Catherine Leach-Bell, whose son, 13-year-old Curtis Walker, was among the victims, pleaded for closure. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta Child Murders cases that left more than 20 youths and young adults dead four decades ago. At a news conference with Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Bottoms said the intention is use technological advances to re-test evidence and see if any answers come. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's mayor and police chief are leading a push to re-examine evidence from a string of murders that terrorized the city's black community between 1979 and 1981.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Police Chief Erika Shields announced Thursday that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Fulton County District Attorney will review evidence in the "Atlanta Child Murders" cases to see if any of it can be tested further.

Wayne Williams was given two life sentences in 1982 for convictions in the deaths of two adults, thought to be among 29 black children and young adults — mostly boys — who were killed.

During his trial, prosecutors offered "pattern" evidence of 10 other murders he was not charged in. After Williams' conviction, police closed 22 of the cases, blaming them on Williams without formally charging him. Some other cases remain formally unresolved.

Bottoms said she was hopeful that technological advancements and newly available genetic databases could turn up new information. The review comes as several high-profile cold cases across the country have been solved after comparing old DNA samples to publically available ancestry testing databases.

"There may not be any evidence available that can be re-examined. But we are taking the necessary steps to formally say that we are going to open up every box and look in every corner and see what we have left," Bottoms said.

"I don't think it's any secret that, for many people, there've been questions as to whether or not Wayne Williams was responsible for all of the murders," Bottoms later added.

Catherine Leach, whose teenage son Curtis Walker was among those murdered, said she is still seeking closure.

"His case is still sitting on the shelf, getting dusty and rusty until you can't see the page," Leach said. "I want some closure. I want some justice."

Bottoms made the announcement just days ahead of the release of a documentary about the murders by filmmaker Will Packer on the Investigation Discovery channel.

FILE - In this May 24, 1999 file photo, convicted killer Wayne Williams poses along the fence line at Valdosta Sate Prison, Valdosta, Ga. Atlanta’s mayor and chief of police are leading a push to re-examine evidence from a string of murders from 1979 to 1981 that terrorized the city’s black community. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Police Chief Erika Shields announced Thursday, March 21, 2019, that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will review evidence in the so-called “Atlanta Child Murders” to see if any could be used for further testing. Williams was given two life sentences in 1982 for convictions in the deaths of two adults, thought to be among 29 black children and young adults killed. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields speaks after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday, March 21, 2019  that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta child murders, a string of murders from 1979 to 1981 that terrorized the city's black community. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Bottoms said the intention is use technological advances to re-test evidence and see if any answers come. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, standing next to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, announces Thursday, March 21, 2019  that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta child murders, a string of murders from 1979 to 1981 that terrorized the city's black community. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Bottoms said the intention is use technological advances to re-test evidence and see if any answers come. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announces Thursday, March 21, 2019  that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta child murders, a string of murders from 1979 to 1981 that terrorized the city's black community. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Bottoms said the intention is use technological advances to re-test evidence and see if any answers come. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Retired Atlanta homicide detectives Danny Agan (left) and Lou Arcangeli both worked on the case. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta Child Murders cases that left more than 20 youths and young adults dead four decades ago. At a news conference with Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Bottoms said the intention is use technological advances to re-test evidence and see if any answers come. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Retired APD Det. Bob Buffington, who collected fibers that led to linking Wayne Williams to the murders, was present at the news conference. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta Child Murders cases that left more than 20 youths and young adults dead four decades ago. At a news conference with Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Bottoms said the intention is use technological advances to re-test evidence and see if any answers come. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard addresses the media after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced  Thursday, March 21, 2019  that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta child murders, a string of murders from 1979 to 1981 that terrorized the city's black community. Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Bottoms said the intention is use technological advances to re-test evidence and see if any answers come. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)