Aeryn Gillern


Aeryn M. J. Gillern

Missing in Austria

Since October 29, 2007


From the US call
202-501-4444 Ask for American Citizen Services/Austria Desk Officer

From US or Canada call

From Austria call US Embassy in Vienna
43 1313 39 7535

My son, Aeryn M. J. Gillern, was last seen on October 29th, 2007 in Vienna, Austria.  He was 34 years old at the time and had been working for UNIDO in Vienna for approximately 4 1/2 years.  He loved the city and had a great apartment overlooking the Danube River.

Let me tell you some more about my son Aeryn, but I need to ask this question first.  Does a mother refer to her missing son in the past or present tense?  I think you will find that I switch back and forth because although I believe Aeryn is no longer alive, he is and he was.

Aeryn graduated from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio,  in May of 1997.  He had spent a year abroad in Gaming, Austria, where, after his initial culture shock, he came to love all things Austrian.  Aeryn went on to earn an Master’s degree from Franciscan, as well as two additional Masters from Webster/American University in Vienna.  He loved and valued education.

After spending his pre college years in Ithaca and Groton, New York, Vienna was a smorgasbord of culture.  Aeryn loved the history and the culture, especially the architecture and music.  He also continued his love of God and the Church.  He loved the ornate churches that abound in Vienna and the Austrian dedication to religious holidays.

Aeryn had a calling early on in life to become a Roman Catholic Priest.  I had attended 12 years of Catholic School, and became a lapsed Catholic at best, so this was truly Aeryn’s choice.  He loved going to Mass, especially when he was able to find a Latin Rites Mass.  After graduating from college Aeryn entered the Seminary in Graz, Austria.  I used to joke with him about becoming the first American born Pope, and he in turn would call me “Mama de Papa”.  For Aeryn, being in the seminary was an eye opener.  He realized that for him to become a Priest, he would also need to become a hypocrite.  Aeryn was gay, and would need to preach against homosexuality.  Aeryn and I had many conversations about this, and in the end he decided that he could serve the Church in other ways, and left the Seminary.

In September of 2007 Aeryn came home to visit me for 10 days.  For all those that knew Aeryn, he loved to shop, and whenever he came home he made way to  JCPenney.  Aeryn loved to shop there and always stocked up on all his clothes and shoes, as he had a hard time finding clothes that fit him in Austria. He was in a great mood, having just finished his third Masters Degree, and having had a vacation over the summer in Egypt with his partner.

We spent time at Cornell Plantations, his favorite local place, where he had spent a lot of time in the past.  Together we put my house on the market for sale.  The plan was for me to sell the house, put my belongings in storage, and move to Vienna for 6 months to live with him, prior to relocating to the Fort Myers area in Florida.  This was an exciting prospect and he was anxious to share the European lifestyle with me.  His flat was large and set up so that we would both have privacy. 

On September 19, 2007, I remember looking out my window and watching him walk my dog in the cul-de-sac as he read his well worn “Prayers From the Roman Breviary”.  On that day I took Aeryn to the Syracuse airport and remember him telling me that he would see me soon and not to cry.  He made me laugh as he joked with a TSA woman about a container of his favorite butterscotch pudding that he wanted to take on board.  That was the last time I saw my son.

On October 27, 2007, I called him to tell him that the real estate market was very slow, and there had been no offers.  He suggested that I look into coming over the first week of December  and staying for 10 days.  I told him I would look into it, and that we would speak soon.

On October 31, 2007, Halloween, I was at work as the Director of the Cortland County SPCA.  I received a call from the Chief’s secretary at the Ithaca Police Department, where I had retired after 21 years in 2006.  She told me I needed to go home, that there was a message at home on my phone.  She kept repeating it as I questioned why, what was wrong, thinking that someone I had worked with at the PD was injured.  She then told me that my son, Aeryn, was missing in Vienna.  I asked how she knew this, and she told me that my son’s partner was panicked and couldn’t remember my number but remembered that I had worked at Ithaca PD.

I only remember grabbing my things and running out to my car yelling to anyone that could hear me that I had to go, my son was missing.  Thank goodness my house was not far from my job, but that 5-10 minutes took forever.  My mind was racing, how could he be missing.  Missing from where?  I ran into the house and listened to my voice mail as a man with a very strong accent told me his name,  and that he was with the HR Department of UNIDO.  He said I needed to call him immediately.  I wrote down the number and called him.  I entered another world, one which will never be the same, one which I still to this day don’t know how to describe or deal with.

He explained to me that my son was last seen leaving work at approximately 6PM on Monday October 29, 2007 and that they were alarmed on Tuesday, October 30, 2007, when he did not report to work or call.  Aeryn, I was told by UNIDO, had a great attendance record, and if he was sick he would always call in.  He also told me that the Police would not take a Missing Person Report because Aeryn was not an Austrian Citizen and they weren’t required to.  He told me that Aeryn’s partner and upstairs neighbor had been to the Police twice, that the Police were aware that Aeryn was gay, as they had asked his partner how he was related, and how the Police has made homophobic remarks to my son’s partner.  He told me that UNIDO had contacted the Austrian Foreign Ministry, who had interceded with the Police and instructed them to accept the report.  That on Thursday, November 1st, 2007, he along with my son’s partner and neighbor would meet with the police and officially report him missing.

After speaking to the UNIDO representative, my younger son Rahman and I, spent several hours on the phone with Aeryn’s partner and his upstairs neighbor as they continued trying to contact people who knew Aeryn.

On Thursday, November 1st, 2007, I flew from my home in Cortland, New York into a nightmare that is still part of our everyday life.  Rahman joined me in Vienna on November 9th in the search for his brother.

For more information please click on the links at the top of the page.

I started this web site when I returned to Vienna in February 2009 for the results of the Inquest.  The BLOG page entries chronicle my meetings and subsequent dealings with the Police from that

point to the present.

The “Letter to the Austrian Police” gives a brief summation of what occurred the 5 weeks that I initially spent in Vienna looking for my son.

Thank you,

Kathryn Gilleran

(I chose to add the “a” back into my last name, which is the

original spelling of my father’s family name)


15 Years No Answers

Once again, I will not be traveling to Vienna for the 15th anniversary of Aeryn’s disappearance.

My mother will be 105 & 7 months old on October 29th. I am all she has, and she is my responsibility. Due to her extreme old age, it is necessary for me to be here for her. Luckily she is just down the road and I am able to spend time with her every day or evening.

There are no updates regarding Aeryn’s disappearance. It will be four years in December since I heard, second hand, that the Cold Case Squad was no longer considering Aeryn’s disappearance as an active investigation.

People that were actively involved and gave so much of their time and energy have moved on, but are still in touch. I will remain eternally grateful for everything they did, and their friendship.

I have not given up, but not being in Vienna is a hindrance, and obviously the Police not being responsive to my inquires, is a major roadblock. 

Thank you for your continued interest.