Skeletal remains in a Southold basement were discovered Monday by police looking into a 52-year-old cold case of a missing woman, Suffolk homicide detectives said.
Southold detectives were trying to find Louise Pietrewicz, who disappeared in 1966, and dug again in the Lower Road home of her then-boyfriend, Suffolk homicide detectives said.
With the consent of the current homeowner, who has no connection to the case, ground-penetrating sonar guided detectives from both departments on where to dig, police said, and the remains were found about 11:30 a.m.
Suffolk police said DNA already collected from her family will be used to determine if the bones belong to Pietrewicz, who was 38 when she vanished and whose disappearance was the subject of an in-depth story by the Suffolk Times last October. That story prompted Southold police to reopen the investigation, Suffolk police said.
The home had been owned by Pietrewicz’s boyfriend, William Boken, who died in 1982, said Det. Sgt. John Kempf of the Suffolk homicide squad.
“He was the last person that was seen with her, from the reports I’m getting,” Kempf said.
But it was primarily a missing persons case, not a Suffolk police homicide investigation when her family reported her missing, the detective sergeant said.
The excavation was the second dig at Boken’s house in the attempt to find Pietrewicz, police said.
In 2013, Southold and State police also used sonar in the basement and the device showed the most activity near where the bones were found Monday, Kempf said. Investigators cut out a slab of the basement’s concrete floor and dug but found nothing, police said.
It turned out they were just four feet away from where the remains were found Monday, Kempf said. The bones were found about five to six feet beneath the floor, he said.
Police had started digging Thursday after Southold detectives spoke to Boken’s ex-wife Judith Terry, who told them that Pietrewicz was buried in the basement, Kempf said. “On Thursday we dug a pretty big area,” he said. “We didn’t go down far enough.”
A Suffolk Times story Monday said Terry told them the body was wrapped in burlap.
Along with the bones were bits of disintegrated cloth, Kempf said.
The medical examiner’s office will determine cause of death, and police said the investigation into what happened to Pietrewicz continues.