Anne Wietecki used to get in trouble a lot when she attended Pearl River High School.
Not serious trouble, though. She just spent a lot of time joking around and laughing while her teachers were trying to instruct the class. And she was constantly laughing and joking around because she always sat next to her good friend Paula Bohovesky.
Bohovesky was walking home on the night of Oct. 28, 1980 from the Pearl River Public Library where she worked as a part-time page when two men attacked and murdered her. She was 16-years-old.
The next day, Wietecki’s mother was taking her to school, and on the way she saw an area taped off, which turned out to be the area where police would find Bohovesky. Wietecki said she thought it was unusual to see something like that in such a small town, and she sensed something was wrong when her locker mate wasn’t in school. Bohovesky never missed school, not for colds or anything.
“I went home for lunch and I said to my mother, ‘Something happened, she’s not in school today,’ so my mother said maybe she has a virus or something,’” Wietecki remembered. “I said ‘No, she’d come into school anyway.’ She came to school with everything.”
When she back to school for the second half of the day, Wietecki said the principal told her that foul play was involved.
Wietecki was one of more than 100 people who gathered Saturday at Braunsdorf Park in Pearl River, where a freeze mob was held to honor Bohovesky’s life, as well as protest the potential release of her two killers, who were sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison. One of them, 51-year-old Robert McCain, has a later this month.
The event was organized by classmates and friends, with much of the communication and invites done through Facebook and emails.
“It has built over the last few weeks to where it got to the numbers that we got today, which we’re really happy about,” said Patricia Stark, of Blauvelt, who was a year behind Bohovesky in high school and was one of the event’s organizers.
More than 100 people were at the Park on Saturday. Men stood around talking, while kids threw around footballs and blew bubbles. Some people were even picnicking. Then, at around 4 p.m., Pearl River High School alumni and Bohovesky’s classmates, John Carson and Ed Walter, started performing a song on guitar and singing along.
At that point, everybody remained still. Some stood and watched the performance, while a few people pretended to pose for a picture while someone taking the picture froze as well.
“It’s absolutely amazing that her classmates did this and that they did it so quickly,” said Lois Bohovesky, Paula’s mother. “It’s moving to think that they still remember her. That’s important to me.”
Lois Bohovesky said her daughter was full of life, and a talented actor and musician. Paula’s brother Peter was also at the park on Saturday.
“She was a remarkable person. She was very beautiful and very talented and very intelligent,” he said. “Had she not been remarkable still these men should be held behind bars. People who are not remarkable still have the right to walk down the street and not be murdered.”
Stark said they’re planning some other events to protest the possible paroles, but didn’t want to say what they’re going to be just yet.
“There are going to be a lot more events, a lot more crowds of people ensuring that these two child killers never get out and Paula’s memory is never forgotten,” she said.
Stark also added the freeze mob was the idea of Dari Knight, another classmate of Bohovesky’s who helped to plan the event. Stark said Knight lives on the Gulf Coast now and while she didn’t travel up for the event, she played a major role in putting it all together.