User Reviews (12)

Add a Review

  • 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.
  • 'Who Took Johnny?' Reveals how cases of missing children were handle 30 years ago. This film shades all its light on the disappearance of Johnny Gosch from Des Monies, Iowa. A 12 year-old paperboy, who disappears without a trace, yet was written off as a runaway. The case of Johnny Gosch is shrouded by the darkest side of humanity as it leads to a hidden world where children are targeted A world dragged into the light by the strength, love, and sacrifice of a mother who never stopped fighting for answers. It should be required for the world to watch. I watch it. My heart is still trembling over how this case was handled.
  • This is a powerful piece of work from the RUMUR team of Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley. Anyone with and even probably without kids can identify with the abject terror of having your child disappear without a trace, so it is utterly wrenching to watch people to whom this has actually happened try to figure out how to come to terms with the most profound loss we can imagine. To compound the horror of it all, the film documents with a pretty high degree of confidence what most likely happened to Johnny Gosch: that he was swept up into human trafficking, which more or less means child prostitution and pornography. It ain't pretty, but that's why it is almost necessary viewing. As Gogol so famously said, we can't blame the mirror if our mug is crooked, and "Who Took Johnny" is a mirror that, sad to say, is much less distortive than we would all like for it to be. Watch it.
  • It must be very hard to make a documentary about subject matter as inconclusive as this. Missing kid, lot of assumptions but no resolution several decades later.

    Summing it up it follows a boy who went missing during his paper round and a string of people who may or may not be connected and claims by the mother that understandably come into question.

    Full of archive footage and interviews from as far back as the early 80's when the boy went missing the documentary is competently made but the whole thing is nothing but one big question mark.

    Though a couple of mysteries regarding other children are solved this case has never and almost certainly will never be.

    The most interesting thing to come away from this documentary and case are the stances of the police/FBI. Was there a cover up? If so why? Or was this just good old fashioned incompetence.

    Not the most compelling viewing but watchable all the same if you go in knowing you won't really learn anything at all of the case.
  • In 1982, missing children reports were so rare, that often times the local authorities didn't take them seriously. Most of these kids were considered runaways, as authorities at the time couldn't even fathom the depths of depravity that some people are capable of sinking to. In the case of Johnny Gosch, not only wasn't he a runaway, the compelling documentary, Who Took Johnny?, and the subsequent books by his mother, Noreen, have shown that not only may Johnny still be alive 35 years later, but he may have suffered more torture than anyone in the history of this planet. On September 5, 1982, Johnny Gosch, a local paperboy was abducted from Des Moines, Iowa. Despite eyewitness statements, the local police, considered him to be a runaway. Over the years evidence and even a witness go to the FBI to say that Johnny was used for human trafficking. Pictures have turned up and even his mother claims, Johnny stopped by the house for a brief time, 15 years after he'd disappeared. The documentary shows how the local authorities, didn't care and mishandled the case right from the very beginning, and how the FBI kept the family completely in the dark. To this day, despite the fact that her son could be god-knows-where, Noreen Gosch has become an outspoken defender for missing children and the rights of their parents. There is no doubt that this documentary is anything but unbiased and impartial, and while I'm not sure I believe everything Mrs. Gosch says, when taken as a whole, one can't ignore everything that happened in this case. The other side of this gave blanket statements or declined to be interviewed, which tells me, she's right about more than a few things, and even if a third of this is true, it's appalling. When catastrophe strikes, we rely on those in power to take care of us and make things right, but what happens if they just don't want to? This documentary is truly eye-opening and provides plenty of ammunition to victims rights advocates.
  • I have been reading about this case heavily since I retired several years back along with two others closer to my home. The reason they seem hard to believe is they seem to incredible to be true.

    They say knowledge is power. This documentary brings together years of information from Noreen Gosch and others and presents it in a digestible, yet, scary format. Human trafficking has been going on we have been doing see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. That does not work anymore. Whether or not you have children this is a documentary that will give a baptism into the world of Noreen Gosch and the outright defiance she faced in getting even the slightest bit of help for her son. Yet, she persevered so other did not have to suffer her boy's fate. I highly recommend watching this documentary, it is eye opening and inspirational.
  • parkersonhayley18 October 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Who Took Johnny

    Who Took Johnny is an intriguing film that documents the events that followed the disappearance of Johnny Gosch on September 5, 1982 from West De Moines, Iowa. This documentary highlights his mother, Noreen Gosch, and her independent search for her son. The film documents a more current child abduction in Waterloo, Iowa as well as Johnny's case in order to show the advancement of the police force.

    There are many indirect interviews in this film that give many different personal perspectives from family members, detectives, childhood friends, and abductors of Johnny. Each interview features intimate stories and experiences that give the audience all sides of the story. By exploiting every detail of every perspective, this film does a phenomenal job at letting the viewer form their own opinion about the mysteries of the case. As the audience continues to learn more about the conspiracy, they are continually discovering information that is essential for forming their own case for Johnny Gosch's abduction.

    Considering this is a documentary, there are quite a few boring segments. It occasionally highlights significant and insignificant moments in Noreen's life, which is not necessarily relevant to the case. However, I do believe that they show her everyday life to make the point that tragedy can happen to anyone. Although her everyday tasks are boring, they were not a waste of time to watch. However, I did enjoy this film for its ability to keep the audience on edge and proper timing of releasing details. This film keeps viewers in suspense and keeps them wondering about the clues to come. The disappearance of Johnny Gosch is a mystery that most people will never understand, but Who Took Johnny gives curious minds an insight to the real cause for his abduction. This film has lit a spark in me to research further into this case, and I highly recommend this documentary because of that.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I lived in DesMoines at the time Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin were abducted. I worked in close association with the local media at the time. When viewed today, it seems impossible for anyone to understand how dismissive the authorities and the public could be in regard to child exploitation. This film is a very true portrayal of the injustice that was done to Johnny and all missing children and how Maureen was vilified for speaking out about it on behalf of her son. This is an amazing story of how John Walsh and Noreen Gosch were strong enough and dedicated enough to turn a horrific personal tragedy into a crusade to protect all children so we as humans will finally put a stop to child sexual abuse and human trafficking.
  • This is a very good documentary that unfortunately only scratches the surface of what would become known as the Franklin cover-up. This documentary should be mandatory viewing for everyone. Unfortunately the facts of child kidnapping from Boy's Town by Lawrence E King Jr. are missing from this documentary which would lend more credibility to the claims of Paul Bonacci. Paul Bonacci also help expose the child sex-ring in Washington D.C. which was outlined in the Washington Post and corroborated by actual receipts. Those facts were missing from the documentary and lend credibility his testimony.

    Unfortunately Rumor did not release this to Netflix where it would get mass exposure and opted to go the rental route which is a horrible mistake and hurts the cause terribly. Unfortunately human trafficking(slavery) still very much exists and due to the mass media black out of films like this and Conspiracy of Silence the problem will only get worse.
  • Though the abduction of ANYone is sad, the US has been overcome in he past 2-3 decades with paranoia, and conspiracy lunatics - almost all uneducated, and it's a rife situation for a documentary like this.

    In the late 80's, a teenager named John Gosch was kidnapped. To this day, it's unsolved.

    This leads the door warped open for everyone - people who think the 'global elitists', and the 'devil worshiping' took him. And on, and on.

    Just looking at parts of some of these 'reviews', shows which the people who loved his, have limited mental capacities, themselves; 'adejesus614' says it 'shades the light'. Sorry, it's 'SHEDS' light. (Oh, yes, as you can see from this person's nickname, they're a typical right wing, religious wacko).

    No, there's no 'secret cabal', and it's certainly got nothing to do, with some backwater, like Des Moines, Iowa (folks, wake up, and get some schooling!).

    More than likely, the young man met a terrible fate, by some sick person. End of story. No, he's not hanging with Elvis, nor any reptilian aliens'.

    But, these people have their brains so, so screwed up, I'm to sure which is worse; the simple truth of this kid, or the BIGGER story; the IQ of a country the size of the US, IS RAPIDLY sinking. And with it, the rise of deluded thinking.
  • winkelr-714202 September 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    A very superficial treatment of the ongoing horror which is systemic, international, high level kidnapping, pedophilia and blackmail used as a tool of political control. This is what happens to congressional freshmen after they move to Washington.

    If you want to know what this case is really about, see the book "The Franklin Cover-up" by John DeCamp, a Nebraska state senator who was on the Nebraska senate investigative committee, and the documentary "Conspiracy of Silence" produced by Discovery Channel and Yorkshire TV. Also search for

    Franklin Cover-up: The White House Call Boy Ring thought crime radio
  • nico-2267715 September 2016
    I felt awful for this kid Johnny , even the other kid who took him ( Paul) ..I also believed him about this secret network, it exists.. What i don't believe is the mother that Johnny visited her :( I just have this zing in my body that she is lying..

    I cannot even imagine what they went through and yes I truly believe Johnny can be brainwashed and just wont contact his family, it does happen.. I don't know why I don't believe Noreen, I just don't.. I hope Johnny is living and has some kind of peace.. What a horrible event ..: ( I know Noreen has been to hell and back and she is a hero for all she does, but I just feel like it didn't happen, Johnny's visit. As a mother I would be never letting him go, IDK, maybe it did happen, I just don't believe it..