UPDATED: Watch “Gone” and help find Aeryn Gillern

In October 2007, retired policewoman Kathy Gilleran received a call from Vienna, Austria, informing her that her 34-year-old son, Aeryn, was missing. 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.

Aeryn, a US Citizen, was living and working in Vienna. He was last seen on the 29th October 2007. He left his place of work, UNIDO at around 6pm on that date, and he was seen at the Kaiserbrundl Sauna in the centre of Vienna, where his belonging’s where later found. According to police reports, Aeryn left the Sauna at around 6:50pm. Aeryn has not been seen since.

Watch GONE on Investigation Discovery on Saturday, November 12 at 9p EP, and help find Aeryn!

UPDATES: Aeryn’s mother, Kathy, has commented below and answered some questions from readers. Also, the film makers have contacted me:

Dear Vidster,

My husband John and I, directors of GONE, wanted to thank you so much for publicizing the film on you blog. We only found out about it this morning!

The response to the broadcast has been absolutely overwhelming and we’ve been very moved by the outpouring of support for Aeryn, Kathy, and their family.

GONE has been a labor of love, and it’s so deeply gratifying to see so many others caring as much about the case as we do.

Thank you so much for helping us, and thank you also to your readers who helped get the word out. As you mentioned on your blog, sometimes it’s the smallest piece of information that breaks a case, and that is what we hope for with GONE.

Warmest regards and deepest thank yous,
Gretchen & John Morning

Stay tuned!


  1. thank you so much for posting – aeryn was a dear friend. we need more people to spread this story and help kathy find out what happened to her son.


    I pray Aeryns’ mother finds out the truth about her beautiful son.. I posted this story on my facebook page, this mother has every right to know the truth!!!!!! The gay community is affected when the injustice, and descrimination of one of our own is tainted…

  3. Megan helmick says:

    this story broke my heart. I hope kathy finds out what happend to her son and gets justice.

  4. jennifer hunt says:

    I just saw Aeryns story last night. I am at a loss for words. It was heart breaking to watch what Kathy has gone through. I don’t know anything about investigating but I want to help so bad. I can at least make sure I tell everyone to watch Aeryns story. I hope one day there will be justice.

  5. kathy price says:

    I watched “Gone” last night, your story is disturbing on so many levels. My heart aches for your loss. I’d like to see you refocus your energy on what is really important a) where is your son and b) what happened to your son. I agree you are being stone-walled by the police and government officals, but i do think your anger has clouded the true point of your goal. I do have a few suggestions, you may want to try. Have some flyers printed up in both English and German, use a heading, that will tug at peoples heart strings, something like “Desperate, heartbroken Mother seeks missing son” fill in info (but leave out some key details to weed out the twisted). Include options to contact you @ e-mail, phone, PO box, be sure to strss “you can be annyomous. I’d also suggest you get a phone book from the local area, and mail them out..this should limit any knowledge of you continuing your search, considering the police are aware of your investigation. Next time you visit the Country, plaster the flyers locally. I have another suggestion, e-mail me if your interested.

  6. I hope so too, let’s hope GONE triggers a memory in someone who is brave enough to reach out and call the cops!

  7. Thank you for the posting and linking to my blog. We need maximum exposure to reach that one person with that little bit of information that will make all the puzzle pieces fall into place.

  8. @kathy Price:

    I think that Kathy, Aeryn’s mother, has done all that. She was in Austria and covered every street with flyers including all possible contact information.

  9. I don’t think I have ever been so angry or emotional watching a story before. God Bless Ms. Gillern for holding it all together for so long. My suggestion to help: The Danube river(?) hasn’t been searched. According to the show, the divers were never called. I think money should be raised to hire divers or a company to search the river. Or try to solicit a group to volunteer their services, either in the US or in Vienna. Maybe Aeryn’s friends in Vienna can look into it. If enough money could be raised to pay for flights and hotels for the volunteers and their gear…The truth may not come out but at least he could be brought home to his Mom.

    I just don’t understand why he would have jumped in–no matter what happened at the sauna. The witness near the river didn’t say that anyone was running after Aeryn. So if he was in trouble, where would be the first place or person he would run too? Could he have run into a police officer near the lake and he was pushed in? Sounds crazy but the police in Vienna are so clearly hiding something big…

    Very much good luck. I will pray for Ms. Gillern and Aeryn.

  10. My heart goes out to Kathy Gillern as well as Aeryn’s extended family and friends.

    I am enraged! Why in hell would it matter whether Aeryn is gay? This woman has lost her son. What is important is that every last one of us reach out and help find out what really happend to him in the name of all that should be decent in our society.

    Only one more question. What can I do….who do I contact….how do we work together to help Kathy?

  11. Kathy Gilleran says:

    @ kathy price:
    Thank you for your suggestions. My goal has always been to find my son, and to find out what happened to him. That has remained consistent in the 4 years he has been missing. The flyers that I have done have been in English and German, and express very clearly that my son is MISSING. They also have Aeryn’s web site address printed clearly on them. The web site has the e mail address where people can reach me. Thank you again for your concern and suggestions.
    Kathy Gilleran

  12. Dear Kathy,

    Thank you for stopping by and responding to the comments.

    If there is anything you wish to be posted, just let me know. I will link where possible for maximum exposure in hopes to find Aeryn.

    My thoughts are with you and the family, V

  13. Kathy Gilleran says:

    @ Vidocq:

    Thank you Vidocq for posting about my son’s disappearance, and thanks to all your readers who have expressed their thoughts, concerns and suggestions.

    I have a web site for my son, it is http://www.aeryngillern.com Contact Information: findaeryn@gmail.com I try to update on a regular basis, but as you know we have been walking through quicksand for over 4 years now, so there may be long periods of time before I have news to post.

    My younger son and I, as well as the rest of Aeryn’s friends and family, are grateful to the outpouring of thoughts and prayers. We are hopeful with the media attention here in the US as well as in Austria, that we may finally reach that person who has the answers. The reception in Vienna, by the Austrian people, was heartwarming. They are outraged, not at me, but at the way a handful of police treated myself, my son Rahman, and most importantly, in his absence, Aeryn. Many of these people are still involved in making sure that the momentum of the film does not die down. There are more screenings planned there, as well as other work being done behind the scenes.

    Sharing this story with others offers us the biggest chance of opening doors at the moment.

    As there has been such an incredible outpouring from people who have watched the film, the e mails are coming in at a much quicker rate then I am able to answer them. Please do understand that I value receiving these letters of encouragement, and I do read them all. But, I am having a hard time responding to all of them, physically and emotionally it is overwhelming. Please do not take my lack of response as a sign that I am not appreciative.

    Thank you all again for your empathy to our plight.
    My heart goes out to all of you,
    Kathy Gilleran

  14. Dear Kathy,

    I admire your strength and wish you all the best. May the Austrians keep up the momentum so we might reach that one person who has a detail we missed until now.

    I completely understand being overwhelmed and frankly, I’d be surprised if you were not.

    Take good care of yourself, Rahman, and the rest of the family.

    Yours, Vidster

  15. Kathy Gilleran says:

    @ Vidocq:
    Thank you.

  16. Kathy I watched this and came away with such sadness and hurt for you..I would like to say although I am no expert in crime solving there were clues you did unravel..1st the police cover-up & the fact @ the time of his disappearance Vienna police were threatening anyone publicly coming out as being gay in the police department..that came from the book store people who knew @ the time, said he was a part of advocating for freedom of gay & lesbian police personnel..2nd Your son had to have gotten involved with a high up police person who panicked that he would be exposed by your son or others and loose his job n reputation so that police person had to have killed your son and scarred everyone around the Sauna & book store & witnesses to silence what they saw happen even the one guy who saw him in the canal changed stories..this only leads me to one person or several from the police department because it was to clean & easy for anyone else to have gotten away with without leaving more evidence.. I believe silently disposing of his body was to keep any evidence that he was murdered for a further a investigation. It was in my eyes a police cover up by one of it’s own..My heart goes out to you and your family! Bless your son for having the courage to come out!

  17. marjoyrie says:

    I am praying for you Kathy and your family and most of all, AERYN. God bless you all.

  18. Philip Voluck says:

    Ayern’s mother is a magnificent testament to the love of a mother for her son. She is eloquent and can make you feel her grief and pain as if Ayern were your child. She is the story, the production was done in good taste and highlighted a truly special person Kathy Gillern

  19. Kathy, I watched Aeryn story and I am so sadden by it. You went through way to much as a mother that just wanted the truth. It is hard enough to loose a child but, to have lost a child and not have answers to what has happened is even worst. Your son was absolutely beautiful and the bond you guys have is even more beautiful. I can see the pain in your eyes. Watching Gone at times I was wanting to scream at the TV, because I was so angry that they could have treated your son as if he was replaceable. I pray that you find peace, I pray that Aeryn was not in pain, and I pray that you find justice for Aeryn. We have to learn to speak up and out. Wrong is wrong and if anyone saw anything I pray that they find it in their hearts to speak up. Don’t give up. Wishing you and your family all the best..

  20. pamela devereux says:

    This is an outrage.This young man did not just disappear of his own volition. What, if anything, is being done to help this grieving mother find out exactly what happened to her son? I went to one petition site, but it had closed. What about a direct appeal to Hilary Clinton? Aeryn’s mother needs everyone’s help.

  21. Ken Clark says:

    Just watched Gone and I’m so disturbed by the Austrian Police. Please give Ms. Kathy the support she deserves and the relief of knowing what happened to her son. Everyone deserves closure and the truth. my heart goes out to you and prayers for his return.


  22. she would get alot further without that attitude of hers.

  23. @Niki: explain “attitude”

  24. To “niki”..what attitude are you talking about here? I see nothing but a broken-hearted, very strong and determined woman/mother who wants the truth about her son disappearing and struggling to get it!! I cannot fathom her pain…I cried and cried as I felt all of her emotions. I would love to help her. I just do not know how. I’m open for any suggestions!

  25. Inga Giles says:

    Has anyone looked into other important people/celebrities that died on the day Aeyron disappeared? I was just thinking that in order for him to disappear and the authorities to feel safe giving various and changing stories about what they did and did not do, someone with more importance and clout stepped in to ensure of a cover up. And shut up any witness to the “fight” that occured at the bath house on the day Aeyron disappeared (and may have been seen running for his life-naked). At this point you have nothing to loose by digging into the lives and deaths of the following people who are noted as dying in other countries (close enough to drive or fly to so that the argument can be made that the person died there instead of Vienna). The names are: Jan Janczewski-a cinematographer who has visited Austria to film, but died in Poland according to “official” records on 29. Oct 2007. Anthony Clare was a psychiatrist and BBC personality, who may have gone to seminary, and who stated in an interview that he lost his Catholic faith in God. Interestingly he is Irish, but died suddenly in Paris of a heart attack on 29 Oct 2007. I find it .very interesting that he is Irish and former seminary student. Wasn’t the man that spoke to Aeyron’s mom Irish and didn’t he come from the church where whe was standing with Aeyron’s photo, and he did not look at the picture he just started talking about Aeyron.

  26. @ niki:
    You are an idiot. Let’s see you go through what she has went through and have just half of the grace she has throughout this ordeal. There was no “attitude” but rather an admirable restraint at the blatant injustice slapping her in the face at every turn. Keep your disrespectful and inaccurate opinions to yourself. If your not going to be part of the solution, you are part of the problem. SMH. Jerk.

  27. Folks,

    We all know now that Niki learned a valuable lesson. She should think before she types a comment on sensitive issues such as mothers losing their child. She should have considered the effects of being left in the dark for years on Aeryn’s mom. I will not post any more comments that explain that to Niki. However, comments of concern and ideas how to help are most welcome!

    Thanks all for keeping the comment box a place for constructive criticism! V

  28. Kathy are in my thoughts and I hope someone will find the truth about what happened to Aeryn so she can find a bit of peace.

    - veritas aequitas

  29. Since I have found out about this, this tragedy is haunting me, probably being myself a mother of a son who simply cannot start to imagine how Kathy has been able and still is to deal with this, not knowing where her beautiful and wonderful son has gone.

    Being Austrian, I am ashamed of the Austrian police, the government, everyone involved to not have been able to follow the small leads and shed light on this shameful occurance; it is not enough that the “investigating” person is retired, I am positive that somehwere in all of this somebody knows exactly what happened, or at least has good reason to hide suspicions.

    I do understand that the film itself is disturbing and “one-sided”; but being this mother, or any mother in this situation, all means are legitimate to draw attention.

    I am sorry that the petition is closed, and I am wondering if there is anything that still can be done to help.

    My heart goes out to Kathy and her family.

  30. Danke, Tizi, for commenting. Me too, I wonder how Kathy keeps her sanity so let’s hope that somehow someday we will be able to find some answers.

  31. Hello ms Kathy ! I just seen the movie gone this morning on the Id channel. I couldn’t believe how bull headed the police were. And they didn’t care that he was missing. After the movie went off I kept praying for justice. What happens in the dark will come out to the light And I think the police had something to do with him missing. I pray that you and your family will find peace and answers and that God will guide you to the right people to find out what happen.

    God bless you – Leilani

  32. Dear Kathy,
    I watched Aeryn’s story this morning on ID and was so touched. I am the mother of three grown children and cannot fathom what you have lived through these past 6 years. I pray that the movie will draw the audience of just the person who has the key to unlock this mysterious tragedy. I searched the web after viewing in hopes that you had some resolution and am so sorry that has not happened.
    Your family is in my prayers. God Bless you,

  33. why will the manager of Kaiserbundl not divulge or come forth with what he witnessed on the floor???

  34. Excellent question ..

  35. @Tracy, Cynthia:

    This answer from Kathy Gilleran was sent to me:

    “Thanks to all of you for watching, and for your prayers and good wishes. I am still in Vienna so please accept my apology for not responding sooner.

    I can only theorize as to why the manager will not come forward. As a retired police officer I am used to dealing with facts, and factually I don’t know why. My guess, and this is based only on conversations I have had with people who know much more about what goes on in Vienna, and my gut instinct tells me it is because he was told by the owners not to speak about what happened. The Kaiserbrundl Sauna is a very old sauna , very grand, and is in a extremely expensive and prestigious area in Vienna.

    The clientele appears to be more mixed of late. By that I mean that the first couple years that Aeryn’s was missing the men I saw entering and exiting were middle age, and extremely well dressed. Clearly professionals. My understanding is that there have been some changes in the management over the years, although I believe the owners remain the same, and the clientele appears younger, much more casual in their appearance. I can’t imagine that the owners/investors wanted any kind of bad publicity that would harm their business. The sauna is well known world wide by the gay community. And bad publicity is never good for business. Just a side note, for those in the US, saunas are very popular in Europe. The other part is the police have never shown any interest in what occurred that evening in the sauna. So there has never been an official push for anyone to come forward with information.

    The case is still being looked into by The Ombusdman Board here in Vienna. They have been interviewing people over the past 10 months, and reviewing files to determine whether the police handled the case properly. I am cautiously optimistic that something comes of this.

    Thank you again for your continued interest and support.

    Kathy Gilleran”

  36. @Kathy: This came in from Cynthia Hill for you:


    thank you for responding. You and Aeryn are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray you have resolution and that you are protected and cared for in your travels.

    “Gone” is haunting and amazingly thought provoking. I hope it brings someone a conscience and new information into the light!

    Cynthia Hill”

  37. @ Alice:
    Thanks Alice for forwarding this back and forth.

    Cynthia, thank you very much. It is my hope also that someone reaches that moment in their life where they can no longer keep silent. That the need to be honest, and clear their conscience overrides their fear. It is something that I pray for.

    Kathy Gilleran

  38. Kathy,

    This is the least I can do. I am a mother and cannot phantom what you are going through. I hope that with time some old alliances break down so people feel free to speak out.

    Always, Alice

  39. The couple (the man that cried) that Kathy mentioned in the documentary appear to know a lot. I think they are the key to the mystery. My heart goes out to Kathy. Since I saw the video I often check hoping some news has helped to bring u closer to finding out what happen. No one deserves this.

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