(BBC) – Authorities in New York state have identified the skeletal remains of a woman who vanished from her Long Island farming community over 50 years ago.
In October 1966 Louise Pietrewicz, 38 at the time, closed her bank account and left town with her then-boyfriend, police officer William P Boken.
Pietrewicz’s bones were found two weeks ago buried under a Long Island home that Boken, who died in 1982, owned.
A newspaper’s expose and documentary spurred renewed interest in her case.
The missing person’s case was reopened last October after the Suffolk Times published an in-depth report and a documentary about Pietrewicz’s disappearance.
On Wednesday, a medical examiner identified her remains, after taking DNA swabs from her relatives, local media report.
Pietrewicz’s daughter, Sandy Blampied, can still recall the last memory she has of her mother – dropping her off at the local school bus – when she was 12 years old.
“She would never have just left me,” Ms Blampied told the Suffolk Times.
“If she was alive somewhere she would have called and told me so we could be together.”
But she never called, and no arrest was ever made.
The day before Pietrewicz vanished she withdrew $1,273.80 from her personal bank account and closed it, reports the Suffolk Times.
The day after she was last seen Boken resigned from his job as a police officer. He had called in sick for the previous three days.
Pietrewicz was trapped in an abusive marriage at the time she vanished.
According to the newspaper, Boken’s former wife recently tipped police off that there was a body buried in the basement of his old colonial-era home in the town of Southold.
Using ground-penetrating radar, Suffolk County detectives found a skeleton buried 7ft (2.1m) in the dirt floor basement under a 5in (12cm) concrete slab.
“Sometimes later in life witnesses do come forward to give us information that maybe at one point they felt compelled not to release, felt threatened… or just out of their conscience come forward,” said Suffolk City chief of detectives Gerard Gigante at a news conference.
It is unclear if a medical examiner will be able to determine Pietrewicz’s cause of death.
But Ms Blampied said she believes Boken murdered her.
“I think he killed her on the last day I saw her,” Ms Blampied told the Times Herald-Record.
“I gave her a hug and a kiss before I left for school, and I bet that was the day he killed her.”