Police Put Hold on Atlanta Child Murder Probe, No New Leads

Police have put an investigation on hold of five murders in the Atlanta child killings case because they have no new leads, authorities said Wednesday.

The decision came a year after the investigation was reopened in the infamous killings of black boys and young men from 1979 to 1981.

"It's been tabled for now," DeKalb County police spokesman Herschel Grangent said.

The chief who reopened the case, Louis Graham, recently resigned. Graham announced the new probe in May 2005, saying he'd wrestled for years with doubts that convicted killer Wayne Williams committed all of the two dozen slayings attributed to him.

Williams was convicted in 1982 of murdering two young men and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. Evidence of a pattern of conduct in 12 of the murders was used in his trial and authorities later declared Williams responsible for 22 other deaths and closed those cases.

Williams, who is black, has contended that he was framed. He has maintained that Atlanta officials covered up evidence of Ku Klux Klan involvement in the killings to avoid a race war in the city — a claim investigators have denied.

Grangent said he knows of no viable new suspect, despite assertions by Williams' lawyers that the department developed a suspect.

Williams's lawyers have said they have information that a multiple child molester serving time in a Georgia prison lived or worked near where many of the bodies were found. They also alleged that investigators knew the man was a viable suspect in the killings but never told defense attorneys.