 13 a few weeks before he was tragically found murdered. Alfred lived at 255 Meadow Lake Drive SE off Memorial Drive, Atlanta, Georgia. He lived there with his mother, Lois Evans that had once been in jail with Jo-Jo Bell (another victim) mother.

Alfred was also extremely athletic and was really into karate, boxing, professional wrestling, and basketball. He studied at Drew Elementary School. When he wasn’t studying he could be found playing basketball or attending boxing practice at the Warren Memorial Boys’ Club at SE Berne Street. He also boxed at East Lake Meadows Community Centre.

Alfred had left his home on East Lake Meadows housing projects to catch the bus to downtown Atlanta, Georgia. He had made plans to go to the Coronet Theatre on Peach Street to see a karate movie. The last time Alfred was seen was on 25th July 1979, between 3 pm – 4 pm, when he was dropped off at a bus stop on Glenwood by a friend and neighbour, Randy Joe Heath.

Body Found

Alfred’s body was found by Edward Smith’s in a wooded area across the street from 1881 block of Niskey Lake Road SW. An old lady looking for cans stumbled across the bodies.

It took a year for Alfred’s body to be identified, and the ME reported his cause of death as “probably asphyxiation by strangulation”. When Alfred’s body was found he was dress in all black and was wearing a belt that didn’t belong to him and has never been identified.

CLOSED
The police believe that Alfred is one of the first victims of the Atlanta Monster, but Wayne Williams has never been charged for the murder of Alfred. It was reported that police were tipped off that Alfred’s disappearance was linked to the body of a young girl found on Memorial near the Columbia Mall. This hasn’t been confirmed or denied.

3. Milton Harvey, 1964/1965 – 4th September 1979 (14)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Find a Grave

Name: Milton Harvey

DOB: 1964/1965

Age:  14

Height: 5ft

Weight: 95lbs

Last Seen: Approximately 10.30 am at Citizens & Southern Bank on a yellow 10-speed bicycle

Date Found: On or around 11th September 1979

Cause of Death: Unknown

Milton Harvey lived on 1396 Nash Road NW, Atlanta, Georgia with his mom, Patricia Ellis, and his stepfather, Roy Ellis. They had been living by the Nash Road housing project for around 6 years after moving to the area from Leigh Valley housing projects in 1973.

Milton was a 9th Grade Freshman at Harper High. 

The Day of his Disappearance

On the day of his disappearance, Milton had gone to Citizens & Southern Bank on his yellow 10-speed bicycle. The bank was located on 3885 Old Gordon Road NW which was around 3 miles from his home on Nash Road. Milton had taken a cheque worth $100 to pay a credit card bill. He was absent from school that day as his mother had bought the wrong school shoes, she had planned to purchase a new pair that evening.

The decomposed remains of Milton were found near Desert Road by Redwine Road on the south side by a man picking up cans on the 16th of November 1979. 
His body was missing knee-length socks which were described to have had stripes along the top, and his blue sneakers were also missing.
The ME was unable to confirm the cause of death, it’s unknown if this was due to the level of decomposition or lack of external and internal injuries to the body.
UNSOLVED
Reports state a prisoner had provided an account of a possible suspect. The suspect was said to be approximately 6’3, homosexual, and had a keen interest in BDSM, especially handcuffs and whips. Police have been unable to substantiate these claims.
Milton’s death has not been connected to the Atlanta Monster murder, and it’s unknown if it’s been ruled a homicide. However, Milton’s death has been reported as part of the Atlanta Child Murders and has been featured on several documentaries on the missing and murdered children.

4. Yusuf Ali Bell, 31 December 1969 – 21st October 1979 (9)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Find a Grave

Name: Yusuf Ali Bell

DOB: 31 December 1969

Age:  9

Height: 4’7

Weight: 65lbs

Last Seen: Between 4:45 pm – 5:30 pm on 21st October 1979 at Reese Grocery Store.

Date Found: 8th October 1979

Cause of Death: Asphyxiation by manual strangulation

Yusuf was the beloved son of Camille and John I. Bell and was one of four children, he had two sisters, Tonia and Marie, and a brother, Johnathan. He lived with his family at 396 Rawson Street SW McDaniel Glenn Housing Authority. His parents report him as being a very gifted little boy and was a 5th Grader at Dunbar Elementary School. He was a well-liked pupil with lots of friends and had a keen interest in sports. He often attended the Warren Memorial Boys Club where he would undertake activities with his friends.

Disappearance

Yusuf had visited the Reese Grocery store for an elderly neighbour, Eula Birdsong, who had asked him to purchase Bruton Snuff (a brand of tobacco) and was last seen in a pair of brown cut-off shorts with no shirt or shoes on near an intersection of McDaniel and Fulton. He was seen getting into a blue sedan vehicle at the 300th block of Fulton Street which was closed to a fenced-in playground and redbrick apartment building.

The only report we have found on the description of the driver of the vehicle is that the man looked like John I. Bell, but this is disputed by Camille Bell as the eyewitness is a known alcoholic. There are also reports that John Bell failed a polygraph, but these claims have not been substantiated. 

Another Little Boy Lost

On the 8th November 1979, between 8:30 am – 9:30 am Yusuf’s little body was found in the deserted lot of the old E.P. Elementary School at 494 Martin Street SE, this building has since been demolished. He was found wearing the brown cut-off shorts he was last seen wearing, there was a piece of masking tape stuck to the leg of the shorts.

The janitor of the school, 30-year-old, John Henry Tye told police he was looking for a place to urinate when he came across the small body in a crawlspace within the confines of the school.

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Atkid Weebly

The ME reported that Yusuf had been struck twice over the head with a blunt object, but his cause of death was listed as asphyxiation by manual strangulation.

He was found only in the cut-off brown shorts he was last seen in, with a piece of masking tape stuck to them.  He had been hit over the head twice, and the cause of death listed was asphyxiation by manual strangulation.

Status

CLOSED

Yusuf is said to be one of the youngest victims of the Atlanta Child Murders. Police have linked his case to others and believe Wayne Williams to be responsible for the little boy’s death. Williams has never been charged with Yusuf’s murder.


5. Angel Latrice Lenair, 1968 –  4th March 1980 (12)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Find a Grave

Name: Angel Latrice Lenair

DOB: 1968

Age: 12

Height: 5’4

Weight: 90lbs

Last Seen: 4th March 1980

Date Found: 10th March 1980

Cause of Death: Asphyxiation by Ligature strangulation

12-year-old Angel lived at 1660 Stanton Road SW, Atlanta, Georgia, with her mother, Venus Caroline Taylor. Angel was in middle school at Venetian Hills Elementary School, Atlanta. She had one sister, Rhonda Taylor, and one brother, Robert Dale Taylor.

Disappearance

Angel finished her homework and left her apartment on 4th March 1980 at around 4 pm. She visited her friend and watched the TV show, Sanford & Son, wearing a denim outfit. When she didn’t return in time for her favourite TV show, her mom called the police and reported her missing.

10th March 1980 

Angel was found in a wooded area on Campbellton Road at the intersection by Willowbrook SW which was approximately three blocks from her apartment. Angel was still wearing the clothes she left home in, but had someone’s white panties stuffed in her mouth and an electrical cord had bound her hands. ME confirmed her cause of death was asphyxiation by ligature strangulation.

Status

UNSOLVED

Angel’s murder has never been solved, it’s not said whether or not Angel was sexually assaulted, nor have police confirmed if they were able to lift DNA from the white panties.

Her case has not been linked to Williams.


6. Jeffery Mathis, 1969 – 11th March 1980 (11)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: CNN

Name: Jeffery Mathis

DOB: 1969

Age: 11

Height: 4’8

Weight: 71lbs

Last Seen: 11th March 1980

Date Found: Unknown

Cause of Death: Undetermined

Jeffrey lived with his mother, Willie Mae Mathis, and brothers Ronald, Reginald, Frederick, and sister’s, Valerie and Wanda at 471 East Ontario WE. Jeffrey’s father, William “Pappy” Mathis was murdered at his workplace, a cemetery burial office, where he worked as a Watchman. Police reports state it was during a robbery in 1974, William had 7 children.

Jeffrey was in 5th Grade at Joel Chandler Harris Elementary School. He was known as a popular and very sweet child. He would often carry groceries for neighbours and customers at Kroger’s Grocery Store located on Cascade Road.

Last Known Whereabouts

Jeffrey was seen leaving to visit the Star Service Station at Gordon to buy cigarettes and a loaf of bread. A barber, W. A. Williams, saw Jeffrey as he knocked on the barbershop window. He was wearing a white and green shirt, brown shoes, and a pair of grey jogging bottoms.

A few months after his last known whereabouts were reported, a young girl said she thought she saw Jeffrey get into a blue sedan with a dark-skinned and light-skinned man on East Ontario SE, near Anderson’s Produce store.

On Tuesday 11th March 1980 another witness stated he saw Jeffrey in a blur Nova vehicle. This was two weeks after Jeffrey went missing, he stated this was by the corner of Stewart-Lakewood Shopping Centre. It’s been reported that Willie was later held at gunpoint by the driver of the vehicle on the 23rd of March 1980. There were no updates on what became of the driver if he was charged or questioned about Jeffrey’s disappearance.

Body Found

We’ve been unable to find when Jeffrey was found, but it was said to be months after his initial disappearance. It’s been reported he was found in a briar-covered patch of woodlands by Suber & Cascade Road, near Campbellton Road. He was located deceased by FBI specially trained dogs and their handlers.

It’s unknown what state of decomposition his body was in. The ME was unable to determine a cause of death.

Status

UNSOLVED

Jeffrey’s murder has never been solved, no justice has been served and we may never know who killed Jeffrey, why he was killed or how.

His case has not been linked to Williams.


7. Eric Middlebrooks, 1966 – 19th May 1980 (14)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Find a Grave

Name: Eric Middlebrooks

DOB: 1966

Age: 14

Height: 4’10

Weight: 88lbs

Last Seen: 18th May 1980

Date Found: Unknown

Cause of Death: Blunt force trauma

Eric lived with his foster parents, Robert and Evelyn Miller at 345 Howell Drive. His older half-sibling, a brother, was Officer Kerry Middlebrooks of Atlanta PD. Eric’s mother, Charlene Middlebrooks, gave Eric up at the age of 4 months. She lived in North Carolina and when Eric’s funeral took place, she did not attend. Eric’s biological father is unknown.

Eric was a 4th Grade Freshman student at Franklin D. Roosevelt High and would swim at the neighbourhood boys’ club.

A few weeks before Eric went missing he had bravely taken the stand against three juvenile delinquents in a robbery case.

Last Known Whereabouts

Eric was last seen hurrying away with a hammer to fix his bike on the 18th May 1980. Just before he took off he was seen in his home answering a telephone call. He had borrowed the house key from his foster mother in order to get the hammer and had been due to return the key to his foster mother.

Body Found

On Sunday 18th May 1980 at approximately 10 pm the body of little Eric Middlebrooks was found by his bike at the rear garage of Hope-U-Like-It bar located at 247 Flat Shoals Road which was close to the Georgia Department of Offender Rehab facility.

The ME described Eric’s body as having multiple slight stab wounds to his arms and chest. The cuts to his arms indicated defensive wounds. His cause of death was noted as Blunt Force Trauma (BFT) to his head.

Status

CLOSED

Eric’s murder has been linked to Williams, but he has never been charged or convicted for his murder.


8. Christopher Richardson, 30th October 1968 – 10th January 1981 (12)

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Find a Grave

Name: Christopher Phillipe Richardson

DOB: 30th October 1968

Age: 12

Height: 5’0

Weight: 85lbs

Last Seen: 11th March 1980

Date Found: 9th January 1981

Cause of Death: Asphyxiation by manual strangulation

Christopher lived at 1495 Conway Road, East Lake Meadows with his beloved grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Charley Rafdord. It’s unknown where his mother, Sirlena R. Cobb was when Chris passed, and his father, Thomas Richardson Jr. was undertaking a 15-year jail sentence for armed robbery at Reidsville Penatury. Christopher’s step-father was also serving a year in jail for theft. Christopher had two brothers, Kinnon and Thomas Richardson.

Christopher was a 6th Grade student at Hooper-Alexander Elementary School and was well known amongst his peers.

Last Known Whereabouts

Christopher was last seen outside Krystal Hamburgers near the Belvedere Plaza Shopping Centre on Memorial, he was walking toward the DeKalb County’s Midway Recreation Centre located in Midway Park for a quick swim. At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a light blue shirt, blue shorts, and blue tennis sneakers.

Two Bodies Found

Christopher’s body technically wasn’t formally identified as the body was dressed in different swim trunks and the dental records held for Christopher did not match those of the young boy found. However, despite this, they confirmed the body to be that of Christopher Richardson.

He was found beside Earl Terrell (another victim) by a resident and his dog, in a wooded area approximately 75ft north of Redwine. The police happened to be nearby looking for Lubie Geter (another victim) who had disappeared on the 3rd of January 1981. The resident reported to the police his dog smelled bad and thought it had put his nose in something foul.

Both bodies were missing articles of clothing, and the scene was botched by Atlanta Investigators accidentally leaving body parts such as teeth at the crime scene. It’s not known if these were eventually collected.

There was other evidence found close to where the bodies were found such as a cigarette butt, magnetic recording tape, shotgun shells, a Penthouse magazine, and a Gallery magazine. The shotgun shells had fingerprints, but the individual that owned the fingerprints was ruled out as a suspect.

Status

CLOSED

Christopher’s murder has been linked to Williams, but he has never been charged or convicted for his murder.


Part 2 & 3 to follow.

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)
Image Credit: Find a Grave

 

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Unsolved USA: Atlanta's Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)

References

Atkid – Weebly

Find a Grave – Alfred J Evans

Find a Grave – Angel Lenair

Find a Grave – Christopher Richardson

Find a Grave – Edward Hope Smith

Find a Grave – Eric Middlebrooks

Find a Grave – Milton Harvey

Find a Grave – Yusuf Bell

The Line Up – Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered

Our Georgia History – Atlanta Child Murders

Sutori.com – Atlanta Child Murders

Today in Horror – Atlanta Child Murders

Wikipedia – Atlanta Murders

2 thoughts on “Unsolved USA: Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered Children (Part One)

  1. This is so heavy. If the serial killer Wayne Bertram Williams was suspected, why wasn’t he charged? Not enough evidence? Is it too late to run DNA samples from the victims to see if a match pops up with someone who is incarcerated?

    1. They said that they had enough evidence to close the cases linked to Wayne Williams, but not enough to take him to Court, charge, and convict him of all the murders. It is appalling, there was talk the cases were going to be reexamined after the Mindhunter series in 2019, but there’s been nothing else.

      I’m still waiting for law enforcement to explain how they have enough to close the case, but not charge and convict someone.

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