The only child of Louise Pietrewicz may soon finally bring her mother home, more than 50 years after the North Fork woman mysteriously disappeared in 1966.
Just before noon Monday, Suffolk and Southold police found what they believe to be Pietrewicz’s skeletal remains in the cellar of a clapboard, Colonial-era Southold home that once belonged to her lover, former Southold Police Officer William Boken.
Boken died in 1982, Suffolk police Chief of Detectives Gerard Gigante said during a news conference in Yaphank Tuesday.
Pietrewicz’s daughter, Sandy Blampied of upstate Middletown, said the discovery helped ease decades of pain.
“I can bring her home and when I die she can be buried with me,” said Blampied, who had just turned 12 when her mother went missing. “Thank God we finally found her. My mother was a wonderful person. She had a great sense of humor and she never said a bad word about anybody.”
Suffolk police said DNA from the family will be used to officially determine whether the bones belong to Pietrewicz, who was 38 and living in Cutchogue when she vanished.
“It is nice to be able to bring closure to the family,” Gigante said. “No murder case or missing person case is resolved until we find a body or make an arrest for murder.”
Pietrewicz’s disappearance was the subject of an exhaustive 10,000-word article and documentary series posted in October by The Suffolk Times. Blampied credited the story and the documentary series with sparking renewed interest in the case.
Pietrewicz, trapped in an unhappy marriage, met Boken while working part-time in a drugstore, Blampied said, adding her father was verbally and physically abusive to her mother.
The last time she saw her mother, Blampied said, was right before she left home for school in 1966. State Police and Southold police launched an investigation after Pietrewicz’s family reported her missing, but that investigation went nowhere.
Gigante said Boken was arrested in 1967 after his wife filed a domestic violence complaint with police. Boken resigned from the Southold police and “disappeared” in New York City. He died in 1982. Boken had cut off contact with his family, and relatives did not know that he had died until 2013, Gigante said.
Boken’s family sold the house on Lower Road — across the street from a 19th century cemetery — in the mid-1970s, Gigante said. The current owner, Claude Carlson, said police used sonar in the cellar in 2013 to search for remains. They cut a slab out of the concrete floor and dug but found nothing, Carlson and police said.
Southold and Suffolk investigators returned to the house Thursday after speaking to Boken’s ex-wife, Judith Terry Boken, Det. Sgt. John Kempf of the Suffolk homicide squad told Newsday late Monday. Police cut another slab out of the concrete floor and dug several feet into the ground but came up empty. When they told Judith Terry Boken their search had come up empty, she urged them to dig deeper.
Police found the remains roughly six feet under the cellar, Gigante said. He and other police officials declined to talk about the source of their information at Tuesday’s news conference, saying it was part of an ongoing investigation.
Police said Carlson has no connection to the case.
Carlson said relatives have told him they believe they have seen ghosts in the home, but he seemed to take the discovery in stride.
“It’s kind of strange, but there is nothing we can do about it,” Carlson said. “We had no idea until they came a few years ago.”
But Leo Jasinski, Pietrewicz’s 92-year-old brother, said the discovery of the remains is a miracle.
“It eased my mind so much,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about her all this time. It is a big relief. Now we can give her a regular burial.”