Remains believed to be those of Louise Pietrewicz of Cutchogue, who vanished without a trace in October 1966, were unearthed Monday in the basement of the Southold house her married boyfriend, former Southold police officer William Boken, shared with his wife and children.
Southold police dug into the sandy soil beneath the home on Lower Road, discovering a burlap bag wrapped around skeletal remains.
“I was in shock,” said Sandy Blampied, Louise’s daughter, after hearing the news Monday night. “It’s hard to believe. It hit home after 51 years.”
During interviews with Southold Police Det. Sgt. John Sinning and former Southold Detective Joseph Conway Jr., Judith Terry of Southold, the late Mr. Boken’s former wife, directed police to the basement of the home, where she said a body wrapped in burlap was buried soon after Ms. Pietrewicz’s family reported her missing. Mr. Boken died in 1982. Ms. Terry sold the home in the late 1970s.
The investigation into Ms. Pietrewicz’s disappearance was reopened late last year after The Suffolk Times launched its own investigation into the case. The paper released a special report, along with a three-part documentary, in October.
The search for remains at the former Boken residence began Thursday, when Suffolk County Crime Laboratory personnel joined Southold and Suffolk County investigators at the scene. No remains were found initially, but they returned Monday and dug deeper, discovering the burlap and skeletal remains. Ms. Pietrewicz was 38 at the time she was reported missing. The remains will be taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office to determine the identity and cause of death.
Southold Det. Ned Grathwohl delivered the long-awaited news to Ms. Blampied, 63, in person at her Middletown home. Ms. Blampied said she was unaware of the digging that began Thursday.
Sgt. Sinning called her Monday to tell her that an officer was traveling to her home to take a DNA sample, she said. At that point, she began to think “something must be up.”
“I said from the beginning Judy Boken Terry was the key,” she said. “I said, ‘she knows.’ And she did.”
Told of the discovery of the remains in the former Boken house, Leo Jasinski of Riverhead, Louise’s 93-year-old brother said: “Oh, my God. Oh my God. We have always wanted this. Sandy can finally have a burial of her mom. This is so wonderful.”
The current homeowners, who have no involvement in the case, consented to the search. The basement had been searched and parts of it were dug up in 2013 with no results.
Ms. Blampied said she never gave up hope.
“She’s home now,” Ms. Blampied said as she began to tear up while speaking to reporters.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
Top photo caption: Suffolk County police on scene at the home on Lower Road Monday. (Credit: Krysten Massa)