Area woman who was stabbed in Swanzey decades ago tells her story in new podcast

Nov. 19—The night of Aug. 6, 1988, was hot and muggy. Jane Boroski, 22 and seven-months pregnant, was on her way home after lingering at the Cheshire Fair past closing, when she stopped at the soda machine outside Gomarlo's market in Swanzey for a cold drink.

There, Boroski — who now lives in Hinsdale and asked The Sentinel to use her birth name for privacy reasons — was stabbed 27 times by an unknown man who many, including Boroski herself, believe was likely the Connecticut River Valley serial killer. Boroski and her daughter, who was born two months later, survived.

Now, 34 years later, Boroski is putting a different spin on the true-crime genre with a new podcast that not only digs into the still-unsolved case but reflects on the healing process she went through to cope with her PTSD stemming from the attack.

"How many survivors of a serial killer are doing podcasts that can tell their story?" Boroski asked rhetorically during an interview last month at The Frugal Marketplace, a thrift store just down the road from where the attack happened.

During the interview, Boroski sat on a worn sofa beside the store's owners Amanda and Drew Bedard, who helped produce "Invisible Tears." The trio recorded most of the podcast — which dropped its first episode this summer — in the backroom of the thrift store, where Amanda Bedard also has a wellness practice.

For the better part of two years, the podcast team has been researching the Connecticut River Valley serial killer, who is suspected to have murdered at least seven women near Claremont between 1978 and 1987.

But, "Invisible Tears" aims to put a twist on true crime. Rather than lean into the genre's voyeuristic tendencies, which Boroski said can glorify serial killers, the podcasters want to humanize those impacted by the gruesome acts and explore the process of recovering from such deep-seeded trauma.

"We're finding that people want to change that genre," Boroski said. "They want to change it and not just talk about the blood and gore and the murders and the brutality of what happened to these victims. It's really turning toward the mental health part of it, which is amazing."

One of the taglines for "Invisible Tears" — which to date has dropped 14 episodes and surpassed 5,000 downloads — is "From trauma to healing." The podcast gets its name from the millions of tears Boroski said she cried in silence before addressing her PTSD through counseling.

For years after the attack, Boroski said she struggled with anxiety, anger and other mental health issues. She developed a gambling addiction, "made a lot of bad choices" and spent a brief period of time in jail. It was during court-ordered counseling that her therapist, after learning about the attack, diagnosed her with PTSD and had her work through each of the symptoms one by one over a period of several years.

"For 20 years I was not living a normal life," Boroski said. "I was not living a normal life at all. After my counseling I realized that, OK, I don't have to let this control me anymore and I could think clearer and it gave me the tools to deal with all my symptoms of PTSD."

The idea for the podcast came to Boroski and her now-adult daughter, Jessica, in the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted widespread lockdowns. Boredom had overcome them, so Jessica suggested listening to a podcast — and proceeded to search her mother's name to see what popped up.

The Connecticut River Valley killer is infamous and has been examined by major TV series — including NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries" and Discovery TV's "Dark Minds" — so the two weren't surprised to find a couple of podcasts that mentioned Boroski's attack.

"We're listening to them, and [Jessica's] like, 'Oh my God, Mom, they got that so wrong; they're not even telling the whole story and they have no idea what really happened to you,' " Boroski said. "She's like, 'You need to start a podcast.' "

Lacking the technical skills to launch one on her own, Boroski reached out to Drew Bedard, the son of her best friend, who soon became a producer and the lead researcher for the team and brought his wife, Amanda, on board as a co-host, editor and producer.

The first two episodes of the podcast — which has a conversational, DIY style — focus on the night of the attack, while the later episodes dive into the police investigation of the Connecticut River Valley serial killer.

"We're going to bring a lot of things to light about the investigations," Boroski said.

The night of the attack, she had just stepped back into her white 1985 Pontiac Firebird with a soda, when a Jeep Wagoneer pulled up on her passenger side. Even though the store was closed, she said she thought nothing of it because there were a soda machine and payphone there.

"I mean, back then there was virtually no major crime in Swanzey," said Boroski, who lived in Winchester at the time. "Swanzey was a small town, so I felt safe. I didn't have any reason not to. I was only 22 at the time."

All of a sudden, Boroski looked in the rearview mirror and saw the man walk around the backside of her car. Then he opened the door and tried to yank her out of the car, she said. She fought back, kicking at the man and smashing her windshield in the process.

That's when the man took out a knife to convince her to get out of the vehicle. Boroski said he seemed confused. He said something about her beating up his girlfriend and when she said she didn't do that, he asked if her car had Massachusetts plates, which it didn't.

As the man walked away from her, back in the direction of his car, Boroski shouted at him: "Hey, [expletive] what about my windshield?"

She said she would regret those words for the rest of her life.

The man circled back toward her and put the knife up to her neck, she said. Just then, Boroski noticed a vehicle driving by and bolted toward the road. The man proceeded to tackle her like a football player and stabbed her repeatedly.

All of a sudden, he stopped, got up, hopped in his car and drove away. As he passed her, Boroski said, she looked up at him and he looked back at her.

Despite her wounds — which included two collapsed lungs, a lacerated liver, several cut tendons and a slash to her jugular — Boroski said she managed to get back into her car and began driving back in the direction of her home. Bleeding, she sped down the road, and ended up unintentionally catching up to the vehicle of the man who'd stabbed her, she said.

Not knowing where to go, she stopped at a friend's house on Route 10. The Jeep Wagoneer kept going, but later circled back, slammed on its breaks, then sped off, Boroski said. She spent five days in the ICU and several more in a hospital bed.

Boroski said police questioned her days after the attack while she was intubated in her ICU bed, asking her to blink once for "yes" and twice for "no" as they worked to produce a sketch of the suspect. She said she believes investigators didn't think she was going to survive.

Boroski said she found out that the man who stabbed her was suspected of being the Connecticut River Valley serial killer from a newspaper and, to this day, the sketch she helped police produce from her ICU bed is one of the only depictions of what he could look like.

By sharing her story, Boroski said she hopes to bring renewed attention to the case, perhaps even trigger memories that could present new leads to investigators. The case continues to be investigated by the N.H. Department of Justice's Cold Case Unit, she said.

"I still want them to continue investigating. I mean, I think these are very solvable crimes," Boroski said. "I think the cases are solvable. Especially now with all the forensics and technology they have today. I do believe that they could be solved."

Perhaps more important, though, Boroski said she wants to help others who might be struggling with mental health issues stemming from trauma. This message especially, she said, has resonated with listeners.

"My big thing is letting others know they're not alone — that there are other people out there that are feeling the same way that they feel and that it doesn't have to control their lives," Boroski said. "It doesn't have to control their destinies; you can live a happy normal life after a traumatic event."

The Season 1 finale — which Drew Bedard said will tease the fact that they expect to receive the N.H. State Police's redacted case file on Boroski's attack ahead of next season — is scheduled to drop on Nov. 29. He said anyone with information about the Connecticut River Valley serial killer should reach out to the N.H. State Police's anonymous tip line at 603-223-3860.

"Invisible Tears" is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and various other platforms.

Ryan Spencer can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1412, or rspencer@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter at @rspencerKS