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.

Louise and Albin in happier times.

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.

Chapter One

Summer 2017

Sandra Louise Blampied is now 63 years old. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, Walter.

From the time she was a heartbroken 11-year-old until she returned to the North Fork this summer, there has been no word of what became of her mother.

Sandy has memories she can’t let go of, and cares for photographs of her mother as though they were sacred relics. These photographs tell the story of a young woman growing up on a well-kept farm in a tight-knit family in a handsome seaside farming community that was home to numerous Polish families.

There is her mother, pretty and dark-haired, standing by the big barn; with her brothers in their baseball uniforms; in a field picking strawberries to sell to the tourists. There she is again, older now, married to Albin Pietrewicz, living with their only child in a house on Main Road in Cutchogue and working on the big farm on Cox Lane.

Watch the three-part documentary

Sandy’s last memory of her mother was forged on a fall day in Sagaponack: “I was going to school. The school bus, it was the last pickup on the road so he could come right into the driveway. I remember kissing her goodbye. And I said, ‘See you later, OK?’”

In the 51 years since, Sandy Blampied has never gotten a call saying her mother is alive and well and living in Florida or Mexico or anywhere else; no letter has arrived in the mailbox out of the blue. On a darker note, no body has ever been found, nor have bones been recovered from a shallow grave. No arrest has ever been made. There has been nothing at all.

Given the passage of time, and the silence, Sandy long ago came to the only conclusion possible: Her mother was murdered.

“She would never have just left me,” she said. “Whatever she was going to do with her life, I was always a part of it. If she was alive somewhere she would have called and told me so we could be together.”

Chapter Two

Cutchogue: 1928 to 1965

Aleksander and Helen Jasinski were born in Poland and arrived on Ellis Island as a married couple. Their family had grown quickly: Josephine, Stephanie, Michael, Walter, Leo and Louise. A baby had died in Poland. Michael was born on the boat on the way to America; Walter, Leo and Louise were born in Sagaponack.

The family settled into a rich agricultural community where they were at home with other Polish families and could hear their own language spoken. By the early 1920s, pockets of Polish farm workers had formed in Riverhead and Cutchogue on the North Fork as well as Bridgehampton and Sagaponack on the South Fork.

The Polish farm workers toiled from sunup to sundown to earn enough to buy their own farms. They planted potatoes in the spring and picked strawberries at the beginning of summer. In late summer, they dug up the potatoes — cleaning, weighing and packing them in burlap bags and loading them into boxcars at railroad crossings — and cut cauliflower for shipment to markets in New York City.

Within a generation of their arrival, many Polish tenant farmers were buying their own farms. In Cutchogue, along with the Pietrewicz family on Cox Lane, there were dozens of Polish family farms on Depot Lane, Alvahs Lane and Oregon Road.

By 1920, Cutchogue’s Polish community had built its own Catholic church, Our Lady of Ostrabrama, on Depot Lane. This would be all theirs – for baptisms, first communions, weddings and funerals – with Masses in Polish celebrated by a Polish-born priest. Sandy Pietrewicz was baptized and later married there.

Louise as a young girl in Sagaponack.

For the Jasinskis, Sagaponack was a place of hope for a good future as farm owners. After working on one farm for a family named Roesel, Alex and Helen bought 11 acres and a 14-room farmhouse on Hedges Lane.

“I was born in that house,” Leo, now 92, recalled in an interview. “There were six children and it was a busy place. All the farms were more or less Polish back then. I used to get up in the morning and with a pair of binoculars I could see the horizon on the ocean. You could see the Queen Mary go by, and the draggers.”

For young Sandy, Sagaponack held a strong allure.

“We would go to Sagaponack when I was a child to see my mother’s family, and it was always a great trip,” she recalled. “There were no big houses then – it was all farm fields all around where they lived. And the ocean was down the road.”

Louise’s eldest sister, Josephine, married Harry Helstowski and they had a daughter, Margaret Sabina, nicknamed Beanie, and a son, also Harry. The Helstowski farm was not far from the Jasinskis’. During World War II, Beanie’s father was a caretaker on an estate in East Hampton. One day he went to work and never came back; his body was found hanging from a tree two months later.

“His watch was gone, his money, his tobacco was gone,” she said. “This was ’42 and at about that time some Germans landed on the beach in Amagansett. That’s who we thought killed my father. It’s never been resolved. My mother remarried and my stepfather, Frank Vinski, bought a house next to where the Wölffer winery is today.”

Seated in the kitchen of their Cutchogue home, where they raised five children and where Sandy went to live briefly after her mother disappeared, Beanie, now 86, and her husband, Joe Zuhoski, 90, showed a visitor photographs of her aunt Louise as a teenager on the Sagaponack farm.

Louise at the beach in New Suffolk, N.Y.

“She was a very pretty girl,” Beanie said. “Almost glamorous.”

“This is my uncle Leo,” she continued, pointing to a photo of a young man. Leo and Walter both played on a South Fork summer baseball team called the White Eagles. One of their teammates was Carl Yastrzemski, who later played 23 years for the Boston Red Sox and whose family farmed in Water Mill. Yastrzemski’s grandfather and Louise’s mother were siblings.

“And this is Walter. He passed away. This is my aunt Stephanie.” She shows a family photograph taken in Montauk. “That’s Walter. That’s Louise.” And another of Walter on a tractor, and one of her grandfather, Alex Jasinski, next to a newly bought 1946 car.

“He was so proud of that new car,” Beanie said.

On a blank sheet of paper, she draws a map of Sagaponack from memory. Pencil lines run across the paper. There’s Parsonage Lane and Hedges Lane, and the road going back to Bridgehampton. And Sagg Main coming down from Montauk Highway.

“My grandfather’s house was there,” she said, making a dot on the paper. “That was his farm. He abutted another farm on Parsonage Lane. Down this way is a house that was bought by Truman Capote. There were three houses of Roesels. My mother picked potatoes for them. They’d pick 300 bushels a day on their knees, three cents a bushel. I picked strawberries for three cents a quart.”

The Jasinski house was later sold to Estée Lauder and moved to Wainscott.

An early map of the area.

Beanie and Joe Zuhoski were married in November 1949 at Our Lady of Poland Church in Southampton. Louise Jasinski, then 21, was their maid of honor. Albin Pietrewicz, who knew Joe from the Cutchogue Fire Department, was an usher at the wedding. This was where Louise and Albin met.

Six months later, at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, 1950, they were also married at Our Lady of Poland. The May 11 issue of the County Review newspaper in Riverhead ran their wedding announcement, along with a picture of Louise in her gown. (The County Review later merged with The Riverhead News, forming the Riverhead News-Review.)

“A reception for about 300 people was held at Regula’s Corner, after which the couple left for a wedding trip to New York City,” the announcement stated. (Regula’s Corner, in Riverhead’s Polish Town, later became the Birchwood.)

At first, Albin and Louise Pietrewicz lived in his family’s house on Cox Lane. But it was too small for both the newlyweds and Albin’s parents, John and Elizabeth Pietrewicz. So the young couple built and moved into their own house a half-mile away, on the north side of Main Road just west of the Kaelin service station.

Al was the kind of man who wanted to know your business, but he never told you his.

The Pietrewicz farm stretched all the way to the North Road, and Albin would eventually own land on the opposite side of the road as well. In addition to the house, there was a barn for potato storage and a second barn closer to the North Road for equipment storage. Under that structure, someone had built a cellar where liquor was hidden during Prohibition.

Louise’s brother Leo came to the Pietrewicz farm frequently to help with the work. He enjoyed being with his sister, particularly after Sandy was born, but his brother-in-law was always difficult to get close to.

“Al was the kind of man who wanted to know your business,” he recalled. “But he never told you his. Not too many people liked him … I would work for them on Saturdays cutting cauliflower. I’d pick strawberries for my father in Sagaponack and then go to Cutchogue and tie up cauliflower.”

Looking back, it’s not clear to Leo exactly when Louise began having serious problems in her marriage. But he could see all was not well.

“I’d be there for the cauliflower and he was very, very rough with her,” Leo said. “He’d raise his voice at her. Get this, get that. He thought he was better than anyone else. I sensed she was scared of Al.”

“Al would curse out his own father,” said Joe Zuhoski. “So you can imagine how he treated his wife. We were at a function at Polish Hall and you could see things were not good for them. He belittled Louise. He criticized her in front of everyone. ‘You are stupid.’ Other snide remarks. Digs and digs.”

Albin working the family farm.

Growing up, Sandy saw her father physically abuse her mother. She said she took it and did not push back. Louise seemed powerless to resist him, or confront him head on.

“I saw him beat her,” Sandy said. “He would grab her arm, throw her against the wall. Pick her up by the neck. He did it all the time. He’d cuss us all the time and call us names. You could never please the guy. He threw my mother around. I’d get in the middle and he’d throw me around.”

In a series of photographs kept by the family, Albin is often smiling, but Louise appears deeply unhappy. After Sandy’s first Holy Communion, she and he mother stood outside Our Lady of Ostrabrama for pictures.

Louise wore a white dress, white hat and white gloves. Other members of the Polish farming community stood around them, all wearing white and their Sunday best.

On a day that should have been joyous for Louise, she glares at the camera. Someone studying that photograph today, who knows the tragic end of Louise’s story, would be tempted to read a great deal in her eyes and expression.

A shadow had fallen over her.

Chapter Three

1966-1967: The Family

“I can’t remember exactly when that first time we left was,” Sandy recalled. “It was maybe a year before the final time. It was a short one, and we came back.”

But Louise’s return to Cutchogue would be short-lived.

Before she began her relationship with Bill Boken, some family members had heard she was seeing a different man who lived on Nassau Point and also worked for the town.

“Louise would come here quite often and we’d have coffee but she would not say very much,” Beanie said. “She was my aunt, but we were closer in age and had grown up together. We were more like friends.”

Louise also had a part-time job, working behind the counter at Terp’s pharmacy and soda fountain in Cutchogue. It was almost certainly there that she met Boken, who would stop in for a soda or a break during his shift.

Sandy recalls going along when her mother met up with Boken in Cutchogue a few blocks from their house.

“We went down Harbor Lane,” she said. “I was in the back seat. He was in the cop car. He was waiting for her down by the creek. The cars pulled up next to each other. I said, ‘Oh, she has a boyfriend. This is not going to be good.’ I was thinking that to myself.

“It was not too long after that when my mother said to me, ‘We are leaving your father and going to live with Uncle Walter and Dziadzi in Sagaponack.’ That was the beginning of the end.” Dziadzi is Polish for grandfather.

Louise packed up Sandy, their dog, Snooky, and the cats and drove to Sagaponack to be with her family and far from the dysfunction at home.

“She was scared of my father; she wasn’t going back,” Sandy said.

She doesn’t know whether her mother was actually trying to escape both men, but soon after they arrived in Sagaponack, Boken began driving down from the North Fork on his days off, staying over on the couch some nights.

Sandy became embroiled in her mother’s troubled world as if she were more a grown sister than a child. She was certain Louise would not return to Cutchogue a second time and hoped they would both be safe in the sanctuary of the South Fork farm. But with Boken clearly still in the picture, an 11-year-old trying to grapple with a very adult set of problems might well fear her mother had only jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

The exact sequence of day-to-day events during the first week of October 1966 is unknown. But clues exist in contemporaneous bank records, handwritten notes and various court documents filed years later.

Louise's bank statement.

A copy of a balance sheet from Bridgehampton National Bank shows that on Sept. 19, 1966, Louise deposited $1,773.80 into an account in her name. On Sept. 27, she withdrew $500. And on Oct. 3, she took out the remainder and closed the account.

“My mother had money of her own from picking strawberries and selling them in front of the house in Cutchogue,” Sandy said. The stand also sold tomatoes and onions — and there was her job at Terp’s.

Sandy recalled that the last time anyone in the family saw Louise, she was in Boken’s car as they drove away from the Jasinski farm.

“My aunt Josephine saw her,” she said. “She sank down in the seat trying not to be seen.”

After Louise left with Boken, her sister Stephanie began taking notes. Perhaps sensing something was very wrong, she wanted to create a timeline of events, a written record she could refer back to if the police had questions.

Her sister's notes.

At the top of her first page is a Riverhead phone number: PA 7-2727

Next, she wrote: District Attorney Aspland PA 7 – 1440.

And under that: Lou left Oct. 6 – 1966.

Then: Call lawyer Manning Monday for some information. Jo and I went to see the judge for advice about the situation. That was Oct. 24 – same evening we reported her missing.

Investigator T H Cobey and R D Fairchild were at my house made inquiries Tuesday Oct. 25

26 Oct T H Cobey call about 7:30 no news

Stephanie and Josephine had gone to the state police barracks in Riverside on Oct. 24 to file a missing persons report because they felt Southold police had done nothing at all in the weeks since Louise disappeared, according to an investigator’s statement from years later.

Although Stephanie’s early notes make no mention of Louise’s recovered pocketbook, Sandy clearly recalls receiving the news.

“A call came to the house in Cutchogue,” she said. “I was there and I answered the phone. The caller asked for Louise Pietrewicz. ‘She is not here.’ I said I was her daughter. The person said, ‘We found her pocketbook by the side of the road.’

“My stomach turned right away. The person said, ‘If you have any information as to where she is, call us.’ I was in a panic. I ran up Cox Lane to the Glover farm. I was hysterical by then. Marie and June Glover were there. They said, ‘Who can we call for you?’

“They called my uncle Leo in Riverhead. June then went up to the farm and got my father. My father said, ‘Why didn’t you come get me?’ I said, ‘I never thought of you.’

“My aunt Josephine got the purse. She went to the [state police] barracks and picked it up. She gave it to me. Inside was a war bond, my mother’s Social Security card and a card with the doctor’s name on it. It was written in pencil. It was his name and phone number.

“She would have had her wallet, a comb, a change purse, lipstick. They weren’t in the purse. Why? And why the war bond? She was taking it with her to cash, presumably.”

Boken's high school yearbook photo.

One of Louise’s sisters finally reached Boken by phone in Southold about a week after Louise’s disappearance: Where was she?

In a court filing years later, Josephine said Boken “informed our family that he had abandoned [our] sister on the streets in Brooklyn and did not know her whereabouts.”

Despite the lack of any substantive information, Stephanie continued making notes, documenting the effort to find her lost sister and, in the process, creating a diary of frustration and worry.

Call the Trooper Barracks at Riverhead Oct 28 no news by Trooper Ricca.

Monday Oct 31 went to see… [the page cuts off]

Dec 15 – 1966 Asked permission to see Bill. I try to get in touch by phone no answer.

Dec 19 went to see Boken … spoke with Mrs. Boken, she didn’t tell me much, her husband was not home.

Jan 23, 1967 I went to see Investigator Cobey nothing new

Same day call lawyer Manning if I could get an appointment with him so I could get some information. I got him on the phone. He couldn’t tell me much except that [Louise] was afraid to contact her husband.

May 1, 1967 – Call Investigator T.H. Cobey to-day, nothing new about Lou he promised me he will go to Southold to see Boken.

The timeline ends there.

That same day, May 1, William and Judith Boken’s second child, a daughter, was born, according to a newspaper announcement.

Chapter Four

1966-1968: The Investigation

After the missing persons report was filed on Oct. 24, state police investigators Tom Cobey and Dick Fairchild interviewed both Albin Pietrewicz and Bill Boken.

Pietrewicz was brutally candid for a man in his situation. He bluntly told them he didn’t care where Louise was, or if she were alive or dead. She had humiliated him. Good riddance.

Anyone who interpreted his anger at his wife as a possible clue to explain Louise’s disappearance might well have found comments made by Boken even more incriminating.

These alarming remarks would eventually make their way into legal documents. In one, Boken threatened his wife, saying he would bury her in the basement of their Southold home with “that other bitch.” In the other, when his wife asked what had happened to his girlfriend, he replied: “She went on her way.”

Cobey and Fairchild questioned Boken at least once and, by 1967, Fairchild became convinced he had established sufficient probable cause to arrest him in the Pietrewicz case.

When he returned to Southold for that purpose, however, he discovered that town police had already charged Boken with assaulting his wife — and that he was no longer even in Southold.

A Southold Town Police Department report of his arrest for the assault reads: “Did beat – wound – ill treat his wife Judith, by striking her about head with his hands, did choke her by the throat – stating that neither one would see this Christmas.”

There are no existing records that Boken had ever been previously arrested for assaulting his wife.

But instead of prosecuting Boken on that charge, or just turning him over to Fairchild for further questioning, town officials had taken a highly unorthodox step. On Dec. 19, 1967, Boken was picked up at 10 p.m. and brought to the Mattituck home of town Justice Ralph Tuthill, who was also a Town Board member.

The events that unfolded that night in the Tuthill living room – where neither an assistant district attorney nor an attorney representing Boken was present – can be described as bizarre, even within the parameters of the state Code of Criminal Procedures in effect at the time.

Barney Harris, top left, and Joe Sawicki, top tight.

Former Southold Town police sergeant Barney Harris was assigned to transport Boken to the judge’s house that night, and he described the events in an interview.

“I got the call to arrest Bill,” Harris recalled. “I came on duty at 4 in the afternoon and they put the warrant in my hand and said this is what you have to do. ‘You have to arrest Bill Boken. This is what is going to take place.’ I had no quarrels with Bill. We were friendly up to a point. A Suffolk County seventh squad officer came with me, which was standard procedure.

“I went to his house. He was a gentleman when I arrested him. His wife was not there. I recall his brother and his brother’s wife were in the house at the time. Bill opened the door. I said, ‘Bill, I have a warrant for your arrest.’ Bill said to me, ‘Look, I would like to change my clothes.’

“I said ‘Go ahead and do it.’ We put him in the police car and I didn’t want to handcuff him. But I did. I said, ‘Bill, I hate to do this.’ He was civil with me. One town justice didn’t want anything to do with it. So they got Judge Tuthill to handle the case.”

In a proceeding that lasted just a few minutes, Tuthill signed papers that immediately committed Bill Boken to the Central Islip Psychiatric Hospital. No physician was present to determine if he was, in fact, mentally ill. Tuthill made that ruling on his own.

“It was very quick,” Harris said. “The papers were already drawn up. He said, ‘I’m sending you to Central Islip.’ But that was all done before we got there. It was a done deal.”

Harris said he’d worked with Boken for several years and thought he was odd, but had never concluded he was mentally ill, nor did he act so that night. As if following a script, Boken offered no complaint or resistance, and seemed unsurprised by the judge’s ruling. He simply went along with it.

Asked if it might have been Boken’s brother who wanted him committed, Harris said: “The brother did not have him committed. No, no, no, no.”

Boken’s confinement to Central Islip abruptly eliminated any possibility that Cobey and Fairchild could arrest him on charges related to Louise’s disappearance. His official status as a mentally ill person raised a potential impediment to any criminal proceedings as it created uncertainty about his ability to assist in his own defense — then, as now, a fundamental right of any defendant.

These unprecedented actions – and the silence that followed – have convinced Sandy that her mother was simply written off. Why that was so then, and why town officials acted as they did, is a question that still hangs in the air.

The community in which Louise lived did not rise up on her behalf to demand answers or support a young girl who’d lost her mother. And town officials, who had the legal and moral responsibility to find those answers and offer that support, showed little or no interest in providing either.

Interviews with people who knew and worked with these officials at that time paint a damning portrait of men who behaved like entitled members of a small-town good old boys’ club, holding down elected and patronage jobs and controlling access to dozens of others. They mattered. Their club mattered. Keeping the club and its privileged membership going mattered. Unraveling the story of what happened to Louise Pietrewicz did not.

At that time, power and politics ruled at both Southold Town Hall and police headquarters. Strict procedure often took a back seat to cronyism. It wasn’t until 1968 that the town police department began to operate in compliance with the 1967 New York State Civil Service Law.

That reform came too late to help Louise Pietrewicz.

Albin Pietrewicz’s lack of any sort of feeling for Louise remained on full display after her disappearance. At one point, while playing golf with a friend, he coldly complained that he could not collect on her life insurance policy because no body had been found.

“He never even kept a photograph of my mother. There was nothing in that house that had anything to do with my mother,” said Sandy, who had moved back in with her father about a year after Louise vanished.

His equal contempt for his daughter is seen in an onslaught of denigrating comments and persistent bullying. He shouted at Sandy that she was a fat pig and even rejected her request to have her mother’s engagement ring as a keepsake.

“He didn’t care at all for me,” Sandy said. “He never said to me, ‘Have you heard from your mother?’ When I asked for the engagement ring, I said, ‘Can’t I have that? It was Mom’s.’ He said, ‘I bought that, it’s mine.’

“If anyone thought my father killed my mother — they still let me live in his house with him,” Sandy said. “They let a young child stay there.”

In the ensuing years, Pietrewicz did not pay a social price for having a missing wife. He held various elected posts at the Cutchogue Fire Department, was vice president of the Long Island Cauliflower Association and was active in the Long Island Farm Bureau. He also served on the board of the co-op that owned a notorious farm labor camp at the north end of Cox Lane, a half-mile from his family farm.

Pietrewicz appeared in a 1967 documentary about harsh conditions at the camp called “What Harvest the Reaper?” In it, he complains that it was the farmer who was being mistreated, not the southern black men and women who lived at the camp.

He never stood up to demand a vigorous investigation into Louise’s disappearance or insist that justice be served — if only so his daughter would know the truth. Neighbors and friends did not turn against him, despite the unspoken truth that his wife was a missing person and that some of them believed he’d murdered her and buried her in a cellar under one of his barns.

“You would have thought he would have shouted loudly to have Boken arrested or gone to his house and confronted him himself,” Sandy said. “Instead he did nothing and said nothing. He didn’t even care about that.”

As for Boken, available records show he stayed at the Central Islip facility for three months. His release came with a doctor’s ruling that he was “mentally ill and incapable” of standing trial on the assault charge. He then returned to Southold.

As someone who could have been questioned again by seasoned investigators, Boken was now compromised, legal experts say.

Despite his diagnosis, records also show that hospital officials released Boken on March 7. Later that month, he appeared in Suffolk County Family Court. On March 24, 1968, the record states, “Judith Boken and defendant William Paul Boken were issued Orders of Protection.”

At that point, 17 months after Louise’s disappearance, William Boken left Southold again — this time for good.

Chapter Five

Filling in Gaps

As the scant remaining record shows, however, no further official police action was taken in the case of Louise Pietrewicz from approximately 1968 until 2012.

With investigatory documentation lacking – and with so many of the key players now dead – the exact events and chronology of those years, and the activities of those involved, are almost impossible to nail down.

But details have emerged through interviews and from documents filed many years after Louise vanished that shed some additional light on this clouded story.

There is, for example, a filing submitted in 1974 to Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court by Judith Boken, who was then pursuing a “judgment of absolute divorce by reason of abandonment and cruel inhuman treatment.” That filing gives the date of the assault by her husband as Dec. 17, 1967, and states that her children, then 2 years and 7 months old, were witnesses to the abuse.

Why Boken was not arrested until two days later remains unknown. But by 1974, he had not been seen by family members for years. In fact, a woman who was married to a Boken at that time said in an interview that she never saw him after 1969 and did not know where he was or if he were even alive.

He was alive.

Judith Boken, who declined to be interviewed for this story, became Southold town clerk in 1975 and remarried about a year later. Court papers filed on her behalf in 1978, related to ownership of the Southold house, show that her attorney, William Price, had discovered Boken was living in Vineland, N.J., where his sister, Jennie Rivituso, also resided.

The same filing shows that Boken had hired Greenport attorney Frederick J. Tedeschi to represent him in the case.

A year later, on May 3, 1979, an obituary appeared in The Suffolk Times for his mother, Stella Boken. It listed her surviving children and their hometowns, but gave no location for “William.” Any town official who might still have felt the Louise Pietrewicz case should be pursued, and who read that obituary, would have seen that he was still alive.

A May 1981 probate proceeding in Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court over the estate of Boken’s father, Joseph Boken Sr., who died in July 1980, shows that he had talked with members of his family but refused to disclose where he was living.

An attorney for Suffolk’s Public Administrator wrote in a filing for that proceeding that “it is obvious … that William Boken is ‘playing games’ and for what purpose your deponent is not aware; but he appears to be a man on the move, and he refuses to let anybody know of his whereabouts.”

In a related affidavit, Jennie Rivituso said she spoke with her brother by telephone on Feb. 16, 1981, and that he told her he was “fully aware of the probate proceeding” but again would not disclose his whereabouts. Boken also told his sister that he’d hired an Atlantic City attorney, who did know where he lived.

Correspondence from the Surrogate’s Court file shows that efforts to serve Boken with papers so his father’s estate could be settled continued for several years. An envelope in the file marked “returned to sender” suggests Boken was living on West 68th Street in New York City.

In a January 1983 statement, his brother, Joseph Jr., said he’d last seen William four years earlier in Manhattan.

“That was the first and last time I saw him in 15 years,” his brother wrote.

That meant he’d likely seen Boken in 1968, two years after Louise’s disappearance and a year after the failed state police effort to arrest him. There is no written record to show if town police ever inquired of the family about Boken’s whereabouts.

In 2010 and 2011, after women’s bones were found at Gilgo Beach, members of Louise’s family feared hers might be among them. The passage of more than four decades had not dimmed their hope that one day they would learn her fate.

Beanie Zuhoski said that some years earlier, she had received a call concerning remains that had been discovered and asking about Louise’s dental records. But by then, those records were no longer available.

The family continued to appeal to the Southold Town Police Department to pursue the case, never losing hope that a break might someday emerge.

Louise’s case also came up in conversation at an April 2012 birthday party in Southold for the Zuhoskis’ son-in-law Edward King. Bud Griffiths, a retired New York State Police investigator, was a guest at the party and heard the story for the first time.

“Several family members told me what happened to Louise in 1966,” he recalled in an interview. “They had not forgotten and they asked me … if I knew investigators Cobey and Fairchild. I knew that Cobey had died years before and Fairchild was living in upstate New York and retired from the state police.”

Bud Griffiths

Griffiths told the family to call Southold Town police and ask them about the results of any investigation. He also told them he would call Dick Fairchild to see if he remembered the case from 46 years earlier.

“When I got him on the phone, he said, ‘You mean the Cutchogue woman?’ ” Griffiths recalled. “He had never forgotten it.”

In the 90-minute conversation that followed, Fairchild expressed bitterness that, all these years later, the case remained open and without an arrest. “He was very frustrated about that,” Griffiths said. “It still really bothered him.”

He even volunteered to return to Long Island if it would help restart an investigation. Griffiths wrote down his comments in the hope they would help launch a new probe.

Fairchild said he was convinced that Boken and Louise had, in fact, gone to Florida and that both had returned. He said he had confirmed it with an airline. That trip, he estimated, took place in the days just after Stephanie wrote her first note that she’d gone missing Oct. 6.

Fairchild also told Griffiths that he’d spoken with Dr. Honig, the Glen Cove physician whose name was found in Louise’s pocketbook, and who confirmed that she was pregnant at the time of her disappearance. (Other interviews for this story show that Dr. Honig, who is deceased, was a well-known cardiologist, not a gynecologist.)

He also recalled interviewing Pietrewicz, who confirmed that Louise had been in a relationship with a Cutchogue man before Boken.

According to Fairchild, Pietrewicz also made it clear his wife was an acute embarrassment to him, that he knew she was pregnant and that he “hoped she remained missing.”

Bud Griffiths also wrote down the following comments:

“Fairchild believed that it was possible that Boken killed Louise upon returning from Florida and dumped her body somewhere between the airport and Southold and intentionally told his wife that he buried her in the basement, knowing his wife would share the information with the police.

“Fairchild further advised that it was becoming apparent that many local politicians were knowledgeable of what happened and were ‘clamming’ up. Based on numerous interviews conducted, he advised that Southold was a den of iniquity and had nothing over Peyton Place.” [“Peyton Place” was a 1956 novel and 1960s television soap opera about murder and extramarital affairs in a small New England town.]

“That after interviewing Mrs. Boken, and finding numerous inconsistencies in Mr. Boken’s interviews, Cobey and Fairchild contacted the Southold PD and out of courtesy invited them to send an officer with them to arrest him for the murder of Louise Pietrewicz.

“That upon arriving in Southold and going to Boken’s residence, a family member told them that William Boken had committed himself to a mental institution and was unavailable for interviews. Fairchild later confirmed that he had been admitted to Central Islip State Hospital as an insane person before their arrival.

“Fairchild further advised that after this it was becoming apparent that there was definitely some sort of collusion going on between the police department and/or Town fathers and felt that Boken had been tipped off that the SP was enroute to lock him up.”

Backing up Fairchild’s sense of collusion and the involvement of town officials beyond Judge Tuthill are minutes from a Town Board meeting held the evening of Boken’s arrest. Those records show a special board meeting was convened without public notice at 10:30 p.m. in Supervisor Albertson’s Greenport law office. Tuthill was in attendance along with the entire board.

Retired investigator Fairchild never made it back to Southold to assist in a reopening of the Pietrewicz case. He died not long after speaking with Griffiths.

But Griffiths did put Fairchild in touch with Southold police Det. Joseph Conway Jr.

Conway, in turn, spoke with Judith Terry, who told him that Boken had been “aware that the police were coming for him and placed guns in several closets as if he were preparing for a fight.” She also reiterated her ex-husband’s comment that he’d buried the “bitch” in their basement. That news prompted the detective to contact the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Squad.

Det. Sgt. Ed Fandry came out to Southold, where a portion of the basement floor at the former Boken home, which was now concrete, was ripped up. Ground-penetrating radar was used to search for remains, but again, nothing was found.

On June 25, 2013, shortly before he retired from the Southold police force, Det. Conway filed a report that detailed, among other things, his own interactions with Dick Fairchild.

“On 01/10/13, the undersigned Detective contacted … Fairchild … He remembered the incident in very fine detail. Fairchild indicated that the NYSP were contacted by the family and asked to look into the Pietrewicz disappearance. At that time the family indicated that they did not believe that the Southold Police Department was adequately investigating the incident because he was a member of the force.”

Dick Fairchild

“Investigator Fairchild indicated that at this point he was convinced that Boken was responsible for Louise Pietrewicz’s disappearance and began the process of attempting to locate Boken. Fairchild advised that it appeared as if information got out that they were looking to speak with Boken and a family member alerted him and he was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Central Islip. This happened prior to the NYSP being able to question Boken and he was subsequently found to be mentally ill and retained in the facility for treatment. After Boken received this diagnosis the NYSP were unable to pursue the matter any further.”

This summer, Sandy emailed state police requesting records on its 1966 investigation. She received a letter in July informing her that they “failed to locate any records responsive to your request.” Earlier she had learned that the file on her mother’s case had been “purged,” according to state procedure. The July letter also described the New York State Police as the “assisting” agency in the case and directed her to Southold police for information.

The ball had always been in Southold’s court.

Boken's final address.

Chapter Six


Of the two male protagonists in the story, certainly Albin Pietriewicz drew a higher card in later years.

After a court action in 1974 that declared him divorced, he remarried and went on with his life as if Louise never existed.

Pietrewicz died in 2000. But, true to form, he even managed a final, beyond-the-grave insult to his daughter, Sandy. He left his entire estate, which she estimated at $1 million, to his second wife, Stella, who in turn left it to her children from a previous marriage.

As for Bill Boken, Det. Conway’s 2013 report said that his last known address was 342 W. 71st Street in New York City.

It wasn’t.

At 3:45 p.m. on Aug. 20, 1982, a New York City police officer entered a squalid second-floor apartment at 97-35 75th St. in Ozone Park, Queens. The officer had been summoned to the building by its owner, Nelson Rosado.

Rosado told police he had gone to collect rent from the tenant when he “perceived a foul odor emanating” from the apartment. The door was ajar. He peered in and saw a partially clothed body face up on the floor by the bed.

The officer found that the body was in an “advanced state of decomposition.” Numerous empty vodka bottles were found in the room. The dead man was six feet one inch in height, approximately 230 pounds.

A New York City Department of Social Services card identified the deceased as William P. Boken.

Born Aug. 28, 1930, Boken was one week shy of his 52nd birthday. A representative of the city Medical Examiner’s office responded two hours later. By early evening, the body had been sent to the Queens County morgue and a missing person’s report was issued by police.

A follow-up report said Rosado told police Boken had lived in the building for approximately one year. “Rosado said that he knew for a fact that he had last seen the deceased on the preceding Tuesday (8/17/82). Rosado added that he knew that the deceased was a cab driver employed by the Kew Gardens Cab Service.”

A cab company manager told police that Boken had been employed there on and off for four years. “About a year ago the deceased had borrowed money from him so that he could contest his wife’s suit for alimony and a share of the community property,” the report stated.

A subsequent report listed the cause of death as a heart attack. It also said the manager of the cab company told police Boken had relatives in Albany, but police could not locate any.

“The Queens County morgue has received no inquiries as to the deceased and in two days from the date of this report the deceased will be interred at city expense.”

On Sept. 23, 1982, the unclaimed body of William Paul Boken was taken by ferry to the pauper’s burial ground on Hart Island. He was buried in plot 138, section 1, grave 13.


In late August 2017, Sandy Blampied came to the North Fork for several days to attend the Polish Town Street Festival and visit her uncle Leo in Riverhead, a cousin in Flanders and Beanie and Joe Zuhoski in Cutchogue.

None of Sandy’s surviving family members has forgotten about Louise, nor have they given up on the possibility that the truth will someday emerge.

“Before I die, I would like to know what happened to [Louise],” Leo said. “Maybe there is still someone out there who knows something.”

Maybe. But for now, Sandy has only one way beyond her own memory to keep her mother’s name alive.

“We have a plot in Ridgebury and we are getting a stone and what we’re going to do is have our names on it and then at the bottom I’m going to write: ‘In memory of my mom, Louise Jasinski’ and have her date of birth there and ‘May she rest in peace.’

“And then I’m going to take a black and white picture and have those little ceramic pictures [done] and have it on our stone so that she is recognized.”

Before returning to her upstate home, Sandy also made a stop at Our Lady of Ostrabrama R.C. Church, where she’d been baptized and where the family attended Mass. The photo from Sandy’s first Holy Communion was taken by the front steps of the church.

On that summer afternoon, just as she had on her wedding day in 1976, she walked quietly into the sanctuary and lit a candle by the altar in her mother’s memory.

“I prayed for her,” Sandy said afterward. “She never saw me grow up. She never saw me get married. The first time I lit a candle for her, I didn’t know for sure what had happened to her. Now I know for sure. I prayed for the life she never got to live. Every day I have lived with this, and every day I have missed her.”


In reporting this story, two Times Review editors conducted scores of interviews. In addition, records pertaining to the story of Louise Pietrewicz’s disappearance were found at the Southold Town Police Department, Southold Town Hall, the New York City Police Department, New York City Department of Corrections, Suffolk County Supreme Court and Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court.

Reporters: Steve Wick and Grant Parpan

Story editor: Decia Fates

Video editor: Krysten Massa

Contributing editors: Vera Chinese, Lauren Sisson, Jill Johnson and Joe Werkmeister

Print Layout: Eric Hod and Lauren Sisson

Online layout: Grant Parpan

The Aftermath

On March 19, 2018, less than five months after The Suffolk Times special report was published, a body was found buried beneath the basement of the former Boken home on Lower Road in Southold, N.Y.


About two weeks later, the remains were confirmed to be Louise.


Police would later confirm, she died from three gunshot wounds to the torso.


In May, family and friends gathered to remember Louise at a memorial service in Cutchogue.


The Obituary

Louise M. Pietrewicz was born on Aug. 22, 1928, to Aleksander and Helena (Skonieczny) Jasinski in Sagaponack, N.Y.

Louise worked on the family farm with her siblings while attending Bridgehampton schools until she married in 1950 and moved to Cutchogue.

Louise worked the Pietrewicz family farm with her husband, picking and selling strawberries to the local restaurants and running the family farm stand, while working part time at Terp’s Drug Store in town.

An active member of the Cutchogue Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, Louise attended many parades and helped with many CFD functions.

Louise was a hard-working, family-oriented person whose daughter, Sandra, meant the world to her.

At the time of her disappearance on Oct. 6, 1966, Louise was predeceased by her mother, Helena Jasinski. Survivors included her father, Aleksander Jasinski; sisters, Josephine Vinski and Stephanie Krasity; brothers Michael Jasinski and Walter Jasinski and nephews Raymond Helstowski, Theodore Jasinski and Thomas Jasinski, all of whom are now deceased.

Survivors include her only daughter, Sandra Blampied and husband, Walter, of Middletown, N.Y.; brother Leon Jasinski (Julie) of Riverhead; grandchildren, Janet McCarey (Mark), Michele Giannino (Frank), Kevin Blampied and David Blampied (Laurie); nieces and nephews Sabina Zuhoski (Joseph), Harry Helstowski, Edward Vinski, Francis Vinski Jr., Michael Jasinski (Winsome), Leon Jasinski Jr. (Dawn), Barbara Swislosky (Mike), Thomas Slavonik (Adrienne), 12 great-grandchildren; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Louise Pietrewicz, a life cut short by violence, will be held Saturday, May 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cutchogue.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, Shriners Hospitals for Children, or the charity of your choice.

The Suffolk Times is currently in production on part four of its documentary, expected to be released in the summer of 2018.

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