Dozens gather to honor victims of the Atlanta Child Murders

ATLANTA — It's been 40 years since a crime spree began and led to the death or disappearance of dozens of Atlanta children.

[WATCH: Atlanta Child Murders: 40 years later]

Saturday, dozens gathered to remember the victims, including some of the victims' families.

Catherine Leach lost her son Curtis Walker 40 years ago.

"The pain is still here," Leach told Channel 2's Lauren Davis.

[PHOTOS: Victims of the Atlanta Child Murders]

Walker was one of five boys found slain in DeKalb County from 1979 to 1981, a period in which more than 20 black children, mostly boys, were killed in Atlanta.

Saturday, the city came together to remember the victims by reading their names, plus the names of 200 other victims who died from senseless violence.


"It's not that they died, it's that they lived," said Sunshine Lewis, who arranged the event.

Lewis said her father helped organize more than 300 searches 40 years ago that amassed more than 3,000 volunteers.

Several gospel choirs sang hymns of praise to strengthen the family members who have gone through so much pain the last four decades.

[The Atlanta Child Murders: An interactive timeline]

A procession of hearses drove down the street to symbolize the last ride for the victims.

"The dark hearse is to take the dark cloud that's covered Atlanta for 40 years," Lewis said.

They also had a candle lighting to remember the victims and a dove release.

[Atlanta Child Murders: A chronology of the missing and murdered cases]

Wayne Williams was arrested in 1981 in connection to the death of two adults. Police believe he is main suspect in the deaths of the nearly two dozen children, but he has never been charged with any of their murders.

There is also a large group of people who don't think Williams is responsible.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reopened the case earlier this year, making many people happy -- but Leach wants more done.

"We want some justice and some closure," Leach said.