Search for body of alleged Lewis Lent victim may resume
HERKIMER Authorities are discussing the possibility of resuming the search for a 12-year-old central New York girl who was abducted and killed nearly 20 years ago, according to the district attorney in the county where the victim was kidnapped near her rural home.
Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter told the Observer-Dispatch of Utica that his office and state police investigators have rekindled their discussions on tips that might one day lead to Sara Anne Wood’s body. The possibility of new searches hasn’t been ruled out, he said.
“There have been efforts to locate her body in the past and, at this point in time, I think we will once again make an attempt to locate her body,” Carpenter told the newspaper.
Sara was walking her bike to her family’s home in the Mohawk Valley town of Litchfield in August 1993 when she was abducted. Lewis Lent of North Adams, Mass., pleaded guilty three years later to killing the girl and later told authorities he buried her off a logging road in the Adirondacks Mountains.
More than a dozen searches over the years, including in the Raquette Lake area of the Adirondacks, have failed to find her body. Lent later recanted his story and has since refused to cooperate with authorities seeking Sara’s burial site.
Lent, a 62-year-old former handyman and janitor, was sentenced to a prison term of 25 years to life in Wood’s killing.
He is currently serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of 12-year-old Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield, Mass. In 1993, Lent was sentenced to an additional 17 to 20 years in prison for the attempted abduction of a 12-year-old Pittsfield girl as she walked to school.
Officials believe “significant steps” have been made over the years to at least narrow down the possible location of Sara’s body.
“As time goes on, the brand-new tips diminish but re-examining other avenues that we’ve currently examined, in light of new technology, becomes more of the focus,” said state police Capt. Mark Lincoln of Troop D based at Oneida.