Sylvia Alice Lwowski, age 22, disappeared from Staten Island, New York on September 6, 1975.
She had planned on going to see a movie at the Island Theater on Richmond Avenue, with her fiance. At the time, movies such as Jaws and Rocky Horror Picture Show would have been showing.
Reports state that she left for her movie date and never returned.
Her fiance would later state that he and Sylvia had argued, which resulted in Sylvia throwing her eyeglasses at the dashboard and running from the car.
There is very little ‘official’ information available on this case. A good friend of Sylvia’s has come forward to discuss her disappearance, under certain expectations of anonymity. For the purpose of this blog entry, I’ll call her Lauren.
Lauren had been with Sylvia earlier in the day that she disappeared. They had gone shopping, and at roughly 4:00pm, Lauren dropped Sylvia off at home so she could get ready for her date. Sylvia seemed to be in good spirits, and was looking forward to going to the movies.
In the early evening, Sylvia’s fiance picked her up as scheduled, and they drove off, presumably headed to the movie theater, which was about ten minutes from her home.
At approximately 10:00pm that night, Sylvia’s fiance appeared in front of Lauren’s home. He rolled down his window, and angrily stated that he and Sylvia had gotten into an argument, and that she’d gotten out of the car near the Staten Island Mall, telling him she’d take the bus home. He asked Lauren to pick Sylvia up at the bus stop, before abruptly driving away.
Lauren and her father drove around the vicinity of the mall, but did not see any sign of Sylvia. At this point, they assumed that she’d gotten on a bus during time that it took them to get there. They returned home.
At approximately 10:30pm, Sylvia’s fiance arrived at Sylvia’s home, and spoke with her family about the fact that Sylvia had gotten out of the car. Sylvia’s mother quickly headed for the Staten Island Mall area, and drove around without locating her.
She attempted to file a missing persons report, but was told that she needed wait until Sylvia had been missing for 24 hours.
After filing a missing persons report the following day, the Lwowski family found that the case was being handled as nothing more than a ‘voluntary missing’ adult case.
A couple weeks after Sylvia’s disappearance, Sylvia’s mother hired a private investigator. We do not know the identity of this investigator, but Lauren, and Sylvia’s surviving family would be interested in speaking with him. If anyone has access to Staten Island yellow pages from 1975 and can scan a copy of the ‘Private Investigator’ category, I’d be grateful!
Lauren contacted Sylvia’s fiance by phone on a couple occasions following her disappearance, and was told never to call him again. He was completely unwilling to answer any questions. It is not known if he was ever questioned by law enforcement.
The only other potential clue that has surfaced, is that Lauren had given someone a ride home from Manhattan some time after Sylvia’s disappearance, and it turned out that this individual was acquainted with Sylvia’s fiance. This individual stated to Lauren that Sylvia’s fiance had her engagement ring in his possession. According to the police report, the ring was missing along with Sylvia.
There is much speculation that Sylvia’s fiance knows something about her disappearance, and there is doubt as to whether they ever went to a movie at all that night. If it is true that her fiance had the ring, it would imply that either there was a break-up (as opposed to just an argument), or that the ring was retrieved at a later time.
There is a possibility that Sylvia did return the ring during an argument, threw her glasses at the dash, and exited the car, only to fall prey to serial killer Andre Rand. The location where Sylvia was last known to be is in the scope of Rand’s ‘comfort zone’. I find it unlikely, however, because Rand preferred young children, or those with mental disabilities who he perceived as vulnerable. He was reportedly rather standoffish with other adults.
If Sylvia’s fiance did harm her, I find it unlikely that it happened on Richmond Avenue, near the Staten Island mall. It’s a busy area, and a commotion would have been noticed. It would be more likely that they were never near the mall, and instead went to a hotel or a lover’s lane where an altercation occurred.
Otherwise, I’d have to think it was premeditated – meaning that from the mall, he’d made up his mind that he was going to harm her, and drove her someplace secluded.
It’s also worth noting that the movie theater was approximately 10 minutes from Sylvia’s home. An average movie is 90 minutes, plus 20-30 minutes accounted for in drive time – that still leaves 2-3 hours. (Sylvia had been picked up between 5-6pm, and her fiance appeared at Lauren’s house at 10pm.)
Sylvia is a native of Germany, but had been in New York for most of her life. Her parents have both passed away without ever learning their daughter’s fate. Sylvia’s mother kept all of Sylvia’s engagement gifts in the hope that she would someday return. Sylvia loved animals, gardening, and collecting seashells. She was a member of the Wagner College band.