LAKEWOOD, N.Y. — Lori Bova, 26, went missing June 8, 1997, in Lakewood. To this day, she has never been found.
Her husband, Tyrone Bova, told police they had a fight that summer night. He reported that Lori went out for a walk to get some air, and she never came home.
Before the alleged fight, the Lakewood-Busti Police department says Tyrone and Lori went out to dinner at Red Lobster on Fairmount Avenue to celebrate her sister Renee Shutter's promotion. According to Renee, Lori seemed tense throughout the evening.
Lori worked at Kay Jewelers with her other sister, Jennifer Shields. Jennifer said Lori was very close with her entire family.
“After she called Renee, she called my mom. And then after [that] she would call me. Or if I was at the store, she would just talk to me there. But she called everybody every day,” Jennifer said.
Lori’s sisters say it didn’t make sense that she would wander off alone so late.
“She was scared of the dark,” Jennifer said. “I worked with her, [and] she wouldn't even take the garbage out at the end of the night without somebody with her because she was scared of the dark.”
Former Lakewood-Busti Police Department Sergeant Paul Gustafson dedicated the majority of his career to Lori’s case. He was on duty as a patrolman the day Tyrone reported Lori missing, and even now in retirement, has not given up hope that the case will be solved.
“In the days after [the missing person report was filed], things developed very rapidly. Multiple police agencies assisted us with searches by land, air and water. We had a great deal of community support from family members, surrounding communities, and friends of Lori's. As we conducted searches, with agencies helping us. … We decided to start multiple interviews to develop more leads,” Sgt. Gustafson explained.
He added that there were several persons of interest who might have known where Lori might be.
“We've never considered Tyrone a suspect. He is a person of interest. As I've said, we've had several persons of interest. It is still to this day an open missing persons case. ... We do not have anything stating otherwise,” Sgt. Gustafson said.
“I would say within the first few weeks as we developed information and continued to do interviews, it was clear he was no longer going to cooperate with us, he became more of a person of interest."
Lori’s sisters told 2 On Your Side that Tyrone Bova passed away a few years ago after moving out of state, leaving the family without answers.
“The biggest prayer we have is if we could find her… so that we could have the information, and at least get some closure,” Renee said.
Jennifer added, “We all know and believe in our hearts who is responsible. In my mind, I guess, I’m thinking if that’s over, he [Tyrone] has all the information. He’s not going to jail … that chapter is closed, so we need to find her. We believe maybe somebody has some kind of information out there, now that Tyrone is dead, that they would feel more comfortable coming forward. If they do know … if he did tell anybody, we won’t know … but that’s our hope.”
Anyone with information about Lori’s case should contact the Lakewood Busti Police Department at (716) 763-9563.