Family Debt

Family Debt
is the true crime story about the brutal murder of the author's father, Jack Bianco.

Read about Teresa Bianco and how she was affected by the death of her father:

Teresa Bianco grew up in a Catholic Sicilian family. She is the youngest of three children. Teresa was introduced to the family business at the tender age of 8.
Her father who was her best friend and mentor was brutally murdered when she was only 14. Some say there were Mafioso ties to the family.

Teresa experienced here first marriage at the age of 15. She gave birth to her only child, a daughter at the age of 16. Her initial marriage ended at the age of 17 however Teresa remarried and enjoyed 18 years of marriage through 2008.

During the initial stages and preparation for writing The Family Debt, Teresa’s daughter was involved in a tragic near fatal auto accident. This occurred in 1996 when her daughter was only 24 years old. The accident, which rendered her daughter disabled proved to have a distinct impact on Teresa’s life perspectives.

For many years, Teresa served, as a manager and administrator for several businesses. In 1990, in spite of her challenges, Teresa forged ahead with the creation of her own telecommunications consulting firm. The firm grew, expanded and successfully flourished for 17 years in the state of Michigan.

In 2004, Teresa moved to Tennessee to support her husband as he pursued a career as a songwriter in the music industry. Shortly thereafter her daughter joined her which was a welcomed reunion for Teresa. Teresa now resides in Tennessee where she continues her career as a writer and manages care for her daughter.

In 2007, she began the journey of researching and documenting the riveting story of Jack Bianco, her father and the main focus of The Family Debt.

When asked about her preparation for writing this intriguing story, Teresa simply states, “ The formal training I received during my school years could never prepare me to tell the story of Giacomo “Jack” Bianco. It would be my personal life experiences that would ultimately provide me with the acute emotions, the insight and the tenacity required to write my fathers life story.”

A daughter’s perspective on a father’s love, a father’s passion and a father’s early demise is revealed to the entire world in this true cold case crime story that was never told….

Until Now…

But exactly what is The Family Debt?

The answer comes directly from Teresa.

The Family Debt is the Unsolved Murder And Untold Story of Giacomo “Jack” Bianco. This is a true story about my father… yes… “my daddy … my best friend”.
It has been my heart’s desire to tell this story for quite some time. It’s actually a 40 year silent cold case… at least until now…

I’m sure it’s going to be captivating and you’ll find yourself wondering…. who killed Jack Bianco?

You see..
Jack Bianco’s life had always been a combination of family and business. Jack learned to always put his family first; no matter what price he had to pay. Had he known the consequences of his decisions would he have done things differently or stayed the course?

After 40 Years Of Unanswered Questions, It’s Time To Repay A Family Debt…

He was a man that lived his life with passion for his family, a man that worked hard at everything he did. His unselfish nature exposed year after year, experience after experience. Jack was undoubtedly a family man who never let his family down… no matter the cost.

Never asking questions, he simply chose to rise to the occasion time after time to persevere the integrity of his family and to protect his personal and business interests. He didn’t make excuses… he simply delivered what was required when it was required.

Then suddenly, one day the giving stopped… abruptly and unexpectedly… the core of the family was taken forever…. his life extinguished. Over time, more questions surfaced, but unfortunately no answers, no explanations…Did he know how steep the price would be to protect his family?

Distant memories of the past coupled with the lingering question “Why was Daddy killed?”

Did anyone care? A daughter did… As for the detectives and investigators…they were simply told to “shelf the investigation”, this, only three days after this horrible murder… a file never to be opened again.

Why? Who did this? Was there a conspiracy? Did a robbery go bad? Was it an act of revenge from a gang member? Was there a contract, a preplanned hit? No one was talking…dead silence.

Almost 40 years later the same questions still pierce the silence once filled by a father’s voice.

Now for the first time, a family’s thoughts finally revealed and shared with you. As you read Jack Bianco’s story…the ups, the downs… the trails and tribulations, you decide…

I hope you enjoy my father’s life story.


The original file on the murder of my father, Jack Bianco, stayed at the bottom of a musty, cardboard banker’s box in Gary, Indiana, for almost thirty years. There was no denying that his case was cold—the leads within were as dead as many of the police detectives who had worked the investigation.

The term “cold case” sounds so uninviting and final, and the prospects of reopening Dad’s case seemed equally bleak. But despite all this, in 1993, I called a retired police officer I knew, to help me find my father’s file. He asked for the assistance of his fellow officers to locate the Bianco file.

Every month for six months, I would call Jerry and ask what progress had been made. His answer would always be, “We’re still looking but cannot seem to find it.” Frustration started to build with my constant question:, “Why can’t you find my dad’s file?”

As we were going into the seventh month of searching for the file, I started to believe it did not exist. I made another call to Jerry. After all these months of supposedly searching for it, I was told the file on my father’s murder was lost in a fire the department had some years past. I asked the question that never would be answered: “When did the fire occur and why did it take you seven months to find this out?” Needless to say, I was not convinced his file was burned in a fire!

Then, a call to the offices of the Gary Public Library—where I could order reprints of old newspapers—helped to fill in some of the crucial blanks of that tragic day in August 1970. The librarian was of great assistance. While I was waiting anxiously on the other end of the phone, he was searching for the articles on microfiche. At first he wasn’t able to locate them, thinking they did not exist, but as we went over the dates again, there they were.

I received the articles about four days later in the mail, three consecutive days of the story. The first one, dated Monday, August 31, 1970, was on the front page of the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, the day following his murder. The headline read, “Owner of tavern linked to gambling gunned down here.”

Linked to gambling? What was that about? As far as our family knew, my father was a legitimate businessman with no ties to gambling—we were enraged! We do know that my father’s half brother Tony Penzato—who was regarded by federal investigators as a top man in the Lake County gambling business—was regularly in the media. The only involvement we knew my father had was to help his brother get out of his unlawful practices.

Who would care about the 1970 slaying of a man from Gary, Indiana, with Mafia connections? His daughter for one.

This was the culmination of a lot of sleepless nights and worry-lines. For over twenty years, I had harbored resentment and anger that these killers had escaped punishment, after taking away a father, a husband, and a good man.

I was just fourteen years old—a week shy of beginning high school—when the doorbell rang in the middle of the night, as I waited for my daddy to come home from work, but it wasn’t Dad. He would never come home again.

A Few Comments from readers–

“Terrific book!! I couldn’t put it down and now my wife is rapidly reading through it! You get a BIG thumbs up from me!! Well done…”

“Let me know when I can get an autographed copy!”

“This book stirred my interest from the first page … WOW Teresa incredible story, couldn’t put the book down!”

“Teresa,what a great read! I was glued!”

“Congratulations on your book! I just finished reading it and I thought it was great! I didn’t know what to expect … no wasted pages … excellent read!”

“Teresa – Looking forward to the release of your book! The excerpt gave me goosebumps!”

The Family Debt Blog -
Press Release -


This story is certainly of interest to me, as I have written a true crime memoir, too. I didn't endure the pain that poor Teresa did, as her father was the victim, which is not the case for me. I can sympathize with the difficulty of trying to uncover information that is very old (the case I have written about is almost 55 years old). For the past 8 years, I have tracked down anyone alive with some connection to the case, or relatives of those involved.
I hope Teresa was able to find some answers. I'd be very curious to read her book, I will be on the lookout for it.
Thanks, Marilyn!

Popular posts from this blog

it's Not a Cozy! by Mar Preston


A World of Writing Inspiration by Maggie King