Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where's Aeryn? A Mother's Search for the Truth

Kathy Gilleran (pictured) is a mother on a mission: To find out the truth about what happened to her son.

Aeryn Gilleran, who was 34 at the time, disappeared in Vienna, in October 2007, while working for the United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO). Alarmed by the news that her son was missing, Kathy traveled from her home in New York to Austria, in an attempt to work with police in the country, the U.S. State Department and other local and international agencies . . . in short, anyone who could help her find her son.

What Kathy found, instead, was a system that seemed more offended by Aeryn's sexual orientation than they were interested in helping to locate him.

"I spent six weeks [in Vienna], dealing with the Austrian police, who treated me not as a mother in shock and disbelief, but as a vile creature who had the audacity to ask them to help me find my gay son," Kathy wrote in an email to PFLAG. "According to the police, since my son was gay, it was obvious that he was emotionally unstable and, thus, must have committed suicide."

In fact, the callous response of local officials made it seem as if they were down-right refusing to take any serious, pro-active steps to find Kathy's son.

Continue reading Where's Aeryn? at . . .

Photo by Bob Ellis for The Cortland Standard.


crystal said...

thank you for posting a blog. kathy is a good friend of mine, and what has happened to aeryn is not fair. she deserves answers. what angers me most is how the austrian police have dismissed him as mentally diseased because of his sexual preference doesn't matter, and i wish people would just accept that. thank you for writing a blog and helping to spread the word about aeryn's plight. i want kathy to find answers. thakn you again.

Frank V said...

So we can invade a country to find a terrorist or oil or whatever. Yet we can't go find an awesome United States Citizen?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this blog. I know Kathy Gilleran and was privelleged to have met her son Aeryn. My impression of Aeryn was he was a terrific guy, and I thought to myself what a testimony to how his mother had raised him, and how proud she must be of him for what he had done as well as what he was doing with his life. How sad it is that the Austrian police could not put more effort into finding out what happened to this incredible young man, for his sake, his mother's and for the benefit to Society. I'm sure his contributions to it are many. Not to mention as Law Enforcement it is your calling to do just that. This is a case that is the very reason law enforcement exists. I say this as a I guess if it matters, heterosexual male law enforcement investigator of 6 years. This is a shame. I would have a hard time living with myself if I was the investigator assigned to this case. 

Allen Ridgewood said...

So is there anything that we can do to help this mother find her son? I can't believe an American citizen that worked for the UN can just go missing and nothing is done. That in itself is bad but then to have them tell her that her son probably killed himself because he was gay is beyond belief.

I read another article that said Kathy would call his cell phone to hear his voice and leave a message saying that she was still trying to find him. You don't even have to have kids for that to break your heart. Seriously.... is there anyone to write to or call to get something done?

Steve Ralls said...


Kathy tells us that the best person to reach out to is probably Susan Fitch, at the State Department's Office of American Citizen Services. Fitch was assigned the case after the Consul General of the U.S. Embassy in Austria recused herself.

Here is Fitch's contact information:

Telephone 202.647.8308
Fax 202.647.2867

tom said...

After viewing several articles on the web I've yet to see a good picture of Aeryn.
Since the web is worldwide I would think it's a good idea to publish a good picture with the story. The picture of the mother is great, but that's now who we are looking for is it!
You never know who is looking on the web. It might be the "magic piece of information" you need.
I see pictures of Aeryn in front of the mother.
Come on folks, scan one of those pictures, post it and in the article tell everyone to post it on their site.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you're writing about this case, bringing the case in public. It really makes me angry and frustrated to see how Austrian police is behaving. Look at the news what happened in Austria in the past two years (Natasha-story, Fritlz-story, etc..) No wonder why things like that happen the the police is totally useless.
I really want to know what happened to Aeryn, I want Kathy to know the truth, we all should. I experienced the behavior of the police personally, and have to say, never saw or heard such an unprofessional behavior from a police.
Kathy, hang in there. Warm hug from Switzerland.

J Crawford said...

I saw gone 2 nights ago and it's stories like this that make me wish I were wealthy because I would dig and twist arms and get to the bottom of this. There are so many things wrong here one really can't even know where to beguin.But there is a cover up here for sure.Frankly I think he never left the sauna and what makes me think that is the behavior of the young man that gave Kathy the tour of the bath house As for the couple that said they saw him i'm not so sure they're telling the truth. My heart goes out to kathy and only wish there was a way for me to help.