Late summer/early fall 1966
For the second time in her troubled 16-year marriage, Louise Pietrewicz left her husband.
She moved out of the home they shared on Main Road in Cutchogue and fled to her parents’ farm in Sagaponack, a place of beauty and tranquility not far from the ocean, where she had been born in August 1928.
Her 11-year-old daughter, Sandy, went with her. For a few days, in the protective comfort of her childhood home, Louise felt they had escaped something horrible. Her brother Walter Jasinski was there, and her sister Josephine Vinski was on a nearby farm. Her sister Stephanie Krasity and brothers Leo and Michael Jasinski were a half-hour west in Riverhead.
To reinforce her conviction that their lives would be better now, that there would be no turning back, Louise told Sandy she had purchased two airline tickets to Florida.
“We are getting away,” she told her daughter. Just the two of them.
Sandy did not want a life without her mother and, for Louise, leaving Sandy behind was unthinkable. Neither wanted to return to Cutchogue and Albin Pietrewicz — Louise’s husband and Sandy’s father — who they both regarded as a brute.
Everyone in Cutchogue, where he worked on his Polish-born parents’ Cox Lane farm, knew Albin by his Anglicized name, Al Patrick. He grew potatoes and cauliflower and was a prominent member of the local fire department and a host of farmers’ associations. When they were in season, he also sold his prized strawberries at a market in Riverhead.
For years, Louise had endured her husband’s emotional and physical abuse. Sandy saw her father push and beat her mother, picking her up by the neck, throwing her against the wall and cursing at her. Always, Louise tried to shield her daughter from the worst of it.
That fateful summer, Louise, who would turn 38, finally gave up on her husband and began an affair with William P. Boken, a married Southold Town police officer two years her junior.
In a small farming hamlet where everyone knew everyone else’s business, their affair was no secret. How could it be? Albin Pietrewicz knew about it and would later tell police he felt humiliated by his wife’s behavior.
The affair was no secret to Boken’s wife, Judith, either. At one point, she even witnessed her husband physically drag Louise out of his car and into their Southold house.
For her part, Judith Boken, who worked in the town assessor’s office, carried her own scars, having also suffered similar treatment at her husband’s hands. She and Bill Boken had a son, born the previous December, and that fall, she was pregnant with their second child.
After Louise moved to Sagaponack, Boken began driving over from the North Fork to see her, occasionally staying over. Sandy would make up a bed for him on the couch. Once, she found his service revolver under a pillow.
On Oct. 5, 1966, Louise withdrew $1,273.80 from her personal account at Bridgehampton National Bank and closed it. The next day, according to a court document filed a decade later, she “disappeared in the company of a man friend.”
Louise’s worried family believed her life was hovering at a critical crossroads. Trying to keep track of events unfolding around them, her sister Stephanie began making notes on lined paper.
On the first page, she wrote, in pencil: Lou left Oct. 6 – 1966
The family recalls that Louise’s sister Josephine saw her in Boken’s car —trying not to be seen — as they drove away from the Sagaponack farm for what would be the last time.
The next day, Oct. 7, the Southold Town Board, led by Supervisor Lester Albertson, unanimously accepted Boken’s resignation from the police force, “with regret.” For the previous three days, he had called in sick.
Within a week, Louise’s pocketbook was found alongside the eastbound shoulder of Route 25 in Calverton or Manorville. Inside were a World War II bond, her Social Security card and a postcard bearing the handwritten name of Glen Cove doctor Edward Honig.
Was Louise on her way back from seeing the doctor when she disappeared amid thousands of acres of Pine Barrens? What about the two airline tickets to Florida? And the emptying of her bank account?
Eighteen days after her first entry, Stephanie penciled in another note:
Call lawyer Manning Monday for some information. Jo and I went to see the judge for advice about this situation. That was Oct. 24 – same evening we reported her missing.
None of Louise’s family or friends ever saw her again.