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WOMAN MISSING; HUSBAND BEING HELD

The husband of a missing Blasdell woman has been locked up on a felony charge for violating an order of protection, as Town of Hamburg detectives try to determine whether she was the victim of foul play.

Michelle Piwowar, 35, remained missing late Monday from her home on White Street in Blasdell, where she was last seen around midnight Friday.

Town of Hamburg police have charged her husband, Robert Piwowar, 36, with felony criminal contempt for allegedly violating an order of protection. The charge is a felony because he previously had been convicted of criminal contempt.

Police would not comment on the extent of the domestic violence that previously occurred in the home.

"We're hopeful that she may be found alive, but it's very suspicious," said Capt. A. Daniel Shea, chief of detectives. "We are very concerned. Based on the history of domestic violence at the residence, we feel as though anything could have happened."

Late Sunday night, detectives used a search warrant at the Blasdell home. No body was found, but police hope some evidence taken at the scene will help them determine what happened. The evidence is being processed at the Erie County Central Police Services lab.

Robert Piwowar, who listed a Lackawanna address when he was arrested, reported his wife missing at about 6 a.m. Sunday, saying she hadn't been seen since early Saturday morning, police said. He apparently had been with her in her home, thus violating the order of protection.

"All he says is that she's not there, and he doesn't know where she went," one police source said Monday. "He's not offering any explanation."

Robert Piwowar was sent to the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.

Investigators doubt that Michelle Piwowar fled on her own. Detectives have found the vehicle she used and most of her belongings. And she was not present for a weekend birthday celebration for one of her two children.

"Obviously, the circumstances of her disappearing are very bizarre," Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark said late Monday. "Given the fact that she has two children, her belongings are still there and her car is still there, there is no reasonable expectation for her to have gone this long without contacting anyone."

Monday, when they first aired their suspicions, Town of Hamburg police also asked for the public's help. Detectives suspect that one of the vehicles normally used by the couple may have left the Blasdell house sometime between midnight Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday.

Those vehicles were described as a 2004 white Mustang, with the license plate number CTU-9146, and a 1995 blue Ford Windstar, with the plate CGU-8109. Anyone who may have seen either of those vehicles during that time frame is asked to call Town of Hamburg detectives at 648-5118.

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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