On January 12, 1995, serial killer Lewis Lent Jr. was convicted of several charges, including kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery. A year prior, Lent came to the attention of not only police, but the world, when he attempted to kidnap 12-year old Rebecca Savarese in Pittsfield, MA. On Thursday January 6, 1994, Savarese was out when Lent pulled over in his borrowed pickup truck and attempted to force Savarese into his car with a gun. Savarese, in a moment of what I can only describe as pure genius, pretended to be out of breath and managed to trick him. When he reached for her, she managed to shrug off her backpack and run from him. He gave up the chase when another man stopped to help her and left the scene (Blanco).
Police located the truck after a report was filed and found the gun and Savarese’s backpack inside. The owner was a blind man who regularly loaned his truck to Lent. Lent was arrested and confessed to two murders during a three-day interrogation that happened after his arrest. Lent’s lawyers claimed police coerced Lent, a mentally unstable man, during the interrogation after Lent claimed that he often experienced blackouts and lapses in memory. When the case came to trial, a judge deemed that Lent was not unstable and allowed his confessions (Blanco).
On October 22, 1990, 12-year old Jimmy Bernardo went missing outside a theater that Lent worked at, at the time. Lent claimed to have encounter Bernardo outside the movie theater and used a hunting knife and threats to get Bernardo to his apartment. At the apartment, Bernardo was taped to Lent’s bed and assaulted before hanging him the next morning. According to Lent, he had planned to kill Bernardo the whole time. Bernardo’s body was found in Newfield, NY, far from the abduction sight but close to the childhood home Lent often visited (Blanco).
12-year old Sara Anne Wood disappeared on August 18, 1993 from Frankfort, NY, while riding home from Bible school on her bike (Masters 2018). Lent claimed he was driving along back roads with the intent of finding a child for his nefarious purposes when he came across Wood. As with Bernardo, he threatened her with a hunting knife to get her into his van. He drove her to the Adirondack Mountains, where he raped her and beat her to death with a branch before burying her. According to Lent, he never actually checked to see if she was breathing because he doesn’t like to touch dead bodies. Sara Anne Wood’s body has never been found, despite the fact that Lent drew the police a map of where he supposedly buried her (Blanco).
While police, and others, suspect that Lent is guilty of more than the murders of Sara Anne Wood and Jimmy Bernardo, he has only been charged with their murders (Blanco).
In 2013, it was announced that Lent was connected to the cold case of Jamie Lusher, a teenager from Westfield, MA. Lent confessed to the killing during an interview with police and claimed to have disposed of Lusher’s body in a pond in Becket, MA. Police had suspected for a while that Lent may have been responsible for the disappearance of the 16-year old in November 1992, while Lusher’s father, James, had been less convinced until the confession (Tuthill). Despite multiple searched of Greenwater Pond, as of 2016 Lusher’s body has not been recovered (Demers 2016).
Lusher was last seen riding his bike in November 1992 when he went missing. His bicycle was found by a pond a few days later, leading the police to drain the lake in search for his remains. None were recovered. In exchange for revealing the location of Lusher’s remains, Lent has been offered the possibility of not being prosecuted for the murder (Tuthill).
When Lusher initially went missing, police suspected he was hiding from someone. A young woman who had spoken to him that day claimed he had told her he was hiding because he was afraid he was in trouble. While Lent has been known to give misleading answers and clues in the past, police were able to confirm several details of the case with Lent. Police feel confident he is guilty of this crime based on this (Newsroom 2013). Several times a year, police visit Lent in hopes they may be able to convince him to give them more information on where the remains of Jamie Lusher and Sara Anne Wood can be found (Masters 2018).
Lent was sentenced to life without parole in the murder of Jimmy Bernardo and 25 to life in the murder of Sara Anne Wood.
Blanco, Juan Ignacio. “Lewis Lent: Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers.” Lewis Lent | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers, murderpedia.org/male.L/l/lent-lewis.htm.
Tuthill, Paul. “Child Serial Killer Lewis Lent Linked To Cold Case.” WAMC, http://www.wamc.org/post/child-serial-killer-lewis-lent-linked-cold-case.
Newsroom, The Republican. “Child Serial Killer Lewis Lent Confesses to Murder of Jamie Lusher, Westfield Teen Missing for over 20 Years.” Masslive, 15 July 2013, http://www.masslive.com/news/2013/07/jamie_lusher_case_update_hampd.html.
Masters, Emily. “Saturday Marks 25 Years since Sara Anne Wood’s Disappearance.” Times Union, Times Union, 21 Aug. 2018, http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Saturday-marks-25-years-since-Sara-Anne-Wood-s-13159403.php.
Demers, Phil. “Police Again Search Berkshires Pond for Teen Jamie Lusher’s Remains, Find Nothing.” Masslive, 19 Nov. 2016, http://www.masslive.com/news/2016/11/police_again_search_berkshires.html.