Authorities say a man convicted of killing children in both Massachusetts and New York has been conclusively linked with the disappearance of a 16- year- old boy in Westfield, Massachusetts more than 20 years ago.
Law enforcement authorities announced Monday that Lewis Lent ,during a prison interview with investigators about a month ago, confessed to killing Jamie Lusher. He told police he put the teen’s body in a pond in Becket. The authorities said they were able to independently verify the details of the crime Lent gave in his confession. Police divers will start searching the pond on Tuesday.
James Lusher, the missing boy’s father, was present for the public announcement of the break in the case.
Although authorities long suspected Lent was responsible for the Westfield boy’s disappearance in November 1992, James Lusher said he was never completely convinced.
State police from both Massachusetts and New York on Tuesday will begin a complete search of Greenwater Pond in Becket. Col. Timothy Albin, the commander of the Massachusetts State police said finding remains will be an “enormous challenge” given the length of time that has passed and the size of the water body. It is 88 square acres and 58 feet deep in spots.
Jamie Lusher was last seen riding his bicycle away from his father’s house on November 6, 1992. The bicycle was found a few days later near a pond in Westfield that was drained by police during the fruitless search for the missing boy.
Lent, a former janitor from North Adams, Massachusetts was arrested in Pittsfield in 1993 after a 12- year- old girl he abducted managed to get free. Lent pleaded guilty in 1996 to the 1990 murder of 12 –year- old Jimmy Bernardo of Pittsfield. He was sentenced to life in prison.
He later pleaded guilty in Herkimer County, New York to the kidnapping and killing of 12 year old Sarah Anne Wood. Lent drew a map to where he claimed to have put the girls’ body, but her remains have never been found.
Westfield Police Detective Captain Michael McCabe said he and State Police Detective Lt. Stephen Griffin questioned Lent several times through the years about the Lusher case, with the breakthrough coming about a month ago.
In exchange for revealing the whereabouts of Lusher’s body Lent will not be prosecuted for the murder, according to Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastrioianni. He said police will reexamine Lent’s possible connections with other child abduction and murder cases
The news conference announcing the break in the case was held at the Westfield South Middle School, where Jamie Lusher was a student.