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Louise Pietrewicz went missing from Suffolk County, New York in 1966. After over 50 years, her remains have been identified, after being dug up from the property of her boyfriend, William Boken, a Southold police officer. (Photo: Courtesy of NamUs)

A 38-year-old mother who had a troubled marriage cleaned out and closed her bank account, and then vanished one day on Long Island in the fall of 1966. Her then-11-year-old daughter never saw her again, and one of the few traces left of her was her pocketbook found by the side of a local road.

The disappearance of Louise Pietrewicz went unsolved for 51 years, before the local newspaper The Suffolk Times produced a massive investigation and three-part documentary on the case in the fall of 2017, titled “Gone.”

The investigation was reopened. New tips came in—including one from the estranged wife of the police officer Pietrewicz had been dating at the time of her disappearance.

Two weeks ago, police investigators found human bones buried seven feet deep in the basement of the home the boyfriend, William Boken, had lived in at the time Pietrewicz vanished.

This week, the DNA recovered from the full skeleton was matched to surviving relatives of Pietrewicz—including the daughter, now in her 60s.

The Suffolk Times reports that Judith Terry, Boken’s former wife, told Southold (NY) police detectives that a body had been wrapped in burlap and buried right after Pietrewicz had been reported missing.

Forensic investigators had previously dug up part of the basement at 1675 Lower Road in Southold in 2013.

But this time they used ground-penetrating sonar—and dug deeper than before. They hit a jawbone, and then a complete skeleton.

Now a homicide investigation is underway—and the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner is looking to establish cause and manner of death from the remains.

But the killer may already be dead.

Boken himself resigned from the Southold Police Department days after Pietrewicz disappeared. He was arrested the next year, in 1967, on charges of assaulting his wife.

Boken was committed to a stint in a psychiatric hospital. Afterward, he disappeared from authorities, who believed he was “wandering around the New York City area.”

“He essentially disappeared,” said Gerald Gigante, the Suffolk County Police detective who had spearheaded the latest round of investigation. "There was no footprint of his activities.”

Boken ultimately died in 1982—and was buried in a potter’s field grave. He had no contact with his wife and two children since shortly after the domestic violence arrest, and the psychiatric commitment.

“Cold cases are always, always in play,” said Gigante, at a press conference when the remains were discovered two weeks ago. “We’re always looking at information we obtain.”

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