The Shattered Window

There is nothing more terrifying than the thought of someone entering your house in the middle of the night without you knowing.

On September 10th 1988, 7-year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby disappeared from her family home while everyone else in the peaceful suburb slept.

The nightmare didn't end when she was found, it had barely begun...

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Midlothian is a typical town in Illinois where everybody knows one another. It was a safe town where people went on to raise a family. Then in 1988, their idyll was shattered when a little girl vanished in the middle of the night.

We like to imagine that a childโ€™s bedroom is a safe haven from predators. We also like to imagine that we all know our neighboursโ€ฆ Accepting a theory of an unknown predator rekindles the biggest fear of parents worldwide โ€“ that your child can fall victim to a stranger.

The murder of Jaclyn Dowaliby is a tragedy that has puzzled and polarized the minds of those who know it. It has become a cautionary tale for police, prosecutors and judges and is a chilling reminder that the presumption of innocence is the foundation of the justice system. The case also truly highlighted an occupational peril of competitive media coverage: that far too often, the media relies too heavily on law enforcement sources.

We have extensively investigated this case, trawling through files, trial transcripts and archives and have been conducting interviews with the people who lived through it. We have compiled together our comprehensive research to bring to you: The Shattered Window.


The Team

Eileen Mcfarlane

Eileen Macfarlane

Emily G. Thompson

Emily G. Thompson