Thursday, September 11, 2008

Returning to Austria, In Search of Her Son

Kathy Gilleran doesn't give up easily.

The Cortland, NY mother (pictured), who we originally reported on in August, still hasn't learned many details about her son Aeryn's disappearance in Austria . . . . still hasn't received much help from officials in Vienna . . . and is still being told by U.S. and U.N. officials that their hands are tied when it comes to pressuring the Austrian government to take any action. But she is still searching for answers, and is about to return to the last place her son was seen, to make an anniversary that is still fresh in her heart.

Kathy is planning a trip back to Vienna, to mark the 1-year anniversary of Aeryn's disappearance, and step up her efforts to find out the truth about what happened.

"I have to be there on the 29th of October," she recently told PFLAG. "My friends are afraid for me to go, but I know that I have to be there."

Following our original report about Aeryn's disappearance, and Kathy's quest to find out what happened that night in Vienna, the press has taken up the story and Kathy has spoken out, hoping to find someone who knows something. Last weekend, she spoke with PFLAG's Ithaca chapter, and just before that, her hometown paper, the Ithaca Journal, threw in its support for her efforts, writing in an editorial that, "Public pressure, especially when applied to politicians in cases like this, serves many a purpose, including keeping the spotlight on Aeryn Gilleran's disappearance when age will continue to make the case get colder and colder."

"I have one last shot," Kathy told the paper. "Unless I can get people interested in this, people seeing that this is wrong, people knowing that the U.S. government at least says it's helpless if you're an American citizen and you go missing overseas, at least in Austria.”

Now, she has started her plans to make the trek back to Vienna, and press again for answers.

"I am trying to make plans to go . . . for a week," she told PFLAG. "I am hoping that airfares go down by then."

Photo by Tim Ashmore for The Ithaca Journal.


Josie said...

You're doing a wonderful job helping Kathy and letting the public know what is happening. I've known her for many years and I know how devastating it is for her not to know her son's whereabouts. Keep up the good work.

crystal said...

thank you so much for helping out my good friend kathy. she deserves to know what happened to her son, and i am worried about her trip, but i know she has to do what is right in her heart. i feel for her and hope she finds the answers that she needs. thanks again for all you help.

Anonymous said...

PFLAG is providing a valuable resource in an extremely difficult circumastnce for this family. PFLAG, you deserve kudo's for you help!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you PFLAG for highlighting this tragic tale. It's important that all Americans realise that no matter how imperfect our legal system it's far superior to those in other countries. While prejudice and ignorance are unfortunately rampant here they are are part of the accepted establishment in other, even 'western" countries.

Iretta said...

Thank you soooo much for helping out Kathy. I hope you realize how much this means to a mother to find out the truth about her missing son so that she can have some closure. Kathy is a very strong woman and I have faith that with your help and her persistance, that she will be able to get the answers she so desparately needs to be able to get through this very sad chapter in her life. Please keep pressing forward for her. You are doing a great thing and you will reap the rewards of your help.

Kathy said...

Thank you for helping our friend Kathy try to find out what happened to her son Aeryn. I know her son, and he is a good person; they both deserve justice. I'm also a mother, and I know how devastated I would be if one of my children suddenly disappeared. Someone knows what happened to Aeryn, and somehow Kathy needs to get answers. Please continue to do what you can to help her.