The Atlanta child murder was a notorious killer starting in July of 1979. The murders of African-American children and young men went on for twenty-two month. The signature of this killer would be that he would strangle them. He would abduct the children by sneaking into open windows, snatching them when they were playing outside or going from one place to another alone. From 1979 and 1981, the Atlanta child murderer murdered a total of 29 people.
On the night of May 22, 1981, police investigators staked out at a local river where they had found multiple bodies dumped before. After hearing a splash at 2:00 A.M., they saw a car pulling away from the bridge. Wayne Williams was driving the car. They arrested him on the spot as a suspect. A few days after hearing the splash, police recovered a body out of the river.
Because police detectives did not actually see the body dropped into the river, they could not directly accuse Williams of the crime. This made proving the deaths on him would be a lot more challenging and would heavily depend on forensic evidence. One of the key victim’s in the conviction of Wayne Williams was 11-year-old Patrick Baltazar. When Williams was asked if he knew him, he said that he had never met Patrick. Some of the techniques they used were fiber analysis, DNA sequencing, and hair analysis.
Fiber analysis was a major forensic technique that was used to convict Williams. It can put someone at the scene of a crime. According to Locard’s exchange principle, when a person comes in contact with an object or person, a cross transfer of materials occurs. This was very true in the Williams case. The investigators examined fibers found on all the victims. After collecting and examining the fibers, they searched Williams house and car to find matches. All of the fibers found on the victims could be traced to his bedroom carpet, his bedspread, a yellow blanket found under that bed, a leather jacket, and a gray glove in his station wagon. Fiber analysis was just one of the forensic techniques that got Williams convicted.
On Baltazar’s clothing, they found hairs, which they started to examine. The first thing that scientists did was determine if the hair was human or animal. They could conclude this by the medulla. The medulla is the collection of cells in the central canal of the hair that is unique to different animals and species. It turns out that there was both human hair and dog hair on the victim. They determined that the human hair was from the scalp because it showed little diameter variation and had more uniform distribution of pigment color. They compared the hairs found on Baltazar’s clothing to Williams’ hair using a comparison microscope. Trial scientists said that the hairs were consistent with each other, but because it was just sight, it was not exact science and...