GONE IN THE NIGHT by David Protess


The Dowaliby Family's Encounter With Murder and the Law
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 Well-told story of a suburban Chicago kidnapping, murder, and miscarriage of justice. Protess (Journalism and Urban Affairs/Northwestern) wrote three major stories about the case for the Chicago Tribune, while Warden is a freelance investigative journalist. One morning in 1988, Cynthia and David Dowaliby awoke to find their seven-year-old daughter, Jaclyn, missing: Broken windows attested to a break-in. Four days later, Jaclyn's decaying body was found in a field with a rope wrapped around her neck. The police had no leads other than the Dowalibys themselves and, asked to take lie-detector tests, the parents ``passed'' handily. But Chicago's outrage about the case boiled over, and local prosecutor Richard M. Daley, whose eye was riveted on the mayoral seat left vacant by his late father, decided to win ink by prosecuting the Dowalibys. Many career prosecutors in Daley's office told him that there was no case, but the Dowalibys were arrested the same day that Daley announced his mayoral candidacy. In the middle of the trial, the judge dismissed the case against Cynthia for lack of evidence, but the confused jury--under pressure from a hectoring foreman--decided David's guilt on irrelevant evidence not even discussed in the trial, and he was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Meanwhile, author Protess entered the scene and, joined by Warden, began punching holes in the verdict. Over a year later, Dowaliby was freed when the Illinois Appellate Court vacated the verdict on lack of evidence. Then Protess and Warden got hot after suspects, especially Cynthia's ex-brother-in-law, a paranoid schizophrenic, who told them about ``the spirit,'' his alter ego, who had taken Jaclyn to heaven. The case has now been reopened. Steadily gripping, though more as a story of justice gone awry than of a murder. (Sixteen-page photo insert--not seen)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30619-9
Page count: 434pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993