Overview of Diane Williams
Diane Williams was only 17 years old. She had her entire life ahead of her. Diane had just started her junior year at Ballou High School located in Washington D.C. Diane was born on February 2, 1955. She was the oldest of six children. Those who knew Diane remember her incredible taste in fashion. She had aspirations to become a model.
Diane Williams was last seen on the evening of September 5, 1972. She had made her family dinner before she left home to visit her boyfriend. By 11:21 pm, Diane’s boyfriend walked her to the bus stop so she could head home located on Martin Luther King Rd. The bus driver recalls that Diane exited the bus at the Martin Luther King and South Capitol Street stop, where she would only have to walk a short distance home. It can be assumed that Diane was abducted near/around the bus stop or while on her walk home. There is very little informatio regarding Diane’s whereabouts after she exited the bus.
The next morning a truck driver discovered Diane’s body along Interstate 295 on a grassy incline. The location of Diane’s body was approximately 2 miles from her home. Diane was found fully clothed and barefoot. However, the bottom of her shoes had her name “DIANA” written in bold letters. Her shoes were found near her body, as if the killer intentionally placed them. Diane Williams was found strangled, but there was no sign of sexual assault. Semen was found on her clothing, but it was assumed by police that it belonged to her boyfriend – despite her boyfriend denying having sex that evening. That semen sample remains untested.
Is Diane Williams a victim of the Freeway Phantom? Between April 1971 and September 1972, six young black girls were abducted and murdered. Their names are Carol Spinks (age 13, abducted on April 15, 1971), Darlenia Johnson (age 16, abducted on July 8, 1971), Brenda Crockett (age 10, abducted on July 27, 1971), Nenomoshia Yates (age 12, abducted on Oct. 1, 1971), Brenda Woodard (age 18, abducted on Nov. 15, 1971), and Diane Denise Williams (age 17, abducted on Sept. 5, 1972).
Each victim left their homes to run an errand and never returned home. Days later, their remains were found near the I-295 freeway. Unfortunately, each victim was sexually assaulted and strangled to death. All victims except Brenda Denise Woodard were found barefoot. Brenda Woodward’s body was found with a handwritten note signed by the Freeway Phantom that read:
This is tantamount to my insensitivity to people, especially women. I will admit the others when you catch me if you can! -Freeway Phantom
Where the case stands today: Currently, the Metropolitan Police Department are offering a $150,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest. In 2023, iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV created the “Freeway Phantom” podcast. The producers are doubling the reward bringing it to a total of $300,000.
The “Freeway Phantom” is the main suspect, but their identity remains a mystery. There have been some publicly named suspects, including the Green Vega Rapists, a gang responsible for multiple rapes and abductions throughout the Washington Beltway area. However, these cases remain unsolved.
If you have any information please contact the Metropolitan Police Department at (202) 727-9099 or [email protected].