Louise Pietrewicz: After 51 years the truth of a disappearance surfaces

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Remains believed to be those of Louise Pietrewicz, a Cutchogue farmer’s wife who vanished suddenly 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.

After digging last Thursday and finding nothing, Southold police and county investigators returned to the home on Lower Road, this time armed with more specific information as to where the remains were, and dug deeper than before. By late morning they came upon a burlap bag wrapped around skeletal remains and the brightly colored remnants of a woman’s dress. At that moment, investigators felt confident a 51-year-old mystery was on the verge of being solved.

Later on Monday, Southold Det. Sgt. John Sinning called Louise’s daughter, Sandy Blampied, 63, at her upstate New York home to say a detective was en route to speak with her. Det. Sgt. Sinning wanted the momentous news delivered in person, and also needed to collect a fresh DNA sample. Det. Ned Grathwohl arrived at Ms. Blampied’s doorstep before 8 p.m.

When Det. Grathwohl entered the home, Ms. Blampied asked a question that had been on her mind since she was an 11-year-old hoping and praying her mother would return home: “Did they find her?”

“Yes,” the detective said.

On Tuesday, Ms. Blampied said the news all but sent her into shock.

“I was so happy, but it was surreal,” she said. “Fifty-one years of looking for somebody — and between my cousin Babsie and I, we’ve truly looked for her … It was like two steps forward, three steps back. We always hit a wall.”

The investigation into Louise’s disappearance was re-energized late last year after The Suffolk Times launched its own investigation into the case. The paper released a 10,000-word special report, along with a three-part documentary, in October.

Former Southold detective Joseph Conway Jr., who had worked on the case before his retirement and remained keenly interested in finding answers for Ms. Blampied, joined up with Det. Sgt. Sinning, who was also committed to finding a solution. Within the last few weeks, they re-interviewed Mr. Boken’s former wife, Judith Terry. In previous interviews, Ms. Terry had expressed great fear that her former husband was alive and could harm her. This time, though, the detectives presented her with Mr. Boken’s death certificate.

Ms. Blampied said investigators have told her it was information Ms. Terry gave them in those recent interviews that led them to the basement of the Lower Road home, which the former Ms. Boken sold in August 1980.

In those interviews, which began Feb. 16, Ms. Terry, herself a victim of Mr. Boken’s repeated and violent physical abuse, told police her husband had buried a body deep in the basement of their former home.

Prior information from Ms. Terry had led police to dig in the same basement in June 2013, but that search came up short, as did last Thursday’s initial excavation.

Ms. Blampied said she was told by police that investigators returned to Ms. Terry last week with a photo showing a police officer in the hole they dug last Thursday. Ms. Terry told them she had seen her husband standing even deeper in the hole.

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At a press conference Tuesday, Suffolk County police showed pictures of the hole that was dug under the basement of the home to reveal the skeletal remains. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The digging was continued Monday and shortly before noon a jawbone was found at six and a half feet.

As was reported in The Suffolk Times story in October, Mr. Boken died in Queens in 1982 and, his body unclaimed, was buried in a pauper’s grave on Hart Island.

Ms. Terry, who served for years as Southold town clerk, was not at her Southold home Tuesday. In the past, she has told The Suffolk Times she would not speak about her marriage to Mr. Boken.

“It is too painful for me,” she told an editor last summer.

Exactly why Ms. Terry kept secret for so long the information that led investigators to Monday’s discovery is not known today. The police chief at the time of Louise’s disappearance was Joseph Sawicki Sr., whose son, Joseph Jr., attended a police press conference Tuesday announcing the discovery of the remains. The department in those years was a trough of political patronage controlled by then-town supervisor Lester Albertson.

The Suffolk Times’ reporting from last fall showed that town officials not only failed to act in any way to investigate Louise’s fate, but orchestrated a maneuver in which Mr. Boken was picked up by a town police officer to appear before a town justice, who then, in a bizarre move, committed him to a psychiatric hospital. At the time, two state troopers had informed Southold they were coming to arrest Mr. Boken. That commitment put him out of their reach.

“I said from the beginning Judy Boken Terry was the key,” Ms. Blampied said. “I said, ‘She knows.’ And she did.”

On Tuesday, one television crew after another arrived at Leo Jasinski’s doorstep in Riverhead. The 92-year-old is Louise’s brother and sole surviving sibling.

The phone rang in Sandy Blampied’s kitchen Tuesday as we set up to film a new final chapter for our investigation into the 1966 disappearance of her mother, Cutchogue’s Louise Pietrewicz. Read the latest from police here: http://bit.ly/2DFn8LX

When he learned Monday night that the remains had been found in the former Boken house, he said, “I was so shocked.” His voice broke as he spoke. “I choked. I really choked. I lost my sister and it always seemed to the family that the Southold police back then did nothing to find her. Why?

“But this is a big relief,” he added. “We get to have a burial now, and Sandy can have a place to visit her mother. It’s the best news. I never thought I would hear this.”

Ms. Blampied said she never gave up hope, but the passage of time had slowly convinced her that there would be nothing close to closure for her, nor a burial and a stone with her mother’s name on it. She hoped for small miracles, not big ones. But a big one came with the discovery of the remains. She said police officers usually knock on doors bringing horrible news of the death of a loved one. Not this time, Ms. Blampied said. This sad news was good news.

“After fifty-one years, it’s all so unbelievable,” she said.

She spoke about Ms. Terry and the horrible secret she held, and said her heart goes out to her.

“He beat her, and God knows what else he did to her,” she said of Mr. Boken. “The man was a psycho and he was a cop … My heart went out to her … I think I myself could not keep a secret like that, especially if I know that a family is looking. There had to be a lot of fear. I think when she saw that death certificate, she began to talk.”

With remains to be cremated, Ms. Blampied said she would like to have a wake on Long Island. Her mother was born and raised on a potato farm in Sagaponack. In 1950, she married Albin Pietrewicz and moved to Cutchogue.

“Then I’ll bring her back with me,” she said. “She’ll probably be happy to be in her daughter’s house.”

This is the print version of a story that appeared online March 19, 2018.
swick@timesreview.com

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Louise Pietrewicz: For a daughter, there is peace and closure after mother’s remains found

by Steve Wick |
03/23/2018 6:00 AM

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For Sandy Blampied, the news that arrived Monday — that remains believed to be her mother’s were discovered buried in the basement of a house in Southold — has brought peace.
“Oh my God, this is indescribable,” she said. “This was something we had always hoped for, but when it happened I could not believe it was true.”

After hearing the news, she spoke to her uncle, Leo Jasinski, her mother’s sole surviving sibling. “He just wept,” Ms. Blampied said. “He is 92. We always wanted him to know something before he passed.
This was his baby sister!”
After 51 years of not knowing what had happened to 38-year-old Louise Pietrewicz after she vanished in October 1966, the discovery answered a million long-held questions for her family. And it brought them a measure of real closure, something they never thought possible after so many years.
“There is closure with this, absolutely,” Ms. Blampied said. “There really is. I almost can’t believe it has happened. It’s like a dream.”

Leo Jasinski of Riverhead, Louise’s brother, is interviewed by a CBS 2 reporter at his home Tuesday morning. (Credit: Steve Wick)TR0322_louise_leo_sW Photo by Steve Wick.jpg

For Mr. Jasinski, the discovery brought reporters to his house in Riverhead. He gave interview after interview, trying to keep his emotions in check.
“I never thought this day would come,” he said. “I really didn’t. I’m so glad. Mostly, we wanted this for Sandy, so that her mom could come home, finally.”
Even with the breakthrough, however, Ms. Blampied knows there are questions still to be answered.
“I hope they can be answered someday,” she added. “Where was she killed? Was she killed in Southold or somewhere else and her body brought there? How did she die?”
She also said she wants to know if her mother was pregnant at the time of her death. “Can that be known today?” she asked. “Is that why Boken killed her?”

Looking back across more than a half-century to Oct. 6, 1966 — when she kissed her mother goodbye and went off to school, never to see her again — Ms. Blampied said she is anxious to come to Suffolk County from her home in upstate New York to see the remains at the County Medical Examiner’s office.
She knows from police that they include remnants of a brightly colored woman’s dress. She hopes to see that, to hold it.
“I will come down and see her,” she said Wednesday. “That is so important. I want to do that. I have to.
Yes, I know it is skeletal remains. But that’s my mother, and it’s part of what I have to experience. But I am at peace. I really am. It’s a great gift.”
Photo credit: Sandy Blampied holds a picture of her mother, Louise Pietrewicz, outside her Middletown, N.Y., home Tuesday morning, one day after learning the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance had likely been solved. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

swick@timesreview.com

 

After remains discovered, still more must be done-Louise Pietrewicz Can Rest in Peace

Southhold PD

Caption: William Boken, center, with fellow Southold Police Department officers in a photo that has long hung on the wall at police headquarters in Peconic.

The truth arrived in Southold Monday morning when Suffolk County investigators and town detectives dug deep into the basement of a house on Lower Road and found skeletal remains wrapped in burlap.
A woman’s skeletal remains. They could see the remnants of a brightly colored dress she had worn on the very last day of her life.

The home was once owned by William Boken, who up until the fall of 1966 was a Southold town cop. He was married to Judy Boken, and was also seeing Louise Pietrewicz, a 38-year-old Cutchogue farmer’s wife who worked at the soda fountain in the pharmacy on Main Road in Cutchogue. They likely met over the counter when he came in on a break.
The discovery of bones that are almost certainly those of Louise puts an end to the question of what had become of her after she vanished in October 1966 in the company of Mr. Boken. The discovery of remains tells investigators that she was likely murdered by Mr. Boken and buried six and a half feet in the sandy soil of his basement, where they lay until early afternoon Monday.
But this story doesn’t end there. It can’t end there. The search for truth must go further. The discovery resolves one mystery: What became of Louise? But it opens another set of mysteries and questions that, more than a half-century later, deserve attention.
We can sum them up this way: Why did officials and police in Southold Town in October 1966 and in 1967, apparently do so little, if anything, to find out what had happened to her?
Louise’s family was so convinced town police did not care to find out anything that her sisters went to the state trooper barracks near Riverhead a full two weeks after her disappearance and filed a missing persons report. Two trooper investigators were assigned, Tom Cobey and Dick Fairchild.

It is also clear from the surviving town record and from interviews with participants that the town police — as Mr. Cobey and Mr. Fairchild were closing in on Mr. Boken — picked him up at his house and took him late one night to the home of a town justice, who then had him committed to a psychiatric institution without even the pretense of a medical examination.
To the two state trooper investigators working the case of Louise’s disappearance, this was a deliberate effort to shield Mr. Boken from them and his certain arrest for her murder.
One of those troopers, Mr. Fairchild, angrily told retired trooper Bud Griffiths in 2013 that he believed town officials did not want Mr. Boken arrested due to personal behavior issues among certain local officials that Mr. Fairchild characterized as something out of “Peyton Place,” a television soap opera.
In other words, in Mr. Fairchild’s view, town officials were covering up for themselves by covering up for Mr. Boken. An investigation today by an outside agency could help find out what, if any, truth there is in that assessment.
Louise’s family — her daughter, Sandy Blampied; her surviving sibling, Leo Jasinski of Riverhead; Louise’s niece, Beanie Zuhoski of Cutchogue; and others — deserves a more aggressive effort to find out why local authorities did nothing in 1966.
That effort could also pry loose state mental health records showing exactly what Mr. Boken was doing in the psychiatric hospital and if there was any medical reason for it.
Another point that must be made: Based on interviews we have done, it is clear that Mr. Boken’s brutal treatment of his wife was widely known among some town officials. They knew he beat her; some knew he threatened to kill her.

Had officials moved against Mr. Boken for those crimes, perhaps putting him on trial and sending him off to a prison term — would Louise have gone on to live her life with her daughter?
Could an investigation by an outside agency determine if Mr. Boken’s wife, now Judith Terry — whose detailed account to town police that her husband buried the body in their basement led to Monday’s discovery — told anyone else that story?
If so, whom?

 

Cold Case But Not Forgotten-State Police BCI Investigator Tom Cioffi Hunts for the Killer of Katherine Kolodziej

Clues still being sought in death of college teen more than 36 years ago

By BRYAN FITZGERALD Special To The Times Union Published: 12:00 a.m., Monday, January 3, 2011
COBLESKILL — The life of Katherine Kolodziej is divided into three cardboard boxes.
Her last name is written on each in black marker. Two are at the State Police barracks in Rotterdam, the other at their station in Cobleskill.
Inside are photos of the 17-year-old blonde, blue-eyed Long Island native smiling for her class picture, along with her public records and letters she received from her mother.
So is Kolodziej’s autopsy report, thousands of leads and interviews relating to her brutal murder and crime scene photographs of her body laid out on a stone wall in a field in Richmondville in November 1974.
Kolodziej’s parents have been dead for several years. She was an only child.
The only calls police receive about the status of her case are twice-yearly inquiries from a former college classmate of Kolodziej’s who lives in Florida.
If the State Police were to stop investigating Kolodziej’s death tomorrow, it’s likely not many would notice. But two law officers — a veteran State Police investigator and the only still-active police officer who worked the case when Kolodziej died — are renewing the hunt for her killer.
“I still think this case can be solved,” State Police Investigator Tom Cioffi says, “I really do.”
Around 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, 1974, Kolodziej left The Vault, a popular college bar on the corner of Grand Street and Main Street in Cobleskill, to make the one-mile walk back to campus alone. She was never seen alive again. Her body was found 26 days later on Thanksgiving, barefoot and naked from the waist down and carefully placed on a stone wall in the hills of nearby Richmondville.
She had been stabbed in the back seven times with two different weapons.
The investigation into Kolodziej’s murder has now lasted more than twice as long as her life.
Cioffi, a State Police investigator for 10 years, was given her case two months ago after the officer who was handling it stepped down.
A Schoharie County native, Cioffi remembers the Kolodziej case from his days at Richmondville High School.
Cioffi recently collaborated with the only remaining active police officer from day one of the investigation, Schoharie County Sheriff Anthony Desmond.
“All law enforcement officers have one case that stands out in their career, which they want solved. The Kolodziej case is mine,” Desmond says.
Next week, Cioffi and Desmond will appear on a local talk radio show to discuss the case for the second time in three months.
Desmond still talks about the case with old colleagues, swapping theories about suspects and motives as if it were that day in the fall of 1974 when her body was found.
While Desmond and the State Police were forming a search party in the area, a group of hunters approached them and said they had found a blue woman’s shoe on the side of McDonald Road in Richmondville.
Police found another shoe up the road, and then discovered Kolodziej’s body about 100 yards away.
Investigators interviewed the entire SUNY Cobleskill student body. They also talked to Volkswagen Beetle owners in the area — somebody reported seeing someone matching Kolodziej’s description getting into a yellow one after she left the bar — and anybody who had a connection to the murder of any young woman in the Northeast.
Convicted serial killers Theodore “Ted” Bundy and Lewis Lent were questioned about the case.
Donald Sigsbee and John William Hopkins, both of whom were convicted in the murders of young women in central New York, were considered prime suspects. Police could never tie either of them to the area at the time of the murder.
“It’s one of those cases where everybody who’s investigated it” has their own top suspect, Cioffi said.
Cioffi says State Police still receive about a half dozen tips a year. He would like to be able to retrace her last steps, but all investigators know is that she left the bar alone and may have gotten into the Volkswagen.
Kolodziej would be 53 years old today. She was just two months into her first semester of college when she was killed.
Police say her killer, if alive, is now likely 50 to 70 years old.
Ask people in the town about the Kolodziej case and some of them remember hearing something about a young college student found murdered in the woods decades ago.
But most of them shake their heads, having forgotten about it long ago.
“I still hope that somebody, sometime, somewhere will come up and say ‘I’ve lived with this as long as I can and I can’t take it anymore,’” Desmond says.
Homes have replaced many acres of forest in the hills of Richmondville since Kolodziej’s death.
The stone wall where her killer carefully placed her on her back is still intact, surrounded by brush that has slowly thickened over the years.
“At some point, no one may remember,” Desmond said.
Reach Bryan Fitzgerald at 454-5452 or by e-mail at bfitzgerald@timesunion.com.
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Cold-case-but-not-forgotten-933328.php#ixzz1AUxaC6DW
Kathy’s parents are gone, but Kathy is not forgotten. The article, above shows the hard work and dedication of the detectives who have worked this case for many years. Kathy’s case may never be solved, but her mother and father are now with her.
If anyone has any information, please contact NY State Police BCI Investigator Tom Cioffi.