Will Packer, the producer behind comedies Girls Trip and Night School, is taking a subject pivot to work on an Investigation Discovery documentary series on the Atlanta child murders that gripped the city and the country from 1979 to 1981.
Wayne Williams, a 23-year-old Atlanta man at the time of the last homicide, was convicted of two of the related young adult murders but has always maintained his innocence. To date, no one has been arrested for the bulk of the deaths of almost 30 Black children, teens and adults.
Many of the families believed Williams, who is now serving two life sentences, was not the killer, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The three-part series will air beginning March 23.
“Having lived in Atlanta for over 20 years, the story of this senseless tragedy is personally important to me, and the echoes of what happened 40 years ago still resonate in the city,” Packer said in a statement published by Deadline Hollywood. His company, Will Packer Media is based in Atlanta. “I am proud to give a voice to the victims’ families, many of whom still seek closure to this day, and analyze how this story is more relevant than ever in today’s environment.”
The case has been the focus of much attention, including the book Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones, a 2010 CNN documentary hosted by Soledad O’Brien and, most recently, the podcast Atlanta Monster. The Investigation Discovery series will open in 1979, with the disappearances of two 14-year-old boys, Deadline Hollywood reports. A few days later, a woman stumbles upon the remains of the boys, one shot and the other strangled. The series will then trace the next two years of fear, investigations and heartbreak.
“This case remains one of our country’s most perplexing mysteries, and at ID we are proud to shine a light on every angle of this largely forgotten story,” said Henry Shlieff, group president at ID, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel & Destination America at TCA .
“Will Packer’s vision to revisit this national tragedy through the never-before heard perspective of the victims’ families brings home the true devastation of these cases,” Schlieff said.