WESTFIELD — Child serial killer Lewis S. Lent Jr. allegedly recreated the day in 1992 when he kidnapped slightly built James “Jamie’’ Lusher from a street in Westfield, murdered him, and then dumped the remains of the 16-year-old boy into Greenwater Pond in Becket, officials said today.
Armed with the new information gleaned from Lent in just the last month, law enforcement officials on Tuesday will begin searching the pond where depths can reach 58 feet in hopes of recovering Lusher’s remains and to provide his still-grieving family with some closure, officials said.
“To this day, when I see a kid, a 16-year-old kid on a bike with black hair, I will instinctively look,’’ the victim’s father, James Lusher, told reporters today at a press conference in Westfield. “My closure is finding my son.’’
Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni, Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless, State P
Police Colonel Timothy Alben, and Westfield Police Captain Michael McCabe jointly announced that Lent confessed to murdering Lusher — in return for not being prosecuted for the 1992 killing.
James Lusher said that Lent recently provided law enforcement with a step-by-step description of his son’s final journey, which began on Nov. 6, 1992. Lusher climbed on his new bike outside the family home on Holyoke Road and started riding toward a relative’s home.
Lent, authorities allege, has now confessed to both killing Lusher and dumping the teen’s body into the 80-acre pond in Becket, which sits between two major highways — Route 20 and the Massachusetts Turnpike — in a small town snuggled in the Berkshire Mountains.
The elder Lusher said that although it is clear that Lent never intended his acts to offer solace to Lusher and his family, his choice of where he laid Jamie Lusher to rest does offer some peace to the loved ones who knew the teen.
“Unwittingly, Lewis Lent put my son where he loved to be — he loved the mountains,’’ the elder Lusher said today. “So, if in fact they never find anything, he’s where he loved to be.’’
“There is no closure unless we have the person,’’ said Jennifer Nowak, Jamie Lusher’s older sister. “We don’t have anything. We’ve never had anything.’’
Lent was arrested in January 1994 on charges of kidnapping and assaulting Rebecca Savarese, 12, of Pittsfield, who escaped and alerted police. During an interrogation that lasted three days, Lent confessed to trying to abduct Savarese, and confessed to at least two other child murders.
Lent is currently serving life without the possibility of parole in a Massachusetts prison for the 1990 kidnapping and murder of James Bernardo, 12, of Pittsfield, whose body was found in the woods of New York State some 250 miles from Pittsfield.
He also pleaded guilty in New York to the kidnapping and murder of Sara Anne Wood, 12, of Frankfort, N.Y., who disappeared in 1993. Despite a search guided by a crude map drawn by Lent that led to searching areas in the Adirondack Mountains, authorities have never recovered her remains.
Officials said today that New York State Police will participate in the search of the Becket pond, but only as a means to increase the number of divers involved, not as an resumption of the investigation into Wood’s killing.
Mastroianni told reporters that Lent’s confession to the Lusher killing is not the only crime that they are now investigating the former North Adams resident for, even though he has not been a free man since the 1990s.
“Lent is someone who law enforcement here and in other places is very interested in,’’ he said. “He is a subject that is on the radar for other cases. This information and the new information gathered from Lewis Lent has reinvigorated investigations.
Mastroianni and other law enforcement officials would not disclose which crimes are the focus of the new probe.
The elder Lusher said he does not think about Lent.
“My closure is finding my son,’’ said the elder Lusher. “I couldn’t care less what happens to Lewis Lent. He can rot in hell, I don’t care.’’
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