Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Atlanta Child Murders

No End In Sight

Charles Stephens
Charles Stephens

Late in the evening of October 9, 1980, twelve-year-old Charles Stephens had gone missing. He was found murdered the next morning on a hillside. Stephens had died from suffocation from an unknown object. At the crime scene, the evidence had been contaminated by a police officer when he threw a blanket over the corpse of the boy. The fibers from the blanket were mixed with the fibers already at the scene. The fibers found were thought to have come from the red interior of a Ford LTD.

A drug dealer went to police a day after Stephen's body was discovered. He told police that on the same day Charles Stephens disappeared, he had gotten into the car of a client of his to sell drugs. When the drug dealer looked into the back seat of the car he saw a young boy lying lifeless with his head turned towards the trunk and wrapped in a sheet. When the drug dealer asked about the boy, the driver of the car became angry and told him the boy was merely doped up and passed out.

The drug dealer stated to police that he was concerned about the boy because he didn't look doped up but worse off, possibly dead. The driver of the car told the dealer to forget what he saw. He later threatened the dealer with his life if he had said anything about the boy in the backseat. It was then that the dealer went to police and told them the story. He added that he knew the man to be a pedophile and had on occasions been offered money to find the driver young boys with whom he could have sex.

In mid-October, the skeletal remains of LaTonya Wilson were found in northwest Atlanta, not too far from her home. It was impossible to determine cause of death or whether she had been sexually abused given the state of her body's decomposition.

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