SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On October 31, 2007, Kathy Gilleran received a call from Vienna, Austria, informing her that her 34-year-old son, Aeryn, was missing and the police had been notified. A retired policewoman who served for twenty years in Ithaca, New York, Kathy immediately flew overseas to aid in the search for Aeryn. But upon arriving in Vienna, she was shocked to learn that the local police had no interest in pursuing the case. That's when Kathy embarked on the most harrowing investigation of her life, overcoming a major language barrier and encountering a staggering pattern of overt police intimidation, lies and bigotry. Kathy's quest for the truth to what happened to her son is chronicled in the feature documentary GONE: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF AERYN GILLERN, making its world television premiere as part of ID Films on Saturday, November 12 from 9-11 PM ET/PT.
The story that Austrian detectives told Kathy was that Aeryn had been at an exclusive men's sauna on October 29, 2007, when he suffered a sudden emotional breakdown, fled the sauna naked and then jumped to his death into the Danube Canal. They claimed that Aeryn committed "spontaneous" suicide, but to Kathy, the explanation made no sense, especially because no body was recovered. Honing her instincts as a mother and her skills as a cop, she ultimately discovers her own strength to keep fighting to learn her son's fate -- even to this day, more than four years after he went missing.
"GONE perfectly embodies the very best of documentary filmmaking -- the producers have taken an incredible, emotional story and told it from a very personal first-person perspective," said Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of Investigation Discovery. "The result is a heart-wrenching mystery that continues today. I'm incredibly proud to showcase this moving real story as part of ID Films."
Filmmakers Gretchen and John Morning first learned about Aeryn Gillern's plight and his mother's search for him in a local Syracuse, New York newspaper nearly ten months after he disappeared. In producing the documentary, the directors were guided by a simple, defining premise: to immerse viewers in Kathy's mesmerizing and incredibly personal quest for the truth.
ABOUT AERYN GILLERN
Aeryn was raised in Groton, New York, and graduated from Groton High School in 1991, where he was a member of the chorus and the Varsity boys track team. From a young age, Aeryn was very deeply involved in the Roman Catholic Church, serving as an altar boy and later as an acolyte. An exuberant student, Aeryn earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Franciscan University, as well as two master's degrees: Theology & Christian Ministry from Franciscan University and International Relations from Webster University in Vienna. Aeryn was also an accomplished athlete and model for advertising campaigns, including Vienna's popular charity event, The Life Ball. In 2005 and 2006, Aeryn was nominated Mr. Gay Austria, and was the first runner up in the international Mr. Gay 2006 competition. Beginning in 2003, Aeryn was employed as an economic research clerk for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, Austria, and was elected to UNIDO's Staff Council in 2007. He was an employee of UNIDO when he disappeared in October 2007.
ABOUT KATHY GILLERAN
Kathryn Gilleran (who uses the original spelling of her family surname) grew up in Elmira, New York, and began her career as a social worker in Tompkins County. A single mother raising two sons, Kathy joined the Ithaca Police Department in 1985, where she served as a Patrol Officer and Neighborhood Police Officer. Kathy was also trained and certified as a Mounted Police Officer, was a member of the Emergency Response Team, and is one of the first female officers in the United States to complete Advanced SWAT Training with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. As a police officer, Kathy was deeply involved in community outreach programs, where she helped to connect local residents with the police department. Kathy frequently appeared on the local news in stories pertaining to the police, and was the recipient of numerous awards, including Crime Prevention Officer of the Year by the New York State Crime Prevention Coalition and the Michael Padula Award by the Tompkins County Human Rights Commission. In 2006, she retired from the Ithaca Police Department after more than twenty years of service.
GONE: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF AERYN GILLERN is directed, written and produced by Gretchen Morning and John Morning. The film is produced by Daniel J. Chalfen and executive produced by Jim Butterworth of Naked Edge Films. For Investigation Discovery, Ron Simon is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production and Henry Schleiff is president and general manager.
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID) is America's leading investigation network and the fastest-growing network in television. As the source for fact-based analytical content and compelling human stories, ID probes factors that challenge our everyday understanding of culture, society and the human condition. ID delivers the highest-quality programming to more than 77 million U.S. households with viewer favorites that include On the Case with Paula Zahn, Disappeared, Unusual Suspects and Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets. For more information, please visit InvestigationDiscovery.com, facebook.com/InvestigationDiscovery, or twitter.com/DiscoveryID. Investigation Discovery is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world's #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in 210 countries and territories.
Please visit ID's Press Website at http://press.discovery.com/us/id/ for additional press materials, screeners, and photography.
SOURCE Investigation Discovery