In 1966, Louise Pietrewicz disappeared without a trace. The mystery of her whereabouts appeared to be solved with the discovery of a woman’s remains found in a burlap sack on Long Island.
In October, 1966, Louise Pietrewicz, 38 at the time, closed her bank account and supposedly left town with her then-boyfriend, police officer William P. Boken.
Her purse was recovered a week later on the shoulder of Route 25.
The police treated the case as a missing person and not a murder, and the local newspaper took no notice of it.
Following her disappearance detectives interviewed her husband, who claimed he was humiliated by her betrayal and didn't care if she was alive or not.
Albin Pietrewicz divorced his missing wife in 1974, and remarried two years later. He died in 2000.
On March 19, 2018, inside a centuries-old farmhouse on Lower Road, within a burlap sack, buried seven feet under the cellar, sonar equipment helped police unearth the bones believed to be those of Louise Pietrewicz. This is the house in which William Boken lived with his wife Judith when Louise went missing.
For 52 years, Pietrewicz’s family has been looking for her, unaware of a secret love affair she had with a married man. It seems she didn't make out of Southold after all.
Southold Police, Suffolk County Police and New York State Police say they investigated the disappearance in the 1960, then the case went cold.
Louise's family suspects that she was murdered because she was pregnant with Boken’s child, and they knew she would never leave Sandy, her 11-year-old daughter behind despite being in a troubled marriage with Albin Pietrewicz.
However it turns out that more than one person knew where the victim was buried.
Shortly before the discovery of Louise Pietrewicz's remains, Judith Terry, the former wife of the suspected killer revealed she had told one person about the murder. But it wasn't just any person, it was the chief of police at the time the murder took place.
The Suffolk Times found this information when a FOIA request provided the notes of the conversation between Boken's former wife and Detective Kenneth Richert during an interview on March, 15, 2018. He asked if she had told anyone she had witnessed her then husband burying a body in the basement of their home.
Judith stated that at some point, she doesn’t remember when, she told Joseph Sawicki Sr. what had happened,” Det. Richert wrote about that interview, which he and retired Southold detective Joseph Conway Jr. conducted. “She stated that she was very close with him and his wife and was godmother to one of their children and because he was a police officer.”
Sawicki Sr. worked for the Southold Town Police Department for 29 years and died in 2013. He retired as a detective in 1980, and acted as chief in the mid-1960s.
Despite the discovery of Louise's body in 2018, the circumstances of her disappearance was whispered about among the small community for years, but it didn't go any further than that. Of course no arrests were ever made, and it wasn't until the case was revisited in 2018, with an in-depth interview of Judith Terry that the discovery of the secret grave was made.
Looking back at the initial investigation, it appears that only the minimal effort was given into discovering the whereabouts of Louise Pietrewicz, which lay only seven feet beneath the surface of the basement. It was only using a diagram drawn by Judith Terry and her recollection as to the hole’s depth, that police would ultimately find Louise’s remains.
A statement given by former state investigator Thomas Cobey in December 1969 mentions interviews with Chief Sawicki and others that failed to lead them to Louise.
William Paul Boken died August 20, 1982 and was buried in Potter's Field, Hart Island, Bronx, New York.
His ex-wife Judy Terry, 83, did not know about this until 2018. It appears that once reassured that he was indeed dead she felt more confident in speaking about what she had witnessed. She told detectives that she suspected Louise was interred in the basement because of the threatening comments Boken made, along the lines that he would kill and bury her in the same spot.
Detective Sgt. Sinning wrote of his interview with Judith Terry"
Ms. Terry “had a clear and detailed memory of the layout of the basement of the house on Lower Road.” During that conversation, she went much farther than in previous interviews, and admitted witnessing her husband bringing a body into their basement.
Detective Sgt. Sinning gave Louise's daughter the clothing found with her mother's remains. It included a slip, garter and blouse. Three bullet holes marred the cloth. Three .38 caliber bullets were found in the body. The ME concluded Louise died from gunshot wounds to her torso.
Review of police personnel files show that Boken used sick days right before Louise's disappearance on October, 6, 1966. He resigned from the department on October 7.
A year after Louise's disappearance, William Boken, was arrested on suspicion of abusing his wife Judy, and was committed to a psychiatric hospital. Was he not prosecuted for Louise's death because he was considered mentally ill?
Strangely the police blotter from 1966 is among "several years" missing from the town's archives.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer