Slamdance Film Review: Who Took Johnny?

Posted January 26, 2014 in
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Who Took Johnny?
Slamdance Film Festival
Director: David Beilinson, Suki Hawley

Who Took Johnny? is a spooky time. This documentary reaches back to 1982, when Johnny Gosch, a West Des Moines, Iowa paper boy, was abducted. Noreen, his mother, has powered on with the search since then up until now. The film initially follows the inaction on part of the local law enforcement to effectively identify Johnny as a missing person (the law used to require 72 hours for the kid to be gone), and initially wrote his disappearance off as him running away. After a couple years of the community turning up nothing, the imprisoned Paul Bonacci turned up to say that he had helped kidnap Johnny into the horrendous world of child sex trafficking. Because he was diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder, however, law enforcement eschewed this lead and never questioned him, despite the facts he knew about Johnny’s body that convinced his parents that this was indeed what happened to their son. The Devil’s in the details with this one, as the world of child sex trafficking becomes exposed and entangled in the different facets of the investigation, centered in Omaha, Neb., 10 hours away. Who Took Johnny? has an Unsolved Mysteries vibe to it (creepy, I know), scary as much as it is informative about the issue of missing children. It’s definitely worth a watch if you can see it.

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