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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
Gone in the Night, a book written by journalists David Protess and Bob Warden, was released in 1994.
Yes. David and Cynthia "Cindi" Dowaliby's 7-year old daughter Jaclyn was abducted from her bed in September, 1988 and found four days later strangled and buried in a field near an apartment complex. David and Cindi were charged with the murder, but Cindi was eventually acquitted due to lack of evidence. David was tried and convicted, but his conviction was overturned 18 months later, again due to lack of sufficient evidence. Jaclyn's murder remains unsolved.
The detective called David's boss in order to tell him that David (Kevin Dillon) would be late getting to work because he woke up late. Meanwhile, the police had picked up David (on his way to work) so that they could question him without counsel. The detective made the call because the police did not want David's boss to call his house and alert Cindi (Shannen Doherty). Fortunately, David's boss did call Cindi to ask about David. Hearing from Cindi that she did not make the first call, he advised her to immediately call her lawyer.
In the movie, Rob Kinney is Cindi's ex-brother-in-law based on her previous marriage to his brother Peter (in real life: Jimmy Guess). Jaclyn was adopted by David Dowaliby after Cindi's divorce from Peter (Jimmy).
The judge denies Cindi's motion for David's acquittal as well as for a new trial. David is found guilty of first degree murder and concealment of a homicide, and he is sentenced to 45 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. When one of the jurors recants the guilty verdict on television, public opinion against David begins to change. Cindi gets a new lawyer who agrees to work pro bono (for free). The first thing he does is to get David moved to another facility where he is allowed contact with Cindi and the children. He then files a brief with the appellate court seeking David's exoneration based on the insufficient evidence and the outright lies presented to the Grand Jury. At the custody hearing, Cindi is granted full custody of their children, and a waitress at Louie M's Restaurant comes forth to admit that Rob Kinney (Billy Burke) was not in the restaurant the evening of Jaclyn's murder. She agrees to set up a meeting between Rob, David Protess (Michael Brandon), and Paul Hogan (Timothy Carhart), during which Rob gives them a detailed account of Jaclyn's abduction and murder but claims that he is channeling this information from "the spirit." The reason he wasn't seen at Louie M's, he says, is because "the spirit" can make him invisible. At the appellate hearing, David is set free. Although convinced that it was Rob Kinney who murdered Jaclyn, Protess advises David and Cindi not to pursue Kinney in the courts because of the lack of physical evidence, the likelihood that he would get off by reason of insanity, and the even bigger likelihood that the state will not act on it, even though he sent a transcript of Kinney's confession to the state attorney along with affidavits from five witnesses attesting to the fact that he was not in Louie M's the night of the murder. David and Cindi decide to follow Protess' advice and get on with their lives. Following the movie, home video shots of the real Jaclyn Dowaliby are shown, followed by an appeal from the real David and Cindi Dowaliby urging viewers to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children if they have any information about an abducted child.
David and Cindi changed their last name and moved away from their home near Chicago, Illinois so as not to face reminders of their ordeal. They have sought neither to pursue Jaclyn's murderer nor to sue the Illinois police.
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