Cropsey | Chicago Reader


This disturbing true-crime documentary takes its name from a local bogeyman that video makers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio were warned about when they were growing up on Staten Island. Only later did they discover the factual basis for this urban legend: between 1971 and 1987, five children vanished from the community, all of them suffering from some sort of disability. According to the video, the key to this mystery is Andre Rand, once a staffer at the horrific Willowbrook State School for retarded children; though he insists he’s innocent, he’s been convicted on circumstantial evidence of having kidnapped two of the missing children, and a minister who briefly sheltered Rand recalls him saying that “people that had mental handicaps shouldn’t be alive.” Though Rand now seems likely to die in prison, interviews with the parents expose that as cold comfort. "You never get closure," remarks one. "That’s just a bullshit word."



  • Barbara Brancaccio
  • Joshua Zeman


  • Barbara Brancaccio
  • Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
  • Zachary Mortensen
  • Joshua Zeman

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