Friday, October 24, 2008

Opening Suitcases: Kathy Gilleran Leaves for Austria

On Sunday, Kathy Gilleran will fly from her home in New York to Vienna, Austria in search of her son. Last night, ahead of her European trip, she sat down with WTVH, her local CBS affiliate, to talk about her continued quest to learn the truth about what happened to her openly gay son, Aeryn, one year ago this month.

From the WTVH report:

This is Kathy Gilleran's second overseas mission to find clues about what happened to her son who vanished one year ago. She has begged and pleaded with Austrian authorities to help her find her son, Aeryn. The 34 year old Groton High School graduate worked for the United Nations in Vienna, and she's made it her vow to travel to the city every single October until she finds out what happened.

Next Wednesday is the one year anniversary of Aeryn's disappearance, and as Kathy packs her own suitcase, she feels nervous, scared, at times hopeful, but there's one suitcase that she just can't bear to open... Aeryn's. The State Department has arranged a meeting for Kathy with Austrian police. While Kathy has chosen to make this journey on her own, she'll be joined by Aeryn's closest friends from Vienna for a candlelight vigil across the street from the sauna where he was last seen. "I need to do this for Aeryn," said Gilleran. "I need to let him know that I will never ever give up on trying to find him and that my love will never ever ever go away."

She's stuck in limbo she says, terrified she might stay that way for the rest of her life. This trip could change that. "I'm really hopeful that after this trip to Vienna that I am able to do a little bit more, that I'm able to open suitcases that I haven't been able to," said Gilleran. At the vigil, Kathy will be holding a single candle, just like the candle she's had lit in her window since last October, a light that she hopes will lead her son home. If anyone wishes to contact Kathy with information or simply kind words of support you can e-mail her at