Following Monday’s discovery of skeletal remains believed to be those of Louise Pietrewicz of Cutchogue, Suffolk County Police are officially calling the 51-year-old case a homicide investigation, chief detective Gerard Gigante said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Yaphank.
The full skeleton was found buried nearly seven feet underneath the basement of the Southold home where Ms. Pietrewicz’s boyfriend, former Southold police officer William Boken, lived with his wife on Lower Road.
Witnesses interviewed during the missing persons investigation who are still around will be interviewed again as part of the homicide investigation, the detective said.
Southold Police Det. Sgt. John Sinning, who was instrumental in the case, according to Det. Gigante, contacted the county police department’s Homicide Bureau several years ago. The bureau searched an area of the basement of the Southold home, with the consent of the current homeowners who are not involved in the case, using sonar that detects disturbances in the soil, but nothing was found, Det. Gigante said. The once dirt basement had been topped with a five-inch layer of cement, officials said. Officials displayed the sonar machine during the press conference.
On Thursday, investigators searched a different area of the basement with new information and dug four feet. After coming up empty again, “some people involved” were interviewed and investigators found they needed to dig deeper.
It was an example that in cold cases, “sometimes later in life witnesses do come forward to give us information that maybe at one point they felt compelled not to release, felt threatened … or just out of their conscience come forward,” Det. Gigante said, not specifically naming a witness.
While the remains have not yet been officially identified as those of Ms. Pietrewicz, officials have reason to believe it is her. They will likely be matched through DNA records, officials said. A cause of death has not yet been determined by the medical examiner’s office.
“She does have a living relative, so it is nice to be able to bring closure to the family,” Det. Gigante said. “No murder case or missing persons case is resolved until we find the body and the murderer.”
Southold Town police chief Martin Flatley and Sgt. Sinning both attended the press conference.
Top photo caption: Stuart Cameron, acting police commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department, speaks at Tuesday’s press conference. (Credit: Grant Parpan)