Thomas J. Colbert’s Case Breakers Team received a solid tip on the location of an Atlanta boy’s body, missing for more than four decades. But the investigators’ initial research uncovered something far bigger and more intriguing.
Unpublicized police reports and more than a dozen eyewitness transcripts, quietly shipped off to a remote location, were just recovered by court order. They disclose that this child’s 1980 fate was linked to one of the most respected and influential black families in the South, with properties, businesses and a bloodline in multiple states. For more than a year, however, this empire was targeted by an alleged parasitic Preacher, hellbent on taking control of its fortune and power – through fraud, cover-ups, thievery, death threats, kidnapping and murder.
The family’s secret battle with the clergyman happened to intertwine with one of the worst homicide sprees in U.S. history: the Atlanta Murders, where a shocking 28 black boys and young men were snatched and slain over 3 years. With the 1982 sentencing of the only suspect – Wayne Williams – the abductions subsided and officials stopped counting the dead. But many have forgotten about the last missing child: Ten-year-old Darron Glass (above), the initial focus of The Case Breakers.
During the Atlanta killings, three of the victims — two of them boys on Wayne Williams’ murdered-or-missing list — were found on separate properties owned by this affluent family. According to eyewitnesses, one of those boys was believed to have been the unaccounted-for Darron. His fate, and that of the third fatal victim — the brood’s beloved Matriarch — were quickly connected to her “very troubled” Grandson.
A Grandson under the cult-like spell of the Preacher.
After quietly pleading guilty to the Matriarch’s horrific murder, the 37-year-old Grandson was sentenced in a judge’s chambers to prison for the rest of his life. And the Preacher? Stunningly, he walked free. That, along with the loss of lives and a never-recovered stolen fortune, contributed to the collapse of one of the country’s earliest African-American empires.
But in the middle of the family’s mayhem, phoenix-like heroes emerged: A driven mother with two teen girls, along with a half-dozen relatives and close friends, found the courage to collect evidence, give testimony and later move on to lead lives of accomplishment.
Now 40 years later, they truly hold the details to one of the greatest stories never told.
FYI: The controversial Preacher is now 83. (The Case Breakers: Copyright 2021, WGA)