The new series from Tenderfoot TV, iHeartPodcasts, and Jay Ellis’ Black Bar Mitzvah spans 10 episodes and is hosted by journalist Celeste Headlee. In a statement, Headlee—who’s been meticulous scouring boxes of documents and talking to those close to the unsolved killings over the past two years—pointed to the parallels this tragic case has with more recent examples of serial killers.
“This is an engrossing story, not only because of how much has changed in the way we track down serial killers, but also what has not changed,” Headlee said. “Our effort to protect the public is still hampered by racism, mistrust between communities and authorities, and a lack of cooperation among those whose job is to protect and serve. This series answers so many tough questions and asks just as many.”
Starting in April 1971 and lasting through September 1972, six young Black girls were abducted and murdered, with their bodies later found in D.C. and nearby Prince George’s County. The victims ranged in age from 12 to 18 and were identified as Carol Spinks, Darlenia Johnson, Brenda Crockett, Nenomoshia Yates, Brenda Woodard, and Diane Williams.
“The lack of coverage, then and now, surrounding the murders of these six Black girls is shameful,” Donald Albright, co-founder and CEO of Tenderfoot TV, said of the sustaining importance of continuing to work toward finding answers for the victims’ families.
To this day, the killings have not been solved.
“What struck me when I first heard about these cases was both the tragedies that these families have had to endure for so long, and the parallels happening today with other missing Black and Brown girls throughout the country,” Ellis, President of Black Bar Mitzvah, said of the new series. “That’s what fueled my desire for Black Bar Mitzvah telling this story – to shine a light on the stories of the victims and their families, and the inequities that continue to exist 50 years later.”
Freeway Phantom is set to premiere on May 17. Above, get an exclusive early look at the series.