BECKET, Mass. – The search for 16-year-old James “Jamie” Lusher’s remains begins today by dive teams from Massachusetts and New York State Police.
Lusher went missing from Westfield, Mass. in November 1992 after leaving his home on a bicycle ride. Now, Massachusetts State Police say a Berkshire County man already serving life in prison for killing two children has confessed to killing the teen.
Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni announced Monday that Lewis Lent is also responsible for the disappearance and death of Lusher.
Police say they suspected Lent may have been involved in Lusher’s death back in 1994 and have spoken with him about ten times since. More recently, though, police say he began to open up.
Police were then able to go to Mastroianni and work out a deal. Since Lent is already serving a life sentence, they agreed to not prosecute him in exchange for his admission of guilt.
“We’ve concluded that Lewis Lent is responsible. The next part of the investigation is now open, the part of the investigation that deals with recovery of Jamie’s remains. That part of the investigation is now open and active,” Mastroianni said.
Officials will begin searching for Lusher’s remains in Greenwater Pond starting around 8:30 a.m. The pond spans 88 acres and is almost 60 feet deep in some areas. Police say they are optimistic but also want to remain realistic about what they may find. The search is scheduled to last for the next three days.
Lusher’s father and sister, Jennifer Nowak, are expected to be present at the recovery efforts.
“You don’t want to hear it. You do, but you don’t. You want closure, you want to put the whole story to an end, but it’s so shocking to hear, how he took him into a van, then dumped his bike, then dumped his body, it’s just awful,” Nowak said. “For my father, I think if they found something, then he could have a little more closure and put a little more peace in his heart.”
Lent, a former handyman and janitor from North Adams, was convicted of the 1990 killing of 12-year-old Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield. He also pleaded guilty to the 1993 abduction and slaying of 12-year-old Sara Ann Wood of Norwich Corners in central New York.
Sara was walking her bike home in the Mohawk Valley town of Litchfield in August 1993 when she was abducted. Lent pleaded guilty three years later to killing the girl and later told authorities he buried her in the Adirondacks. After more than a dozen searches, her body has never been found.