William Thane is an unemployed painter who lives in southern California.
William Thane was born in January 1982 in Camarillo, California to his father, George, and his mother, Kendra. Kendra struggled with postpartum depression after having Will, a fact that hindered Will from having a close bond with her. George, a coal miner, worked overtime to help support Will and his mother, so Will saw very little of his father growing up. When Will did see his father, it was when he stumbled in drunk after having spent hours at the bar after his shift. As George's alcoholism worsened, Will often witnessed domestic violence between his parents, something that would stay with him for the rest of his life. Will protected his mother as best he could, but she refused to get out of the situation to help herself and Will. Will vowed that he would never become his father but secretly feared it at the same time, because he knew he had a strong temper.
Not able to take any more of the dysfunction, Will ran away from home at the age of sixteen and began working as a coal miner himself, even though his true passion was painting--a hobby that his father had mocked and criticized throughout his life. Will worked his way up and did everything he could to save money. At the age of eighteen, he met his future wife, Christine Polosi, at a local community play. They married one year later and, after purchasing a good but small home, had their son, Jason in March 2002.
Jason was the best thing to ever happen to Will. Will adorned his son yet struggled to be a good father, because Will had never been taught how to properly love and raise a child. Will did his best, though, and Christine, a wonderful mother herself, was a big help and taught Will how to be nurturing.
Christine, working as a nurse, was concerned about Will's prolonged exposure to chemicals in the coal mines and so offered to support Will and Jason while Will tried to make it work as a painter. This made Will very happy, since he was finally able to fulfill his passion in life. At first, Will's paintings got some local attention and were featured in a local gallery. But over time, interest died down, and Will struggled to bring in income. When Christine's hours were reduced by her employer, the family found themselves in a tight financial spot, putting added pressure on Will to complete paintings on a more regular basis in order to bring in some extra income.
Will's temper got the best of him one day when he grew furious at Jason for having accidentally ruined a painting that Will was going to sell for profit. Will screamed at his son, which prompted Jason to run to his room, where he had an asthma attack that turned fatal, because Will had neglected to refill his son's prescription inhaler. Will did not check on his son until it was too late, both because he was angry and because he was focused on repairing the damaged done to his painting.
The guilt and depression over his son's ill fate ate at Will, and he found himself becoming the spitting image of his father--drowning his sorrows in bottles of alcohol. He even became verbally abusive towards Christine, who left him shortly after. As quickly as everything had fallen into place for Will, he soon found himself with nothing: divorced, penniless, and without a son. Christine took the house, and Will moved into a studio apartment in southern California, where he washed cars for extra income and tried to make his paintings work. One night in drunk desperation, Will posted on the website www.confessyourcrimes.com in order to relieve his all-consuming guilt. It did not help.
In December 2011, William Thane was kidnapped by Sonny Peyton and brought to the abandoned Stonewall Penitentiary, where he was hunted down in repeated attempts on his life. Will managed to survive, however, and he also helped to protect another kidnapped victim, Jessie Bartlett, over whom Will grew protective. After knocking Sonny out with a baseball bat, Will managed to find a cell phone and call the police. Will's ordeal helped him to see the preciousness of life, and he vowed that he would let go of the guilt he carried surrounding his son's death and never pick up another bottle again.
After escaping from Stonewall Penitentiary with Jessie Bartlett, the two decided to drive back to their home state of California together. Along the way, they stopped for dinner at a local diner in the town of Shady Brook.