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For the fourth day this week, family and friends of Michelle Piwowar searched the fields, around her Town of Hamburg neighborhood Thursday morning.

Despite their efforts, they found no signs of the 35-year-old mother of three, who has been missing since late last Friday.

Once again, they gathered at midafternoon in the parking lot of the former Ames store on Lake Avenue to console one another by sharing their memories and hopes of finding the missing woman.

Hamburg police, meanwhile, say foul play is suspected, and they are conducting their own searches with cadaver dogs.

So far, the police and community searches have included the land around the Botanical Gardens, Tifft Farm, the U.S. Sugar Co. building on South Park Avenue and the lakeshore along Route 5.

Police also have arrested Piwowar's husband, Robert, 36, who was jailed on a felony charge of criminal contempt, alleging that he had violated an order of protection.

Piwowar's sudden disappearance is causing anguish and pain for her family and has left her three children -- Michelle, 16; Robert, 12; and Patrick, 8 -- desperately yearning for their mother.

Patrick and Patricia Glosek, the missing woman's parents, still were trying to explain to their grandchildren why their mother has not come home.

"It's difficult because we have so many questions that are unanswered," Patricia Glosek said, as she dabbed away the tears flowing down her cheek. "We keep going along and trying to concentrate on finding Michelle, but what do I tell her kids? Each day it gets worse."

Her husband stands by her side, his teary eyes obscured behind rose-colored glasses.

"I'm just trying to get through the day, and hopefully we can find her," Patrick Glosek said. "I just don't believe this is happening."

Capt. A. Daniel Shea, Hamburg chief of detectives, said Michelle Piwowar, a green-eyed brunette, was last seen with her husband just after midnight Friday as they left her White Street home in Hamburg, on the outskirts of Blasdell, in his 2004 white Mustang.

Police believe she was wearing a black skirt at the time.

"She disappeared and didn't take her purse, keys or identification and didn't respond to one of her sons' birthday," Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark said. "There is no logical explanation for her to do that."

Police said the Piwowars had been married for 15 years but were in the midst of a divorce.

She had an order of protection against her husband, but police say they suspect they had been living together in her home for the past month.

According to police, their marriage had been plagued by domestic violence, and Robert Piwowar had been physically and verbally abusive.

"It was a very rocky relationship, and there were several reports of domestic disputes between them and other family members," Shea said. "Domestic situations are always about control. Maybe she felt she didn't have a choice but to live with him."

Throughout their relationship, she had about four orders of protection issued against her husband, and he violated at least three of those, Shea said.

The most recent one was issued April 28 in Hamburg Town Court. He was arrested July 11 on criminal contempt charges of violating the order.

On Sept. 21, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges of aggravated harassment and criminal contempt -- two misdemeanors -- before State Supreme Justice John F. O'Donnell. The judge had ordered him not to reside with his wife but allowed him to visit his children and have "non-offensive" contact with his wife.

He was awaiting sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 8, when he was arrested again this week on charges of violating the order of protection. The new charge is a felony because he previously had been convicted of criminal contempt.

On Thursday, he appeared in court on the new charge and was ordered to remain in jail on $50,000 bail.

Family members declined to comment on the relationship, preferring instead to focus on the positive memories of Michelle Piwowar. They say she was a fun-loving homemaker who chose to stay at home and take care of her children.

The West Seneca West High School graduate would bake fresh bread for her children's dinner, prepare homemade fudge and cook them vegetables from her garden.

She took them on trips to the park and Disneyland, home-schooled her youngest child and dutifully enrolled them all in a Christian school.

She attended service three times a week at Old Time Baptist Church on Gowanda State Road and is the eldest of four sisters.

"This is unreal," said one sister, Marcia Berry, 34, of San Diego, as tears welled in her eyes. "When the dust settles, we just have to find her."

Anyone with information should call Town of Hamburg detectives at 648-5118. Volunteers who would like to join the family's search should call Craig Kobb at 713-3443.


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