Actor Jay Ellis has a new investigative series aimed at solving the serial 1970s murders of six Black girls whose bodies were discarded along the Washington D.C. highway.
It was between 1971 and 1972 when six Black girls between the ages of 10 to 18 went missing in the Washington D.C. area. The bodies of Carol Spinks; Darlenia Johnson; Brenda Crockett; Nenomoshia Yates; Brenda Woodard; and Diane Williams were found murdered and discarded alongside D.C. highways.
Local media dubbed Washington D.C.’s first serial killer as “The Freeway Phantom.” The killer would go on to taunt police with a chilling note claiming responsibility, and terrorizing phone calls to the victims’ families. Five decades later and the killer has never been brought to justice.
Now, Ellis’ Black Bar Mitzvah, Tenderfoot TV, and iHeartPodcasts is presenting the “Freeway Phantom,” a 10-episode podcast series that kicked off on May 17. The series will explore the racial disparities that plagued the case at the time, how strategies for solving murders have evolved since then, and the lack of trust between law enforcement and local communities, that still exists today.
Hosted by award-winning journalist and public radio veteran Celeste Headlee (NPR, PBS, TEDx), she shows passion in unearthing the truth behind the disturbing case she spent the last two years investigating.
“In addition to helping these families get answers and justice, Freeway Phantom also aims to bring awareness to these cases by examining the racial disparities that continue to exist today between law enforcement and local communities,” host Celeste Headlee tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“The most urgent issue is finding some measure of justice or at least closure for these families who have suffered for so long. The murders of these young girls did not get the attention or investigation they deserved, and it is important that their stories be heard nationally.”
“What’s more the same issues that hampered law enforcement back in the 1970s–racist assumptions about the victims and their families, mistrust between police and Black communities, and lack of communication and cooperation between separate law enforcement agencies–still impede modern efforts to solve violent crimes and protect children from harm,” she continued.
“This story is both decades old and painfully current.”
Press play below for an exclusive sneak peek from Episode 3.