Murder of Jaclyn Dowaliby

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Jaclyn Dowaliby
Born Jaclyn Marie Dowaliby
(1981-05-17)May 17, 1981
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died September 14, 1988(1988-09-14) (aged 7)
Cause of death

Jaclyn Marie Dowaliby (May 17, 1981 - September 14, 1988) was an American seven-year-old girl who disappeared from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Her body was found five days later.


On 10 September 1988, seven-year-old Jaclyn was taken from her home in Midlothian, Illinois at some point in the middle of the night. The next morning, her mother reported her as a missing child, possibly an abduction. Police reportedly found a broken window, but it may have been a phony entry area as Jaclyn's adoptive father later recalled the back door left open.

The police investigation was below par as it is widely believed even in 2014 that the police failed to properly preserve the crime scene, thereby obstructing justice. Search parties were organized, but for five days, Jaclyn was nowhere to be found.

Death and legacy[edit]

On September 14, 1988, Jaclyn's lifeless remains were found abandoned at a dump site six miles away from her home. An autopsy revealed she had been killed the night she went missing. Police suspected her mother, Cynthia Dowaliby and her adoptive father, David Dowaliby. In 1990 they were put on trial for their daughter's murder. Cynthia was acquitted but David was convicted on eyewitness testimony which placed him at the scene where Jaclyn's body was found. In 1991, an appellate court overturned David's conviction, ruling that there was no more evidence against him than there had been against Cynthia. Nobody else has been arrested or convicted for the murder of Jaclyn.

As of July 2014, no one else has been arrested in connection with Jaclyn's murder. Her killer remains unknown.

Gone in the Night[edit]

In 1996, a television film was released, entitled Gone in the Night. It was based on Jaclyn's disappearance and murder, and starred Kevin Dillon and Shannen Doherty as David and Cynthia Dowaliby.


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